My subscription to Life expired, but I still have a subscription to Mad.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Surfin': Call Me Radio Hacker

This week, Surfin' explores the world of etymology and the misappropriation of the word "hacker."


  1. Stan,

    Being a old time "hacker" myself, I also have been disgusted by the way the term has been misused over the years.

    In reality, the term that these unethical perpetrators ought to be tagged with is "cracker" but that never actually caught on.

    I remember working in the "old days" writing programs on punch cards and "hacking" to the get the program in the mimimal amount of lines needed. That was an elegant hack!

    73, Jack K4SAC

  2. Stan, thank you for the clarification of the term "hacker." I, too, came into computers as a hacker. I typed programs from magazines and saved them on cassette, I used NewDos to retrieve data from crashed computer disks, I keyed my TenTech 544 with a TRS80 cassette port, etc. And I was an early computer teacher who taught his students to do good with their skills, rather than create havoc. I have former students all over the world using the skills that I intrtoduced them to, and I have not heard of one who is a "hacker" in the negative sense.
    73, Rus KY1E

  3. Maybe an interesting follow up - a recent anti {big name corporation} thread on a popular ham radio forum has again, brushed this same subject.

    Seems some have a rather intense emotional involvement in terms. Maybe a parallel to other passions as well. See "the zed", "Darn Computers" forum and look for the "I hate {big name co}" thread. Get past the "anti" stuff and read to the end.