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Friendly Hackin at Nerdville

Daughter Kate, son-in-law Hugh, and first grandchild Jack have moved back to the US. Enroute to their new lives, they're staying with us in Vermont. Only problem is that they got to our house before we did.

Should have been no problem: the lock is electronic; Kate had the code for both it and the alarm. But the door wouldn't open. Jack is patient but not infinitely so.

They couldn't call us on their cellphones because they hadn't yet gotten US versions and there is no GSM roaming (even though there's GSM service) in Nerdville. Nerdville isn't exactly near any phone booths even if there were any that still work.

But Kate's not a hacker's daughter for nothing. She had her laptop and WiFi; it didn't take long to determine that there was a usable signal on the porch. She knows how to get through my security. Voila.

Well, not quite. We were offline on the road; didn't respond to email. Hmmm….

Kate downloaded Skype; created an account; bought some SkypeOut minutes, and called me. We gave her an alternate path in.

Turns out the door had a mechanical problem; bummer. But fortunately there was a software fix.


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Sam Denton

Heh-heh. This story reminds me of something that happened back in 1979. One of my college buddies had moved to California after we graduated. I tried calling one night, and a squeal answered. He'd been dialed into work or something and had left his Apple II running when he was done, so the modem kept picking up on the first ring. Fortunately, while I wasn't yet able to afford a computer of my own, my employer had provided me with an LSI ADM-3A so I could similarly work from home. The next time he walked past his monitor, he was greeted by a message telling him to turn off his computer and call me, which happened about an hour later.

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