I’m Peter Filias. I’ve had a computer since the 3rd grade. That was back in 1982/83. I thank Mrs. Luther from Angus Elementary school in Sterling Heights for turning me onto computers. I enjoy computers. I enjoy technology. I enjoy the benefit people realize when technology improves their lives.
An example of my computer “upbringing” can be seen here: My First 3 Computers.
When I had these computers, I had my own phone line. The phone number was 313-264-8121, later changing to 810-264-8121. I ran The Snake Pit BBS. My handle was Diamond Back. I was the sysop. I had ANSI art as an animation when you first logged into The Snake Pit. I had fun doing this with ASCII editor software.
The first ever BBS I had my hand’s on was my brother’s endeavor, using our parents’ phone line. He was The Watchman, and the BBS was called The Watchman’s Tower. It was hilarious. The BBS was run at night, like 10pm-7am, when our family was asleep. The thrill of that time was actually getting a caller and chatting with them as “the sysop” of the BBS.
The first ever BBS we called was The Airport BBS, and it’s number was 313-641-8688. It was in Birmingham, MI. Others were DJ’s Hotline, 313-541-8285, Yogi’s Cave, 313-547-3797.
So, back to The Snake Pit… it wasn’t cool to let local folks (from Michigan) get on, so you’d make a best practice of banning local folks, only allowing those from out of state. After all, it wasn’t “elite” to let locals on. You never got the 0-day warez that way. Oh, those were the days. The federal authorities were so stupid back then. It was a pioneering time, and those who were the pioneers were 1/2 to 1/3 the age those trying to stop this stuff from happening. Let’s just say I never paid for a phone call to my brother who was attending Michigan Tech. Girls at my junior high school never paid from the payphone to call their parents to pick them up after basketball practice. It was great. It was like nerd power, and not that nerd power you get from the IT professional who holds onto some admin (root/sudo) access like he’s got the biggest Johnson on the block, either. It was just pure, clean, nerdom flexing, at its best, and at its earliest. Hackers, the movie, was real, just a bit “over the top”.
At this same time, 13-15 years old, I was hanging out with other BBS sysops. These guys were old timers, to me. Billy’s dad (a friend from school) — didn’t run a BBS, just collected warez, Yogi (sysop of Yogi’s Cave), Pitbull (sysop of The Wizard’s Castle), and Johnny Amiga (sysop of Raunchy Amiga), were all friends of mine. My parents let me hang out with all of these guys at their houses, all except Yogi, who I never met. Sadly, all of these folks have since passed on. The latest was Billy’s dad. I found out a year ago that he died of a form of lung cancer. Quite a bummer.
I’ll never forget the day that Johnny Amiga came to MY house to get a copy of Dragon’s Lair for the Amiga. I was the FIRST local BBS to get my hands on this, and he made the trip from the West Side or Downriver to come pick it. I felt special. The dude was like 55, I was 14 or 15.
Aside from all that, I’ve made some really good friends over the years, doing all this stuff. I’m very grateful for that. I guess I’m grateful I didn’t play with He-Man dolls!