The Sex and Cash Theory for Programmers

Will the First Hacker in The Room Please Turn the Lights Back On?

16. March 2009 03:53 by Scott in   //  Tags: , , , , , , ,   //   Comments (3)

Before I go into detail I must define a few things:

Hacker - is a person who heavily modifies the software or hardware of their computer system. It includes building, rebuilding, modifying and creating software (software cracking, demo scene) and electronic hardware (hardware hacking, modding) either to make it better, faster, give added features or to make it do something it was never intended to do. Hobby hacking originated around the MITS Altair.

Computer Hobbyist - A person who tinkered with computers and built new hardware, operating systems and even word processors.

What ever happened to the Computer Hobbyist?

Computer Hobbyists are still around, but they are now called Hackers. In the 60's, 70's, 80's and even in the 90's there a group of people who lived on IRC and bulletin boards.  Apple was started by them and they had an anti-IBM sentiment.  Years later most of the "old school" computer hobbyist gave up their pursuits and they complained about the big companies and big business revolution that has taken over.  The hobby was getting too expensive to keep tinkering with computers.  Things were changing every 18 months or so and that was just too rapid for most.  This was in the period of about 1985 through 1992 when you needed to buy another desktop computer every 18 months.  Most hobbyist bailed out during that time just because it was too expensive.  The reason they havn't returned to the scene was that programming was turning into a nightmare.  It would now take a full time commitment and most programming languages needed schooling as well.  So they left the scene back around 1992.  Sad time, but times; they are changing. Programming is getting easier.  Code is getting easier to write and now hackers are making modifications to hardware.  Instead of creating it, they are now modding it.

 

Hackers have now taken up the slack as the computer hobbyists have fallen off.  Its the changing of the guard.  Computer Hobbyist seemed to have turn out the lights in the room and now the lights are back on and in full swing. PC Magazine has fallen off the shelves.  They should be reinventing them selves for the new hacker sub culture thats coming into play. Hackers these days can be found deep in their cave working on the next software modification.  They work on software and on hardware.  They are thriving and making up for lost time.  These days, hackers are known to create new startups.  These start ups will be the Apple of tomorrow. Apple was once started as a hobby and now there are many companies forming around software and hardware innovation.  Hackers are now the innovators of software and hardware.  Look them up.  A large portion of them can be found on a site like Hacker News.


Photo by Yodel Anecdotal

So if your wondering where the last computer hobbyist went.  You don't have to look very far.  They are the new guard and will hopefully make the old Computer Hobbyists proud.

Posted in response to Will the last Computer Hobbyist Please turn out the lights?

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The Hackers of the Past

28. January 2009 03:54 by Scott in   //  Tags: , , ,   //   Comments (12)

The Hackers of the past are a dwindling group of people.  The hackers of the future have a bright journey ahead of them.  The whole culture behind a hacker has shifted and is evolving over time.  The new culture is taking over a dwindling past time.  Phrack and 2600 both talk about the hacking underground changing and morphing.  They both don't see the light at the end of the tunnel, but I will to show them a new tunnel.  The hacking underground is still alive and well, but in a different format.  Hackers of the past were for freedom of information and to some, open source software stated by Richard Stallman.  Both Phrack and 2600 are looking for new outs and ins.  They both talk about how hackers have left the underground and joined the computer security job.  While security is important, it has basically ripped through the underground and taken a big chomp out of its culture.  No one knows how long the underground will stay active and they are of course looking for another course of action, but who will provide?  At this moment, there could be three type of hackers in the world.

The first type of hacker is your old school underground hacker.  It isn't your script kiddies, but the ones of the past.  The kind of hackers that ethically or unethically broke into computer systems for the freedom of information. To open the world to more information.  This is the hacker of the past.  The underground hackers still exist today, but their culture is falling to the floor with its last foot on the step. I hope to revive the culture in the coming years.

The second type of hackers are the ever failing computer security hackers.  This type of guy left the underground years ago to earn some money for doing what they love.  These hackers, left a large gaping void in the underground culture and have stopped the true ideal of a hacker.  They no longer hack.  They now prey on the underground for security secrets to divulge to the world.  About 6 months ago, a huge flaw was found in the basic dns of computers.  It was the security hacker who released the flaw before it was patched.  It was the security hacker who put the entire world at risk just for a little more publicity.  Why does this type of hacker need the publicity?  Because their jobs are turning into nothing.  They are losing work, though staying very busy, they are no longer having as much fun as they were sitting in front of a computer at 3am in the morning working on the next system and show them it has a flaw to the world.

 


Taken by Ted Percival

 

The third type of hacker has been around for years and years.  It was supposedly started back in the 1950's with amateur radio enthusiasts.  Looking for a new way to improve performance, which they coined the term hacking.  They have come from MIT in 1959, Stewart Brand in 1972 when he publishes SpaceWar.  It was made popular around 1982 when Tron and WarGames came out.  The third type of hacker is the hobbyst.  The guy that goes home after working a 9-5 job and working on some piece of software or hardware.  This is what hacking and the culture has turned into.  The type of person that enjoys solving real world problems.  The person that might choose to make a few bucks with their new gadget they just created or release it to the open source market which Richard Stallman and the creator of Linux Linus Torvalds strive for.  The term hacking has even morphed and created user groups such as Ycombinator and Hacking News.

The culture has changed a bit, but the underlying ethical ideals are still their.  Open up to the world. The Homebrew Computer Club started it all, hackers of the underground kept it going and now hackers of the future will have continued the legacy.  The security consultants though, will die off as the software of the future hackers get better.

The computer and the idea of software engineering is still in its infancy.  We have yet to see what new changes can be made, but I do know this.  The culture changes, but the ethics remain the same.

Which type of hacker were you?  Do you feel upset by this culture change?

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Found Hacker news

1. October 2008 20:13 by Scott in   //  Tags:   //   Comments (1)

I found a website a few days ago that is very credible to things like Digg and technorati.  Its called Hacker news and is offered by YCombinator.com which is a nest for startups. Hacker news is a very narrowed view of haaackers who work all day to hack away at jobs.  The site is pretty simple in its design, but looks extremely valuable to the person looking to use the NITCH developer community.

 It also uses Open ID which is great so I don't have to register and remember yet another password.

Website can be found here.

Thanks for reading.

Scott

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