What is a Hacker? Ask One.

I love this pair of “interviews” that hacker legends Mitch Altman and Emmanuel Goldstein gave to the Media Show.

When someone says they are a hacker, what do they mean? Are they just big computer geeks? Are they doing illegal criminal things, breaking in and stealing passwords? Mitch Altman, inventor of the TV-B-Gone, tells us hacking is about thinking differently about the world around you. Featuring the folks at the Noisebridge hackerspace in San Francisco, who show off their projects with bikes, toys, clothes, food, electricity, and even outer space!

BTW, it looks like the Media Show could use a little support to stay running. [via Drew Fustini]

10 thoughts on “What is a Hacker? Ask One.

  1. Benjamin Jones says:

    Hackers: Test the restrictions of reality. Much like human consciousness. We test where limits are and then see why we have. Some are needed, but most are temporal.

  2. Mitchell is frustrated says:

    Let me tell you what isn’t a hacker; a microsoft employee who feels fine knowing the fact that their customers are being charged 50 an email for help. repeat, paying for an email.

    1. Scott says:

      Well of course! Microsoft is the biggest supplier of programmer kool-aid on the planet. I know, I’ve been drinking it for years – even MS/DOS was a watered down CPM (more commands didn’t make it more powerful, just easier for beginners to use). I’ve re-discovered Java though so I’m on the road to recovery from my kool-aid addiction.

  3. ameyring says:

    A cracker is the term for someone who hacks to do damage or harm. The media needs to get that right so hackers are in a better light.

  4. Balloondoggle says:

    I had never given this any thought, but now that I’ve seen two different perspectives I think I prefer Mitch’s philosophy over Emmanuel’s. Mitch is much more broad and accepting while Emmanuel seems more like the rebel looking for a cause. I’m more comfortable with the “doing things that are fun” path. The common thread is to ask questions always, and that is a good way to look at it.

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My interests include writing, electronics, RPGs, scifi, hackers & hackerspaces, 3D printing, building sets & toys. @johnbaichtal nerdage.net

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