What Did You Get in Trouble for at Your School's Computer Lab?

Illustration for article titled What Did You Get in Trouble for at Your Schools Computer Lab?
Photo: AP

Left hand on A S D F? Good. Right hand on J K L and, for some reason, “;”? Congrats, you’re in home position! A thing basically every learned in their school’s computer lab and never used for the rest of their lives. Did you learn other things? Brag a little louder about going to private school why don’t you?

Questionable value to life skills aside, the overactive imagination of children isn’t best stimulated by the limited palette of edu-tainment games like Word Munchers or Type or Learn or, god help us Mavis goddamn Beacon. Professional, adult people put a room full of children in a room with a lot of unfamiliar, expensive hardware. It was an open invitation for hijinks, pranks, and maybe some potential CFAA violations.

“In my last year of high school certain individuals put a key copy program on the compsci teacher/sys admin’s workstation,” one Gizmodo staffer admitted. Another freely disclosed that they “remember teaching classmates how to use browser tunnels and proxies to bypass those stupid kid filters that wouldn’t let you look at anything fun.” It is unclear what they chose to use this newfound freedom for.

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But vague hacking aside, the now-adult but still puckish writers at this website used their time in the presence of nascent technology for everything from sending hundreds of blank pages to printer to jam up the network, to covertly installing better, funner games on school property—in my case, Snood.

Look, we all goofed off instead of learning typing skills or how to code in BASIC. Lets take a moment to admit, brag even, about what we got caught doing and got away with. Some of you probably broke into email servers or changed your grades Ferris Bueller/WarGames-style. Content filters were hilariously inept and at least one of you assuredly watched porn on some 1990s-era Gateway tower.

So fess up below, if you’ve surpassed the statute of limitations applicable to your circumstance and tell us: Whadjado?

Senior reporter. Tech + labor /// bgmwrites@gmail.com Keybase: keybase.io/bryangm Securedrop: http://gmg7jl25ony5g7ws.onion/

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DISCUSSION

Every now and then like ten of us would all go to hamsterdance.com, which at the time (in the late 90's) was just a tiled animated gif of cartoon hamsters twirling around with an embedded midi file playing a fast-paced, squeaky-voiced version of the opening tune to Disney’s Robin Hood. And of course we couldn’t all get there at the same time, so all play in staggered succession, like the most annoying chorus of Row, Row, Row Your Boat.

Other than that, not much. Put tape on the underside of my teacher’s mouse once. When I interned for the school’s tech department one summer and we were upgrading the computers and clearing out old equipment, I found one person in one of the keyboarding labs had pulled off the keys of a few keyboards and rearranged them to spell “keyboarding sucks.”

My older brother and some of his friends switched the sound file for certain errors on all the computers to play a file that said “Quit spankin’ it, Motz!”, Motz being one of their classmates.