OMG HAXORS

It’s a shame that the media has perverted the word hacker into a pejorative. The original meaning behind the word is a wonderful one. A hacker was somebody that loved to learn how things worked and used that knowledge to do new things, which they loved to share with other people. Sadly, somewhere along the line, a journalist who wasn’t quite clear on the concept (or just didn’t care) added the connotation of crime to the word, and there it’s stuck. It’s too bad, too, since there’s not really another word that means quite the same thing. But that’s just the evolution of the language, I suppose. Gay meant cheerful before it meant homosexual, after all, and now, to many people gay is nothing but a synonym for pathetic.

Anyway, I went to an Information Security conference this weekend. Calling it a hacker’s conference would probably give someone out there the wrong idea. But there were hackers aplenty. And they had lots of interesting things to say. I also vaguely recall a party of some sort.

And now to answer the question, did you learn anything useful?

Sure, although it would take a long time to explain, and after a few minutes of my trying to explain it, most non-geeks would probably lose interest. (Ah, geek— there’s another word that’s changed its meaning, from social misfit to expert in a technical field or hobby.) But if I were to sum it up in one sentence, that sentence might be: as long as there is sloppy code, there will be exploits. Or in other words, as long as there are hacks, there will be hacks.

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3 thoughts on “OMG HAXORS”

  1. Well, I don’t claim to be a technological expert. Here is one person who can claim Geek in the old-school, John Hughes sense of the word.
    Glad you vaguely remember having fun! ha ha

  2. I personally love how the word “geek” has changed. :-P
    Originally it was a sideshow freak. Then it became a word to describe someone who was technologically inclined because the “cool” people and Hollywood wanted to put computer/technology people in their place and let them know that they were no less freaks of nature than the woman with two heads.
    Then as technology became “cool” and it was “cool” to be technologically inclined (well, as far as loading songs on an iPod gets you) the “cool” people started glomming on to the word. Except instead of being a “true geek” in the computer sense they’re now geeks. And computer/tech people are no being relabeled “nerds”. :-P
    “I’m such a handbag geek!”
    “No, you’re the same stupid bitch you’ve always been. Now run along.”
    (The one exception of “geekdom” that I allow in my mind is geek. A physics/math/chemistry/medicine/aeronautics geek is cool with me… even if they have no computer skills. :])

  3. Well… frick! Apparently this comment doohickey just deletes anything in greater than/less than signs.
    And I don’t think I can edit that… (sad)
    Anyhoo… it’s supposed to read:
    Except instead of being a “true geek” in the computer sense they’re now (insert lame object/hobby) geeks.
    and
    The one exception of “geekdom” that I allow in my mind is a (insert hard science) geek.

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