Sunday, 23 January 2011

Science and Facebook

Today I threw out 10 old notepads filled with maths; maths, maths and more maths. What joy. But thinking of the actual disposal, got me thinking about a parallel namely the movie known as 'The Social Network'. If you have seen it you will certainly have your own opinions of it, certainly it has it merits, actually it is rather good in my opinion. What I object to is how they seemingly just gloss over the supposed "hacking" bits of it. They have got it wrong, wrong wrong.

Cracker: This is the common term used to describe a malicious hacker. Crackers get into all kinds of mischief, including breaking or "cracking" copy protection on software programs, breaking into systems and causing harm, changing data, or stealing. Hackers regard crackers as a less educated group of individuals that cannot truly create their own work, and simply steal other people's work to cause mischief, or for personal gain."

Mark Zuckerberg is a CRACKER not a HACKER:

Hacker: This is someone that seeks to understand computer, phone or other systems strictly for the satisfaction of having that knowledge. Hackers wonder how things work, and have an incredible curiosity. Hackers will sometimes do questionable legal things, such as breaking into systems, but they generally will not cause harm once they break in. Contrast a hacker to the term cracker.

It is the same with skinheads and boneheads.

Bonehead: What traditional non-racist skinheads began to call scruffy glue-sniffing sleazeballs who pretended to be skinheads in the late 1970s. Now it specifically refers to neo-Nazi/white power skinhead imposters.

Skinhead: A movement started in Britain in the 60s when the mod scene met the hippy scene. The mod scene split, and the "hard mods", the ones who hated hippies, got harder. With a little influence from Jamacian rudeboys, the skinhead was born out of the hard mod. Most of the music was held over from the mod days, but there were ska and reggae imported from the rude boys.

This is not just about semantics, they haven't even remotely understood the concept of computer programming when they call every single person who 'looks like he knows' something a "hacker" - they do not. Programming is hard, most people cannot do it, HTML is not programming, blogger script is not programming. In fact most things which are programming, strictly speaking, are difficult to understand and most people cannot. What is more a hacker will never call himself a hacker, it is an earned term not something you go around and put on your business card or present yourself with 'Hi I am Joe Bloggs - the hacker' no, no, no and a million times no. That is not how it works. Just to give you an insight into the world of science. Oh and also the people who work at the Apple stores and are rather endearingly called 'geniuses' are not. It is common practise in science and engineering departments to take the mickey out of 'geniuses' - they are seen as a lesser form of people when they have that blue t-shirt on. Quite rightly to.

People, if we cannot even get our appellations correct then what is the point?

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