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Dear Hacker: Letters to the Editor of 2600 by Emmanuel Goldstein

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Chapter 2. Tales from the Retail Front

Hackers tend to involve themselves in every aspect of society, so it was inevitable that the retail world would become one of the more commonly addressed targets of their observations. Naturally, this didn't sit particularly well with the retail world.

In our earlier years, most of the attention focused primarily on phone networks and computer systems. The people playing with technology were mostly... well, us, and those people who were trying to keep us from playing with technology. Those would be the folks who ran the phone networks and computer systems. The Internet wasn't around and phone calls were still very expensive. If you were at a university, maybe you had a shot at playing with something a bit more advanced. Such opportunities were few and far between, though, for the masses.

But then the 1990s were upon us and all of a sudden technology began to explode all over the place. It was no longer something for the privileged few; everybody was getting in on the act. Where once it was a rarity to see even one bank machine, like a mutating virus they began to pop up everywhere, as did all sorts of strange payphones and other electronic gizmos for the consumer. People moved away from the BBS scene and into the world of the all-encompassing network, specifically the Internet, which became more and more commercial as the years went by.

A dramatic change was also noticed in the stores. First, every retail outlet now had computer systems for its ...

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