Cruising the web
A tasting platter of all the queer stuff I’m finding across the world wide web
At Queer Computer we recognise that there’s nothing more intimate than cruising with a friend. Cruising the Web will be a semi-regular edition of Queer Computer collating the best stories that I couldn’t find the right angle to write more than 250 words on — a tasting platter of all the queer stuff I’m finding across the world wide web.
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The AIDS Trojan horse
Since the inception of Queer Computer, I’ve attempted and failed to find my own perspective on this story. However, it is super interesting, so it’s definitely “cruising” content worth retelling.
It was during the midst of the AIDS epidemic in 1989, when biologist Dr. Joseph Popp distributed 20,000 floppy disks over 90 countries, labelled as AIDS information disks. Once installed, the program would ask a simple list of questions and proceed to give you personalised information on the AIDS virus. So far so good — you’d forget about it and go about your life. But this software was a Trojan horse and the first of its kind. Once installed, it counted the number of times you booted the computer, and on the 90th it would shut you out altogether. Then this would appear:
Remember the days in which you could delete or rename just one hidden folder off your parent’s work computer and just completely destroy the whole thing. Hi Dad! Well, the AIDS software would do something similar, by encrypting the file names on the victim’s computer — rendering the machine unusable — and then demanding a fee to have them unlocked. It remains unclear if Joseph’s attack was homophobically motivated, but a whole lot of hospital computer systems and AIDS research was lost, and if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it’s most likely a duck.
You can find out more about what happened in 1989, how the encryption was solved, and the future of ransomware from the Command_Line Heroes podcast. It’s a pretty melodramatic production, so you might have to sit through a cringey intro to get to the juicy details, but it’s worth the listen.
I don’t care about your crypto, boy
There’s this horribly catchy and viral tiktok song challenge, started by Salem Ilese, that reveals the grim reality of dating a straight crypto bro. Unfortunately, she’s left the verse open for other tiktokers to lay down their own bars and now we’re blessed with this insufferable insight into the intersection of hetero dating and crypto investing.
Why is she singing into a water bottle?
I understand that some people can’t actually endure watching a tiktok, so I’ve bravely rewatched this cesspool multiple times to give you these quotes:
Mention NFTs one more time, and it’s guaranteed we’re not fucking tonight.
You care more bout your currency, than you do bout us currently. I don’t need much, no private key.
It’s been so long so ether one you choose your wallet or me. Well better hope you’re getting laid in web3.
And she said to me “why you never have sex with me?” Cause I’m too busy showin you all my NFTs.
Okay, I’m not going to give the song the absolute honour of mentioning its many fantastic puns, but are the straggots okay?!?! Like for real, these don’t sound like healthy relationships to me. If your partner is withholding sex from you because of cryptocurrencies then you need to see a couples therapist, or at the very least a financial adviser.
Now, if enough people share this article and Queer Computer gains 12 new subscribers, then I promise to download tiktok and drop my own verse to this song.
Jurassic Park: TERF Wars
A twitter feud as old as time itself flared up earlier this year with a battle over dinosaur emojis 🦖🦕. I stumbled upon this wbur podcast the other week that explores a twitter fight between trans folk and TERFs over who gets to put the dinosaur emoji in their twitter handle. Supposedly genderqueer people have identified with dinosaurs since the dawn of time, and now, trans-exclusionary feminists are co-opting the term after being called ‘dinosaurs’ for their old school beliefs. I was considering doing a full dinosaur-pun-infused write-up about this, but alas I just don’t have anything original to say about it … to be honest, I think it’s a waste of energy and resources — we have bigger dinosaurs to fry.
Homosaurus: LGBTQ+ vocabulary
Keeping on the dinosaur theme as I cruise the web, I found this great project that dates all the way back to 1997, Homosaurus. This LGBTQ+ thesaurus was originally started as an offline document and circulated around the world as a Word doc and PDF for years. It finally went online in 2015 with the help of the Digital Transgender Archive, which now maintains the vocabulary with an editorial board. It’s a pretty robust encyclopedia of gay, so get learning your A to Zs — ‘assplay’ to ‘Ze/Zir pronouns.’
Alright this beat is officially dead. If you’re itching to chat about anything Queer Computer related or you’re in need of some queer tech support, I’m your man! Chuck in a comment below or simply reply to this email.
Otherwise, see you in June for the next issue x