Was Grandpa a Hacker?

Ah, Grandpa! Friendly, wise, stern when he needed to be and a Hacker (??!!?). Maybe.

Back in Grandpa’s days, a hacker was some one who enjoyed ‘tinkering’ with stuff. Some one who was never really happy with the performance of some house hold item or tool. Someone who could fix a broken item, and somehow leave it working just a bit better than when it came from the factory.

Of course, all of this hacking was primarily concerned with hardware. Electronics where just coming to the fore, and there were certain types of people who’s curiosity would not allow them to keep their hands off. They had to know how it worked, and they needed to see if they could improve performance or even  make it perform tasks it was never intended to do.

According to Wikipedia, in the 1950’s, amateur radio enthusiasts defined the term hackingas creatively tinkering to improve the performance of their radio sets. These Hackers where also known as hobbyist. My childhood best friend’s father had a HAM radio station in his basement. He was the first hacker I ever met!

When computers became available to the next generation of hobbyists, or Hackers, the same type of things occurred. Curious people began thinking with computers to see if they could improve  the performance of their machines. Then hackers noticed that other people like corporations, universities and Governments also had computers and networks that could be gotten into, or hacked, and explored. Much angst ensued.

I read ‘Hacker” literature and visit their websites to learn about new exploits. It is important for me to know what is going on in the computer world, and Hackers often have their fingers right on it’s pulse.  Hackers often discover security holes that software manufacturers then need to repair. In a way, Hackers force positive change on the computer industry. Then again, there are malicious people who just like to cause mayhem and watch things burn.

One thing all Hacker have in common; curiosity. Your Grandpa and Kevin Mitnick where somewhat the same in that respect. You know who Kevin Mitnick is, right?

A word to the wise, curiosity killed the cat.

2 Responses to “Was Grandpa a Hacker?”

  1. little ramona says:

    Good stuff Mike!

  2. mlomega says:

    Thank you for the feed back!