Oldskooler Ramblings

the unlikely child born of the home computer wars

Archive for the ‘Software Piracy’ Category

The Running Program

Posted by Trixter on March 13, 2006

The Running Program - Title Screen

As promised, The Running Program has been cracked and made available. I can’t take credit for the crack; my good friend Demonlord took the program and what little progress I’ve made and did a proper INT 13 redirect crack for it. (Check the file NOTE.TXT for info, and PROTECT for the “secret data” that the program was protected with.)

Demonlord, for those not familiar with his work, is the hardest-working oldskool cracker still at it today. Nowadays we have windows executables with symbol information still linked to them — this is child’s play.  Way back when, we had 512-byte boot loaders that we had to disassemble by hand. Demonlord still does this, and is the best cracker I know both two decades ago and today. He’s so good that most cracks take him less than an hour, and unlike most hack jobs, they’re quite elegant and graceful. For example, check The Running Program: His crack never even touched the .exe — instead it loads an INT 13 handler that intercepts the request and redirects it to the data saved off of the protected track.

You know how there’s one person responsible for about 95% of all the ATARI 2600 cartridge ROM dumps out there? Demonlord is responsible for cracking 95% of all the bootable PC diskette images out there. The next time you play a bootable PC game in an emulator, say a little howdy for Demonlord.

Posted in Software Piracy, Vintage Computing, Weight Loss | 2 Comments »

Week #11

Posted by Trixter on March 12, 2006

Still self-destructive, still under a lot of pressure, and yet:

  • 220 pounds
  • 28% body fat
  • Blood Pressure 134/80

So now I don’t know if it’s the stress or the switch to diet pop that made me trickle downwards. Not complaining, I guess.

Since I love to goof off with my IBM PC/XT, and since I want to start running again, I won an auction for MECA’s 1984 software “The Running Program”. The Running Program was based on Jim Fixx’s The Complete Book Of Running from 1978, and it contains stretching exercises, evaulates your fitness level, records and graphs achievements, etc. It’s also fairly well copy-protected; every single track is goofy, and the program requires information loaded from one of the goofy sectors. Not difficult, but time-consuming.

When I finally get it cracked, I’ll make it available. Jim Fixx is dead, MECA is long gone, and I have little scruples when it comes to 22-year-old software.

Posted in Software Piracy, Vintage Computing, Weight Loss | 1 Comment »

Where did Trixter come from?

Posted by Trixter on January 5, 2006

Seriously, where did my handle “Trixter” come from, anyway? I’ve had the handle since 1986, long before the rock group existed. Some people think it’s because I knew software piracy tricks (cracking games, or at least figuring out how to copy them leaving the protection intact). Others think it’s because I knew programming and VGA hardware tricks during my active stint in the demoscene. But, honestly, I was taking a subway into Chicago to buy comic books with some high school friends in 1985, and “TRIXTER” was spray-painted on the inside of the subway car. It stuck in my head, and I used it as my first BBS login handle. Anti-climactic, I know.

Now you know the truth… which is why I can’t let you live.

Posted in Demoscene, Software Piracy | Leave a Comment »