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OpenVMS Hobbyist Program | Hobbyists and OpenVMS | Introduction Forum
Author Hello from Waterville, ME...

Posts: 5
Location: Waterville, ME
Joined: 15.01.07
Posted on January 17 2007 05:03
Hello from Waterville, Maine. My name is Bill Tello, I'm 43 years old (born 6/6/63) and I consider myself the luckiest man in the world. My wife Ellen (high school English teacher) and I own our home here. I work as a software developer for a privately-held medical application software company in Skowhegan, ME. Our products are developed using Microsoft Visual Studio and Visual Studio .Net tools: C++, C#, VB 6.0, VB.Net, ASP, XML, etc. We use Microsoft SQL Server for our data tier. It's a great place to work, if you like Maine and I personally wouldn't want to live anywhere else.

I was born in Massachusetts, lived the first part of my childhood in Medford, MA and my pre-teen through early twenties in Easton, MA. In high school I had my first exposure to computers, a DEC PDP-8/M running ETOS which was a time-shared version of virtual OS/8, which I finally have up and running in SIMH as well smiley (I love computer related nostalgia.) The teacher who ran the computer lab in my high school sort of adopted me and allowed me to administer the PDP-8 and ETOS for him: create disk backups, set up student user accounts, apply Operating System patches, etc. It was in this environment that I also started to learn about programming in BASIC, Focal, Fortran, Pascal and in PAL-8 which was the primary Assembly Language distributed with OS/8 and ETOS. (There was another Assembly Language distributed known as SABR, but it wasn't as mainstream as PAL-8, I don't think. I think it was there for the Fortran compiler, if I recall correctly.) Another perk of being given the responsability I was for computer administration in high school was that the staff really trusted me. Instead of going to lunch like everybody else, I was allowed to spend all of my free time in the computer room, if I chose to: lunch, study hall, etc. I was allowed to even spend some classroom time for other classes in the computer room at times. And, I was allowed to bring a TRS-80 III or Apple II computer home for the weekend to play games, etc. This was the time before the PC had come out and I owned a Radio Shack Color Computer as well. I spent coutless weekends playing Sir-Tech Wizardry in my bedroom. I was the geeky kid who wasn't into dating, etc and I was just as happy doing that. It was also the time when I started getting into playing dungeons and dragons and Diplomacy with my small group of like-minded, geeky friends once a week. It was a great time to be alive as a teenager at the end of the 1970s. I had the an Oddysey 2 pong console and the Atari 2600 (which I bought and paid for myself), I loved the music and the styles. I was young. Those were the days.

I also viewed the computer world back then as DEC versus IBM and I preferred DEC and hoped to get a job with them someday. After all, it was before the days of MSDOS and not many really knew what a personal computer was outside of Radio Shack (pre PC-compatibile) and Apple machines (pre-Macintosh) which were not considered well-suited for business needs.

In the early 1980s, I attended Bridgewater State College. When I first got there, they only had a Cyber CDC 7600 (which was part of the Massachusetts State College Computer Network - running an O/S called Nova I think.) At the time, I also worked as a security guard at the Hotel Madison and 150 Causeway street in Boston (the second floor of 150 Causeway street was the Boston Garden). I used to go in on Friday night at midnight and work straight through the weekend until Sunday morning at 8 AM, then I'd frive back home to my paren't house (where I was living) and crash for hours. I crammed in a lot of studying for non-computer courses on the job on weekends, but the computer and math courses always came naturally for them (so I didn't have to study those subjects much). Anyway, I mention the job because on the ninth floor at 150 Causeway street was the location for the Mass State College Computer Network. I made a few friends up there, got the tour, etc. One person who worked up there actually taught me a lot about Nova. Armed with this new knowledge I was able to write scripts at school which went through whole ranges of potential user numbers and password combinations until it found one that worked and then went and logged into any it found, went through the entire home file structure for that user and reported back any user names and passwords found that it was successfully able to log into including those stored in files on the file structure. I found a boatload of user names and passwords that way just after running it for a few days. Then one day the system's administrator at Bridgewater came looking for me. They told me that becuase I hadn't done anything harmful I could remain in school, but I was no longer allowed to use any machine connected to the Mass State College Computer Network. Lucky for me, they had just installed a Vax and I was allowed to use that. Also I expressed an interest in doing system's administration for the school, but they liked to keep me at a distance. I think this is part of why I had turned to hacking at the time. Or, maybe every kid is a potential hacker. Still I wouldn't have changed any of it. I wouldn't be who I am today, if I didn't go through that part of my life too. I was a hacker, but I was a hacker who really didn't want to hurt anybody. I just wanted to learn what some people didn't want others to learn. smiley

On the Vax, I wrote programs to mimic the VMS login prompts, and then after recording the entered user name and password would go on to log them in as if they had been at the real VMS user prompt. I wrote whole DCL shells (including using /EXCLUDE to hide my shells from people) and installed them in peoples user accounts to do clever things like 99.75% of the time to perform a given command and the slight percentage left to issue a random message out of a file of hundreds of clever messages as to why it could not do so. I was able to find priviledged account to do just about whatever I wanted to do. Though I still maintained never to delete files or hurt anybody. The systems administrator had his hand full with me. Though, he always maintained formality with me, I always got the impression that he didn't actually dislike me. Though I caused him headaches, he never tried to kick me out of school. Though most of the time when he talked to me it was about something i had done which I shouldn't have, every now and then he'd invoke conversation with me to tell me that he appreciated me helping someone in the lab, etc. Overall, even though he kept himself and his staff at a distance from me, he was a also nice to me. One time he told me that had I taken just one step more than I did, he would have had to alert the Department of Defense as they were using the same software which I was hacking.

Anyway, I graduated in the mid 1980s with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and joined the working world where I pretty much stopped hacking altogether, except for the occasional BBS. The PC had come out and I steered myself into a position of doing software development for it. In the early 1990s I went to work as a software developer for Borland C++ in Scott's Valley, CA. I lived out there for most of the 1990s and returned to New England after that to be closer to family (plus I missed the seasons). I met my wife in Maine and relocated here to be with her. My hobbies these days are collecting antiquated computer hardware, emulating and/or running antiquated computer operating system's, developing software on many different platforms and I still play computer games too. (I'm totally addicted to Everquest 2).
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June 26 2018

June 24 2018
I am trying OpenVMS via SIMH. Need to get OS binaries for v7.3. Registered here but don't have any membership number yet which is needed to get license. Pls suggest what to do. I hardly know anyth

June 05 2018
Any other forum members in Perth, Australia?

April 05 2018
ah maybe they love that!

March 24 2018
Probably. More people hang out on the comp.os.vms newsgroup.

March 23 2018
I have a PE42A and other Alpha system stuff for sale. I'm in So California. Any interest out there?

February 27 2018
To Prohorenko. Please, visit group OpenVMS in the ok.ru

February 24 2018
How much does it cost to buy a complete OpenVMS hardcopy documentation set of the latest version

February 17 2018
Please help to obtain the license on OpenVMS

December 12 2017
HPE only makes the most current version of OpenVMS Alpha / IA64 /VAX available to hobbyists. When I had access to the Alliance 1 program it was the same. No public downloads are allowed by HPE.

December 08 2017
Is anybody knows OpenVMS 8.2 version downloadable version? or CD copy? Thank you very much

December 02 2017
Bitcoin and Blockchain enthusiasts ( plus distributed computing ) please connec / reply: http://www.openvmshobbyis

September 10 2017
lation/ For the most part just use VMS 6.1 media instead of 7.3. But why run the older release?

August 07 2017
Where can I find the write up on running VMS 6.1 using the simh emulator?

March 20 2017
Happy to have found my password again!

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