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What attributes are required to be eventually be labeled a hacker?

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  • #16
    Re: What attributes are required to be eventually be labeled a hacker?

    I think the one question needed to be asked to determine hackernessis "Do you know the secret handshake?" :)

    I actually have a specific set of questions that I use to explain to people what drives us.

    1. When you were a kid, did you take apart the vacuum cleaner (or other appliance)?

    2. Did you put it back together?

    3. Did it work when you put it back together?

    4. Where there parts left over?

    5. Did it work *better* after you put it back together?

    6. Did you plan for it to work better?

    7. Did you get caught by an authority figure?

    8. Have you done the same thing as an adult (re-ask the same questions)?

    These questions usually give a great deal of insight to Joe Average as they can relate to when they were kids wreaking havoc on things to find out how they worked. Contrast that with the same questions about themselves nowadays where everyone is worried about safety and warranties, and you see the light bulb go off where they realize that hackers never lost that curiosity and wonder at the world and how it works.

    It works for just about anything a kid usually does that involves imagination and not accepting limits, be it their own or artificial societal ones (think about anything that a kid does with a cardboard box as a substitute for the new hot toy).
    Never drink anything larger than your head!





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    • #17
      Re: What attributes are required to be eventually be labeled a hacker?

      There is just a hacker mentality that has to be there. You need to be able to look at a situation and instantly find the weakness in it. It's not accepting the facts as they are given to you. It's not being a sheep. It's not about asking if the glass is half full or half empty, but asking what's in the glass, how much does the glass hold, how far can you drop the glass before it breaks, how big of a fire could you put out with the liquid in the glass, and how fast could I drink the liquid if I find out it's beer. It's really about keeping your eyes open and more importantly your mind open. Sure, hackers need skills, but you can learn those. I've found the "Hacker Mentality" is something you either have, or you don't.

      Here is a quote from Wallace Wang (Author of "Steal this computer book")
      A hacker is someone who thinks, questions assumptions, and then looks for the truth, whatever that might be. Given two people studying identical sets of facts, you’re likely to come up with two different interpretations of the “truth,” but the point is that each person will have arrived at their conclusions themselves without mindlessly accepting what someone else has taught them. Hacking isn’t just about searching for the truth but also realizing you may be completely wrong after you think you’ve already found the answer.

      Applying the hacker mentality to computers, hackers simply go against assumptions and find ways to exploit them in unexpected ways. Nobody thought that sharing Microsoft Word documents could be dangerous, until someone thought about creating a virus that could run within a Word document’s macro language. No one thought that free e-mail would be a problem until spammers started flooding the Internet with advertising. Like it or not, hackers look for ways to exploit what’s right in front of them, but whether you like what they do depends on whether you benefit from it or not in some way.

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      • #18
        Re: What attributes are required to be eventually be labeled a hacker?

        Black clothes, black hair, shitty attitude, cyber-bully, socially awkward, poor IRL communications, and rollerblades!

        *kidding*

        Who cares about labels. Do what you do, have fun!

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        • #19
          Re: What attributes are required to be eventually be labeled a hacker?

          Originally posted by telemonster View Post
          Black clothes, black hair, shitty attitude, cyber-bully, socially awkward, poor IRL communications, and rollerblades!

          *kidding*

          Who cares about labels. Do what you do, have fun!
          So, your answer is: indifference to labels

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          • #20
            Re: What attributes are required to be eventually be labeled a hacker?

            Originally posted by TheCotMan View Post
            So, your answer is: indifference to labels
            Yep, pretty much.

            You will find the term "hacker" means different things to different people. Whoever is trying to define it will be sure to include themselves in their definition. There are hacker "generations" and each generation is different.

            Greybeards will claim that true hackers HAD to be there at MIT back in the day. They will claim the true hackers cut their teeth on a PDP-8 or PDP-11.

            Then came the original phone phreaks, the microcomputer revolution.

            Then came the bulletin boards, the warez scene, art scene, phreaking kicked up a notch, HPAV.

            Then came the internet-only, web-ified people.

            I'm sure there are more in-between. At some point true crime crept into the young middle class white kid's playground.

            To meet the definition to all people would be a real challenge.

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            • #21
              Re: What attributes are required to be eventually be labeled a hacker?

              You own more than one Intel Bunny Person Doll. I own 3. So I guess that means if you are a hacker you play with dolls.

              xor
              Just because you can doesn't mean you should. This applies to making babies, hacking, and youtube videos.

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              • #22
                Re: What attributes are required to be eventually be labeled a hacker?

                Originally posted by xor View Post
                You own more than one Intel Bunny Person Doll. I own 3. So I guess that means if you are a hacker you play with dolls.

                xor
                I own the entire cast of Buffy in doll form...

                Just sayin...

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                • #23
                  Re: What attributes are required to be eventually be labeled a hacker?

                  Here is the "tree falls in the forest" argument":

                  Are you still a hacker if no feds know your name?

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                  • #24
                    Re: What attributes are required to be eventually be labeled a hacker?

                    Originally posted by LosT View Post
                    I own the entire cast of Buffy in doll form...

                    Just sayin...
                    You also now own a "Captain Sabertooth" doll. Just sayin...

                    -mouse
                    One Voter really can make a difference. Ask me how!

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                    • #25
                      Re: What attributes are required to be eventually be labeled a hacker?

                      I think this is a great thread. I've asked this question a lot since I got into grad school, because I've been associating with some *very* bright, creative, inventive computer scientists, many of whom are well known in their particular fields, but who are almost entirely *not* hackers. (you'd know what I mean when you met them. definitely not hackers)
                      I was really surprised to find out how little crossover there is between the two worlds, especially, because I see what a hacker does and what a research scientist does as the same thing (see my talk at shmoocon).
                      Many of the professors, whom I admire, and I thought would love to participate in the hacker community, look upon hackers with bemusement, and in some cases seem a little afraid of us. Students the same. That said, there are a few people who I'm trying to introduce to our community, because they are born hackers and just don't know how well they'd fit in.

                      I don't know what makes a hacker, but I seem to be able to recognize a kindred spirit when I see it.
                      We exude something that others just don't have -- aura? pheromones? alcohol laced breath?

                      -mouse
                      One Voter really can make a difference. Ask me how!

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                      • #26
                        Re: What attributes are required to be eventually be labeled a hacker?

                        Originally posted by mouseling View Post
                        We exude something that others just don't have -- aura? pheromones? alcohol laced breath?

                        -mouse
                        Go to Toorcon this year, you'll see what Hackers exude, since it's camping with no showers.
                        A third party security audit is the IT equivalent of a colonoscopy. It's long, intrusive, very uncomfortable, and when it's done, you'll have seen things you really didn't want to see, and you'll never forget that you've had one.

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                        • #27
                          Re: What attributes are required to be eventually be labeled a hacker?

                          Originally posted by mouseling View Post
                          I don't know what makes a hacker, but I seem to be able to recognize a kindred spirit when I see it.
                          We exude something that others just don't have -- aura? pheromones? alcohol laced breath?
                          Could a catalyst for change from inquisitive, curious, interested in a technology to "hacker" be a lack of worry at how other people might judge, or be opinionated about your actions? (This was mentioned above) Could it be that a kind of indifference to external judgments allows a curious person to explore non-standard, and un-contemporary solutions even at the risk of being criticized? (Also mentioned above.)

                          Maybe there is a sense of challenge when the person that might become a hacker hears, "you can't do that; it is impossible!" ?

                          Maybe it is a combination of the above, or none of these.

                          So, with all your thoughts on this topic, as well as everyone else that has pondered this question, what difference exist between those that learn skills and those that exploit skills to create "new", innovated, non-standard solutions often described as, hacks?
                          Last edited by TheCotMan; February 28, 2009, 16:25.

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                          • #28
                            Re: What attributes are required to be eventually be labeled a hacker?

                            While being curious about how something works is a great quality for a hacker it's not the end all. Beyond simple curiosity I feel that you need to have the actual drive do bend what can be done, create something new, improve some system. If you just understand something then great, you can get a job in tech support, but you really need to build from what is available and make it your own, something better.

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                            • #29
                              Re: What attributes are required to be eventually be labeled a hacker?

                              I don't think that anyone said that curiosity was the end all.

                              And careful how you describe that attribute- sounds like you just described Microsoft's "embrace and extend" tactic ;)

                              I would argue that simple tech support people often DO NOT understand, they regurgitate. Big difference.

                              Understanding and extending requires creativity.

                              1057

                              Originally posted by uomu View Post
                              While being curious about how something works is a great quality for a hacker it's not the end all. Beyond simple curiosity I feel that you need to have the actual drive do bend what can be done, create something new, improve some system. If you just understand something then great, you can get a job in tech support, but you really need to build from what is available and make it your own, something better.

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Re: What attributes are required to be eventually be labeled a hacker?

                                Originally posted by Mouseling
                                I think this is a great thread. I've asked this question a lot since I got into grad school, because I've been associating with some *very* bright, creative, inventive computer scientists, many of whom are well known in their particular fields, but who are almost entirely *not* hackers. (you'd know what I mean when you met them. definitely not hackers)
                                I think I understand what you mean...

                                I was really surprised to find out how little crossover there is between the two worlds, especially, because I see what a hacker does and what a research scientist does as the same thing (see my talk at shmoocon).
                                Many of the professors, whom I admire, and I thought would love to participate in the hacker community, look upon hackers with bemusement, and in some cases seem a little afraid of us. Students the same.
                                I agree with you that what research scientists do and what hackers do is very similiar. Perhaps the difference has a bit to do with approach. My observations (as limited as they may be) is that scientists are continually schooled in a "framework" from which to resolve their hypotheses, while those who are hackers don't necessarily respect (I use the word in it's purest form) the necessity of strict framework to resolve their hypotheses. Simply? Perhaps one asks the question "Why?" And the other asks the question, "Why not?" There are other distinctions I have noted that I won't go into here.

                                That said, there are a few people who I'm trying to introduce to our community, because they are born hackers and just don't know how well they'd fit in.
                                Bring them on! :-D

                                I don't know what makes a hacker, but I seem to be able to recognize a kindred spirit when I see it.
                                We exude something that others just don't have -- aura? pheromones? alcohol laced breath?

                                -mouse
                                I believe that as water seeks it's own level thus perhaps it is with hackers. It doesn't seem so important to me personally to understand the mechanics. just as you, I recognize a kindred spirit when I stumble across one. And will often buy them a drink. Perhaps that is from which comes the alcohol laced breath you mention. :-D

                                Regards,

                                valkyrie
                                __________________________________________________ _
                                sapere aude

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