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Access granted.

Another 1.3 megapixel image

One of this early memories was the idea of access. I can imagine that when the retail team looked at the roles of "genius" they held us in high regard. In fact, they held the entire retail teams in high regard. With that said we found we had access to just about… everything. We quickly learned that there were servers all over the place with all kinds of stuff on them. Software, Music, Video and PDF manuals of pretty hight level stuff. We could download a nightly build of 10.1 which was coming out in September and install it on our machines. Now let's remember, this is 2001, this is the heyday of Napster, Kazaa and the like. Sharing music was an everyday thing, like your morning Starbucks these days. Nobody really put much thought into it. We all downloaded music, everyone. This included Apple employees who, in my opinion, downloaded with precision and veracity of anything I could imagine. One such server, again before iTunes and the iTunes store, had every song, every artist, e v e r y t h I n g. Now, movies and such, were harder to come by and the quality of a 200MB MOV was not enticing but the music library was curated and organized and it was FAST. One thing I was the speed of iTools, which was the precursor of .Mac. iTools gave you iDisk, 20 MB of storage that your could put files and such on an internet hard disk. At the time pretty cool and pretty slow. Not in Cupertino where we readily moved file after file at lightning speeds to and fro iDisk. If I remember correctly, as Apple employees, our iDisks were increased to, well, infinite. We associated our personal iDisk with our Apple email and boom, unlimited, stupid fast storage. As you can imagine we moved so much music and files it distracted us from training and we got called on it. Imagine being late 20s with the access to all this stuff, at your fingertips. Me as the former graphic designer downloaded every design App known to man. Every Photoshop brush, plug-in, template and whatever was there. So much stuff was downloaded on these servers and open to every employee. The names were funny too. I wish I could find my notebook but they were like "Images and Light" that has all the software. "RedLight" was one that had all the music and short video clips. We were also given RSA tokens to VPN into the internal network when were-were not at a campus. Thank god I had a couple 80GB hard drives, ok it was probably 20GB but we downloaded so much stuff.


That wasn't the end to the access. Our badges, we discovered, allowed us entry to just about any place we wanted. It was a regular task each day to walk around campus and badge into rooms we clearly knew we had no business to be in. One room, which I know we should not have been allowed into, had a curved wall with the "crazy ones" text and a platform with a computer, monitor, keyboard, and mouse. I have seen this room since then in photographs, it's a staging area of sorts for new, possibly, unannounced products. Here in front of us was the "Quicksilver" Power mac G4 and the accompanying monitor. The quicksilver was announced in July 2001. We noted that this one looked similar but the monitor was, the then unannounced 23-inch display, the Apple Cinema HD, a $3400 display, which by today's standards is pretty crappy but at the time, amazing. We realized quickly that we should get out of there and we didn't push the envelope much after that.


About the file sharing, I don't think anyone at Apple was doing anything that anyone wasn't doing at the time. It was a gray area and I don't think it was malicious. Apple had a software library and still does, where you could go to and take out software and install it. You needed to have that to test bugs and such. This was one area, retail was banned. So to be able to connect to these servers and download stuff was awesome. It wasn't just commercial software either. There was stress test software, there were visualization and graphic software which, in hindsight, was very useful to us at the genius bar. Sadly as more stores opened, the access to the Cupertino network was shut down in about a year. There was a time where I could log into any store by just using standard naming conventions like Managerr016 with the password northshore123 and I was in. Not only that but I could access any stores security cameras using the same name methodology! Good that they shut that down. Funny thing is up till 2014 I, as a genius could log into a managers machine the same way until I told someone at IS&T about the security hole. After I reported that every retail machine had file sharing turned off and all manager accounts had a different password then the store name and 123.

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