February 10th, 2004
|02:27 pm - Bookstore paranoia|
I admit it. I read 2600 magazine.
I've read it since I was in high school. I guess there was a time when I might've used whatever knowledge I gained from 2600 for not entirely wholesome purposes (oh, like you didn't install a password logger on your middle school computer network), but now that I'm not 13 years old, there's plenty of information there that's still useful to those of us not interested in breaking into "secure" networks or learning how the Barnes and Noble computer system works.
Last night, though, was a weird experience.
Last night I went to the East Side Borders on my way home from work to pick up the newest issue.
I was looking for 2600 on the magazine rack. It's a smaller publication than most magazines, and other customers tend to accidentally shove the entire stack behind something else (I've seen it happen -- it's the other customers). Borders also shelves the new copies anywhere between the day they're supposed to hit the store and two weeks later. Sometimes they fly off the shelves really quickly. These factors make finding a copy of 2600 a little more difficult than finding a copy of oh, say, Naked Broads With Guns (which is also more prominently displayed).
So I was scanning the shelves as one of their sales associates was taking inventory or something. I was standing behind her, and she noticed me.
"Oh! You must be looking for the new two-sixty oh."
I said "Yeah, I am, how did you know?"
"My boss recognized you when you came in. He said you always come for the new two-sixty oh."
I don't know what I said next -- probably something along the lines of "yeah, that's me." I took my magazine, looked at the current issue of Heavy Metal (known in some circles as Naked Broads with Aliens), and wandered over to one of their PC terminals to look for something. Another sales associate practically ran to get there before I did.
"Can I help you?" she asked, obviously craning her neck to see the magazine in my hand, as if she was checking to make sure that I'd grabbed 2600 and not Reader's Digest or something of a similar size and shape.
"I was going to see if you have a book in stock."
"What book? I'll look it up for you."
"The List of 7 by Mark Frost."
"Oh, the guy that made The X-Files, right?"
"No, he's the Hill Street Blues guy."
Fun Fact™ #761: Mark Snow composed music for The X-Files. Mark Frost wrote and directed episodes of Hill Street Blues (which I've never seen), co-created Twin Peaks with David Lynch, and is a writer on the upcoming Fantastic Four movie. I think the woman at Borders thought I was confused, though.
She looked it up, said she could order it, I decided not to, etc., etc., etc.... Anyway, I got to the checkout, and the woman there had to look at both me and the magazine for a long time before she decided I could buy it. Actually, from the look on her face, I'd guess she was more surprised that such a magazine existed than suspicious that I was buying it.
I'd like to tell myself that this was an atypical experience. In fact, I'd chalk it all up to the kind of paranoia we all sometimes experience during a particularly stressful day, except for the fact that the "my boss recognized you" comment really freaked me out. 2600 occasionally publishes letters about people losing their jobs for reading it at work, or from network administrators who have been told not to have the magazine on the premises. More frequent are letters from readers whose local bookstore carries 2600 behind the counter, covers up the word "hacker" on the cover, or asks for ID whenever the magazine is purchased. Borders and Barnes and Noble are frequent offenders, probably for no reason other than fact that they have so many branches. Still, I'm unsettled by the fact that although I'm at Borders at least twice a month, they know me as "the guy who buys 2600" -- a quarterly publication which sells well at that particular store.
So um, the next question is: Is there anywhere else in Madison I can pick up 2600? Mikey? I'm looking at you, if you're actually reading this, 'cuz I know you sometimes buy it. Nelson's Pick-A-Book used to carry it... when they still existed. Barnes and Noble doesn't seem to, and I haven't checked the University Bookstore recently.
Current Mood: uncomfortable
Current Music: Information Society -- Hack
Dude, you looked through a cartoon pornmag? In a store no less? Man. Though, I thought Heavy Metal was more of the "unnaturally large breasted women on the cover" magazine/pornmag.
Heavy Metal isn't so much a porn mag as a sci-fi mag with more cartoon nudity than most. I used to buy a copy now and then, but most of the time I just flip through it and wonder how they managed to go so far downhill.
I think the answer to that one is simple:
Too large breastses'
Actually...I've been wondering about 2600 myself... I also have been known to read it, and yes, have been guilty of the keystroke logger prank. Barnes & Noble has carried it, at least as recently as the fall issue, but in repeatedly stopping in to check for the new issue, I have been wondering what happened to it... and well shit... according to 2600.com, published yesterday... so barnes and noble, to the best of my knowledge is a good place to pick it up.
And so ends this rant, in accordance with the prophecy.
Rockin'. We'll see what happens when I try to pick up the Spring issue. If I feel uncomfortable, I'll go to Barnes and Noble. If, incidentally, you're looking for the new issue and Barnes and Noble isn't carrying it, I'd be willing to pick one up and you can pay me later. I'd almost like to do it to see if I get the same kind of reactions.
*mutter**grumble* They were sold out. So... Wanna have some fun at Border's expense? If you're still willing to pick up an extra copy, I'm willing to fork over for it.
Sounds good. I'll have a copy for you on Saturday night.
Scratch that and my appologies -- they've either sold out or taken them off the shelves. I'd bet that they've sold out.
Meh, whatever. I'll figure something out.
|Date:||February 11th, 2004 05:20 am (UTC)|| |
Three! You have three last chances
The way I see it, you have three options:
A) Go in and buy it and if anyone makes you feel uncomfortable ask to see their manager. You don't deserve to be treated like that in any store.
2) Take me with you next time. That way your embarrassment about being with me in public can overshadow any discomfort from the clerks.
D) Just subscribe to the silly thing and never have to ask for it over the counter again.
Oh, and whatever you do, don't bother checking Wells Fargo.
|Date:||February 11th, 2004 05:57 am (UTC)|| |
Re: Three! You have three last chances
Well, let's see:
A) This could help, depending on the employee and depending on the manager. On the other hand, 2600 has, as I recall, published plenty of uh, technical specs relating to the network Borders uses, so they can certainly refuse service to me or have me kicked out, especially if they believe (even erroneously) that I represent a threat to their business or their customers. That's their legal right.
2) This could again work, but if you'll recall the nipples/syrup incident in Denny's, I might end up embarrassing you. That have a coffee shop in Borders, so they must have flavored syrup. Hmmmm...
D) Given the current political climate, subscribing to 2600 right now seems like a very bad idea.
51) I thought you were talking about Wells Fargo. Those bastards. I have a savings account with them which I haven't touched since I was sixteen because every time I try to deposit something, they tell me I don't have an account there, and then, a few hours later, they call back saying they'd found some missing records, and yes, I can make my deposit now. This happened twice before I decided to start banking elsewhere, and I've just never bothered moving the Wells Fargo accounts. I suggest that you transfer yours, if possible to another bank or credit union or mattress or whatever.
I doubt very much that all Wells Fargos are like that. I think it's just their Stoughton branch.
|Date:||February 11th, 2004 07:31 am (UTC)|| |
Nice red uniforms
What exactly is 2600, anyway? I guessed it was a retro home console mag or something. Hence, great confusion over the whole problems-with-clerks thing. Maybe they just don't like your mustache.
And I've never seen you as threatening, except with that isolated "prairie" incident. But I don't think about that anymore.
The branch in question is actually Financial Acceptance in Madtown. There was a lot of red tape when I tried to get the loan in the first place last year.
|Date:||February 11th, 2004 05:57 pm (UTC)|| |
Re: Nice red uniforms
2600 is a hacking magazine. It's been around for a long time (as long as or longer than Phrack? I'm not sure). I have a nifty 2600 t-shirt with the assembly source code of the michaelangelo virus.
|Date:||February 11th, 2004 07:44 pm (UTC)|| |
Re: Nice red uniforms
That's right 2600 is the self-proclaimed "Hacker Quarterly." The most recent issue
contains articles with titles such as "Holes in Windows 2003 Server," "How to Mess with Citibank Collections," and "Living Without an SSN."
They publish all kinds of stuff like this, taking a very "laizzes faire" approach -- 2600 disseminates the information, it's readers decide what to do with it. Naturally, this means that the information is going to make its way into the hands of both people who will benefit from it (such as people who use an article like "Holes in Windows 2003 Server" to secure their computer network) and people who will exploit it (such as people who will use the same article for malicious purposes). While one might question 2600's motives in supplying this information to the general public, the simple fact is that if security holes (for example) exist, people are going to find and exploit them. 2600 proudly publishes a few letters every month from network administrators who read the magazine to locate the security holes in their systems.
There's also plenty of information for those of us who are just looking to customize our operating system or learn about new technologies or control our car stereos through a PC. That was in one of the last few issues... Anyway, if I use the PC terminals in Borders, it'll be to browse their inventory, but I don't blame them for being squeamish about carrying a magazine that occasionally details the inner workings of their network.
As for Phrack, I did the research ('cuz I'm a dork), and the first issue of Phrack was released on November 17th, 1985. The first issue of 2600 came out in 1984. As far as I can tell from the article index on their site, they released 12 issues per year between 1984 and 1987, beginning the quarterly format in 1989. This suggests that the first issue of 2600 was published in January of 1984, predating Phrack by almost two years. Yeah, did I mention that I'm a dork?
|Date:||February 11th, 2004 07:58 pm (UTC)|| |
Re: Nice red uniforms
Nice work doing the research that I was too lazy to do. ;-) What's the reference to uniforms?
|Date:||February 11th, 2004 08:00 pm (UTC)|| |
Re: Nice red uniforms
I have no idea. Perhaps it's in reference to Wells Fargo? I haven't been in there recently enough to have noticed. Evil_Jim?
Incidentally, why aren't you on my friends list yet? I'll have to fix that as soon as I post this.
|Date:||February 16th, 2004 01:44 am (UTC)|| |
I've got nothin
Borders is the only place in Madison that I know of that consistently has it. B&N seems to have it only every now and then, and I've pretty much given up on looking for it there.
As far as I know, Borders is your best bet for finding it in Madison, though, from the sounds of it, you may want to switch to another location.
Let me know if you find any other places that sell it in MSN - I'd like to start reading it again.