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Hackers by Steven Levy

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Chapter 8. Revolt in 2100

The first public terminal of the Community Memory project was an ugly machine in a cluttered foyer on the second floor of a beat-up building in the spaciest town in the United States of America: Berkeley, California. It was inevitable that computers would come to “the people” in Berkeley. Everything else did, from gourmet food to local government. And if, in August 1973, computers were generally regarded as inhuman, unyielding, warmongering, and nonorganic, the imposition of a terminal connected to one of those Orwellian monsters in a normally good-vibes zone like the foyer outside Leopold’s Records on Durant Avenue was not necessarily a threat to anyone’s well-being. It was yet another kind of flow to go with.

Outrageous, in a sense. Sort of a squashed piano, the height of a Fender Rhodes, with a typewriter keyboard instead of a musical one. The keyboard was protected by a cardboard box casing with a plate of glass set in its front. To touch the keys, you had to stick your hands through little holes, as if you were offering yourself for imprisonment in an electronic stockade. But the people standing by the terminal were familiar Berkeley types, with long stringy hair, jeans, T-shirts, and a demented gleam in their eyes that you would mistake for a drug reaction if you did not know them well. Those who did know them well realized that the group was high on technology. They were getting off like they had never gotten off before, dealing the hacker dream as ...

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