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Mayhem - Violence as Public Entertainment (George Haydule]

Mayhem - Violence as Public Entertainment (George Haydule]


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Published by: Gryswolf on May 16, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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A lot of people are slaves to computers, voluntarily or no, actively or no. And computers
are a lot of work, too. Once some fool was messing with The Razor's computer life,
which is like teasing Lady MacBeth after a hard day's knife (sorry if you don't like
literary puns).

The Razor starts off easy with his revenge. He suggests a total rearrangement of cable
hookups from the main terminal to the various peripheral devices, like the printer, disk
drives, monitor, etc.

"It's just harassment, but so few folks ever really check the hookups," says The Razor.
"So you rearrange things and the computer blows, won't work, or works oddly. Most
marks will head for the repair service before looking at the hookups."

On a more serious level, The Razor suggests that you hit the mark where his computer
lives--in its chips. He adds, "Chips are the elongated black objects that appear to be stuck
to the green circuitry. Chips are easily removed for normal service work. You have other
plans for them, however."

The idea is to remove the computer's cover and remove a few chips. Or place the wrong
chips in the wrong holders. Or coat them with clear nail polish. Perhaps the best thing to
do is to simply take them away and dispose of them. Replace the computer cover and let
the mark wonder what happened. The usual result is a hefty repair charge. As Thorne
Smith once wrote, "Life is just one long dirty trick."

There is also mien to Razor's mean. One of his high school teachers cast lustful attention
upon Razor's lady friend. A most unhappy situation soon erupted, causing chaos in all
directions. A heady sort, Razor headed for the teacher's computer system, the man's true

"I borrowed a couple of his private work diskettes and took 'em home. I removed the
medium from one of them. That's the shiny black plastic stuff that stores data. I replaced
the medium with some very fine black sandpaper. Some thin, fast-drying glue held the
sandpaper in place in the diskette holder sandwich," Razor related.

He replaced the computer-killer floppy in the teacher's files. He also thought it might be
fun to do the same thing if the man ever crossed the line of professional behavior again.
"He didn't have time for a while. He was too busy explaining why his diskette ruined
school equipment. Not only was he trying to screw students, but he'd been using the
school's computer equipment to do his own personal work. My custom disk erased that,
and it booted him into a lot of hassle with his bosses."

Syd Fudd is a computer technician who was fired from a company because one of his co-
workers made a costly mistake. She was not fired because she was a Token from the
Minority Hiring Quota Bank and the company had many government contracts. Syd said
she was also a very pretty 39D. Sexist, for sure, but true.

In any case, as a going away present, one of Syd's angry pals wrote an Accounts
Receivable program with a built-in self-destruct "virus" into the company's records with
the time-release formula set to go off in thirty days. It worked, and the result was
seventeen days of costly chaos in which much confusion accrued and many dollars were

A survivor, Syd is doing just fine, but he still doesn't consider it a fair trade. The
company's opinion was not sought.

Doc Sarvis, a computer expert, relates that computers, laser printers, and other desktop
publishing materials make it very easy for you to create all sorts of bogus letterheads and
other printed materials. You are limited only by your imagination and/or conscience.
"For example, you could have an official medical form or letterhead inform your mark's
employer, family, school, unit, or whoever, that his or her most recent examination
showed HTLV-3 positive, an indication of exposure to AIDS. Nasty, but effective," Doc

At one point, a supposed friend stole computer programming from Bryan S. and Rob M.
They waited for a while, then set up their mark for the big payback.

"Through a cutout we let him know he could get a free copy of the latest program disk.
But before we arranged for him to get it, we modified it a bit," the guys related. "You
pour some clear nail polish remover onto some clipped off match heads. Crush the
mixture until you can't see the heads and everything is gooey."

The stunt is to then paint the substance on the disk you are giving the mark. They did it to
their mark. The payback is that when the mark boots the loaded disk, it boots his
computer drive really hard.

Enough nasty. It's time for silly fun. Thanks to the comical genius of Dale McKinnon,
president of the Modem Advisory Institute, we now have access to some wonderful
computer-generated Pranks. Mr. McKinnon's outfit sells software known as Pranks,
which is a collection of relatively harmless practical joke programs. I've used Pranks and
some of the selections are grandly hilarious. For example, there is one menu selection
called "Printer Panic." Unknown and unplanned by the mark, it causes his or her printer
to malfunction, spewing sheet after sheet of paper through the printer, like the machine
was under the control of a poltergeist.

The idea behind Pranks is that you use McKinnon's software to load your booby traps,
gimmicks, insults, and surprises into your mark's PC. You program your "pranks" to
function from the mark's normal prompt. You leave. The mark comes in, cranks up the

old PC and hits the usual prompt. Thanks to Pranks, that's when highly unusual and, to
you, amusing things happen. See the Sources section for information on getting a copy of

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