The Software Piracy Chronicles of Slobberchops (The THG Years) – Part One

in #storylast year (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 now works as an unpaid editor for most of my STEEM articles and helps me fill in the gaps of what happened almost 30 years ago.


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


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May 1990

I settled into life at P&P Micro Distributors rather well. Most of the tales about the company besides the flange shaking dancing girls were in fact true.

The technical team consisted of TWELVE or so people, rather more than the THREE at Micro Peripherals and they seemed a nice enough crowd.

There were a few obligatory geek types with little personality as well as one bloke who ritually took to banging his head hard on his monitor.

This sometimes resulted in drawing blood due to frustration at the dumbness of some customers he had to deal with. Yes, it was all quite normal, and you always seemed to get one bloke like this in tech teams.

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The main building of P&P was quite impressive, but the tech team worked in a two-story portacabin on the top level, the bottom one being the canteen which was indeed free to employees.

I liked the fact we were in this portacabin as it was tucked away from the main management and sales team.

They had to exit the main building, walk over and up some steps if they wanted to interface with us. More times than not, they simply couldn’t be bothered.

While at MicroP I had learned a little about modems; their speeds and protocols.


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A lot of the technology was starting to pick up and when I noticed a 9600 baud, V32 modem in ‘The Information Centre’ or ‘TIC’, I had to have a go.

The problem was, it was connected to the librarian’s computer and she was not too friendly, with me or anyone else. Waiting for her to leave proved a good choice and I hopped on one evening after most of the techs had left.

Where I got the number from I simply can’t remember, but I made an international call to a BBS named ‘Rusty n Edie's’ in the United States.


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This BBS was technically a shareware / public domain one, but I found some ripped off warez and proceeded to download them. I suspect one of the first games I downloaded was ‘Indy 500'.


For the record, I used to call it PC Speaker, but one day Dagan, (R. Bubba) cracked a game, and redid the .NFO for it, and one of the things that he changed was "PC Speaker" to "PC Honker". Which was eventually shortened to just "Honker". - Fabulous Furlough - 2019

The game was quite good for a PC and used Honker sound. A few of the techs installed it and then all you could hear was the sound of multiple honkers pumping out with this tinny sound of a racing car going around a track.

Considering the PC honker was crude, Indy 500 made great use of it.

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Another game I managed to download from ‘Rusty n Edie's’ was Kings Quest from Sierra Online. This is where things got interesting.

Sierra OnLine , incorporated an install.exe file or similar that asked you for sound options after installation. These games supported the SoundBlaster for their sound effects and some music card named the ‘Roland LAPC-1’.

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I was familiar with Roland as a producer of musical instruments, but this really got my attention. Could you have dual sound composing of separate cards in the same computer? It sounded overkill but intriguing.

The LAPC-1 was a Roland MT-32 synthesizer module contained on a full sized ISA card.

I had to get myself one of these Roland cards but from where could I buy one? In May 1990 the only place to get one was from Roland themselves, so I blindly ordered one.

The other interesting thing I found when downloading these .zip files from ‘Rusty n Edie's’ was this KINGQ1.NFO file within. I had a look and noticed it was an advertisement from ‘The Humble Guys' with a list of BBS names and numbers.


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This was something of a revelation to me. Real pirate BBS’s, where I could leech stuff for nothing? Packaged by Eddie Haskel, who was this guy?

At this stage, I wasn't going to send a self-addressed stamped envelope to get a 8 x 10 glossy but I was going to find out what all this was about.

My interest had been piqued both with the Roland card and the NFO file. The next time I made an international call, it was not ‘Rusty n Edie's' BBS, but a different one.


To be continued...



All images have been cited and are under the category 'Labelled for Reuse'

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


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Very interesting. I am a little sad that I was too young to remember most of this stuff. My real hands on experience with the internals of computers didn't come until much later. We did have a local BBS that we connected to. It was pretty interesting. I remember my first real interaction with email was on a Linux system using the PINE email program.

if you were a BBS Sysop, then you were a god of your own little world. It was both enpowering and exciting, the Pirate varient even more so.

Yeah, I can't even really remember what we did on the BBS. I just remember being connected to it. I remember we had to dial into that first then we could "kind of" get on the Internet.

This is utterly spooky. I've only just read this article but on the edge of waking this morning, I found myself dreaming about PC sound cards and spent the good part of 30 mins trying to remember the name of the Roland sound card that emulated the MT32, which I eventually got as the LAPC (forgot the 1).

I then struggled to remember the much more powerful one that came later, and remembered it was an SC-1 for Sound Canvas. That is one hell of a coincidence.

I would say it's quite sad to dream about 30 year old sound card technology, but.. on a different note I still have my SCC-1 card somewhere.

Oh I missed this one.

9600 baud? That's lightning fast. I had a 1200 baud modem for my text only PC-XT. There was something wrong with it and I would only stay connected for a few seconds, then a minute, then a half hour - gradually warming up until it worked. Some expensive piece of crap from Radio Shack.

I remember dialing into a BBS a buddy of ours ran the next town over. I remember getting my mother to mail him a $15 check and then waiting to see when the minutes would be added to my account. The big entertainment over there was participating in these serial stories where people would take turns writing little one-paragraph chapters. Simpler times.

Modems were very dodgy in the early days. I tried some Prestel a few years before at v22 I think, it was blocky graphics and the connection sucked.

With the advent of v32 and zmodem it started getting better.

That's awesome man, you were baw-deep in all this shit!! I love it!

Good to hear you enjoy it. There's much more to come and it gets better.

Excellent man!

Oh I remember Kings Quest and Leisure Suit Larry as well lol. Good times!

Looking forward to part 2 and more I perhaps wasnt in your league but did some similar things back then

Were you in NYC back in 1990? Were you aware of The PITS BBS? There were many more Pirate BBS's in the USA, and barely any in the UK. Well.. not PC ones.

I think hardware was more interesting back then as it was about getting radical changes and not just something 5% faster each year. A sound card would transform a PC as they just did not have any proper sound built in.

BBS's were so cool. Those who ran them were really dedicated.

Oh yeah, it was way more interesting then, and I was way more interested in it than I am now.

There were cards for everything, AS400 5250 emulation, 3270 mainframe emulation etc.. the PC's didnt have the horsepower then and needed additional hardware to do things.

Congratulations! This post has been chosen as one of the daily Whistle Stops for The STEEM Engine!

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Looking forward to part 2. Resteeming to bookmark. Cheers.

Sure, there will be plenty more to come, hope you enjoy them.

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