Justin Hall's personal site growing & breaking down since 1994

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amy sez reading donna haraway makes her feel like a

gear slut

e qu i p p e d

on my person i carry/ied a toolbelt | pilot

since 1993, I've loved laptops and recently I started carrying a cellphone.

my first computer was an Apple II+, back in '81.

my brother had an XT when i was a preteen - i put cards in it and used it to run big modem charges. i think it had a 10meg hard drive.

Then my brother got an IBM PC/XT (with a 20 meg hard drive!) - when he wasn't writing papers, I was on there playing games and putzing around. He had a modem, and I started calling a lot of bulletin boards to trade files and chat and write messages. When I was first exposed to BBSes, I ran up a $360 phone bill in a month worth of constant chatting on a California BBS. After that, I stayed local.

I finally got my own computer, an IBM PS/2 model 30. I played even more games, called even more BBSs, and now that this thing was in my bedroom, we were inseparable. I liked to leave the window open, blowing Chicago winter, I'd sit in my underwear with my old comforter and geek out all night.

I hung around a lot in the pirate scene in Chicago (mostly BBSes located in the suburbs), trading files and being paranoid. pirating "warez" was great because i had expensive taste in software that i couldn't support with money. i could download program after program, try it, use it; few programs stayed on my hard drive longer than two weeks. installing massive amounts of software is a great way to learn the user side of dos/windows/os/2.

I worked on a hacker newspaper, The Humble Review, since I couldn't program or hack, that was my (puny) claim to fame in the underground scene. i submitted an article on akira.

I did design ANSI art screens for boards, and I was co-sysop of "Snarf's Music Studio" for a while. I mostly hosted the poetry forum there; a lot of anti-death penalty and anti-gulf war ranting, interspersed with fifteen year old male creativity.

I called up a BBS in Chicago called the Dog House South (not to be confused with the Dog House North, another BBS). The experience was pretty boring until I discovered that I could break into the sysop functions, including user records. I spent a few hours tinkering with the system, setting up accounts, and never called back. I recieved a phone call from the sysop three weeks later (since I'd put my real phone # in my user record) and I was harangued for violating his system and increasing his workload. A downhome exposure to the ramifications of hacking.
When I was fourteen, I was a salesman at Software, etc., a chain retail software store. it was my software lending library - i played nearly most all the games that came out between '88 and '91. Through that job, I got into computer consulting.
then i got a gateway 2000 386/33mhz in '91? i used first windows 3.1 (why couldn't you put folders in folders?) and then installed OS/2 2.0 6 times off 17 disks.

I took this computer consulting model and got full time jobs administering networks for businesses in Chicago. This is resume stuff. First was Kanbay, then Summer of 93' was Boston Consulting Group.

After working on computers for over 16 years, I would recommend to anyone that you take care of your eyes. If you are going to be spending five or six hours staring at something, it shouldn't hurt to look at it. My glasses 're thicker than Willie Nelson's tax attorney's, an' I attribute it to thirteen years of mediocre quality screens.

also, watch what it can do to wrists.

made with a mac when i went to college, swarthmore was all networked macintoshes, i decided to try that;
i continue to use a macintosh to edit my web pages because i like the development environment - it's friendly and intelligent. software installation and system managment is easy, the graphics and sound stuff works smartly - i can be creative and not worry too much about ddl files.
maybe it's just become my metaphor.

but when i went to wired, rolling stone magazine, the rand corporation, those places all used macs. it seemed to me that a certain portion of folks uses macs.

This whole thing started on a Macintosh Powerbook 180, 8/120, I used for browsing, creating and serving web pages - the latter with MacHTTP - a web server for the Macintosh.

then, I loved RAM Doubler, I loved the Now Utilities - but I turned 'em off cuz they crash my new computer. I still browse with Netscape.

When I worked at Wired, I sold that and used my employee apple discount to buy a Macintosh Powerbook Duo 280 with 12/240.

February 17, my ma bought me a Powerbook Duo 2300c with 20/1.1g. That was stolen from me at gun point two years later.

I used to create my web pages in SimpleText, or in straight-up emacs; thanks largely to vagabond jim, now i use mostly BBEdit. I write my own HTML, it helps me feel closer to my work. It's too damn easy to pay money to learn it, or to have the computer do it for you!

i travelled across the country with a kodak dc50 digital camera.

My web pages are served off a Cyborganic Pentium, running BSDI Unix and Apache. They have a wonderful Hewlett-Packard DeskScan IIc that I use to scan my pix, which I edit in PhotoShop.

Cyborganic provides my internet access, except when I was at Swarthmore:, where I had ethernet access in my dorm room. i subscribed to the well when i worked at electric minds, i use them to dial in from around the country.

Now I bought spare parts and built a PC - it duals boots into linux and windoze. I also bought myself a cellphone and Jonathan's old Thinkpad 560.

All of those computer broke. And so I bought new ones. I imagine I'll have a few more before I die.

In 2011, I started using a standing desk.

In 2020 I crafted an ErgoApron.

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justin hall | <justin at bud dot com>