one of the main reasons that i decided to recreate my digital5k.com website was the constant memories of the AOL progz days. i won’t lie, there are redundant reminders of my AOL/visual basic (vb)/C++ childhood. it was a great time in life and the internet, if you ask me. let’s start off by how it all caught my attention and obsession… ascii art – which doomed my future and solidified my career in computers, programming, development and marketing.
yep, ascii art was the one little element that attack my attention span and made me say ‘whoa, that’s pretty cool’. better known in those days as scrollers or macros. a macro is simple font characters put together to form a type of pre-digital art. i’ll never forget the first time i signed into AOL and say that beautiful scroll ascii art by ao-hell.
i was in 6th grade. who knows how old i was, i don’t feel like doing the math. i had just moved to the hell hole known as _____ from Houston, Texas. i had no friends. i knew nobody. i just wanted to go home. since Texas schools let out a few weeks earlier, i had some time to kill. a very dangerous thing for a teenager. what is a borderline anti social teen to do in a city with no friends? go on the internet with the elite speed of 56 bits per second.
for those of us who remember, AOL was very… fucked. the horrible chatrooms, stupid interface, laggy system and overall confusing nature, yet – it’s all we had. the internet was a different place back in 1995. images of a woman’s breasts were downloaded one pixel line at a time. often stopping right above the nipple or right below the belly button. there were no scams, very little spam, limited advertising and an innocence that can never be restored. the internet was the preacher’s virgin daughter that was just getting ready to leave home, go off to college and get fucked, hard.
it took 3-4 attempts to connect to AOL back then, i would go on to later know the swift backdoor, alternate numbers and general brute force attacks that would prioritize my place in dial up line. once you gained a stable connection, it was a release of endorphins that no drug has been able to reignite in my brain. it was instant freedom. no reality, no physical or gravitational limits, nobody to answer to. it was an open digital playground with visual basic as monkey bars and the rush of adrenaline for swings. it was a beautiful feeling for a child at the age of 12 with no real world experience.
finally, you’re logged into AOL and you’re at the horrible start screen. let’s go to a chatroom and see what’s popping. ASL? remember that? jesus christ, why do i? i must have been in a basketball related chatroom when i saw the very thing that would literally go on to change my life. for the best. a fucking scrolling advertisement for an aol prog known as ao-hell in an ascii format.
when i saw the 2 line scroll in a basketball chatroom i was first intrigued and then a bit shocked. my initial thought was, what the hell is this? i had no idea what it was, but i knew i needed it. i needed to own it. i needed to download it. i needed to run this application. just by the name, i knew it was something i would appreciate.
i started to IM the person who had ran this ao-hell prog. the username? that, too i will never forget – da chronic.
after 10-20 ignored IM’s i finally got an email. a bit confused, i checked out the email. it was blank. cocksucker. but wait, there’s an attachment? aohell32.exe? this must be the prog i’ve seen advertised. without caution, i download and run it… and with that, my career choice is altered in a very dramatic way.
wait, a tool that i can use to flood emails? scroll and flood chatrooms? boot people offline and cause all kinds of general hell and annoyances? this is what i want. this is what i need – this is what i want to make. however, before i even thought about how/what it took to make one, i needed to study them all. i cannot honestly tell you how many hours i spent in my bedroom over the next 2 years downloading, running, studying and then networking with the AOL progs and their programmers. a few huge ones stick out for some reason for me;gothic nightmares, fate zero, millennium, pepsi, havok, ao-hell and the prophecy trilogy by unab0mber. (more…)