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What is a hacker?

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Nov 16th, 2012
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  1. Ok, maybe that was a misleading title since I'm going to tell you.
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  3. I come from the days of the BBS, phone phreaking and hackers such as Kevin Mitnick. It really bothers me that the term hacker has become something synonymous with code ninjas, rockstars, hipsters and any other movement that's the current trend.
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  5. Some definitions for your pleasure:
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  7. Code Ninja - Someone who is too shy to tell whoever is calling them a code ninja that it's not an endearing term. A ninja has almost nothing in common with a coder or developer. Sure, you can draw your own associations, but don't kid yourself. Guru, mentor (when you call yourself one without anyone else agreeing), and people with passwords that contain "God" fit into this category also.
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  9. Rockstar - Someone who needs their skittles or M&Ms sorted by colour for them. A developer or coder who doesn't have any cooking skills and has their start-up chef cook all of their meals. Someone who wears Ed Hardy clothing to the office, thinking that they're dressing formal. Someone who codes for attention, doesn't know a thing about system architecture and uses their rockstar status as an excuse for doing things differently (because the truth is that they really don't know any better).
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  11. Hipster - Kramer says it best in Seinfeld; "Hipster Doofus". Who are these people? Do people even ever want to be called a hipster. It's that guy that's growing the mustache for movember because he wants you to believe that he's doing everyone some social change...not because he thinks it's the right thing to do. This is the same guy that has the shoulder bag made out of hemp and produced by monks in Tibet...except he bought it at American Apparel, reading that on the label.
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  13. Anyhow, enough with the ridiculousness. Onto the topic at hand; hackers.
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  15. A hacker IS NOT:
  16. - a code ninja, rockstar, hipster, or other trending word
  17. - someone who can only run scripts and software written by others (hackers should be able to modify or make their own scripts)
  18. - hired for repetitive tasks (hackers need to be creative to solve problems)
  19. - an information hoarder (or someone that doesn't share knowledge)
  20. - a self-appointed title, but is earned
  21. - someone hired based off of a job ad that advertises "Looking for hackers" proceeded by text stating "we need an expert at {fill in the blank{web design}{RoR}{etc}}" and then goes on to ask for skills totally unrelated to the position at hand...with many low-cost incentives mentioned (Hacker News, I'm looking in your direction)
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  23. A hacker IS:
  24. - someone who can and does educate themselves
  25. - a person who can pick-up an object and find new uses for it
  26. - someone creative in a new space
  27. - a person who chooses to do things for the right reasons, not for the attention they might receive
  28. - someone independent but can also be a team member
  29. - a person who knows many different technologies, has different skills and can mix them together to create new ones
  30. - someone who should be deserving of the description...someone else can call you a hacker, you cannot call yourself one
  31. - a person who doesn't care what language some code is written in, but is up for the challenge of always learning something new
  32. - a problem solver
  33. - creative
  34. - intelligent
  35. - a body of knowledge that believes in open source, sharing and helping others succeed
  36. - someone who can use Notepad.exe (or Sublime?) as dangerously as an open web server in Iran
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  38. Please let me know what you think makes/doesn't make a hacker and why we've become okay and accustomed to using the word hacker to describe anyone who can program the time on a microwave oven.
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  40. I look forward to bringing the bar back up to where it should be for the standard ISO-H4x0R (tongue in cheek).
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