No idea who this was, but thanks for the heads up! I still had port 8081 blocked on my VPS. It works now!
Also you've gotta press Ctrl-A, Ctrl-X (the Picocom kill command) to release the session! Telnet's not smart enough to know you've killed the session in some other way.
"I appreciate SDF but it's a general-purpose server and the name doesn't make it obvious that it's about art." - Eugen Rochko