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.