• (cs)

    My solution would have been to replace cmd.exe with my own program that simply pops up a message box saying "You have been expelled".

  • (cs)

    In my observation, the students have always been ahead of the teachers in IT technology. I know of a case where a student had created a folder deep in the bowels of the school's website where he kept his stash of cracked software (warez) for free download. The administration was clueless until my girlfriend-at-the-time, a mid-level management type for the district, was showing me the website and I asked her about the unusual contents of that folder.

    The schoolteachers were using FrontPage to maintain the website. :)

  • (cs) in reply to TopCod3r

    While I'll definitely say that this software had a lot of WTF's and flaws in it. The biggest WTF in my opinion is the effort students went through in order to beat the test system, going as far as writing batch files.

    Why don't the students spend just half that effort on actually learning the content of the test? Wouldn't need to hack the system in that case! Might actually learn something by accident. What a concept...

  • (cs)

    They stored the answers on the same machine that the test was being taken on, and they paid the price. That's a total failure of data hygiene, and I'm ashamed that the clbutt teacher didn't pick up on it. After all, the kids did…

  • (cs) in reply to TopCod3r
    TopCod3r:
    My solution would have been to replace cmd.exe with my own program that simply pops up a message box saying "You have been expelled".
    1993 and Education == probably Win3.1 == command.com and it runs before Windows does.

    Otherwise a good solution.

  • nckomodo (unregistered) in reply to Kermos

    This is no WTF, this is the normal behavior of kids, especially in school. What would be a WTF, however slight, is any kid who DIDN'T resort to cheating in this case.

  • TRWTF Troll (unregistered) in reply to Kermos
    Kermos:
    Why don't the students spend just half that effort on actually learning the content of the test? Wouldn't need to hack the system in that case! Might actually learn something by accident. What a concept...
    Because learning DOS skills does not help much with a history test.
  • (cs) in reply to Kermos
    Kermos:
    While I'll definitely say that this software had a lot of WTF's and flaws in it. The biggest WTF in my opinion is the effort students went through in order to beat the test system, going as far as writing batch files.

    Why don't the students spend just half that effort on actually learning the content of the test? Wouldn't need to hack the system in that case! Might actually learn something by accident. What a concept...

    I think they did learn something and it was far more valuable than what any multiple choice test could ever teach you: How to be creative and self-reliant.
  • (cs)

    So now we know what caused the gangs in River City Ransom (subtle reference to said great game in this story?) - the fact that they actually had to study for tests instead of cheating.

  • Mr. Happy (unregistered) in reply to Kermos
    Kermos:
    While I'll definitely say that this software had a lot of WTF's and flaws in it. The biggest WTF in my opinion is the effort students went through in order to beat the test system, going as far as writing batch files.

    Why don't the students spend just half that effort on actually learning the content of the test? Wouldn't need to hack the system in that case! Might actually learn something by accident. What a concept...

    But it proved one thing...they had enough smarts to figure out how to repeatedly short-circuit the system. And that's what high school kids are best at...subverting authority.

    1993, eh? That would be about the same time that I accidentally discovered the "grades system" on the school network and that it was totally unprotected. You just had to know where it was to get into it. I kindly informed the teacher that he may want to look into at least adding a password to it. I got thanked for it, but they still had all of my teachers manually re-calculate my grades to prove that I hadn't tampered with it. They determined that I hadn't, but my girlfriend made the honour roll that term... ;) Shhh...she still doesn't know I did it.

  • borat (unregistered)

    Kinda reminds me of my IT teacher at college who, when a PC froze up, would thump the monitor in an attempt to "unfreeze" it. She didn't seem to grasp that (a) the monitor was just a display or (b) thumping a digital device is likely to make it work again

  • Sanity (unregistered) in reply to Kermos
    Kermos:
    Why don't the students spend just half that effort on actually learning the content of the test?

    Let me answer that question with a question: Would you rather spend a day doing software development, or half a day doing construction?

    I don't know about you, but the effort I'm willing to put into something does have some correlation to how interesting it is. In fact, I'd probably have done both -- both learned the material (it's only high school, after all; easy stuff) and at least figured out how to crack the system.

    There's another possibility, too -- if it was at all graded on the curve, you REALLY don't want to be the one honest student.

  • Sanity (unregistered) in reply to dkf
    dkf:
    TopCod3r:
    My solution would have been to replace cmd.exe with my own program that simply pops up a message box saying "You have been expelled".
    1993 and Education == probably Win3.1 == command.com and it runs before Windows does.

    Otherwise a good solution.

    Well, except that command.com would kind of be needed for other things, like admin. And the fact that if you tried that today, students would simply bring their own cmd.exe from home -- they've got a floppy, right?

    No, there really isn't a good workaround there, short of giving up altogether.

    I suppose I could put it in dosbox on a Linux system today, and wrap it in some scripts that make it somewhat more difficult to break -- at least requiring local root, at best submitting the results over the network.

    But that's both software development (what you're supposed to be paying them for) and probably not possible in 1993 (it's doubtful dosbox even existed).

  • (cs) in reply to Sanity
    Sanity:
    No, there really isn't a good workaround there, short of giving up altogether.
    You're only aiming for giving them a scare, and popping up something like that at that point will actually work most of the time. The smart kids will keep their mouths shut and hope that nobody ever notices, the dumb ones will call the teacher over and ask for help…

    The really smart ones will realize you're playing a game with them, but then again, they might try booting from a floppy to software they control. (OTOH, that wasn't always possible with 1993 machines due to the way that network booting worked in those days. Some things I don't ever want to remember; I value what's left of my sanity.)

  • Marvin The Martian (unregistered) in reply to Mr. Happy
    Mr. Happy:
    Kermos:
    Why don't the students spend just half that effort on actually learning the content of the test? Wouldn't need to hack the system in that case! Might actually learn something by accident. What a concept...
    But it proved one thing...they had enough smarts to figure out how to repeatedly short-circuit the system. And that's what high school kids are best at...subverting authority.

    The obvious mistake in the base remark and most responses is to see "the students" as a uniform group. Simply put, "They" didn't learn anything.

    Any class contains about half honest-out-of-fear students, a lot of lazy ones, a bad apple or two and a similar number of clever-but-mischievous ones. On top of learning the actual stuff, the ones finding the flaws were probably competing with each other in ways around; them not doing it out of grades-competitiveness makes these solutions trickle to the rest of the heap (and those cause the tricks to be unmasked, generally). So the tricksters learned something, in an abstract way, possibly (they solved a puzzle, not learned a specific technique; exercised or improved their problem solving skills); the rest didn't learn anything and only got slightly demotivated.

  • Mutant (unregistered) in reply to Sanity
    Sanity:
    But that's both software development (what you're supposed to be paying them for) and probably not possible in 1993 (it's doubtful dosbox even existed).

    Linux barely existed in '93!

  • (cs) in reply to Mutant

    In '93 the sexy "New" OS was Netware, which had tons of it's own byzantine crap.

    There were classes that took tests on the Netware system, and while it was much more secure than todays WTF, if you were in the AP Comp Sci class, you had access to the superuser account, and if, hypothetically, you got bored and checked some other students username, and then logged in as them and took their tests, then they might (hypothetically) magically leap to the head of the class, providing much crogglement to the staff until the AP students (hypothetically) started doing the tests as relay races and the basketball coach-cum comp sci prof clued in to the shenangians.

    Hypothetically.

  • Steve (unregistered) in reply to Kermos
    Kermos:
    While I'll definitely say that this software had a lot of WTF's and flaws in it. The biggest WTF in my opinion is the effort students went through in order to beat the test system, going as far as writing batch files.

    Why don't the students spend just half that effort on actually learning the content of the test? Wouldn't need to hack the system in that case! Might actually learn something by accident. What a concept...

    And when you were in High School, during joyrides you were the guy in the back seat who kept yelling 'A car is not a toy!'. :)

  • St. Mary's Hospital for the Cure of Everything (unregistered)

    At the first moment, I thought I'd read something what I experienced as a college student: A Multiple-Choice test on paper which will be OCRed at a private enterprise. Because of the costs (about 1800 US$ for 150-200 students), failing students could only retake it one year later, instead of a semester later.

    Well, we waited about 40 days for our results. Most exams marked by TAs were returned just 1.5 to 2 weeks after the examinations.

  • joe (unregistered)

    It's interesting to see how much more tolerance there is on this board for these kids than there was for the person applying for the consulting job yesterday. Doesn't this teach the students the wrong lessons?

  • SparkyRoosta (unregistered) in reply to Kermos
    Kermos:
    Why don't the students spend just half that effort on actually learning the content of the test? Wouldn't need to hack the system in that case! Might actually learn something by accident. What a concept...
    So spending 5-15 minutes studying would have helped them more than spending 10-30 minutes writing batch files? It really doesn't take that long to write a simple batch file like that and test it... I may actually be over estimating.
  • Argh (unregistered)

    I think Edutron changed their name to Diebold and have continued to apply their expertise in security measures and quality assurance in their electronic voting machines. BTW, the next president will be from the American Nazi Party (they had the cash to spare)... but at least your throw away vote will be a snap to make.

  • VerlocLLJK (unregistered) in reply to SparkyRoosta
    SparkyRoosta:
    Kermos:
    Why don't the students spend just half that effort on actually learning the content of the test? Wouldn't need to hack the system in that case! Might actually learn something by accident. What a concept...
    So spending 5-15 minutes studying would have helped them more than spending 10-30 minutes writing batch files? It really doesn't take that long to write a simple batch file like that and test it... I may actually be over estimating.
    Plus things like 'writing batch files' and 'exploiting the stupidity of others to your own benefit' have far more real-world application than roughly 100% of what is taught in highschool.
  • Ville (unregistered) in reply to borat
    borat:
    thumping a digital device is likely to make it work again
    Interesting, never heard of such repair methodology before.
    joe:
    It's interesting to see how much more tolerance there is on this board for these kids than there was for the person applying for the consulting job yesterday. Doesn't this teach the students the wrong lessons?
    I recall most commenting yesterday that TRWTF was the testing system. So there's really not that much difference. Besides, I don't find it surprising that cheating at school is tolerated better than cheating at work.
  • Channel6 (unregistered) in reply to TopCod3r

    Kind of reminds me back when I was at uni, studying CS, but the stupid college made us do marketing 101 for some reason. We had to form teams and play this online (networked, not internet) Lemonade selling game each week. Part of our grade went to it.

    My memory is a bit hazy, this was 10 + years ago, but it was essentially a DOS based program that mapped drives to a 'hidden' location to save the results. I was in a group with all the other CS students and we simply remapped the drives to that location and read everyone elses results.

    Part of the game involved spending money on market research, product research etc, so essentially we managed to nick everyone elses results and apply it. None of the marketing teams could figure out why the CS crowd were by far the winner.

    Felt a bit guilty about it but rationalised it as 'industrial espionage is a valid marketing tool'. Isn't it?

  • Abraxus (unregistered)

    Ah, the heady days of high school computer shenanigans. In our computer lab, the smart+mischievous students had their own secret admin account that was used for playing games when bored.

    It was a school full of OS 9 machines, and each computer had a "Student" account that was locked down and an "Administrator" account that could do anything. A little social engineering got us the initial admin password...but since the logged-in user had their account name in the menu bar it was kind of hard to hide from teachers.

    That's why we used the admin account to create the full-access "Student " account.

  • Channel6 (unregistered) in reply to borat
    borat:
    thumping a digital device is likely to make it work again

    Think they call that percussive maintenance, don't they?

  • (cs) in reply to ObiWayneKenobi
    ObiWayneKenobi:
    So now we know what caused the gangs in River City Ransom (subtle reference to said great game in this story?) - the fact that they actually had to *study* for tests instead of cheating.

    Despite how much time I've spent playing RSR back in the day, my first inclination was that it was a nod to the "The Music Man"

    "Ya got trouble right here in River City - Trouble with a capital "T" And that rhymes with "P" and that stands for pool!"

  • (cs)

    My brother is a high school math teacher, and where he's at even in 2008 you don't have a computer at every desk, even for tests.

    The problem now with paper tests is that kids these days are so good with cell phone text messages they can send them without looking at their phone. So a student will send a short message to a nearby student. That's student's phone will vibrate, and he'll pull it out just long enough to read "28?", and reply with the answer "D". Very hard to catch.

    The solution is that he has to use a computer program to create the tests. The program will randomize the questions when it prints them out. Makes grading a lot more difficult, though.

  • (cs)

    So, if it were a True or False question, would C still be the correct answer?

  • Alex and Ryan (unregistered) in reply to ObiWayneKenobi
    ObiWayneKenobi:
    So now we know what caused the gangs in River City Ransom (subtle reference to said great game in this story?) - the fact that they actually had to *study* for tests instead of cheating.

    I came here for this and was not disappointed :)

    And we all know that the fighting started because Simon kidnapped Ryan's girlfriend.

    Thanks to the efforts of Alex and Ryan, Cindy was rescued in time to finish her shopping and the gangs went back to class and became honor students.

    BARF!!!

  • ? (unregistered) in reply to pzyko106
    pzyko106:
    So, if it were a True or False question, would C still be the correct answer?

    Si.

  • Alin (unregistered) in reply to pzyko106
    pzyko106:
    So, if it were a True or False question, would C still be the correct answer?

    Nope, it will be FILE_NOT_FOUND.

    Brillant!

  • Anon E. Mus (unregistered)

    Reminds of the "locking" software my high school used to run in the computer labs. This was back in the days of win 98. The locking software controlled your access based on who you logged into windows as. Hence, each class period had a different username/password and configuration based on what the class was. It would lock out things like run, the dos prompt, hide my computer, only allow certain programs to run, etc. All too often the settings would get screwed up and the only way to fix it was to log in as the computer admin. But what if the admin login screwed up? This was not uncommon. So you can't get in as admin and all you have are limited access accounts.

    How do you fix it? Reformat? Nope! Much simpler. Log in as any user. Right click the desktop and choose create shorcut. Aim it at c:. Open the new shortcut and navigate to the windows folder. Delete any pwl files (username.pwl). Then log out. Next time you logged in, windows asked you to enter a new password twice to set it. You could make it anything you wanted.

    I spent a semester as a TA and found probably 10 ways around that software. Ah for the days of lousy security! Oh wait...

  • Yazeran (unregistered) in reply to Ville
    Ville:
    borat:
    thumping a digital device is likely to make it work again
    Interesting, never heard of such repair methodology before.

    Well I have heard about it before, only there it was called a 'Russian repair'..... :-)

    Yazeran

    Plan: To go to Mars one day with a hammer

  • Bosshog (unregistered) in reply to pzyko106
    pzyko106:
    So, if it were a True or False question, would C still be the correct answer?
    Yes, C means "FileNotFound".
  • Bosshog (unregistered) in reply to Alin
    Alin:
    pzyko106:
    So, if it were a True or False question, would C still be the correct answer?

    Nope, it will be FILE_NOT_FOUND.

    Brillant!

    Drat! ;)

  • orclev (unregistered) in reply to pzyko106
    pzyko106:
    So, if it were a True or False question, would C still be the correct answer?
    Si
  • Fortyseven (unregistered)

    Kirk's Kobayashi Maru solution, anyone? :P

  • Todd (unregistered)

    In high school (circa 1995) we had a textbook that had a new fangled application that the teachers could use to print out tests from the book for a good old fashioned pencil and paper multiple choice test. It was a time saver for the teacher (although the questions were awful), but the best part was that the answer line for the multiple choice question was always printed next to the correct answer. For questions with multiple correct answers, it would print a line next to each correct answer.

    Most of the class picked up on this quickly. In my slowness, I didn't. Luckily the teacher figured it out pretty quick and threw out those tests.

  • Dan (unregistered)

    Ack! 3.5" disks? Well early on they weren't bad, but the quality of those disks degraded to the point where I made a practice of using multiple disks out of a new box and copying the same data onto each of them, in the hope that at least one would survive long enough to copy to the other computer. In those days, Zip Disks were a godsend.

  • Ken B (unregistered) in reply to Argh
    Comment held for moderation.
  • IMSoP (unregistered) in reply to Mr. Happy
    Mr. Happy:
    They determined that I hadn't, but my girlfriend made the honour roll that term... ;) Shhh...she still doesn't know I did it.

    Have you been watching Wargames by any chance?

  • Ken B (unregistered) in reply to pzyko106
    pzyko106:
    So, if it were a True or False question, would C still be the correct answer?
    A = true B = false C = file not found
  • Nico (unregistered)

    All this school talk reminds me of my highschool and college days. The good old days when PCs were expensive pieces of machinery, our school had about 20 XT machines and one if one was very lucky there was the opportunity to use the 286. In another room, there were about 30 C64s, those were really only used to play Paperboy. I was never allowed to answer any questions when the school decided we needed a couple of basic IT lessons :(

    In college during a C programming course, before we got started with that days lessons, I was showing a friend a (graphical) demo effect I coded at home the night before. The teacher (a former Pascal teacher who was 1 chapter ahead of us in the C book) was convinced that I was playing a game, so he wanted me to leave. It didn't matter how many times I tried to tell him that it was not a game and that I actually coded it myself, but this was obviously impossible for him to accept. We literally hated each others guts after that incident, the incident did turn into quite a circus because I refused to leave because of his false accusations. I skipped most of his lessons and he was one of the reasons I dropped out of college after the first year. The fun part is that I've been working as a (mostly C/C++) programmer since then, almost exactly 10 years now. A couple of years ago I heard he was fired, I never got to hear the reason.

  • DasBoof (unregistered) in reply to jcoehoorn
    jcoehoorn:
    My brother is a high school math teacher, and where he's at even in 2008 you don't have a computer at every desk, even for tests.

    The problem now with paper tests is that kids these days are so good with cell phone text messages they can send them without looking at their phone. So a student will send a short message to a nearby student. That's student's phone will vibrate, and he'll pull it out just long enough to read "28?", and reply with the answer "D". Very hard to catch.

    The solution is that he has to use a computer program to create the tests. The program will randomize the questions when it prints them out. Makes grading a lot more difficult, though.

    Curses! If only there were some kind of calculating machine that could grade the answers for you!

  • Foo (unregistered)

    Back in 1993 our maths teacher used a simple Visual Basic program to generate random addition and subtraction exercises for us. The program showed the numbers and we had to type in the answer. I noticed that the fields for source numbers were not set to read-only. So I simply replaced their values with ones and the result was always two :-)

  • Ken B (unregistered) in reply to Nico
    Nico:
    All this school talk reminds me of my highschool and college days. The good old days when PCs were expensive pieces of machinery, our school had about 20 XT machines and one if one was very lucky there was the opportunity to use the 286. In another room, there were about 30 C64s, those were really only used to play Paperboy.
    Just a babe in the woods then? For me, the "good old days" were when we replaced the 110 baud ASR-33s with 300 baud Olivetti terminals.

    The IBM Selectrics we got later for APL programming were fun as well, though the teeth kept breaking off the type ball.

  • (cs) in reply to Mr. Happy
    Mr. Happy:
    Kermos:
    While I'll definitely say that this software had a lot of WTF's and flaws in it. The biggest WTF in my opinion is the effort students went through in order to beat the test system, going as far as writing batch files.

    Why don't the students spend just half that effort on actually learning the content of the test? Wouldn't need to hack the system in that case! Might actually learn something by accident. What a concept...

    But it proved one thing...they had enough smarts to figure out how to repeatedly short-circuit the system. And that's what high school kids are best at...subverting authority.

    1993, eh? That would be about the same time that I accidentally discovered the "grades system" on the school network and that it was totally unprotected. You just had to know where it was to get into it. I kindly informed the teacher that he may want to look into at least adding a password to it. I got thanked for it, but they still had all of my teachers manually re-calculate my grades to prove that I hadn't tampered with it. They determined that I hadn't, but my girlfriend made the honour roll that term... ;) Shhh...she still doesn't know I did it.

    Which goes to show she REALLY didn't deserve it.

  • Ken B (unregistered) in reply to Foo
    Foo:
    Back in 1993 our maths teacher used a simple Visual Basic program to generate random addition and subtraction exercises for us. The program showed the numbers and we had to type in the answer. I noticed that the fields for source numbers were not set to read-only. So I simply replaced their values with ones and the result was always two :-)
    "Darn computers! There must be a bug in the random number generator!"

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