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RoboCop runs on DOS, Terminator runs on MacOS & Apple II.
It's true. And we've got the screenshots to prove it.
June 04, 2024
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What Operating System would you use to power a lethal android sent from the future… or an awesome, law-enforcement cyborg?

If you said Linux, UNIX, or some sort of Real-Time embedded OS… you’d be wrong.

The answer is... DOS.  And MacOS.  Seriously.

And we have boot screens, from both RoboCop and The Terminator, to prove it.

RoboCop

Part Man.  Part IBM Compatible PC.  All Cop.

In the 1987 classic, RoboCop, the titular cyborg is powered by, you guessed it, DOS.

Want proof? Check out this screengrab from the film where RoboCop is booting up his systems:

I wonder how much RAM RoboCop had...

COMMAND.COM. CONFIG.SYS. An .EXE file.

Yep. There can be no doubt… RoboCop runs DOS.

But… which DOS? MS-DOS? PC-DOS? DR-DOS?

Honestly… it’s darn near impossible to tell based on this screenshot. It’s definitely not FreeDOS (as that was created after RoboCop)… but, otherwise, it could be any of a number of different MS/PC compatible DOS systems.

My money is on PC-DOS. RoboCop just feels like he would be an IBM guy. The guys that built RoboCop did wear neck ties, after all.

The Terminator

Wonder if the T-800 could play Oregon Trail...

In 1984's "The Terminator", Arnold Schwarzenegger -- I mean... the T-800 -- was sent back in time.  From 2029 to 1984.

Which begs the question: What Operating System would a robot be running in 2029?

Let's find out!

A frame from Terminator (1984)

That, right there, is from the point of view of the T-800 model Terminator. You’ll note the 6502 Assembly code on the screen… including comments! This is clearly taken from software intended to run on an Apple II.

So the T-800 was a 6502 powered Apple II.  Most likely powered by Apple DOS 3.3 (as that was the most widely used version).

Now.  To answer the question that is, obviously, on your mind: Yes.  The T-800 Terminator could run Oregon Trail.

But, what about other Terminator models?

Terminator 3 - Rise of the System Extentions

Back in 2003, we saw the third installment of the Terminator franchise: “Terminator 3 - Rise of the Machines”.

In the third movie, Schwarzenegger plays a T-101 model Terminator -- specifically a "Cyber Research Systems Model 101 Series 850 Infiltration-Combat Unit" -- sent from the future (naturally).

What software is powering the T-101?  Luckily, at one point during the film, he needs to reboot. And we are treated to a very brief shot of the boot status screen.

> RESTART

At first glance, this appears to be just a mess of barely decipherable computer techno-jargon. But, if I can direct your attention to the lower left side of the “RESTART” screen, you’ll notice some recognizable items…

ENHANCE!

Well looky here...

What's that I see?

“QUICKTIME PLAYER”?

“CONTROL STRIP”?

Wait just a second! What we have here are the names of Extensions of classic Mac OS (the pre-OS X stuff)! And “ODBC Setup PPC” is a classic MacOS control panel for PPC based Macs!

But, what version -- exactly -- of Mac OS would robots of the future use to power their most lethal fighting machines? Well. There’s one clue that helps to narrow it down:

“KEYCHAIN ACCESS”.

The “Keychain” functionality of Mac OS was added in MacOS 8.6. Meaning that the version of MacOS being booted on this T-101 Terminator would need to be between MacOS 8.6 and MacOS 9.2.2 (the very last version before Apple completely discontinued the classic Mac system).

In other news, if you hooked a T-101 Terminator up to a monitor, and plugged in a keyboard and mouse (I’m assuming there’s an ADB or USB port on him somewhere)… this is likely what you would get:

This is what the desktop of a futuristic killing machine looks like.

In summary:

  • RoboCop runs DOS.
  • The original Terminator is built on a 6502 based Apple II.
  • The Terminator model from Terminator 3 runs MacOS 8.6 on a PowerPC architecture.

One thing is crystal clear: SkyNet is an Apple fan.

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My-oh-my.  Another wild week at The Lunduke Journal!  It all kicked off with a live video commentary of Apple's WWDC keynote (which was banned by YouTube, but still available at the links below), then quickly moves to Mozilla and Open Source AI.

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The CIA, NSA, and Pokémon Go

Back in July of 2016, I wrote a short article for Network World entitled “The CIA, NSA, and Pokémon Go."

While the title was certainly viewed as a bit “over the top” and “conspiracy theorist-y”, it was really just a collection of (in my opinion, rather bizarre) facts that – even without any sinister connection – were worth documenting. I am republishing it here, with some additional (increasingly odd) details added at the end (including radio and TV appearances related to this article).

Some of the details relating to the exact permissions and capabilities of the Pokémon application have changed over the last few years… but everything else remains correct, factual, and up to date.

 


 

The CIA, NSA, and Pokémon Go

With Pokémon Go currently enjoying, what I would call, a wee-bit-o-success, now seems like a good time to talk about a few things people may not know about the world's favorite new smartphone game.

This is not an opinion piece. I am not going to tell you Pokémon Go is bad or that it invades your privacy. I’m merely presenting verifiable facts about the biggest, most talked about game out there.

Let’s start with a little history

Way back in 2001, Keyhole, Inc. was founded by John Hanke (who previously worked in a “foreign affairs” position within the U.S. government). The company was named after the old “eye-in-the-sky” military satellites. One of the key, early backers of Keyhole was a firm called In-Q-Tel.

In-Q-Tel is the venture capital firm of the CIA. Yes, the Central Intelligence Agency. Much of the funding purportedly came from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). The NGA handles combat support for the U.S. Department of Defense and provides intelligence to the NSA and CIA, among others.

Keyhole’s noteworthy public product was “Earth.” Renamed to “Google Earth” after Google acquired Keyhole in 2004.

In 2010, Niantic Labs was founded (inside Google) by Keyhole’s founder, John Hanke.

Over the next few years, Niantic created two location-based apps/games. The first was Field Trip, a smartphone application where users walk around and find things. The second was Ingress, a sci-fi-themed game where players walk around and between locations in the real world.

In 2015, Niantic was spun off from Google and became its own company. Then Pokémon Go was developed and launched by Niantic. It’s a game where you walk around in the real world (between locations suggested by the service) while holding your smartphone.

Data the game can access

Let’s move on to what information Pokémon Go has access to, bearing the history of the company in mind as we do.

When you install Pokémon Go on an Android phone, you grant it the following access (not including the ability to make in-app purchases):

Identity

  • Find accounts on the device

Contacts

  • Find accounts on the device

Location

  • Precise location (GPS and network-based)

  • Approximate location (network-based)

Photos/Media/Files

  • Modify or delete the contents of your USB storage

  • Read the contents of your USB storage

Storage

  • Modify or delete the contents of your USB storage

  • Read the contents of your USB storage

Camera

  • Take pictures and videos

Other

  • Receive data from the internet

  • Control vibration

  • Pair with Bluetooth devices

  • Access Bluetooth settings

  • Full network access

  • Use accounts on the device

  • View network connections

  • Prevent the device from sleeping

Based on the access to your device (and your information), coupled with the design of Pokémon Go, the game should have no problem discerning and storing the following information (just for a start):

  • Where you are

  • Where you were

  • What route you took between those locations

  • When you were at each location

  • How long it took you to get between them

  • What you are looking at right now

  • What you were looking at in the past

  • What you look like

  • What files you have on your device and the entire contents of those files

I’m not going to tell people what they should think of all this.

I’m merely presenting the information. I recommend looking over the list of what data the game has access to, then going back to the beginning of this article and re-reading the history of the company.

Update: April 14th, 2020

In March of 2017, a little less than a year after this article was originally published, WikiLeaks released what they called “Vault 7." A series of documents that was purported to be a large leak of CIA related documents focused heavily on hacking and electronic surveillance.

Among those documents was a list of code names, descriptions, and various details around Android specific exploits.

Of the code names listed… almost a third of them were Pokémon names. Between that and the CIA investment (via In-Q-Tel) in Niantic (the company behind Pokémon Go)… I mean, that's just a heck of a lot more Pokémon than one would expect from the CIA.

One other little tidbit:

The original CEO of In-Q-Tel was a man named Gilman Louie. Louie received multiple awards for his work with In-Q-Tel - including CIA Agency Seal Medallions, Director's Award by the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and Director of National Intelligence Medallion – which included investing in Keyhole.

Louie now sits on the board of directors of Niantic.

In 2019 alone, Pokémon Go earned $1.4 Billion (USD). As of February 2019, the game had been downloaded over One Billion times.

Update: June 15th, 2024

After this article was originally published, back in 2016, I made a few radio guest appearances to talk about it -- my favorites being for Coast to Coast AM and Fade to Black.  Both of which remain available online.

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The show was originally titled "The Unexplained".  But the name was changed to "Breaking Mysterious"... and, later, "The Unexplained" title was used for an entirely different show, hosted by William Shatner.

 

Yup.  The video editors for the History Channel spelled my name wrong.  (It's with a Y!  A Y, I say!)

 

Sitting in a park.  Dropping truth bombs about surveillance on the show host, Jimmy Church.

 

Giving the show's host "The Look".
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... or simply don't know what we did, but it works.  It's "the algorithm".

 

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"Backend Developer"

 

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