1993 defined an empty time for me. I lived in a small corner of a huge three bedroom flat, a dank leaking walk-up above a convenience store, in what was essentially a six foot wide sun room. My partner had moved to Toronto, angry at the lack of opportunity in her college town. But I had a laptop, a 2400 baud modem, and a desire to explore.

What was it about?

These were days on the edge of the Internet. I had not yet heard of the World Wide Web, just started months before at CERN. This was the time of the electronic bulletin board system, or BBS. For many years I had used various BBSes; I had frequented one in Halifax in the late-1980s, called Macky, using a 300 baud modem to download shareware.

Then, one had some sense, only a glimmering really, of the transformative potential of the technology. There was a BBS I had come across in 1988 which allowed one to participate in a complex multi-player space trading game, using a clever means of data compression to function on the small system on which it lived.

After reading The Hacker Crackdown I couldn't help but be reminded of the 1983 movie War Games which I had seen in high school. I had always had this shadowy conception of what must sit out there on the edges of what was legal, but what?

I am not ashamed to admit that I started with an issue of Mondo 2000 magazine, and a short article on the BBS Private Idaho. Not really a hacker board, I know, but it was something different nonetheless, and hacker BBS telephone numbers don't tend to be listed in computer magazines.

As you will see by my first log-in, Private Idaho was a truly liminal space for me, the borderland between the conventional Macintosh "club" BBSes and the sense of technological and social transcendence which can only come from a hacker BBS.

My objective was straightforward: to find a hacker BBS, and hence a hacker community which I could contact without having to dial long-distance. This was easier said then done, living as I was one hour from Canada's largest city, Toronto, in the smaller city of Guelph.