Finitopia was another borderland. Private Idaho did not list hacker boards, at least none that I could find, but it did archive certain hacker texts, particularly material from CDC, the Cult of the Dead Cow, a group still active to this day (1999). The text files, whatever they were, were somewhat old, and many of the BBSes listed were no longer active.

One - Finitopia - was, though as you will see from my first login, it was no longer a hacker BBS. The sysop, a hacker as a teen, had become interested in other areas, and the BBS had followed suit.

This began a month-long journey into the odd geography of pre-World Wide Web hackerdom. My method was straightforward; each new BBS I was able to access contained a list of other BBSes which were unknown to me. I would attempt to access these, and use the new numbers I found to access more BBSes.

Since each BBS typically listed from ten to thirty other BBSes, one might think that this would entail an ever-increasing number of BBSes which needed to be explored. However, hacker BBSes are and were a very transitory thing, and many listed BBSes no longer existed. Of those that were still up, many were closed to new members. My list of BBSes therefore grew rather slowly, and it took me nearly a month to find what I was looking for. In that time, I stumbled upon many legendary, though mostly forgotten, hacker boards, with names like Condemned Reality, Demon Roach Underground, the Hell Pit, and Moody Loners with Handguns.

I never found a hacker BBS in my own area code, 519, but I did find one in 416, north of Toronto. Close enough. The board was called The Revolutionary Front, run by a sixteen year old hacker who I knew only as Lister. Over the next several months Lister and I developed a something of a relationship, and I began to get a better sense of the Toronto hacker community.

The Revolutionary Front disappeared in the fall of 1993. The stories I heard, never confirmed, indicated that either the RCMP, the Ontario Provincial Police, or (most likely) Bell Canada shut Lister down.