The Sordid History of ETA:

mturner: 'ETA' had the unique ability to be able to be remotely booted by nerf gun. If you hit the side of the case hard enough, it would reboot. This was a feature that was less appricated by the owner than those who had nerf guns.

harl: Mmm...rebooting ETA with an Ultimator.
epaulson: did you pay your quarter?

psilord: Eta. This was a 486dx-33. At least that is what it said on the box after you wiped off the boot marks. Remember the quarter jar? Musta been 50 bucks of quarters in there for each time someone kicked Eta and it rebooted.

epaulson: I've always heard the story as Eta was forced on the UPL...

psilord: Wasn't it the first incarnation of SIT? (hartmann: No. That was silly, which came in a little later and left a little sooner. Actually, silly wasn't used for any sort of populist effort like web pages for the masses, but the same people were involved.)

I remember he wanted some domain name to that effect and we wound't give one to him (even though he was a coord) because the CSL wouldn't give US the power to do that back then. :)

I also remember some bad blood with his partner who used the machine a lot. (hartmann: John, also known as lucipher.)

I think eta was used for a xtrek server, AND I remember we found its cracked passwd file on some server in China, if I recal correctly. Although, I could be remembering the machine who sat next to it for all of that above trivia. (hartmann: Again, I think this might be silly instead of eta. They were both wastes of power, and I think they were both Gateway cases.)

wonko: The basic history of ETA.

New user night. We're sitting aorund, introducing ourselves and chowing on the Horror That Is The Gumby Bombshell ($9.95 for 2 20" cheese pizzas and an order of pokey stix!), and this guy introduces himself.

(I don't rememebr which coord said what)

Matt: HiI'mMattandIHaveA486DX4with64megofram.
<collective blink from the coords>
Coords: Huh?
Matt: I have a DX4-100 that I'm bringing in. It used to run a BBS in Appleton.
Coord: Who did you talk to about bringing it in?
Matt: Talk to?
Coord: Did one of the coords okay it?
Matt: No. But I figured nobody would mind. It's a DX4/100 with 64 meg of ram.
Coord: Well, um, we should probably discuss that before you bring it in.
[editor's note: the Bart was at the time not too keen on non-UPL machines in the lab. Abe's Mac IIci and Craig's PC were at the time exceptions that we'd had to fight for. Considering both craig and Abe were long-time veterans of the lab, they got some privilage. A New guy whom nobody'd met...hmmm...]
Matt: It's a 486 DX4 with 64 meg of...
Coord: yes, we've established that.

So we agreed to discuss it before it showed up.

It showed up the next morning, no discussion. But it didn't do much harm so we tolerated it.

About two weeks later a CSL guy came down and asked why we were running our own nameservers. Nobody knew anything about it. Craig (who had ETA's root password by this point) logged in and noticed that it was DNS serving ETA.org. CSL was none too happy about this. We were less happy that he was running his old BBS off of it. It was at this point that the machine was unplugged and removed from the network.

It eventualy came back after his buddy (who was apparently responsible for the BBS) had vanished into the mists of Langdon or something. It was at this point somewhat of a joke. I think it stuck around a few years after I graduated, and I think Matt was even a coord after that too. The password file in china thing was after my time, but I remember hearing about it.



hartmann: The abuse of eta is well recorded. To be fair to Peterson, he wasn't a bad coord. He showed up for his hours, was reasonably knowledgable, and except for issues involving eta was a decent enough guy. We've had much worse coords. Besides, those were interesing times.

epaulson: From eta.org: (http://www.eta.org/archives/eta.cs.wisc.edu/upl.html)

"The dark days of eta, when we had to comply with UPL/CSL/UW network standards."

It looks like Besh! handwriting from the minute notes...

hartmann: Yeah, it's Besh's handwriting. The eta.org archive used to have a lot more nasty shit about the UPL, under Lucipher's account. He was the guy who first forced the UPL to come up with a decency policy way before the CSL or UW did. He deemed us fascists because we were unwilling to gamble our connection on his ideas of decency.

I came accross that archive when I was looking for myself in the major search engines; he had all of the coords at that time listed with mailto links so that outraged freedom lovers could mail us. I mailed him, explaining that I was the most junior coord on the list, and I had been out of college for a couple years. In response, he said he didn't know why it was still even up, and eventually got around to taking it down.