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Ice Shaman’s History

Posted by htsbackup on December 9, 2007

I would not call this my side of the story, I do not claim this account to be unbiased nor do I guarantee the accuracy of
the piece. This is purely from my own memory and perspective of the events.

The Early Days
--------------

My memory has never lasted more than a couple of years for important events so unfortunately most of what happened is lost
to me. What I do remember is first being shown HTS which at that time was in the early beta stages by a friend who was
on another chat relating to hacking challenges. He got me account which I played around with until the development was
finished. I cannot recall if the next events happened soon after or many months after but I do remember visiting the IRC
which was at this time run by archaios. WolfSage was an active developer at the time as well as someone whose name I forget,
alas it'll come eventually. 

The site at the time was orientated towards the challenges and the community in an educational manner. That is to say I do
not remember any specific emphasis on hacktivist activities or any MAJOR political goings on at HTS. There may have been 
but I was not aware of them if they were.

After hanging around in the IRC channel for awhile I decided to put myself forward for a vote as a moderator of the site,
at this time votes were being held with the regular meetings on the IRC. I was voted in and did moderator duties for
an unknown period. The next major event was the effective collapse of the server. A temporary host was provided by
The_Anarchist and I took part in transferring the site, which without shell access meant using a crude PHP script to
import the database a piece at a time. The work was eventually completed and I was given access to the server.

The Middle
----------

The next events collided with several other things in my life and with such a poor memory for such things I, in all
honesty, cannot remember the order or the timeframe of what happened, so I shall just like them.

* At some point I took a leading roll on the IRC, I cannot remember the circumstances only archaios had decided to quit.
I believe I put mele in joint command, she later betrayed my trust and deleted everything leading up to WolfSage who
became her replacement. He later moved on to other things.

* The server changed more than once, as I recall we moved from The_Anarchist's server to a server provided by ikari
at some point. The server, unless I was mistaken, was hosted cheaply with a banner add on the site for the provider,
which was related to mooing and cows. They later kicked us off, but that is a later story.

* Site development proceeded leading up to mysef ikari and buz along with other names from the past in part, creating
HTSv3. A new, slick version of HTS integrated into the Invision forums system. Afterwards both buz and ikari eventually
moved on. Of course during this time many events happened any many people came and went, but as this is not meant to be
concise and I cannot remember the details I will omit them.

* Around this time the major trouble came with several hacks (DARE?) as well as the ProtestWarrior incident. I will not
venture down the path of describing my account of the events. I name no names or draw any conclusions from what happened.

At some point it was decided to use Google Ads with questionable legality as \alive owned the domain they were designated
for, not HTS. Either way we obtained a large quantity of money. Where this money went is a story in itself, suffice to
say it was not in any great way (as of yet) used to fund the server. Unfortunately thinking our luck would last and
at the time being in desperate need for a server, we decided to take one up at a highly reputable provider which allowed
our content and IRC. Thus the HTS server was resident on theplanet. The hosts were friendly with good support, the server
was awesome although expensive. It was originally setup by ikari, and then by skopii followed by archaios with Linux
and FreeBSD OS's respectively. While this was going on HTSv4 entered development for the evolution of HTS and many grand
plans were discussed at length. IRC affairs settled with the eventual governing of it left to Custodis and his team. Also,
the forums moved to their own domain and administration with several admins, starting with Mcaster and Brett now with nyko
and later WhiteAcid. The forums run irrespective of HTS although they are part of the collective. As for the Google money,
it was not received and so when the funds were insufficient, I made up the difference for several months out of my
own pocket. I will not discuss the exact number but it was a lot, but I didn't mind as I felt progress would be made and
that things would look up when it arrived.

The Near Past
-------------

(These detail events which coincide with the above, which means there is some overlap)

Archaios returned to staff and as always, Jeremy was around but with a more erratic timescale and an increasing devotion
towards other related projects such as hacktivist and hackbloc. My opinion on these matters in no way, I will just mention
several arguments and fights broke out surrounding them and IRC as a whole. Things were a mess with staff leaving and
people who should know better playing games they shouldn't be. This did nothing to help the community but as I lack the
details I won't go into any depth.

HTSv4 was making poor progress with a lack of motivation for the coders after the initial burst. Kage was the designated
coordinator of the project but hardly any coding was done for an extended period. 

IRC was functioning in its own way with Custodis at the helm, I didn't take much notice, IRC was never a very productive
environment I found and so my interest began and wane. 

The site itself had come to a standstill development wise with myself engaged in HTSv4 hoping it could be released
promptly. False hope? I cannot say, I still believe the project has potential if people care enough.

Current affairs
---------------

Recently I decided to depart from IRC for all intents and purposes. I felt it was not achieving very much and effectively
wasting my increasingly valuable time. My results were not as good as one could have hoped and to stand any chance of
being given an offer for Cambridge, I knew I had to put other things on the backseat.

I had always planned to fade out of HTS, I had tried to delegate positions among the group so different people were 
running everything. I know my critics keep maintaining I was some evil dictator, but I still haven't heard much evidence
of that from them. As far as I am concerned Custodis is in charge of the functioning of the IRC. WhiteAcid and nyko run
the forums, I do not take an active role in the maintenance of them, I just paid for the license. As for the main site, 
html looked after that herself, without a doubt the person I always trusted above all others at HTS. So, flame me if you
will, I did what I thought was best in this regard and only focused my attention to HTSv4 and new challenges.

Recently, archaios and I attempted to put together the beginnings of shell challenges, in a hackerslab format but for the
HTS audience. It was and still is a fantastic idea. The problem was for security, we really needed to run the system
inside of a VM and to be candid, nothing worked properly on FreeBSD. 

Archaios said it would only function properly with
Linux which has a now mature UML technology that resemble FreeBSD jails but offers greater flexibility and security. I was
swung by this and permitted the move of the server OS to Linux as archaios promised he would sort out the jails and the
setup of the box if ScriptBlue put the main OS on. 

The move was a disaster to put not too finer point on it. The main issues were booting an installer for Linux which
proved almost impossible without outside help. As well as the backup drive which contained an image of the entire
FreeBSD system was lost. After numerous setbacks and delays I we also found out all the websites had been lost on the
other backup drive, luckily they were recovered later. Other setbacks ensues and I gave up hope after a 4 day setup
was still stalling after 4 weeks. I had had enough, I was too busy to be waiting on people, especially seen as the 4
weeks delay effectively wasted $300 of my money with a threat to do the same the next month. I decided enough was enough
and to give both archaios and ScriptBlue one week to get their act together before I pulled the funding and left them
to their own devices. Maybe this was a rash decision; the fact is I was majorly pissed at the lack of work and the fact
ScriptBlue was appearing just too lazy to actually do what was required of him. At the time the box was completely broken
with no way to access it due to stdin being completely disabled and the backup kernel being somehow deleted. de ja vu? 
Basically, a week passed and when I asked ScriptBlue for a progress update:

[17:24] WUTANGICE 2k1: is it finished
[17:24] scriptblue: no                  
[17:25] scriptblue: I'm redoing the box      

This made me effectively snap, after wasting my money on a server move where now it seems, after 5 weeks, nothing was
achieved with work being completely redone. I'd also like to point out archaios bailed on the project completely due to
him having box issues at home and work. Whereas I do understand his position to an extent I was still royally pissed that
after PROMISING to do this he now left me in a position where I couldn't go back, and finishing it seemed to be an
unattainable goal. So I gave up. I decided to pull the funding from the server, with a bill due in a matter of days, which
I did not intend on paying. This leaves a predicament seen as it was clear from previous months that nobody obvious would
help with funding the server and there wasn't enough time to call for donations. So I thought the best idea was to back
everything up and call for the server to be cancelled as I would not be paying for it and it was registered in my name.

A part of my felt I was turning my back on HTS and it was a bad thing, I love HTS but I was seeing with the passing months
that less and less people were contributing, silly fights were happening between forums, IRC and other sites as well as
tempers flaring constantly. At the time I wanted nothing more to do with HTS, I was pissed to fuck people were doing
nothing to help as a whole and most the activity resembling IRC shit fights.

Looking back, I concede I made a rash decision, well, the server issues are quite big, even with the very latest ideas
it's still unfeasible it can be afforded without my support. The Google money is still a grey area and HTS has no great
source of income. I believe other members can pool together and make something of the site and community. It is up to
everyone to regain the old spirit. 

As for myself, I will eventually quit for good, I decided this possibly 2 years ago. Nothing lasts forever. Quitting
just yet seems to be an unwise choice, but I still will keep away from IRC and keep out of the way of Forums
administration. As for the server, I'm sure as a collective this can be worked out to the interests of HTS. I still
maintain that a focus has to be given to the community and missions before hacktivist, but as long as things look up
it is of no great importance. I hope to see the shell challenges coming to life, I am prepared to help with this. I will
also hopefully sort out the affairs of HTSv4 and set it on track, I believe it to be imperative that it gets completed. 
Obviously coordination and coders are needed, but I'm sure something will come up.

On a final note, to stop the rumours let me say, I stopped funding the server for several reasons, either way I have been
paying the bills for several months and it really is my decision alone whether I want to continue to do that or not. I
have opted not to, what happens now is up to SS who is continuing the funding. As for deleting HTS, this is plain wrong,
the forums are now hosted elsewhere and all the old sites are backed up on the HTS server and by myself. They are not
lost or gone or anything like that. Finally, people might not agree with my choice but really, it was the only one I
could have given the circumstances, I gave a final offer to continue my financial support of the site if work was
completed as at the end of the day, time wasted was my money wasted. The work was not completed so I cut the funding.
Nothing personal, just basic business. As to removing things from Custodis' server, I maintain the HTS temporary site
was just that, lots of content was missing/broken and the SQL database was basically impossible to import back anyway
so all changes would have been lost. By making it clear my intentions it got the right people to wake up and realise
they were going to have to do something if they wanted the site to live in. I never wanted to kill HTS, obviously, and
if nobody would have decided to step in and help I would have looked into temporary hosting. As it stands people did come
forward and have offered their services, so we'll just have to see.

This is all there is for now, possibly I will go back and update with other events that have happened, the current
account is remarkably brief considering all that has happened. Like I say, my roll in HTS is not as active as it once
was and I hold no grudges against any of the staff, despite all that has come to pass.

2 Responses to “Ice Shaman’s History”

  1. Kisara said

    I don’t know if you’ll get this message SS, but regardless of what anyone says, you were the best admin and in my opinion you’ll never be ‘the bad guy’.

    I’m on your side all the way.

  2. daedlanth said

    The vaporizing cash has continued into the future BTW. After all has been said and done Xec’s focus on hacktivism basically ended his life behind bars. The whole thing is just sad IMO. Ice, you always were good to me, no complaints here. I hope you are doing well.

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