The dictionary defines a hacker as:
- a person who uses computers to gain unauthorized access to data.
- informal an enthusiastic and skillful computer programmer or user.
I like to think of myself as a hacker. Not the person who uses computers to gain unauthorized access to data, but an enthusiast. Someone that enjoys using a computer and is sometimes awed with the things you can do with it.
First a little background, I was a little late to the computer revolution. My first computer was a Commodore Vic 20. (anyone remember them?) It would allow you to write programs in basic (mainly text based programs, but you could do graphics if you had a lot of patients. I did not). Then I got away from computers for a few years. When I came back I bought an 8088 with 2 MB of RAM and a 10 MB hard drive. (You read that right 10 MB) with a 300 baud modem. Now I was on the Internet! (not really BBS’s but still able to connect to other systems). This is where I honed my hardware skills. I upgraded the drives, modem, basically everything I could do until the motherboard couldn’t handle any more. My next computer was a Compaq Presario with 4MB of ram and a 200 MB hard drive. (The salesman actually said “This is the last computer you will ever need. You’ll NEVER be able to fill up this hard drive. Today most single programs are over 200 MB in size.) After that I had a few WinTel PC’s. Got certified as a Microsoft Certified System Analyst (MCSA). But then the day came when I bought the Mac. I originally bought it for Garage Band. A Mac only app that lets you create music. I had a KVM (short for Keyboard, Video, Mouse) which let me use 2 different computers at the same time. I would switch to the Mac and do stuff in GarageBand, then switch back to the PC to check my mail, or surf the web. Then I had an epiphany, I could do all this stuff on the Mac. This opened up a whole new world for me. A new Operating System to learn. Starting with my Mac Mini, the first Intel model, running Tiger as the OS. I was in heaven.
Now after telling you that really long story let’s get to the bottom line. Are you a hacker? Do you like working with computers or do you just use your computer for work? Can you get on a computer and waste countless hours just trying to figure out a better/faster/easier way of doing something? If that’s the case, that would make you a hacker. Welcome to the club.