The hacker syndrome
There is some compelling force in all Hackers that seems to draw them to their computers every day. Why they get up at 4am to use the modem, and why they continue to rack up a truly incredible phone bill is beyond me.
Most computer areas, at your home or at your office, tend to be messy. Even you try to keep it clean, it is truly impossible. Whether it be empty Coke cans laying all around, soldering devices, electric diodes, computer parts, or integrated circuits, it is not only a pain for your mother to look at, but a prime Russian ICBM missile target as well.
There is much detail needed to explain a Hacker. For instance, instead of organizing his clothes by color, best ones, or style, he organizes his by pile. Also, he likes to sing songs such as, "Let's get Digital", "We all live in a yellow subroutine", and "Somewhere over the RAMbow".
Most Hackers do well in school. The reason is not to impress their teachers, not to get money from their parents, and not to be educated, but they do it so they can hopefully get a scholarship to MIT. You can't blame them, though, if they are looking out into space. It might be because they are worried if MCI traced the calls that they sent to NORAD.
All Hackers, big or small, love computers, whether they be Trash-80's or an IBM 360/VM workstation. When they get on one, it's mighty hard to get them off of it.
There are 2 types of Hackers. One who likes to crash local BBS's, and the one who writes programs in Assembly Language. The Hacker who crashes systems is the one that most people think that a Hacker is. A typical example of one is John Fredrickson (A.K.A. "The Phone Man"). He loves to crash computers, and break into illegal systems. The ones that he has gotten in to are MCI, CitiBank, school systems, IBM, Southern Bell, and Georgia Tech, not to mention all the ones in between.
The second type of Hacker is the programmer. He writes games, utilities, and anything else that he can think of. Take for example, John Harris, a freelance software writer for On-Line Software Co. John had a brainstorm one day, and decided to write Frogger for the Apple. He thought that it would take about 3 weeks to complete. He started on Frogger a week late, because of the complicated music set that he had to write. After two months, he was almost done. He decided to take a break and go to the Software Expo. He decided to take his nearly completed Frogger, and show it to the consumers at the show. He also took with him the only back-up copy, in case the main disk did not boot.
While at the fair, he was talking to the Manager about getting a booth. He had his disks with him. Then, when he got a booth reserved, he reached down to get his disks, and they were gone! All his hard work, including the MultiLevel character generator, music lines, disk subroutines, assembly routines, debugging programs, etc. All gone.
After that tragedy, John was in a deep depression. He finally started working on it again in 3 months. He completed it in 4 months and 3 days.
Hackers always take time off. There is always one way to notice a true Hacker. At a party, the true Hacker is the one in the corner talking about operating system security and how to get around it. At the beach, the True Hacker is the one drawing flow charts in the sand. At a football game, the true Hacker is the one comparing the football plays against a simulation printed on 11 by 14 fanfold paper.
Most Hackers work for the U.S. Government-- mainly the Department of Defense. You can see the best Hackers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California.
What sort of environment does a Hacker function best in? No, not a heated room with a clean table and disks organized neatly, but they do best in rooms that have line-printed Snoopy calendars from the year 1969. They do not know how to cook, so they survive on Twinkies and coffee. Instead of wasting electricity for a heater, they spend it on air-conditioners to cool of their computer system in mid-January when the temperatures are below freezing. They wear layers and layers of clothing to keep the body heat in. When you see one of these people, instead of a Hacker coming into your mind, you think that he is about to go on a Polar expedition somewhere in the North Pole.
Hackers also like to hang around arcades. (This is also true for kids, little old ladies, and fighter pilots.) There, secluded in their
own environment, Hackers can talk freely on computer hints and short cuts while playing Pac-Man, or Joust.
All Hackers like Graphics. They like low-resolution, but prefer high-resolution the best. These graphics, such as Sine waves, rotating 3-D boxes, and little balloons, are confined to the limits of a systems capability. The older more experienced Hackers are the ones who are lucky enough to get to work on a VAX system, and maybe even a CRAY-1 SuperComputer. If they use these, they have only the limits of their imagination to stop them.
Most Middle School Hackers between the ages of 10 through 14, like to use computers to do reports on, and play games. Some of these younger generation Hackers have gotten into BASIC programming.
Some people, like to impress real Hackers by making them think that they know everything. There is a name for this kind of person. He is a Sub-Hacker (Intillectuous dumbfoundeth). For instance, you come up to them one day, and say,"Hey so-and-so what does BASIC stand for?" and you could sit there for days, and he would act like the answer was on the tip of his tongue, when it was probably in his toes. It is people like this that give Hackers a bad name.
All Hackers have rules that they go by. One is to never call long distance on Monday, because of the high phone charge. If builders built buildings they way programmers wrote programs, the first woodpecker that comes along would destroy civilization. Another is, if the computer accepts a program on the first run without any errors, either there is a malfunction, or it must be a dream.
Hackers are a unique breed. Combining intelligence, personality, and a morale sense of good taste. A Hacker enjoys the environment that appeals to him the most. Such as, the computer room, the arcade, science lab, or the Atari downstairs. They like to be alone. Secluded in their own thoughts, thinking of what the password could be to log on to General Electric. Hackers are the people who are going to make our future brighter, and more exciting in the field of electronics, data processing, artificial intelligence, and programming. We need to support these people in all the ways that we can, so we will be insured of a more happier future in the world of technological advancements.