"The Cuckoo's Egg" by Clifford Stoll

Essay by NET.HEDJunior High, 8th gradeA+, November 1996

download word file, 8 pages 1.6

'The Cuckoo's Egg' is a story of persistence, love for one's work and is just plain funny! The story starts out with Clifford Stoll being 'recycled' to a computer analyst/webmaster.

Cliff, as he is affectionately called, is a long-haired ex-hippie that works at Lawrence Berkeley Lab. He originally was an astronomer, but since his grant wore out, he became a mainframe master. He was glad that instead of throwing him out into the unemployment office, the Lab recycled their people and downstairs he went, to the computer lab.

A few days after he becomes the master of the mainframe, his colleague, Wayne Graves, asks him to figure out a 75cent glitch that is in the accounting system. It turns out that a computer guru, 'Seventek' seems to be in town. None of his closest friends know that. The Lab becomes suspicious that it might be a hacker. To fill you in who Seventek is, he is a computer guru that created a number of programs for the Berkeley UNIX system.

At the time, he was in England far from computers and civilization. The crew does not what to believe that it would be Seventek, so they start to look what the impostor is doing. Cliff hooks up a few computers to the line that comes from the Tymnet. Tymnet is a series of fiber-optic cables that run from a major city to another major city. So if you were in LA and wanted to hook up to a computer in the Big Apple you could call long distance, have a lot of interference from other callers and have a slow connection, or you could sign-up to Tymnet and dial locally, hop on the optic cable and cruise at a T-3 line. The lab had only five Tymnet lines...