Deth Veggie has been a close friend for over a decade, and his position in the
Cult of the Dead Cow came around in the early years of knowing him. Founded in
1985, the group went from textfile-writing to world-wide media mavens to
security pundits. Along the way, they found themselves in a great and unique
position as "hacker celebrities". As the image grew somewhere out of control,
I knew many of the members as friends, and saw both sides of the story.
This interview has a unique aspect over the others; it was conducted in my
own home. Normally I like to interview people in their own environments, but
circumstances didn't work out with me and Veggie, and I didn't get a chance
to get to his place in California. He's from Massachusetts, so he was visiting
family for the holidays and I got an evening with him. We simply don't get
the chance to hang out together anymore, so the evening was social as well as
So there you go, there's what my basement looks like. Among the computers
you can make out a Commodore Pet, an Apple Lisa, a Xerox dumb terminal, and
the machines that textfiles.com and bbsdocumentary.com run on. The basement
is actually a lot worse than that, but I figured the rack of computers
would be good. I couldn't resist lighting him somewhat weird, but the
interview is another question entirely.
There's enough stupid footage out there with Veggie talking about hacking and
having his words clipped so he says the most henious thing out of a multi-hour
interview. I wanted his thoughts on BBSes and maybe the people who ran them.
We went through a bunch of different topics, kind of fishing around. His
thoughts on what made a BBS great and a life with BBSes in them were great,
and we even got a little bit about the Cult of the Dead Cow in.
When I first started this documentary, I had the rule that I was not going to
pack it with friends or populate it only with people from the Northeast or
my primary area codes (914 and 617). That said, I accomplished this handily
and it's good to get a few really good old friends in. I couldn't ask