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Quick Story

This comic was on xkcd the other day. Reminded me of my high school days.

I was in computer class one day (I think it was called Keyboarding 1 or something). Our computers were locked down to the point where you could only run like two programs. One was WordPerfect [was it WordPerfect?](remember that? The Blue screen with the white letters?), the other was some typing speed tester. Well, they neglected to think about the security aspect, and that anyone would be able to use WordPerfect to navigate throughout the school’s networks.

Guess what?

Change directory... What directory would you like to change to? How about ../../../../../../../.? Well... the details of how I exactly did it are lost to time right now, but basically, lame directory transversal. Was able to navigate to the teachers computer where her name was “Sysop”. (Imagine that?)

Well, she maintained the usernames and passwords for all of the users on the networks, all of which were editable using WordPerfect. Very Nice.

Anyway. I never did anything malicious, let me just say that right now, before anyone jumps to conclusions. But the kid sitting behind me did. (No really, he really did) His name was Shawn. I don’t remember his last name, but I know he got kicked out of school a year or two later.

The teacher didn’t really know what we were doing (she was across the room) but she could tell we were in the file navigator. So consequently by the next day, my parents and I were in the Principles office. The teacher claimed I hacked her Sysop password (not true). They wanted me to tell them what the new one was, I had no idea. I didn’t do it!

I was suspended at the end. My Dad was pissed.

I say all that to say this, which brings me back to the comic.

Years later after I left home, joined the military, and blew some stuff up... Dad and I were sharing a beer going over all the funny crap I did as a kid when we came upon this moment in time.

Dad admitted to me that at the time he had to act mad, but he told me that he actually was very proud of me at that moment. He said that I always knew what I was going to do for a living from the age of 14. I just had no idea how to get there.

Famous quote by Steve Jobs, (of course!):
“Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward .... But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.”


Aaron Bockelie said…
This very exact scenario happened to me as well! Although it was the kid next to me who ratted me out. I wandered around the home directories checking stuff out. I never did anything malicious, but poked around out of boredom more than anything.

Instead of being angry I remember my dad telling the principle that it was great they were suspending me for a day, so that way I wouldn't get caught next time. Heh.

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