Hack - show we use a different term?

Paul Makepeace paulm at paulm.com
Sun Jul 22 15:04:01 BST 2007

On 7/22/07, Jefferson Kirkland <numberwhun at gmail.com> wrote:
> On 7/22/07, Leo Lapworth <leo at cuckoo.org> wrote:
> >
> > The term 'Hack' is used for so many things, some of the computer related
> > ones are:
> >
> > *"Hack* has several meanings in the technology and computer science
> > fields:
> > a clever or quick fix to a computer program problem; a clumsy or inelegant
> > solution to a problem; illegally breaking into a computer, generally over
> > a
> > network connection; or a modification of a program or device to give the
> > user access to features otherwise were unavailable to them." -
> > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hack_%28technology%29
> >
> > The problem I have is whenever I speak to almost anyone not in the
> > technology/computer field they only ever think "illegally breaking into a
> > computer". I got several really confused people asking why the BBC/Yahoo
> > was
> > sponsoring breaking into computers when I said I was going to the
> > "Hackday".
> > I think they had images of hundreds of geeks trying to take down "the man"
> > (who ever he is).
> >
> > Maybe it doesn't matter - but it just got to the point where I'm getting
> > bored explaining it to non-techs. I'm also reading a novel which talks
> > about
> > 'hackers' and 'crackers' and starts defining the difference and then goes
> > on
> > to talk about a 'Whois' (yes, they had the cap W) look up taking so long
> > the
> > egg timer comes up - after having just being told that this was a 'shell'
> > not a GUI - arrg - Why bother trying to explain the details if your going
> > to
> > get it wrong!
> First, let me start with a long distance "Hello!" to everyone as I just
> joined this list from across the pond in the US and this is my first
> posting.

Welcome to London.pm :)

> As for the discussion, I know exactly what you mean about having to
> constantly explain to non-techies what the difference is between what the
> actual definition and practice is compared to the media formed, hyped
> version that they hear about every day.  I truely wish that the media would
> get the word "hack(er)" out of their heads and apply the definition correct
> term of "crack(er)" instead.  It would make all of our geek lives a little
> easier.

Why do you wish for this? It seems like a total waste of time. It will
never happen. You might as well wish for the tide to stay out. I don't
even think many geeks who use the word 'cracker' except to describe
amongst other things a light crispy snack.


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