Julian Assange and The C64   1 comment

Julian Assange and The C64


Julian Assange


(Unfortunately, WordPress have just forced me to use a new editor for this post. I’ve been struggling with this for several minutes now, so I apologise for any formatting errors! The previews seem to have a pic and a video missing!)

After TMR of the blog C64CrapDebunk mentioned in his post https://c64crapdebunk.wordpress.com/2015/11/11/what-tinfoil-hat-the-authors-forgotten-his/ that even Wikileaks founder and hacker Julian Assange owned a C64 which he seemed to have no trouble programming, I did a search for “Julian Assange” and “Commodore 64” or C64, and here’s what I found.

Here’s an excerpt from the book The Most Dangerous Man In The World: The Inside Story On Julian Assange And Wikileaks”

First of all I should point out that Julian’s Mum’s name is supposed to be Christine, and he was allegedly born in 1971, but has often refused to give his age to reporters. Of course, I haven’t seen any hard evidence to support this. He could be an alien using a cover story for all I know!

Heres’s a quote from page 10…

One of the many houses Christine rented while they were on the run happened to be across the road from an electronics shop. At just eleven years old, Assange was already showing extraordinary mathematical capabilities. He would go to the shop and write programs on its Commodore 64. One of the first mass produced computers, the Commodore 64 was the model T Ford of its day. He sharpened his skills, unravelling well-known programs and discovering how they were written”.

Unfortunately, I haven’t got time to read the whole book before I’m evicted, so I can’t comment on the rest of it, but the passage above seems quite conclusive. You can read more on https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=oo0P3ckGOoQC&pg=PA15&lpg=PA15&dq=%2B%22Julian+Assange%22+%2B%22Commodore+64%22&source=bl&ots=Hs0wz9vkvZ&sig=N-I5NipS9njWBbLAlU8UMEMutBQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj9mrvs3LbJAhWEThQKHd1mCSwQ6AEIPjAE#v=onepage&q=%2B%22Julian%20Assange%22%20%2B%22Commodore%2064%22&f=false

So there you go. Julian Assange is a maths whiz, which I’ve already suggested that someone would need to be to program the C64! Not only that, but he was given a lot of access to the Commodore 64 not long after it came out before buying one. Perhaps the Commodore 64 was the only computer that particular electronics shop had in stock.

Apart from this, it seems the family was on the run, so he was living on the edge, and his Mum was an artist. My Mum ran two shops instead, so this may be another influential factor.

After reading this, my eviction was delayed again, so I did another search and found out from http://edition.cnn.com/2010/LIVING/12/01/assange.profile/ that Julian Assange’s Mum didn’t buy him a C64 until 1987, when he was allegedly 16. Why didn’t she buy him an Amiga A500 instead?! I’m shocked. Another crucially important factor is whether or not he had a disk drive to go with the C64 from the beginning, but this doesn’t seem to be mentioned.

After this stage in his life, Julian Assange is credited on websites with doing lots of hacking using his C64. To get online in the days before the Internet was widely available, people needed some “comms” software to make their computer handle the same protocols used by other computers. This meant that widely different computers were using a common language to connect and share data. Surprise, surprise, this wasn’t Commodore BASIC V2, or even 6502 Assembly Language/Machine Code! With the Internet different computers still need to use the standard protocols, although not the same ones used by classic software on classic computers.

A C64 connects to an old school BBS


I think what Julian Assange would have used was some software using Hayes Modem commands, which I remember started with AT and got me onto a lot of “BBS” or Bulletin Board Systems where the protocol was usually 8N1, meaning 8 bits, no parity, one stop bit, instead of the more advanced Internet TCP/IP which I’m just reading an explanation of in “The Real Hacker’s Handbook” by “Dr. K”. Further investigation reveals that some Hayes modem commands are listed on https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hayes_command_set , such as ATDT<number> to dial a number, ATA by another computer to answer you, and ATH to hang up. There are lots of other commands, but none of them involve using 5 digit numbers, following by numbers from 0-255 like in Commodore BASIC V2 on the C64. Of course, hackers called lots of phone numbers, but these could be stored in their software instead of having to remember them all.

My conclusion from reading some of this book is that people can program the Commodore 64 if they’re good at maths and have an IQ of over 170, like Julian Assange. This may be a higher IQ than Bill Gates, who has even written BASIC dialects just for processors, such as the 6502, and possibly the Z80 as well before anyone even built a computer to go round them. I don’t know how this is possible, but with an IQ of 170 this makes me think Julian Assange could do the same, or write an operating system, so I rest my case.

It’s a pity I haven’t got time to read the whole book The Most Dangerous Man In The World: The Inside Story On Julian Assange And Wikileaks”, because I might die soon of eviction. This has now been further delayed to sometime in January 2016, though.

So to sum up, it’s no real surprise that Julian Assange could find out how to program the Commodore 64, but I want to know how someone with an average or even below average IQ could have discovered how to program it, apart from creating exclusively text based programs.

This blog has no means of funding, I’m actually quite skint or broke, and my life is in danger from eviction by a property speculator, probably taking place in January 2016. If you’d like to make a donation, please send me an email on paul.londoner@gmail.com , then I’ll tell you how to do that.

Posted November 30, 2015 by C64hater in Uncategorized

One response to “Julian Assange and The C64

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  1. You’re going to die of eviction? Wow, “eviction” must be a terrible disease. Has the medical profession not found a cure? Is it like Ebola? Have you ever considered that the reason you can’t figure out programming is that you may be below average intelligence? You mentioned autism in some of your posts and implied that makes a person a maths wizard with a super memory. I seem to have Asperger syndrome, a form of autism, something that TMR mentioned in his articles. Maths is by far my weakest subject. I can do the basics well enough (+ – / x) to get by in life, but struggle with calculus, trigonometry and other areas. Certainly, as anybody who knows me will atest, I have an abysmal memory. Short term memory is usually understood to work on a ‘7 plus or minus 2’ basis. That is, most people usually store between 5 and 9 items in STM before an new item displaces an existing one. An average of 7. I struggle to work with 5 at the best of times. My long term memory isn’t brilliant, I have to repeat things many times or use memory aids to remember. Just because you watched ‘Rain Man’, don’t assume that is how everybody is affected. Please, before you post things, just do some proper fact finding, rather than just half remembering bits and pieces, making assumptions and taking every bit of internet waffle as gospel. And as I have said before… I don’t have any predisposition toward the C64. I never had one and never wanted one. I once played a game on one with a friend who owned it. Like most people in the eighties, computers were chosen and bought mainly for playing games or to use productivity software, not programming. Note the word “mainly”. The version of Basic wasn’t usually the deciding factor. I could bash the Sincliar basics, BBC basic, Atari basic, Amiga basic, PC Q basic… they all had huge gaping holes. As did the hardware they ran on. So do versions of Pascal and OPL (a similar language to Basic built in to many Psion organisers/PDAs). I can criticise the ones I have owned or used, but unlike you, I don’t just pick things out of the air and plaster them online, especially if the problem is really in my understanding and not the hardware/software itself. I know you won’t accept my posts as replies, because they blatantly conflict with your views. But then, you won’t find many people actively supporting you… I wonder why?

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