Maniac arrived..

I had moved a table into place, displacing a large amount of junk, hopefully temporarily. We situated the hardware, hooked up the various boxes, and LAN hub. He had brought his UPS, although I doubt it has served any practical purpose, It gave a chance to show off new hardware. I moved my machine, we still tried to find John. No luck (so far). NIC installed, plugged in, and after briefly tweaking with Windows a bit, the bits began to flow.


John's coming, just got off work. Returning home. It has begun to rain. Hard. We then realize we have quite a problem. The boxes have been moved into a central room, but now can't reach the phone jack wired into the data line. No Problem! We'll just couple two lines together and stretch into the other room. Hmm.. not long enough. Call John, tell him to bring the longest cable he has. (he forgets).

We carry John's computer in from the pouring rain very quickly. Shuttle it downstairs. And so the jungle of cables grows, gonna be hard to untangle in the morning, but don't worry about that now. Hook, twist, adjust, plug, we work like dedicated drones. We made a deal with my brother, he will join, and provide an extra phone cord.

Disaster you always remember in slow motion. "Slide that UPS back some so I can move my tower under the table some more..". I comply.. then.. clicks.. sparks... I can hear the power supply clicking on and off.. The alarm on the UPS sounds... "Weeep! Weep! Wep!".. I have the quickness of mind to nab the cord from my box.. try to shut off my surge protector.. but sparks are coming from it.. "Don't get electrocuted!" I think. Power finally is shut off. Smoke rises under the table.. "What happened?!?" Smell of burnt plastic..

The aftermath leaves us puzzled, but we still pickup the pieces. Everything is ok, almost.. John's computer won't turn on.. It suffered the brunt of the incident.. still not sure why it happened. We HOPE it's just the power supply. John's pissed as hell. "We'll, just fuck me up the ass with a chainsaw", he comments. Huh.. we'll now we're down a computer.. with all its Athlon ass- kicking video card glory. Have an old crappy laptop, hook that up. Total count, three middle aged systems, one old as heck laptop.
Lessons learned from this:
  • Don't daisy chain together multiple power strips to one UPS, and power four full systems off it.
  • Don't plug this one UPS into an outlet with wiring exposed
Situation normalized.. Just the power supply went.. we hope...

On the plus side, the phone problem was resolved.. Have daisy chained the line through the following devices, in this order (from jack).
  • Coupling
  • Caller ID box
  • An old, burned out modem
  • Surge protector
  • UPS
Then proxied out to the network. "What pisses me off," observes Maniac, "is that I'm getting way better baud then at home."

Oh, apparently we lost a network card too, mine, in fact. Odd it would nail just that device, and Just mine. But hey, we had a spare, and they only cost $20, so no big crisis.

Around 11 pm, we finally get a game of Starcraft going. Yay! John's still pissed..

Still going, as I write this...

Where I used to work, we had a daily ritual LAN party. We would be out in user land working on some random problem when the scratchy signal would come across the walkie-talkies: the hunt had begun.

Hasty excuses were given to the users as we ducked back to our offices, tripped off the lights, fumbled our passwords into our screensavers and started Quake. A few minutes of searching the local network and the server was found. Look at that! The server is running from the Network Manager's machine . . . again. No wonder that no one complains about the load.

Twenty seconds seem an eternity as you hear screams of success already coming from down the hall. I wonder what they think of the noise in the open lab? Come on. Come on. This is taking forever. Finally connected!

Hmm. Fifteen players. So-and-so must be out sick today. Call them at home. Frag the boss. Damn that felt good. Dive for the rocket launcher. Boom! Boom! Get fragged by an office mate. Frag them back. New players join . . . fresh meat. Hmm. So-and-so wasn't sick enough to stay in bed. No big surprise.

Get fragged by the boss. Damn, he's good! How much does he play?

Odd, that's a new handle. We must have a new employee. Introductions with a nail gun!

Boom! Gak! Frag! The afternoon disappears into a flurry of pixellated blood.

We never had problems with employee morale until they made us stop.

The scouts taught you to expect the unexpected, but when dealing with a LAN Parte` you have to expect more than that. Expect the unexpected, the unlikely, and most of all what seems to be the impossible!

Most of all remember to have fun for the duration of the party! You can worry about repairing your now semi-destroyed house later.

The huge LAN on the picture ( is The Gathering 99, arranged every easter. It is, in fact, the world's largest temporary Local Area Network. Their upper limit is 4500, with crew there are about 5000 people in the arena.

The arena, by the way, is located outside Hamar, Norway.

The Gathering is not primarily a gaming party, although it has become more of that lately. The demo scene does also gather at The Gathering, and their excellent productions make the party memorable.

For the 2001 version of the party, they sold 2500 tickets in less than 24 hours. Black market tickets at the major online auction houses are now at three times the real price - and they have 1500 normal tickets left to sell (they just haven't done so yet).

The feeling of being at The Gathering is amazing! 4500 people in 120 hours (that is 5 days and nights)...

lamer = L = language lawyer

LAN party /lan par'tee/

An event to which several users bring their boxes and hook them up to a common LAN (Local Area Network), often for the purpose of playing multiplayer computer games, especially action games such as Quake or Unreal Tournament. This is also a good venue for people to show-off their fancy new hardware. Such events can get pretty large, several hundred people attend the annual QuakeCon in Texas. The theoretical rationale behind LAN parties is that playing over the Internet often introduces too much lag in the playing experience - but just as important is the special quality of trash-talking each other across the room while playing, and the instinctive social ritual of consuming vast amounts of food and drink together.

--The Jargon File version 4.3.1, ed. ESR, autonoded by rescdsk.

Lan Parties are one of the most interesting phenomena to pop up in recent years.

Basically, the essence of a Lan Party consists of multiple computers, a massive tangle of category 5 wire, a hub or switch or a mix of both, a few or more people, and computer games those people play - typically competing against or with each other. Of course, other things - such as adequate power, air conditioning, refreshments, and prizes for tourneys - are nice to have, but by no means a necessity.

Of course, the nature of these parties varies wildly. There are small house parties, where groups of friends will get together to chill and play a few games... There are also some commercial lans like WasteLan and Quake Con that draw many, many more with the promise of sanctioned competitions and tournaments, food and drink, and all the other things smaller parties might have. Many illegal activities also occur at these parties - from the downloading and trading of much warez and minors exposing each other to gratuitous pr0n. Fortiounately, the media hasn't cracked down on these harmless gatherings, but we all saw what happened to the rave scene...

Anyone else see echos of yesterday? Lets hope violent games and pr0n don't become the evil threat to our 'innocent children' that drugs like acid and Extacy have.

Imagine not being able to attend a 'public event whereby attendees attach their personal computers to a computer network' after 3AM or something... Methinks I'm paranoid.


A LAN Party, as defined by myself, is any gathering of two or more people (usually more) and their respective computers wonderful, extraordinary, powerful, incredible, exceptional notebooks and desktops, for the sole purpose of playing computer games. No, not Freecell. No, not Solitaire. Yes, definitely Starcraft, and Warcraft, and Unreal Tournament, and Quake, and Age Of Empires, and Age Of Mythology, and Rise Of Nations, and Halo... First-person shooter and real-time strategy games.

What you must have at a homemade LAN party:

  • One mouse 'n' keyboard set per computer.
  • One set of headphones/mics per computer.
  • One cat5 cable, or similar data communication cable, per computer.
  • One hub for all the computers.
  • Powerade, or similar energy/sports drink. (Yeah, yeah, Red Bull will do.)
  • TEH CHIPEZ!!!1! I cannot stress enough the importance of chips at a LAN party. They keep you awake so well.
  • Money for pizza.
  • On that note: the ability to stay awake for upwards of sixteen hours. Yes. Sixteen hours.
  • Underarm antiperspirant deodorant. Trust me.
  • Pillow. Also trust me. It's not a good idea to be sleeping on the floor without a pillow.
  • Starcraft. Vital. I learned that lesson at the first LAN party I hosted.
  • Other FPS and RTS games. NO! NOT RPGS!!! GOD NO!
  • A DVD or three. In case you get severely bored with the games. (In which case, shame on you!!!)
  • Luck.

What would be a very good idea to bring, but isn't necessarily obligatory:

  • People. Who should ideally bring their own computers.

What you should avoid bringing at all costs:

  • Booze. Yes. It seriously affects your ability to play, and hence you start losing games badly. I've never fallen victim to this one, but I've heard stories.
  • Drugs. Same reason. Playing a good RTS is like driving a car. You need good hearing and peripheral vision just in case your army's getting attacked from the left, right and centre.
  • D&D. Too addictive. You'll never get a game of Starcraft in.
  • Music Music is OK, but I've struck it out because some people tend not to like it. I like hearing a little Logic Bomb while I'm LAN partying. (Ooh yeah. Go that psytrance.)

these things can be a LOT OF FUN if one makes an effort. it can also mean MAJOR BRAGGING RIGHTS if you happen to rule teh awesum at starcraft. and perhaps age of empires. but enough of that.

If you're a computer geek, it is pretty much mandatory to at least attend one of these beauties. Do it. Seriously. Like I said, it is a lot of fun. I know because I've been to 2: one of Deejah's and one of mine. And yes, I actually won some games.

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