Three Things to Say

As I type this sentence my clock says its 5:00am… I’m sure it’ll be much later than that when this entry is finally done. So much for having a normal sleeping schedule :P. Oh well, on with the updates…

Updated Test All

I’ve updated TAAG’s “Test All” feature. It should now be much faster. In fact, based on some tests I ran, it should be 11 times faster than before. The old “Test All” feature worked by having Javascript and PHP continuously talk to each other during the text generation process. Now everything is done server side with PHP code. The downside to this is that all my Javascript text generation code had to be duplicated in PHP. This sucks for a number of reasons, but I couldn’t see away around it :/. With the exception of bug fixes, I think I’m pretty much done with this app. Well, no program is ever really “done”, but I think I’ve come to a decent stopping point.

Also, after doing some testing in Opera, I realized the color dialog script I was using doesn’t work in that browser, so now I’ve put up a little notice when you push that button (it’ll pop up only if you’re using Opera). I’m not sure if there’s a way around this, but I’ll try and find one. It makes me nuts that every browser is so different.

Thoughtful Programming and Forth

While searching the net for an old college friend’s / suite mate’s webpage, I discovered an old article he’d written on Thoughtful Programming and Forth. Though I didn’t agree with all of it, and I’m not about to start programming in Forth, I thought it was a well thought out piece. Since he used to have it on his web page, I emailed him (he’s now off in Canada working on a PhD in Math) and asked him if it’d be cool if I posted it up here. He told me he was fine with me posting it up, as long as I updated the email address and fixed a spelling error. So anyway, if you’re interested in learning a little about Thoughtful Programming and Forth, his article is worth a read:

Introduction to Thoughtful Programming and the Forth Philosophy By Michael Misamore

It’s a shame the rest of his webpage is gone, because he had some interesting content, but nothing lasts forever. Which leads me to my next topic…

RIP DarcFX

DarcFX.com, possibly the last of the great AOL programming websites, has closed down. This is probably for the best, since it hadn’t had any new content in years. In fact, I was actually a little shocked that the site lasted so long. For those of you who don’t know, DarcFX was known for being the site the succeeded KnK4Life.com after it closed down. KnK4Life was once the biggest resource for AOL add-on development. I’m talking thousands of unique visitors a day big. I mention its relevance here mostly because the site housed a couple of my programs and programming examples. It boosted my visibility a decent amount, and for that I’m thankful.

It’s a shame to see sites die, but unless they can evolve there’s really no point in having something that isn’t relevant anymore lying around. DarcFX was still giving me 5 or 6 referrals a month though, so I’d assume the site was still bringing in a decent amount of traffic. It’ll be interesting to see what happens to the domain. KnK4Life.com is apparently available for purchase. I’m surprised some spam site hasn’t grabbed it up, though it’s been so long that the domain is probably worthless. DosFX.com is another site that seems to have died. Dos was probably the most well known AOL add-on developer. Bofen.com was once a major site, until it went down in disgrace. Now the domain is owned by some company that sells “premium domains”. That’s the sort of thing I would expect to see happen to a lot of these late 90’s / early 00’s AOL hacking / programming / software sites that brought in tons of visitors. It’d suck if that were the fate of this site, though at my current status, I don’t see that happening.

Other sites I remember from back in the day:

Magintta.com – This site never brought a lot of people in, but I remember her. It’s good to see it hasn’t disappeared. Though it doesn’t look like it’s been updated in a long time.
Pixelsex.com [currently NSFW] – Plastik’s old site. Originally this site was hosted at dosfx.com. Plastik had a cool site with lots of tutorials. Looks like it’s gone now.
TPA Software – This site seems to be alive and well, it’s been a long time since I last visited.

I know there were a lot more than this, but these are the only ones I can think of off the top of my head. Anyway, I should probably get bed now…

62 thoughts on “Three Things to Say”

  1. It’s been a number of years since some of the original “proggie” sites were both around and active, but I too remember a number of them. Unfortunately my memory as far as some of the domain names go isn’t too wonderful. While I can remember some of the websites such as Phat’s Free Progz, Toad2000, KnK, and Methodus Toolz I still remember many of the websites by their look and the content they provided. There was one by the name of Synergy, which I distinctly remember as both being one of the first websites I ever came across that utilized CSS to change the default color of the scrollbars, and as hosting Visual Basic 1, 2, and 3 (which I downloaded).
    There was also later websites such as moo2.net, aimlabs.net, aimwarfare.net, splisks, cyber-crimes, and a large number of others that have since faded into obscurity. It’s good to see some people still exist though.

  2. Yeah, there are a lot of sites I used to visit where I can sort of picture them, but I can’t remember their name. I think I remember the domain names because I always thought it was the coolest thing to have your own domain as opposed to just having a geocities or xoom site.

  3. I don’t remember going to add-on sites very much. Just the “secret” add-on boards, Hider.com and after that, dos’s site. I think after I graduated high-school I stopped going on AOL altogether.

    I’m not surprised that AOL sites are gone or dead. I don’t even think they offer client software anymore.

  4. I believe they actually do though I can’t say I would think they have too many customers who use their AOL software. Most people that still remain in the AOScene are more focused on AOL Instant Messenger these days, but everything is done remotely through Winsock. There aren’t too many uses for Windows API and AOL Instant Messenger any longer, and the controls used by AIM are now basically web browsers. seven still makes actively makes programs for AOL and AIM though.
    AOL was probably one of the biggest reasons most people got into programming in the middle to late 90s. I remember sitting in chatrooms on AOL 4.0, watching people scroll, send faded text, send macros, and perform other tasks really quickly. I knew that was something I wanted to do (well the programming part that was), and I was actually a tad bit upset after I realized how simply some things were done. I’ll still cite Toad 1.3 and Toad2000 Beta as being one of the biggest reasons I began programming in the first place, and I had both programs up until late 2004 when my harddrive crashed.

  5. Hider.com! I totally forgot about that place! Sad to see it isn’t around anymore :/. The “secret” boards were great too.

    AwesomeAndrew – I had the same kind of experience when I was introduced to AOL. Though when I tell people at work how I got into programming, I always get weird looks. No one seems to know what I’m talking about.

  6. Yeah, I don’t generally talk about why I initially got into programming when it comes up in conversation offline. I think I usually just come up with the excuse of being “fascinated” by creating my own applications.

  7. Knk, Plastik, Dos, pre, DarcFX, Syber

    I am too another one of those AOL proggie makers. Of course, I never became as advanced or did I continue to pursue it like pat here did, but I use to love these sites. That’s how I came across Pat’s and although some have changed like Pat’s I find in comforting that people haven’t forgotten these things.

    When I entered an AOL Chat room I think version 4.0? First years of the colors right? I seen these “AFK” bots, etc. I was like I want one of those! Then curiosity got the best of me and I bought VB6 (remember the VB6 private chatroom?)

    I built the AFK bots, the 8-ball bot’s etc, the battle bots – remember the Pokemon one that was very popular? lol, I’m embarrassed I still remember it. or how everyone hacked it to give themselves the cheat board, so everyone made their name 9 letters long. Amusing.

    Thanks for the memories Pat! This is why I still visit you!

  8. Haha, no problem. I like looking back on this stuff every so often.

    Syber was hilarious, I used to always enjoy the rants/essays he’d write. It looks like he has a couple posted at thezoneirc.com, but I remember him having a lot more than that. I remember pre too, but my memory of him is kind of hazy.

    I remember the VB6 chat room, and all the crazy bots people would make. The scrambler game and AFK bot are the ones I remember those though.

  9. Remember when AOL became so clearly aware of both the fact that such a wide array of these programs were available, and that many of their users were running so rampant with them in public chatrooms that they even attempted to create their own shareware to counteract them? I remember being in one of the public chatrooms on AOL 5.0, which were monitored at the time by CATwatch (anyone else remember these guys and the other official administrators), scrolling a giant middle-finger macro, being booted from the room, kicked offline, and having two seperate ToS emails sent to every single account I owned. The first email was one complaining that I sent too many lines of text to the chatroom too quickly, and the second was that I was using an unofficial and unsupported third-party program, which then instructed me to download “AOL Powertools” if I wanted to be able to do everything I could already do without violating their terms of service.
    I remember downloading it to see how it worked, and it was just horrible. Nevermind the fact that they wanted an additional $30 to unlock all of the features and allow unlimited use. It had a fader, and that was about it. Nothing anywhere near what “amateurs” were creating. I mean the original program that started it all, AOHell, was written by a 17 year old at the time in Visual Basic so it wasn’t like there was an organized and collective team working on these applications like AOL had been.
    I don’t know why I remember all of this to be honest. I’m sure with a little bit of thinking I could continue talking about every single issue I had with AOL back in the day.

  10. I think I only went as high as AOL 4.0, but I remember CATwatch. I also have a vague memory of Powertools, though I mostly just remember being unimpressed. The guy who developed Fate X was even younger – in 1999 he was 16, so at the time of the first Fate’s release he was probably 13 or 14. It’d be interesting to know what happened to all these people.

  11. Ah.. I remember those days.. I too was fascinated with creating my own programs. I still remember the first time I used dos32.bas to send a line of text into a chat room. I then made an afk/scroller program but I can remember the name of it.. it got hosted on coltpro.net or something like that.. I also remember being absolutely amazed at bk’s lethal fragment 3. And I also thought I could die a happy boy if one of my progs got on freeprogz.com lol.. I also remember using pat’s api spy (which was the bomb) … I still do a little vb programming.. but have moved on to php development now..

  12. Nevermind how I found this place. DarcFX is still around and the victim of me recently being useless with linux and ruining his entire site. All the stuff still exists though.

    Uh… what else. Too much to list here. As Patorjk pointed out, some of my personal stuff was lost, but a few of the old guys still kick it on the IRC network Darc and I setup years ago. I won’t plug it here out of respect for this site, but you can find it if you want… it’s where he said my rants are. I talk to Dos every day, and Pre pretty regularly as well. Dos has a family and all that so you know… times change. However (again sorry for the plug) a few of us geezers are always BSing on the IRC network about the good old days, and it would be awesome if some of you guys popped in sometime.

    Hey Patorjk… how is it that your name… on your site… in the comments section of your blog… shows up as a misspelled word? Shame on you broseph.

    Holla!

    -Syber

  13. haha i remember going to your site like 9 years ago to download msvb4.dll or whatever it was and you had some funky rainbow faded bg image. i remember the ao scene, it was lame! but i did remember ccoms being cool. and prophecy 3 was like a fucking major production. anyway im out! great job over the years pat!

  14. Josh – Thanks :). I do a lot of PHP stuff now too, though the more I work with it the more annoyed I am at it. I keep telling myself I’ll learn Ruby, but I’ve already promised myself I’d learn a whole bunch of other languages first.

    Syber – lol, I guess it’s good to know it’s not really gone. I would have been fine with you linking to http://thezoneirc.com/ , however, thanks for the respect.

    Also, I’m not sure why my name would show up as misspelled, it doesn’t seem too in IE. However, if you’re using FF you can add it to your dictionary by right clicking :).

    freaka – Thanks man. And about the rainbow bg – you must be remembering the very first incarnation of this site (around 1998). I was still learning HTML then and for some reason I thought it would be cool to have a different image for the background on every page.

  15. FYI, dosfx.com has not been updated in 4 years, but it is far from dead. The site is still an active source of income for me and last month received almost 700,000 hits. I’ve reinvented the site a few times since those AOL days, getting further away from the topic of AOL add-ons each time. I plan to do the same again in the near future.

    I haven’t forgotten AOL or the people there. Although I’ve pretty much ditched all chat rooms, including IRC, I still stay in contact with several people I met on AOL. I still talk to Syber and pre daily. I’ve recently signed onto my old AIM screen name and have found about a third of my buddy list is still active with people like KnK, membertwo, and others.

    As for life now, here is a quick update. I’m still married; moved to Omaha, work for a travel agency as a web developer using .NET, daughter is 13 today (son 10 last month), live in a big house, drive a Caddy, and train in Muay Thai after work every day. Life is pretty good, but busy.

    I do have plans to do something with dosfx.com again, but I do not have those plans ironed out yet. I’m working on a few other sites and hope to get those out of the way first before I get back to this.

    Thanks for the article Patorjk. You’ve always been cool.

    – dos

  16. But I liked bofen!

    I just wanted to say that I am still alive. I haven’t gone anywhere near AOL/AIM in years. I, like dos, have not entered a chat room in quite some time.

    I’m still programming though. I worked for awhile at Virgin Digital and wrote the portable device support code that was built into that application. Virgin Digital was then joined with Roxio and has finally shut down that service to push Napster. That was interesting.

    I am now creating applications for the USA and friendly nations, mostly military and aerospace applications. A lot of which I can’t talk about.

    I’m not married…yet. Dos and I speak daily. We have dabbled in some other areas, like game development. We have an idea for a project and we are kind of fleshing out those ideas right now, so stay tuned!

  17. dos – it’s good to know you’re doing so well and that the site hasn’t been forgotten about. One day I hope to have a wife and kids, I’m starting to get to the age where most of my friends are married (at the New Years Eve party I went to this past month half the people were married, it was kind of strange).

    I check your site out every once in a while just to see if there’s anything new. Glad to hear it’s still bringing in visitors and generating income. I only said that it looked like it had died since it hadn’t been updated in so long. As for chat rooms, I don’t think I’ve been in one in years, it weird to think that was the first thing I used to do after I got on my computer (after checking my email).

    pre – I’ve got the same type of job. The stuff I do is pretty cool, but I can never talk about it so that part kind of sucks. Also, I had no idea Napster still existed, though maybe I’m out of the loop.

    Your mystery project with dos sounds interesting, I’ll keep my eye out for it.

    Thank you both for stopping by! It was cool to get an update and I’m sure the people who read this (who remember the AOL days) will be glad to know you guys are doing so well.

  18. Wow Pat, I was thinking about your old VB forums the other day and thought I would pop by to see what’s what, and what do you know…you’re still here! That’s awesome bro. Yeah, TPA is still around and profitable enough to make it worth my while (12 years I’ve been doing this. 12 years. It doesn’t seem that long.) Obviously enough peeps are still using AOL chat and passing the link around. You don’t hear me complaining.

    It also made me smile to see some of the old names and sites mentioned again. God that was another era, wasn’t it? I wonder where most of those guys disappeared to. I stop by thezone irc every now and then, but it’s pure idle (some things never change eh? ).

    As for me, besides doing the software thing decided to earn my CCE (computer forensics) so that I have something to fall back on when (not if) the software thing goes south. I did some moderating for MS for a while after meeting some people higher up in their food chain. Learned a *lot* of things I would have never learned on my own.

    I like that a lot of your apps are web based now Pat…I think that’s awesome. You always impressed me with your projects and how well they were done. I always told myself if I ever needed another programmer, I would have asked you first, as I always thought you really knew your stuff.

    Anyway, pop by sometime. I have my usual site, plus I put it on myspace (myspace.com/tpasoftware) and we can do the old “add friends” thing.

    Glad to see you are doing well in life.

    Cheers,

    – Kevin Provance

  19. hey Kev,

    Thanks for the compliments. It was cool to see you were still in business. It’s crazy that it’s been 12 years. Those days don’t seem as far away to me either.

    Microsoft is an interesting company. I had a student when I was in grad school who used to work there, he seemed to like it (if you work on site they have some cool benefits), however, since they hired him right out of high school, he didn’t have much on his resume when he left other than software tester, so that part kind of sucked for him. Over all they seem to be a good company to work for, they take a lot of crap, but everyone I know who’s worked for them has said they enjoyed it.

    I’ll definitely stop by the myspace page. Thanks for dropping in!

  20. I’m sorry, I just have to say this.

    “if I ever needed another programmer, I would have asked you first”

    You’re cool Pat, but watch him. He says that to everybody.

    – dos

  21. lol, I wouldn’t be too surprised. Kev’s a nice guy though. I never take stuff too seriously unless there seems to be a real push behind it.

    In the late 90’s I was talked into working for some guy at college park for free. The idea was that we’d all get paid when we hit it big (and then we’d be millionaires). Obviously that didn’t happen. The project fell apart after 6 months of hard work and nobody made any money. After that I was a little more careful with the projects I chose. Nowadays I don’t see myself working on any projects (outside of work) that I’m not directly behind.

  22. Well Chad, I may have said that to you at one time…but it was before I realized how truly hung up you were on yourself (in all fairness I don’t know about now not having talked to you in some years). One of the last things you said to me was that I was only ever your friend because of your “status” and who you were. Not only was that not true, but it was a completely egotistical thing to say and I lost a great deal of respect for you after that. The kiddies who were hating on you because they said you had a huge massive ego were essentially right. I was friends with you because you were an intelligent fellow who used to think outside of the box. I had assumed you got too comfortable in your role as some kind of self proclaimed programming deity and decided it wasn’t worth bickering over. Maybe you’ve changed, I don’t know, but since you obviously felt the need to take a swipe at me like this after all these years and since I’ve not said anything about you to anyone…well, I have to wonder. If you’ve still got some kind of problem with me, please let me know directly so we can spare Pat the drama. Thanks.

  23. You said it Kevin and its alright. I’m not bent out of shape over it or anything. Its just a little sideways talk and liking Pat, I thought I’d drop him a word of caution. I don’t think you’re a bad guy for it. I used to do something similar myself. Granted that was high school and I was talking to girls, with intentions I’m not going to explain here.

    I really don’t get your recollection of things. I wonder if you’ve played too many RPGs or if you’re one of those people who lie so much you start to believe your own. We can clear up a few of those here though.

    I didn’t have an ego. I never talked about my “status” nor did I ever claim you were my friend because of it. The kiddies didn’t “hate on” me either. I spent a little time on AOL helping people however I could. I never released a program or pulled any other common rep-building stunts. I released a help file, a chat control, and tons of example code, all meant to help people. People were really nice to me too. The only problems I had with people were the problems I started. I couldn’t stand guys like Bofen picking on the little guy. I only left because the attention I received took too much of my time.

    I’m sorry but I really don’t remember you that well. I guess we were friends and I know you wrote commercial add-ons. I don’t remember why we quit talking and maybe to your surprise I haven’t been thinking about you all these years. Somebody just linked me to this page and I saw your comment which sparked a memory. I just thought “what a douche-bag, I remember when he said that to me” and posted. Sorry.

  24. Allow me.

    At the height of all the AOL crap, which is how the majority of us know each other, I would estimate the average age to be around 16. Chad and Kev are substantially older. In fairness it’s probably like five or so years. However you have to consider WHICH five years it was. Think back to when you were 20 compared to when you were 15. Not really the same guy/girl is it?

    I think it’s fair to say that while most of us didn’t have any group affiliations or anything of that nature, we were neck-deep in the addon writing culture on AOL that created life-long programmers out of a lot of us.

    I’ve known a lot of you for over ten years now, and at least for guys like Dos (Chad) and Pre, they’re friends to me. Not “guys I know online,” but on par with any of the friends I socialize with on a regular basis. With that said I’m going to say I’m not here to take sides, but it’s pretty obvious that’s not the case.

    At the expense of being labelled a crony or sidekick to Chad in this situation and/or throughout our time on AOL, I have no idea that he had any haters. I went to bat for Chad on a million occassions because I felt the guy was just too damn nice. Maybe it’s the Nebraska corn, or the age difference (the masses being much younger and quick to bicker and be petty). It’s obviously not like he needed my by any stretch; debate and confrontation has always been a genuinely enjoyable activity for me. I was more than happy to take up a genuine friend’s cause if it meant I was going to get to go hog-wild on somebody in front of 20 other onlookers, in the oh-so personal atmosphere of an anonymous AOL chatroom.

    Chad left, to my knowledge (I’m sure he’d lie to me) because of the fact that his code was good enough (and much better than the vast majority of us at the time… AT THE TIME) to warrant them being copied. Also to Kev’s point, Chad did think outside of the box. Not to take anything away from Chad but let’s be frank. Most of the AOL addon stuff at the time were all derivatives of the same basic functionality, so it’s not hard to see why we were all stuck in a certain mentality. Also, I’m not entirely sure why he didn’t leave sooner in retrospect, as once I was 20 I’m not sure you could have gotten me to hang around 16 year olds without money involved. However I honestly believe the guy was just that nice, and he enjoyed playing around with programming at that time.

    The first major fallout of programming “talent” occurred when AOL 3.0 gave way to AOL95. The jump from 16bit to 32bit programming rendered most of us rather helpless; waiting for modules to be written by the few who knew how. This also required a change in development environment, as the venerated (read: all we knew how to use) Visual Basic(s) 3 was rendered obsolete.

    I digress. The next major shift came with AOL 4.0, which was the start of the goofy colored graphic menus. This also marked the change from the chatroom windows to the rich text boxes. Overnight (again) all our hard (copied) work was rendered obsolete.

    The point of this is… throughout all of this, Chad wrote examples; Bits and pieces of code. Arguably the most popular vb6 module to date, and generally pushed the envelope of what the kids (us, at the time) thought was possible to do to the AOL client. He was the first I know of to subclass the chatroom window instead of using a timer to read text. He was the first I’m aware of to be able to RELIBLY (not send-keys) run the AOL4 menus. If there are legions of haters out there, I’ve yet to hear of any of them. Maybe they were mad that he stopped providing the engines for them to write yet another cloned version of the next guy’s “proggie.”

    What does stick out in my head is when Kev’s buddy Will started hanging around us. Long story short, the tabbed IM windows that Chad had shown me months prior, became a feature in the application that Kev and Will were writing, after Chad showed Will the source. This application eventually became a sanctioned addon by AOL. If I remember right, they (AOL) pretended they were opening a new area of software, but there only ended up being like three apps that made this coveted list of “approved” addons. There was a bit of a confrontation if I recall (and I do), with Chad saying something to the extent of “Whatever, just use it.” He got his name listed in the “thank you” section of WavMan or whatever it was called, and that was that. Given that was the history of the dealings between Kev and Chad, to Kev’s point of “…I’ve not said anything about you to anyone…well, I have to wonder.” Read between the lines here, but I don’t hear Microsoft talking much about stealing Windows’ interface from Apple either, so I guess I don’t wonder. That’s just my personal take however. Whether or not you agree/disagree with any of that is up to the individual.

    In conclusion, no I don’t actually care about either of this, and I won’t speak for anybody else. I know what I know, because I was there when it happened. It’s not necessarily awesome or terrible, it just is. For what it’s worth, I’ve yet to see Chad’s massive ego manifest itself in any capacity despite knowing the guy for going on 12 years now, and asking for his help on countless occassions. If there’s anything I’m curious about, it’s why WavMan was an approved addon while the rest of us were getting TOS violations for our programs that essentially did the same thing. I’m not taking a shot at Kev here. The reality is the rest of us lived with our mothers and went to highschool. He was in the right place to take advantage of his maturity, and properly market the program.

    Don’t sell yourselves short AO-programmers. It is no coincidence that a lot of the functionality we pioneered (tabbed IMs, faders, UI/color manipulators, moving windows outside of the MDI of AOL… even away messages) are now part of the standard offering of AOL’s products.

    P.S. Chad is way more of an asshole now than I was on my best day on Hider’s BBS. I’m getting soft.

  25. Its nice to see some of you guys around still! Yea I am still here, but no longer doing anything with VB or AOL. I haven’t opened VB since before I shut down knk4life.com (rumor has it, that its coming back… Well its not from me then!) Unlike most of you I did not go on to some programming job. Hell I never really was a programmer, heheh!

    This brought back some memories! The old sites and programs. Wonder what happened to most of the old programmers that were popular in our day.

    I’ll have to stop in at #thezone one of these days,

  26. Neo/Neø here – probably not too many people remember me, I was always in private room ‘vb’, ‘veebee’, ‘vb32′, or whatever it was that particular day. I also put out a few lame-ass AOL addons and had the website http://neo.8op.com, thanks to m2 (who I recently talked to).

    Aside from some of those who posted above, I occasionally keep in touch with allen/orb, who was also friends with monk-e-god.

    As for me, I’m 25 now – haven’t been on AOL since probably 1999, which is coincidentally the same year The Matrix came out and everyone and there mom wanted to change their handle to Neo. I haven’t touched Visual Basic for a long time, although I still dabble in perl, tcl, and some other assorted scripting languages just to make my life easier with certain things.

    I’m keeping myself busy with work (construction related) and getting my degree as a Civil Engineer.

    As Syber mentioned above, some of us are still hanging out on IRC together and it would be nice to see some “older timers” in there.

    PS: It’s funny the stuff that you remember. If I remember correctly, the reason patorjk is patorjk is because he and his brother had to share a screen name.

  27. Since every body else seems to be doing the update the world on Pat’s blog comments thing, I might as well jump on the band wagon. Like 3 people might know who I am, but I don’t really care… lol I refuse to be left out! *puts on his mean face* :P

    I’m Jay… I run (read “ran”) the DarcFX.com site that started this mess… I am not married yet, but very involved with a girl I’ve known for nearly a decade who has a young daughter — both of which I love very much. (This is where you go “awwwwwwwwww…”)

    I am the senior web developer (soon for general windows development also) for World Harvest Church and the 14 major ministry’s under Pastor Rod Parsley. I mostly work with C# (read .NET), SQL, JavaScript, and some middle-ware things we wrote… but I do dabble in COM stuff now and again.

    I talk to Syber every day… usually on AIM as I seem to suck more and more at life (read “opening mIRC when I’m at the computer”), but being in my position at work and my priorities in my personal life, I don’t usually sit there without something to do, so I don’t generally think about it. (I’m making a personal note to attempt to be better at that, starting now… and you should join us too.)

    I’ll tell you the thing that struck me most about this thread, and I think Syber touched on it for a second, is how something so seemingly insignificant in our pasts drove us to be where we are today. When I broke onto the AOL scene looking for something to do to pass my abundant amount of free time (read “was tired of trying to not suck really bad at basketball — which was the thing to do in my neighborhood back then” lol), I was little older than 9 or 10. I had no idea that I’d be where I am today, doing what I do.

    I don’t know.. I just thought that was interesting. Been good hearing from everyone. :)

    – Jay

  28. I think this has become one of those posts where the comments are actually a lot more interesting than what was written in the post itself.

    Syber – I agree with most of what you said. I have a vague memory of the whole tabbed IM window thing, but I can’t really remember any details. I also don’t remember anyone named Will, so I might be thinking of the wrong thing.

    Neo/Dennis – I remember you, also, you’re correct about the handle.

    Bill – Someone did apparently purchase knk4life.com and mentioned something about bringing it back (in the AOHell article on wikipedia). It unfortunately might even have been because I mentioned it in this post, but oh well. According to Google it has no incoming links, so the domain itself, without the original content, probably isn’t worth much right now.

    Darc – Good to hear from you. I think if it wasn’t for the AOL scene I probably wouldn’t have become a programmer myself (before then I was heading toward either biology or journalism). It’s amazing how the seemingly small decisions we make today end up having big impacts on what/who we are tomorrow.

  29. Word up everyone. Sounds like we are having a reunion in pat’s honor.

    I just wanted to mention some things. Mostly to give a big thanks to all of the peeps of #thezone. We totally rocked out with our cocks out and for that I am in a position in my life I never thought I would be in.

    I started having an interest in VB when I was 17 and thought it was totally awesome when I wrong a sub-routine that ended a program. “End”. I was addicted at that point. I started making things for use in AOL, but of course was using dos’s bas, no way in hell I was going to write my own shit when someone already wrote it for me. But, not only did I use that for making programs, I can honestly say that is the way I learned how to program. I never read a book, or took a class or anything on VB with the exception of a few tutorials but those came after the intro to dos32.bas. I bet if you compared a lot of my code to dos’s style it would still be the same to date.

    Currently I am working for a company (7 years in total), that is an office supply wholesaler (largest in the countrY), and I was a supervisor in the field and recently tuned my talents into something useful for the company. I currently am a Staff Engineer (which basically means I work for an actual engineer and provide reports in any way shape or form), mostly I use VBA in Excel for building reports and automating tasks. I’ve made a very good name for myself in the company and am widely respected since 1/2 of what I do ends up making the 300+ manager’s jobs easier.

    I got into the web design about a year after the AOL thing started, I knew a guy named “mouse” and he showed me the ways. I ended up with a copy of Adobe Photoshop and there was no stopping me. After completing nearly 1000 tutorials in my lifetime I became an expert in tutorials. Which, I also now use today (algorithms for facility consolidation). Which basically means I follow a set of instructions for gathering correct data from our systems to reprofile and establish new warehouses.

    I am constantly learning new things, I’ve probably watched every lynda.com training program they’ve ever made. Even the 30GB in total Adobe After Effects 6 (10 DVD Disk bundle). I always have a passion for starting a new webpage, which I am trying to do as we speak. Mostly about how you don’t need school, if you can empower yourself to take your life in your own hands. If you want school then that is fine. Here I am, considered an Engineer, and I didn’t even graduate high school.

    By the way, I have a wife and two kids, son 2 1/2, daughter 1 yr old in 2 days. I live in Chicago now but was born and raised in Utah.

    Long story long, I definitely wouldn’t be where I am at today if it wasn’t for the shannigans we got ourselves into. I owe it all to the homies of #thezone that wanted to help themselves by helping others.

    Even though it seems like we’ve died, we’re still here, and we’re still kicking.

    ‘Till next time.

  30. i remember being about 12 and i downloaded a program that would freeze the whole room and had the option to spam the room with repeat messages. i dont remember too much about it but the only thing i do remember was that there was a little animal or something and if you would click on it a message would pop up and say stop that. do it again and it would laugh then do it again it would say stop or ur gonna regret it. or something like that. i never had the guts to press it again. i thought it would put a virus on my computer. its been about 10yrs since i used it but i remember having so much fun spaming the chatrooms.

  31. wow…so long since i’ve seen this site or any of those sites to speak of.

    And i would like to say one good thing…

    The only reason i got into programming was for AOL, after that i found the world of programming and all the things you could do.

    9 years later i’m 25 years old and i make almost 100k a year programming for department of transportation sub-contractor.

    I would have never got to this point had i not started programming just for AOL..

    Just thought i’d add that in there :)

  32. Wow I can’t believe somebody would actually remember the me from back then beings back painful memories. :reflects: Ah much better I felt good to leave the scene when I did but I appreciate being remembered. I hit a random bit of nostalgia and decided to google my old handle…..

  33. This has been an awesome post. You said it Pat, the comments are the best part. Over a decade’s worth of incredible history. You know, I have to say, way back when, people like Dos, Syber, Pat, and Bofen to me were like celebrities. No joke, I was seriously in awe of their programming skills and I wanted to be just like them. Now, not only have I worked on programs with some of them (Pat particularly with that window manipulator) but I talk to many of them every day. Even though the aol scene is dead (at least the way we remember it), I still feel lucky to have these guys around.

    My personal thanks to all of you, because it wasn’t just the progz that made me want to program, it was the “status” that you all had that got me into programming and graphic design. And for old times sake, I’ll write a Greetz section!

    Greetz-
    Dos, Syber, Neo, PatorJK, Plastik, BoFeN, unab0mb, TacoBoy, ThaDooD, Razr, and whoever else I forgot.

  34. Actually I think typing in your leeto hackerish caps makes you the douche. Are you really still sore over all of that? Do you remember what happened? Does anybody?

    I spent my time on AOL learning and passing on that knowledge to others. Most of that time was spent helping. I wrote a lot of code, but never actually released an addon. I was never out for any attention or “aofame”. Some of the drama was entertaining, but really I didn’t want to be involved. That is why we constantly switched chat rooms and eventually moved to IRC. This douche here just wanted to help people and be left alone. Some just couldn’t have that though.

    So one day somebody tells me some guy is talking trash about me. I didn’t know who bofen was and I didn’t care. He kept on going though and eventually got a response, a short email asking him politely to stop.

    Bofen couldn’t have it that way though. When he wasn’t busy telling people how great he was and how much they suck, he was busy trashing me. He eventually put some of that on his website and got my attention again.

    So I looked into who bofen was. He wrote some gay little prog and released a module that looked an awful lot like mine. We started taking his stuff apart and found he ripped most of his code, and his website too (stole that from the Rainbow Six website right?). I had people sending me dirt on this kid left and right. I put it all together and made a little webpage exposing this brat for what he was.

    The result? He stopped bothering me, which was my goal. Of course there were casualties though. “bofen” became the biggest joke on AOL and he had to go away. Sorry.

    Really though you can’t blame me. I didn’t have any special skills that could turn a whole community against one person. He did this himself with his own actions. He shouldn’t have ripped all that stuff. He should’ve kept his ego in check. And he shouldn’t have picked a fight he did.

    So call me all the names you want now. It doesn’t change the fact that you’re the biggest douche any of us knows.

    – dos

  35. You know I actually very much respect you dos, what I did back then was very childish frankly because of my age. I have wised up in my years I apologize for what I said it was unfair, like I said in #thezone irc I used to have the spotlight back then. The king of the hill was me until I felt rather threatened when you came along, I didn’t want to lose that spot. My dad once told me a man that has power, his biggest fear is losing it; Alas I did have it coming and I left the scene, that doesn’t go without saying that I did miss it.

    I wish now I never left and just fought the war, but its a good thing I didn’t. I am a music teacher now and I am getting ready to attend graduate studies. I have long since grown and learned having the top spot isn’t everything, even having to rip off stuff to make myself look better won’t even change that. I am who I am and I am finally satisfied with that.

  36. My hat’s off to BoFeN on that one. It takes a man to be serious and apologize like that. Hopefully the drama can just be forgotten.

    One thing I will say is that Dos was very VERY helpful to me while learning VB. Not just from his controls, bas file, and help file (which I found online the other day for nostalgia) but in person too. There were several times where I IMed him and he actually responded and legitimately helped explain to me how certain things worked rather than give me a code. Thanks Dos.

    Also, I also seem to remember seeing a video of you fighting in an octogon! You won with an armbar, it was pretty wild man.

  37. I have to admit I’m surprised by bofen’s last response, and even almost impressed. I think he has a few misconceptions though. First, I don’t think I came along after he had “the spotlight”. I was doing my thing long before I heard about any of his stuff. When I started, there weren’t any true 32bit programs except for AoNiN. People still preferred to write addons with vb3 even though vb5 was out. They were still using old 16bit modules. After I put out that help file, we saw the 32bit movement, which was seen in bofen’s programs and his module, which borrowed quite a bit of my code. I’m not trying to take credit for anything here. I’m just setting a timeline.

    The second, and more important misconception is that we were in any type of competition for anything. First, I wasn’t doing what bofen was doing. I didn’t desire attention. I didn’t release programs. I never claimed to be the best and I never wanted any kind of king-of-the-hill status. Bofen was doing what every other “progger” did. I was just picking away at the win32api and the AOL client, trying to see what I could do.

    The win32api came easy for me. I had c++ experience on my side. Back then, all MSDN example code was in c++ and most vb guys couldn’t read it. I could read the headers and convert the calls to vb. I had my own little dumb programs I released to friends, but they were mostly intended as learning projects. I looked at others modules, but really couldn’t take much from them because using 16bit code on a 32bit os, coding in a 32bit dev environment, and building add-ons for a 32bit program didn’t make much sense to me. I was able to come up with some cool stuff and I shared absolutely every piece of code I wrote with my friends, incomplete or not.

    So along comes KnK wanting me to release a module. I said no. He then talked me into writing a help file. In the process of writing the help file, I put all of my code into a module and tested it to make sure what I was “teaching” actually worked. Once the help file was done, I was talked into including the module with the help file to serve as example code. Almost immediately people started criticizing me for releasing an incomplete module. It didn’t have everything people expected. Of course it was never intended to. I let some time go by; hoping people were learning and then completed the module, releasing a second version some time later. This again was meant to help, not to create any type of attention. There was also a third version with some pretty wicked stuff in it, but it was never released.

    I released a few other things as well, all intended to help somebody in one way or another. There was the chatscan for programmers. There was the module scanner for KnK to help him sort out the growing number of module submissions to his site. There were others, but not one was for the average AOL user. Everything I did was for programmers.

    I did get attention. I did get a reputation and even some kind of status in some peoples’ minds. It wasn’t something I sought out and it never went to my head. There were people who liked me and there were people who didn’t. The people who liked me were like freaka here (thanks for the nice words man). They appreciated what I did. They got it. The people who hated me all said the same thing. I didn’t answer emails or instant messages. I ignored their questions in chat rooms. I searched for dos32.bas yesterday and found a few websites with it still on it and one guy said what I’m saying here. And its all true. I didn’t help everybody. I ignored some emails. I blocked instant messages. I even ignored the chat. This is all true. You won’t find anybody who says I called them names, that I bragged about myself, or talked down to them though. That just didn’t happen.

    So yes I’m guilty of ignoring some people. Some of the people who I hung out with can tell you about the funny screenshots of my AOL screen littered with 20+ instant messages. They can tell you how I gave them the password to my hotmail account so they could help me answer the 70+ emails I got every day. They can tell you about the people who would scroll their question in our chat room over and over again then eventually say “f u dos” and leave. They can tell you how I was reluctant to just give out answers and how I insisted people at least try. And a few can also tell you how truly stressed and torn I was when I left AOL due to the harassment.

    So when bofen came along with his insults I really didn’t understand. I had never talked to him before. I hadn’t even talked about him. I didn’t know who he was. I’d dealt with pests before, but this guy’s persistence is what drove the situation. I think he should’ve just hung out with us. The resources we had in our room would’ve built him up. We had monk-e-god writing some cool code, KnK and Hider with the biggest sites out there, Syber who was arguably the loudest guy in the scene, and several other cool guys who understood the code they were writing and were just as willing as I to help others. Allied with us who knows what could’ve happened. Maybe people would be still talking about how awesome bofen was back in the day. Maybe he’d be making six figures writing some sick ai algorithms now instead of humming to a tuning fork. Who knows?

    And freaka, if you get to see that video again, that guy taps from getting hit in the face before I put the armlock on. Watch closely and you’ll see it.

    – dos

  38. Wow. What some bored googling will get you!

    I remember a bunch of you. I spend a good amount of time on IRC and playing CS with a bunch of you. My time was from 1999-2001, which is so freaking long ago but does seem like yesterday. Also did the ao-programming thing, but that consisted mostly of just copying dos’s code (but only after I took the time to understand it!).

    I was 13 when I started ao-programming. I now work as a web developer and am getting my master’s in Computer Science at NYU. I do have to say that being exposed to good-quality code at a young age has helped me be an organized programmer today. Kind of like Jedi training — you gotta start young or you’ll turn into fucking Vader. Anyway, crazy how most of us are still involved in software.

    Cheers!

  39. Man i have no idea how i stumbled across this website.. remember me guys? :X Dos, i still got pissed at you because i showed you how to play chess, then i quit playing and you kept getting better and got better than me.

  40. Wow, just stumbled upon this post. AOL Scene reunion. I remember being a part of masta inc (hahaha) and all the bullshit drama that came with being associated with them.

    I am glad that I got involved in the scene, I learned quite a bit programming wise at a young age that really helped me later on in life. The only people I ever talk to really are Fallen, who runs a pretty successful web design company (I remember he recently did Meg Whitman’s campaign website) and Oogle who has turned into a crazy linux programmer mostly working on Asterisk.

    As for myself, I actually work for a Recording Studio/Record Label

  41. So… how is everyone now? :)

    Figured its time for our periodic check-in. :)

    I’m still working for my church, doing the whole serving God thing. Single life is good. Still hang out in irc.tzirc.com in #TheZone with Syber and the gang… Currently playing Skyrim (go buy it now), and working entirely too much. What about everyone else?

    – Darc

  42. haha wow everytime i read these comments over again it makes me all nostalgic.

    punters hahaha

    Man I hope i can find that copy of dos23.bas bahaha

    So….I just tried logging into one of the only 3 char screennames i had and it looks like AOL took that shit from me…freaking bastards.

  43. Damn, talk about nostalgia. Got bored, hit the Google for “KnK4life” and was directed here. I haven’t hit these forums in ages, and quite frankly, was pretty damn surprised to see your site still up. Good times, man :P

  44. I believe the owner of bofen is now making bots over at blackhatworld com. There is a guy there who makes amazing API bots under the name bofen

    1. He used to have a really popular site, but then there was a bunch of internet drama regarding him and dos, and then it was uncovered that he had lifted the design of his site from some popular game site, and then he deleted his site. It happened more than a decade ago though, and he was young and I wasn’t involved, so I don’t personally have any grudges against him. To hear he’s gone black-hat is kind of interesting, I’m glad he’s found success in a new niche.

      1. Yeah I know, that’s actually why I switched my blog to use Discus for comments, had a few drinks last night after my kickball game, saw the spam comment and couldn’t help but laugh … just because i’m sure almost everyone who did any type of AOL programming had a hand in some type of spam :)

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