Monthly Archives: October 2003

What’s in a hacker?

After reading about this whole hacker logo thing, I began wondering whether It would be something I would like to display, in support of a culture I aspire to one day be a part of. Of course, I had never heard of The Game of Life before now (though it’s cool) which just goes to reinforce my underlying gut instinct of how little I really know (but I’m learning!).

Anyway, I branched out a bit from that part of Eric’s site, and read the How To Become A Hacker FAQ. Most of that was cool, and I do a lot of it already just because it’s fun (e.g. working with Linux, hacking on PSG, etc.). Then I saw this part:

– Don’t use a silly, grandiose user ID or screen name.

The only reputation you’ll make doing any of these things is as a twit. Hackers have long memories — it could take you years to live your early blunders down enough to be accepted.

The problem with screen names or handles deserves some amplification. Concealing your identity behind a handle is a juvenile and silly behavior characteristic of crackers, warez d00dz, and other lower life forms. Hackers don’t do this; they’re proud of what they do and want it associated with their real names. So if you have a handle, drop it. In the hacker culture it will only mark you as a loser.

I tend to go by the pseudonym tekniklr, but not to hide my actual identity – I keep that available for any that care. I mean, even my domain name is my real name (although that is because I think it’s silly to have a really cool domain name end up being a personal site). I fill in my real name in all online correspondance, and attach it to all programs I work on.

So is it really that wrong that I prefer to use my pseudonym as a login where apropriate? The pseudonym is personalized, unique (how many other ‘esr’s do you think there are?), and permanent. If I were to (perish the thought) get married, my real name would likely change, invalidating logins on Unix boxen and forums around the Internet, and quite possibly making it very hard to find me, if one was looking at older software. So, in that case, by using my real name I would effectively be hiding my identity in the future.

Of course, to make life easier I’d probably opt against changing my name just so my domain name needn’t be changed, but that’s me and I’m not like most people (I hope). I think I’m just really attached to the nick ‘tekniklr’ now, and training my fingers to type a new login would take quite a long time. :)

Heh, I’m probably just looking too deeply into this, afterall ESR’s own definition of handle in a negative sense stresses the whole grandiose part- he may just be referring to handles like ‘SuPreMeGoRdofEEEvul’.

Anyway, as for the logo- I don’t think I’ll display it. I admit I think the idea is cool, but I also think it will be used mostly by people like me- people who want to be hackers, but aren’t yet. I may be wrong, but I see it becoming a badge of ‘1337’, like the term ‘h4x0r’.

For now I’ll stick with the penguins, as I feel quite a bit more qualified to wear that badge. I think I’ll also stick with my handle, as I like it quite a bit. ESR may try, but he’s not quite the be-all and end-all of hacker culture yet. Anyway, I know at least a few very talented programmers who go by interesting pseudonyms (there’s even a ‘Lord’ in there). Maybe it’s just a generation gap beginning to show.

Anyway, enough of that inane rambling. If you’d care to read more inane rambling, continue on for this week’s Friday Five.
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Y’know that job I really wanted? Well, I didn’t get it.

Obviously I’m not going to be able to code for food, although I would like to. So, I guess I’ll just have to code for fun and work doing other things for food and money. Of course, I won’t be able to afford rent, or a new car once mine completely dies…… but I might be able to pay off my debts one day, in about a gajillion years.

Stupid useless college degree.


Well, my car is fine- the problem is that the nut and bolt used to fasten the battery connector to the negative terminal needs to be replaced. Until then, I will probably have more problems, but that’s not really anything too new.

I still haven’t gone through the pictures from the weekend, because I’ve been spending most of my time working on the site. Until then, you can look at some pictures that Beth took.

UPDATE: – I’ve added those pictures I was talking about.

I’m back

Well, I’m back from Pittsburgh. Highlights include:

I took lots of pictures, I’ll sort through them and put them up later, probably tomorrow.

I really should be asleep

I’ll give a dollar to the first one who can correctly identify this spider, which was seen lurking in my bathroom. It was about an inch big, including the legs. I’m not sure of the exact size because when I went to get a ruler and returned, it had vanished (wooo-oo-oooh!)

…. I have to wake up in about 4 hours. I think I’ll try that sleep thing…….


I’m officially an open source developer!

A couple of changes I’ve made to PSG (namely some formatting fixes and a RSS feed rewrite) have been accepted into the main codebase, and I’ve sent in another, larger, change that they were interested in.

If all goes well, I’ll take that module off my site when the next version of PSG comes out.

In other news, root-tail is cool, but would be cooler if I had something to log other than NeoPS1 -- MARK -- messages every 20 minutes (I Really shouldn’t complain, should I? No news is good news.), and Peter hates me, possibly with good reason (that reason being my desire to go to Pittsburgh this weekend).

PSG hacks

Well, I’ve made some more mods to PSG, and this time I’ve even followed the standard operating procedure and sent the developers a diff. We’ll see how that works out.

And now, for a bit of testing. Ignore the following image, unless you find it particularly amusing.

Einstein who?

Friday Five

This wasn’t up yesterday because for some reason I never got the email notifying me that the questions were posted.


1. Name five things in your refrigerator.

  1. Leftover chicken
  2. Leftover pasta
  3. Vanilla Coke
  4. Wonder Bread
  5. Bologna

2. Name five things in your freezer.

  1. Ellios Pizza
  2. Waffles
  3. Tortellini, circa May 2002
  4. Ice Cream, Vanilla Fudge Twirl
  5. Garlic Bread

3. Name five things under your kitchen sink.

  1. Household cleaning solutions, various
  2. Sponges, gross
  3. Bags, paper and plastic
  4. Hand soap
  5. Pipes

4. Name five things around your computer.

  1. Candy corn
  2. Magic 8 Ball
  3. Tarot Cards
  4. Incense burner
  5. Broken, used computer hardware (sacrificial?)

No… no voodoo going on here, move along, now….

5. Name five things in your medicine cabinet.

  1. Toothpaste
  2. Floss
  3. Pain killers
  4. Claritin
  5. 15 second forehead thermometer

I hope google does away with link popularity quickly….

Because I hate seeing junk like this in my inbox.

Dear Portal Administration!

I have recently come across your site and liked it very much.

I suppose that the visitors of our resources belong to the same
social group and my site could be useful for your audience so I
suggest to exchange our links.
This will help both of us to increase Link-Popularity and accordingly
get top positions in many searching system, Google for instance.

My site is dedicated to guns.

I hope that our subject as well as your site info will evoke mutual
interest of our visitors. If you are positive to cooperate with me will you please
visit this page to leave your link:
[link removed]

Again, I must reiterate how much I am glad to be out of the “Internet Marketing” business.

And since when is my site a portal? I only link sites that I like, or friends’ sites. If there are a lot of them, it may say something about me, but it doesn’t mean that I’m running a portal site :)

I wonder how many other ‘gun-related’ sites this got sent to, heh.

Now what?

I went to the interview, and I think it went well (when I wasn’t tripping over my tongue). I guess I’ll see how well I did when/if they get back to me…. I really hope I get this job, as it seems really interesting, and it’s almost exactly what I want to do (that ‘jack of all trades’ things makes finding interesting jobs harder…..)

Anyway, during the interview the subject of my blog came up and I realized I haven’t posted in a while. So, here’s what I’ve been up to:

Shortly after replacing the hard drive, one of my drives seemed to stop working. It turns out that the IDE cable (of all things) went bad…. while the computer was running. Afterwards, while I was digging in the case toggling/twiddling things the cable simply… fell apart. It was really weird, but replacing the cable solved that immediate problem. Luckily, Rob got me a present at yesterday’s SLUG meeting that helped a bunch :)

Of course, it seems that the drive I thought was dying was in fact doing fine (damn intermittent problems!). Since it doesn’t seem to be getting worse, I’ve decided to let it be. I’ve moved all the important data off of it, and now it simply keeps a backup of the new drive. Chances are, they both won’t die at the same time. When it does die, I’ve already got another drive set up in there, all it needs is to have the IDE cable plugged in- then I just continue backing up (almost) as per usual. No real loss :)

Oh, and yesterday I completed my final training session for the job I quit a while back. It was about 4 hours, and I’m not getting paid for it (not that I would have anyway, even if I hadn’t quit). The clients seemed to get the hang of everything, at least. I don’t think I’m going to get anymore work before my last day, which is Wednesday, so yay. No more work without pay or appreciation (remember, people need at least one of those things to maintain sanity in any work environment) :D

Also, I got my leatherman back, and the batteries in my E-ZPass died, but that’s ok because they are sending me a new one.

Mood: calm