Confessions from a An old Hacker.

Made you blink, didn’t I?

Yes, it’s true. I have been trained as a specialist (although now “former”) hacker. I used to invest my days with huge computer systems, using ninja-like tools to solve the absolute most complex of problems.

So what is a hacker, really? Well, the simple truth is the real definition of a hacker is one that takes delight in solving problems and overcoming limits.


In the event that you thought hackers were the criminals, think again. Hackers already have a rule a couple of rules they live by to complete their work. Oahu is the “crackers” (like safe-cracker) that you have to view out for.
If you should be a creative, smart and big picture thinker, you’re probably a hacker too. Welcome to the club – I’d like to share the Hacker code with you. It’s simple, and it only has 5 rules:

Hackers solve problems and build things, and they rely on freedom and voluntary mutual help. (Sound familiar?) To be accepted as a hacker, you have to behave as though you have this type of attitude yourself. And to behave as though you have the attitude, you have to essentially believe the attitude.

Still want to join the club? Okay, here are the principles:
1. The entire world is saturated in fascinating problems waiting to be solved.

Being fully a hacker is a lot of fun, but it’s some sort of fun that takes a lot of effort. Your time and effort takes motivation. Successful athletes obtain motivation from some sort of physical delight in making their bodies perform, in pushing themselves past their very own physical limits. Similarly, to be always a hacker you have to acquire a basic thrill from solving problems, sharpening your skills, and exercising your intelligence.

(You also need to develop some sort of faith is likely to learning capacity – a belief that although may very well not know all of things you need to solve a challenge, if you tackle just an item of it and study on that, you’ll learn enough to solve the next piece – and etc, until you’re done.)

2. No issue should ever need to be solved twice.

Creative brains are a valuable, limited resource hire a genuine hacker. They shouldn’t be wasted on re-inventing the wheel when there are so many fascinating new problems waiting out there.

To behave just like a hacker, you have to believe that the thinking time of other hackers is precious – so much so that it’s almost a moral duty for you yourself to share information, solve problems and then supply the solutions away just so other hackers can solve new problems instead of having to perpetually re-address old ones.

(You don’t have to believe that you’re obligated to provide your entire creative product away, although hackers that do are those that get most respect from other hackers. It’s consistent with hacker values to sell enough of it to keep you in food and rent and computers. It’s fine to use your hacking skills to support a family group or even get rich, as long as you don’t forget your loyalty to your art and your fellow hackers while doing it.)

3. Boredom and drudgery are evil.

Hackers (and creative people in general) should never be bored or need to drudge at stupid repetitive work, because at these times it means they aren’t doing what only they could do – solve new problems. This wastefulness hurts everybody. Therefore boredom and drudgery are not just unpleasant but usually evil.

To behave just like a hacker, you have to believe this enough to want to automate away the boring bits around possible, not merely for yourself but for anyone else (especially other hackers).

(There is one apparent exception to this. Hackers will sometimes do issues that may seem repetitive or boring to an observer as a mind-clearing exercise, or in order to acquire a skill or involve some particular sort of experience you can’t have otherwise. But this is by choice – nobody who can think should ever be forced into a situation that bores them.)

4. Freedom is good.

Hackers are naturally anti-authoritarian. Anyone who can give you orders can stop you from solving whatever problem you’re being fascinated with – and, given just how authoritarian minds work, will generally find some appallingly stupid reason to complete so. Therefore the authoritarian attitude has to be fought wherever you will find it, lest it smother you and other hackers.

5. Attitude isn’t any replacement for competence.

To become a hacker, you have to produce a few of these attitudes. But copping an attitude alone won’t cause you to a hacker, anymore than it will make you a champion athlete or even a rock star. Being a hacker will take intelligence, practice, dedication, and hard work.

Therefore, you have to learn to distrust attitude and respect competence of each kind. Hackers won’t let posers waste their time, nevertheless they worship competence – especially competence at hacking, but competence at anything is good. Competence at demanding skills that few can master is especially good, and competence at demanding skills that involve mental acuteness, craft, and concentration is best.

In the event that you revere competence, you’ll enjoy developing it in yourself – the work and dedication can be some sort of intense play as opposed to drudgery. That attitude is imperative to learning to be a hacker.

If this makes sense for you, you only might be described as a hacker too! Live it, love it and allow it grow.

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