The history of The Yeti-Net by David Knopfler
First published in the Starston Gazette December 1993
Copyright David Knopfler 1993
A long time ago, when nets were still used for catching fish, there existed in California,
a collection of altruistic designers, musicians, craftsmen, poets, writers and computer
buffs who collectively began to work on creating a utopian community where art and life would harmonise. They lived so far from civilisation that they considered
themselves as remote from the cares of urban paranoia as the mythical Tibetan Yeti.
By and large they succeeded. Log cabins were built - meditation halls too - and as
time passed new communities sprang up elsewhere - some as far afield as France.
So of course one day when one of the students of the community came back from Berkeley
UA, with a new friend he'd found, the famous mythologist Joe Campbell, who had introduced
him to a certain idea now known to us as the PC, things were about to change forever. Yes you guessed it. They went on line. As the war in Vietnam raged the Yetniks
got down to painting groovy graphics.
It was no surprise then that they used as their password ID "Yeti-Net". And the Yeti-Net flourished, but quietly, because in the days when memory was in short supply and
the government owned most of it, not least because they were the only Americans not doing drugs, it was natural that they didn't want too many people knowing that they
had set up base in a CIA computer. Ah well, years passed and the WWW came into being
( If you can track it down Harley Hahn will write a wonderful piece about it in the
year 2022, which he'll send back in time to reach us here in a couple of years time.
Don't ask me how I know this. It's got something to do with vision-quests but you'll
have to just accept it for now. )
So where were we? Oh yes - the Yeti-net. Well as I said, years passed, the Yeti-net
grew and prospered - switching web sites as it's tiffs and gifs and picts jpegs and
texts multiplied. These guys weren't hackers. They had strong moral values and a
highly developed sense of altruism. They never disturbed the files of the computer they visited and they never ran up any bills on their host's modem. They would never lodge their
web-site anywhere that would cost anyone else any money. In fact quite the contrary. If they could assist their unknowing host in any way they did. In return for the
secret use of a few modest megs of disc space here and there, some members would
leave little gifts - like Santa Claus - in the web site they had briefly visited. Today
the Yeti-Net still exists - but it changes sites at such a mind numbingly fast rate, (through
cryptography and digital tracing techniques that haven't yet even reached the market
place) that the only way you would ever know they'd been into your mainframe is
if you found a small treasure of some kind unexpectedly, either in your computer or even
at the bottom of your garden.
I'm pleased to say that as yet no Yetniks have shown up in my computer, but then I
haven't got a modem and don't ask me how you become a member because if you have
to ask . . .
An article by David Knopfler © David Knopfler December 1993
and placed here 12 6 96
POST SCRIPT. 26.6.96
I've recently received several Emails re the above so I decided I might as well post them on his page, rather than at the Little House of Quotes
They read as follows:
- 1. "Share your cyber space and there'll be enough for all"
- ( First Prophet of the YN )
2. "Entering a private ftp site and switching background gifs is akin to a burglar who craps on the rug of the house they just burgled."
- ( The Silver Yet-Nik )
3. "Hackers making mess and mischief betray eveything we believe in"
( YN Webmaster )