The Software Piracy Chronicles of Slobberchops (The THG Years) – Part Twenty Five (The Final Chapter)

in hive-174578 •  2 months ago  (edited)

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This series is dedicated to my friend ‘The Pieman’ who hosted ‘THE P.I.T.S’ BBS in New York City and sadly passed away in 2016. I know his son ‘Blake’ will be reading this sequence of stories with anticipation.


We will never forget you man, you were one of a kind.


Also I would like to say a big thank you to Fabulous Furlough, ex-leader of ‘The Humble Guys’ who helps me fill in the gaps of what happened almost 30 years ago, The Slavelord who has given me a plethora of memories from the early days and to Suicidal Tendencies (@trolleydave) who remembers more about the UK scene than me.


The Software Piracy Chronicles of Slobberchops (The THG Years) is a continuation of my previous series, The Software Piracy Chronicles of Slobberchops.


I was once known as 'Bryn Rogers', a member of THG (The Humble Guys).

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Other Articles in this Series:
Software Piracy Chronicles of Slobberchops (The THG Years) – Part One
Software Piracy Chronicles of Slobberchops (The THG Years) – Part Two
Software Piracy Chronicles of Slobberchops (The THG Years) – Part Three
Software Piracy Chronicles of Slobberchops (The THG Years) – Part Four
Software Piracy Chronicles of Slobberchops (The THG Years) – Part Five
Software Piracy Chronicles of Slobberchops (The THG Years) – Part Six
Software Piracy Chronicles of Slobberchops (The THG Years) – Part Seven
Software Piracy Chronicles of Slobberchops (The THG Years) – Part Eight
Software Piracy Chronicles of Slobberchops (The THG Years) – Part Nine
Software Piracy Chronicles of Slobberchops (The THG Years) – Part Ten
Software Piracy Chronicles of Slobberchops (The THG Years) – Part Eleven
Software Piracy Chronicles of Slobberchops (The THG Years) – Part Twelve
Software Piracy Chronicles of Slobberchops (The THG Years) – Part Thirteen
Software Piracy Chronicles of Slobberchops (The THG Years) – Part Fourteen
Software Piracy Chronicles of Slobberchops (The THG Years) – Part Fifteen
Software Piracy Chronicles of Slobberchops (The THG Years) – Part Sixteen
Software Piracy Chronicles of Slobberchops (The THG Years) – Part Seventeen
Software Piracy Chronicles of Slobberchops (The THG Years) – Part Eighteen
Software Piracy Chronicles of Slobberchops (The THG Years) – Part Nineteen
Software Piracy Chronicles of Slobberchops (The THG Years) – Part Twenty
Software Piracy Chronicles of Slobberchops (The THG Years) – Part Twenty One
Software Piracy Chronicles of Slobberchops (The THG Years) – Part Twenty-Two
Software Piracy Chronicles of Slobberchops (The THG Years) – Part Twenty Three
Software Piracy Chronicles of Slobberchops (The THG Years) – Part Twenty Four

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...'January 1994 - The End'...

WARNING: BAD LANGUAGE BELOW’

Many episodes before I mentioned the final blue box which was Hawaii. Hi.T folded around April 1993 and handed the codes to us after some pressure.

Being a member of a phreaking club had its value, but that was him and I was never a member of such a club.

Hawaii was the easiest blue box to date. One ringtone needed to be broken and you had the line.

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...'Hawaii was the last venue of the boxers. It's downfall was that is was far to easy to use'...

The complexities of using Brazil were long gone, but Hawaii did have a drawback; It only worked for the US and Canada.

Fast forward 9 months later and something shitty happened. I was watching the TV late one night and noticed a certain show was being broadcasted about blue boxing and phreaking.

The phreaker was using 'The Little Operator' on the PC, this was the same software I used to 'test' boxes. A demonstration was given and the tones I knew only too well came out of my TV speaker.

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...'Hawaii would have lasted longer if someone had not sold out'...

After watching this I knew Hawaii’s days were numbered. Fucking TV, who had sold out?

A friend of mine who had recently opened his own business and dealing with products and people in the USA was also boxing for his business.

How far and wide was this behaviour? Were large corporate companies now breaking the line for free calls to the USA?

By January I had been unemployed for around 4 months and had decided that the UK was no longer a place for me.

Work appeared to be scarce though I was hardly unskilled. In the days just before the internet seeking work was not so easy.

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...'I paid dearly to clear the possession order I had against me on my return to the UK. The building society actually did quite well in the end'...

My plans were to ditch the house, hand the keys to the building society and whisk myself away in the night, never to be seen in the UK again.

It was extremely unethical but all I could see was unemployment hell on the horizon. I had paid too much for the house, there were cracks in the wall and a bad leak was dripping water from the attic.

Couple that with an accident a year before when I put the chip pan on and went out, returning to billowing black smoke and a burning kitchen; things hadn't quite gone the way I had planned.

Mr. Mental Case next door noticed the day I was leaving and came around to talk to me. His almost banging my front door down days apparently, long forgotten.

I told him some lies about moving north and got on with my packing. A lot of my gear ended up at my parents and the rest was sent by ship to Phoenix.

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The Legacy

This 766MB (not GB!) SCSI full height 5.25' HDD is all I have left of The Demon's Forge. It is a well-built beast and could be used as a deadly weapon in the right hands.

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Likely it full of warez from the 1993 and 1994 period but sadly it's disks may never spin again. Does it still work? I think it probably does.

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As you can see it makes a great bookend for all my fantasy books from long ago. How or why I still have it, I couldn't tell you.

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Epilogue

  • In May 1994 Hawaii died heralding an end to the blue box era. I don’t believe another box was found after this one.

  • Many phreakers got severe cold turkey; some were admitted to the hospital and prescribed methadone as a temporary solution.

  • Two months earlier, (March 1994) I packed up and left the UK for a new life in Phoenix, USA never intending to come back. 18 months later I would return to the UK.

  • During my time in the USA, I called a few local pirate BBS's but it was not the same. After a few goes, I packed it in and started buying games that I really wanted to play.

  • The Flying Teapot remained open for some time and I visited Hi.T.Moonweed several times in Brighton, UK when returning for holidays.

  • The last time I saw him was in 1999 and the conversation was difficult and fraught. It seemed we had little in common besides ‘the scene’ and what was once flowing conversation ceased.

  • I never saw him again and my attempts at finding him have all but failed.

...THE END...

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All images have been cited and are under the category 'Labelled for Reuse' or are in the public domain.

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.NFO files courtesy of the .NFO libraries at https://defacto2.net

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Aw, the end!! I must say though, it had been quite an informative and gripping series. I had no idea half of this stuff went on in the background behind all the cracked games I was buying up here in the seedy market.

Btw, those are some proper old school fantasy novels!

You doing a return to the UK series? :0)

You used to buy cracked games, surely not from that dodgiest of dodgy places, The Barra's?

Yeah, I was an avid fantasy reader once, now I just listen to them in the car.

The Kwiksave one is next, though doing the elaboration I'm finding quite tough. That's why there hasn't been one in a while. I plan to go to the old building and photograph it, it is still there.

Haha!! Yes indeed, the barras. What a hole of a place that was but what a treasure trove for cracked games!

Ah, kwiksave was after!! Smashing. Photos of the old place would be grand!

Haha!! Yes indeed, the barras. What a hole of a place that was but what a treasure trove for cracked games!

Only been once with HootMon (from the Piracy Chronicles), he's from Cumbernauld, the town of grey drab buildings. I bought a stolen car radio with a cassette player.. woo!

Ah, kwiksave was after!! Smashing. Photos of the old place would be grand!

Yeah, I'm out this weekend on an Urbex sess and have to go past the old town, so will stop and take some snaps.

I used to go there with half fear half crazed excitement. It was great for cheap cracked games but man what a market and what a skuzzy area of Glasgow. Seriously bad!

Very interesting. That is too bad that they had to do that and let everyone know about the great deal you had going on. I bet there were a lot of people who were like dang, why didn't I think of that? That is how I feel about most crypto stuff! :P

I can't remember what the show was, just that I saw it. I'm amazed it lasted another 6 months after that.

@tipu curate

Upvoted 👌 (Mana: 15/20)

Thanks!

You're welcome! 😉

If you really wanted to, it shouldn't be too terribly difficult to pick up a SCSI card for a modern computer and be able to read the contents of that drive...