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D - Kevin Mitnick in a Row House

This is a late-night rant, don't read this if you're on
duty. This post contains _NO_ useful information, at all!

Just finished watching Takedown (the True Story of catching
Kevin Mitnick, world's Most Wanted Hacker), on TV.

I just moved from a 4 bedroom detached house to a 2 bedroom
row house. But now I have a fireplace. And it competes real
successfully with the TV. Half the time I find myself watching
the fireplace and only listening to the sound on TV -- even
with Law and Order, reruns of Ally McBeal, Stargate, LA Law,
John Doe, etc.

Having read Cuckoo's Nest way before Kevin ever even started
hacking, (by Cliff Stoll), and having recently seen Sneakers,
and a few films with Keanu Reeves, gives me the background to
say that this film really is a decent depiction of what 
happened. (Of course, forgiving the Hollywood monitor shots,
some virtual exaggeration of the hardware they used, and, of
course "some characters may be composites of the originals", 
and that some scenes were radically altered, to convey the
_meaning_ of context vs. actual facts.) But upon the whole,
I've seen worse movies about hacking, cracking, computers in
general, and human engineering as such.

Today I got the Internet working. Two months ago I placed an
order at the local phone company about my moving 300yds. They
gracefully decided then that Jan 15 was the earliest they could
fix my (wire) telephone, and the ADSL Internet hookup. On the
13th the technician phoned me on my mobile telling me he'd come
"tomorrow". He never came, but "the day after tomorrow" he 
came at 4pm, just before I was leaving for a conference with 
the Kindergarten ladies -- and my ex-wife. You guess the rest.

Please stop reading if you're on duty --- now!

To err even further from [the world], I had to visit my ex
co-hab 'cause I had to deliver to my customer a copy of a CD
and I had lost my CD-writer in the move'. (More about that later.)

So... er, where was I? Ah, the Mitnick film. It reminded me of the
Good Old days, when I was Head of Computer Operations at the 
Swedish (sic) School of Economics and Business Administration
[now called Hanken], in Helsinki, _Finland_. (So there's your
"this language in this country".)

What really gave me an eerie feeling was, I live a half an hour's
drive from the Head Quarters of this "Nokicell" (or was it 
"Nokicomm"? You get the picture). I also live a 20min drive from
the University of Helsinki, where Linux was conceived. This ex of
mine was a class mate of Linus. One evening we sat at a bar next
to the University of Technology of Helsinki (totally different
from Helsinki University) and tried to convince Linus to keep
working on his "I dunno, I just wanted to apply the knowledge I
found in Tanenbaum's Operating System book". To all of us it was
clear [including Ari Lemmke, who actually was the person who
coined the name Linux, (with considerable protests from Linus)],
that Linux would be a serious contender to the Majority of 
Market Share, especially when Richard Stallman, [of Emacs,
FSF, Lisp, and other fame] with his huge Foundation had had 
this as his goal for years, and still had had no success at it!

(Just try to guess if I'm LOL whenever I see RS trying to prove
to the world that Linux is actually "GNU, with a few minor, 
scattered pieces of Individually Developed SW, like the Kernel".)
Good Grief!!!!!

Well, anyhow, I've now got my 2-bedroom apartment wired. I have an
ADSL connection, cables running from my study to the living room,
the kitchen (where I use it the most of the time), the toilet (don't
tell your mama), the childrens' room, the living room, the patio,
and the Sauna. (Really.)

Thank God, I'm behind a variable IP number...

Sitting at the fireplace and remembering what all kinds of 
things we used to do with the guys really got me going. We 
had a society called 'the Hacker Group' in the '80s, where
we used to meet about once a month. One of the guyw was
associated with the First Commercial Radio Station in 
Finland, at the time. He provided us with quarters for 
celebrating Major Events. His friend was the first person
I know to have had a private Unix computer (a Motorola,
something) that I know of, and this was about 1983.
Oh, and to those who don't know, this building had a huge
Sauna. The building had previously been used by the local
Fire Department, and they really used the Sauna. Now, it
was only used for purposes only privy to those under 20
years of age! Boy had I some unforgettable nights there,
especially when the Sauna was in co-use by all the small
entrepreneurs who'd gotten installed in the building. Green
Vegetables, Shiatsu Massage, Greenpeace, IndyRecords of 
Finland, Radio City of Finland, and numerous others. Some
of them had really nice looking and young staff, and 
whenever we had a Sauna party on a Friday, all of them
came along. And it was usual for the parties to end at
9am. Contrary to local Finnis tradition at the time.

For some folks who don't know how we have it in Finland,
I gotta tell you, everybody goes to the Sauna if it's
heated. Ladies, Mummies, Gentlemen, Daddies, Grannies,
Grandpas, kids, celebes, next-door neighbors, everybody.
And it's not even considered erotic! Probably that is the
reason we have a lot less trouble with pedophilia than some
other countries. Quite a lot of people go from the Sauna
to an opening in the ice, and dip in the freezing water,
neck high! The medical community considers this as 
extremely beneficial for your health, especially at an
older age. (Ugh, I gotta be 200yrs before I'll try the
freezing waters!)

We used to communicate by Bulletin Boards, operated with
CP/M. They were strictly single-user machines, but since
we were only about 30 guys, and everybody dialled in to
the servers with 300 or 1200 baud modems, all of us had
the luxury of quickly reading all of the other comments 
before we wrote our own. This kept the quality (and signal-
to-noise ratio) very high on the boards. With that kind of
slow communications it never crossed your mind to state 
something 'just off-hand'. You rather logged (there was
no Download at the time) the discussion, then logged off
so others could go on, then you thought about the issues
for several hours, or a day, and only then you wrote 
your post on a text editor, reviewed it, (heck some of us
even had peers to review them, so you wouldn't get cauht
for off-hand opinions!) and only then uploaded the 

Yeah, yeah, I told you not to read this post! 

In the film there was this company called Nokicomm (or
whatever), whose Top Secret code Mitnick supposedly got
a hold of. I remember, at the time, there were big 
newspaper headings about some Communist Data-Delinquent
having gotten hold of some Very Secret Nokia specs.

Well, that's no news to people from here. (Remember having
seen the movie The Telephone, (with this guy who played
opposite Madonna in Dick Tracy?) Half of that film was 
actually filmed in Helsinki.)

Well, anyhow, with my fireplace this near to both the 
site of conception of Linux and the site of conception
of Nokia Cellular Phones, (oh, and incidentally, I was
classmate to Kristiina Kairamo, whose father was a 
previous chairman of Nokia), I felt a special kind of
cold shivers going down my spine when the film talked
about "Nokicomm".   !!
Jan 16 2004