Reclaiming the word Hacker

The term Hacker should be kept as they was originally intended, to describe those people who are curious about how things work, whether it be computers, networks, phones, electronics, maths, whatever. People who find ways to use things in ways that was not in the original specification. We used to cherish these people as innovators, explorers, etc. (Well apart from the early days when the church would burn them as heretics). We should go back to using “Hacker” as a positive description, and just call criminals “Criminals”. 

So Media People pay attention, to quote Randal from Clerks. “I’m taking it back”.

by Wayne Pendragon Owens

I am an Author, Freemason, Rosicrucian, Blood Biker, Widows Son, CodeNinja, Spod, Hacker, Son, Uncle, Brother, Man, AN INDIVIDUAL!

12th August 2010

Hackers – Abusing the Cat… The UniCat

Just a quick post to show I have not forgotten my series of small articles to show how the mainstream view of Hackers & Hacking is wrong, and we are not all evil misfits trying to do harm to YOU!

When I was in university, the library was short on Computer Workstations and you often had to wait for a free one to come available to check your email, play on the Internet, do work, etc. This was very annoying if you were in a rush and just wanted to check your email to see where you were supposed to be, or quickly email in an assignment to your lecturer.

Now, scattered around the library were UniCat terminals, simple terminals with a BBS style catalogue program running on them that allowed you to search the books in the library, see what they had, what was out (and when it was due back), order books and periodicals, and so on.  Another hand feature it had was the ability to connect to similar programs running at other universities.

Now the first time i connected to another university to see how the system work I saw the familiar.

Connected to ***********.****.****.
Escape character is ‘^]’.

So what do you do in such a situation, I pressed ^] which gave me the telnet prompt and decided to connect to a different address, that of my linux account. It connected fine. Which allowed me when in a rush to check my email & ICQ, Spod, code, and do anything else I needed too without waiting for a machine to come free. It also stopped me tying up machines that could otherwise be used by others.

Playing with these terminals also helped out, since there was a bug in the system and occasionally they would crash down to the VAXos, and be unusable until the one IT staff who knew the system went around restarting them. Unless I happened to spot it was down and would help out. Well I could not leave my emergency terminals out of use.