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Encyclopedia > Hack (technology slang)
A hack in progress in Lobby 7 at MIT.
A hack in progress in Lobby 7 at MIT.

Hack is a term in the slang of the technology culture which has come into existence over the past few decades. As a noun, it has a number of related meanings. As a verb, it means creating or participating in a hack. Download high resolution version (1280x960, 262 KB)This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons, a repository of free content hosted by the Wikimedia Foundation. ... Download high resolution version (1280x960, 262 KB)This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons, a repository of free content hosted by the Wikimedia Foundation. ... The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or MIT, is a private research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. MIT is organized into five schools and one college, containing 34 academic departments and 53 interdisciplinary laboratories, centers and programs. ... Slang is the use of highly informal words and expressions that are not considered standard in the speakers dialect or language. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ...


All of the modern meanings seem to be rooted in its widespread use as slang throughout the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), starting in the 1960s. There, the original meaning of "hack" was an elaborate and flamboyant student prank; it was used with hacker, meaning "one who perpetrates a hack". Past MIT hacks include: The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or MIT, is a private research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. MIT is organized into five schools and one college, containing 34 academic departments and 53 interdisciplinary laboratories, centers and programs. ... The 1960s decade refers to the years from January 1, 1960 to December 31, 1969, inclusive. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... Hackers are sometimes portrayed as mysterious and strange. ...

  • Covering the university's signature "Great Dome" (which seems to be something of a magnet for hacks) with tin foil
  • Putting a fake (but convincing) MIT Campus Police cruiser on the Dome
  • Decorating the Dome as R2-D2
  • Hiding the university president's office by covering its entrance with a fake bulletin board
  • Inflating a huge balloon on the playing field during a Harvard-Yale football game
  • Turning the MIT Dome into a giant baseball with a Red-Sox logo after the Red-Sox won the World Series
  • Making an image of Trogdor out of post-it notes
  • Turning the Great Dome (again) into a beanie, complete with forty-foot spinning propellor on top and a detailed removal manual left at the base of the propellor.

Over time, the meaning of the word there was expanded, perhaps through contact with the amateur radio community. It came to mean either a kludge, or the opposite of a kludge, as in a clever or elegant solution to a difficult problem. In the term "hack value" it also acquired a meaning of anything that was simultaneously fun and clever. For the weapons system nicknamed R2-D2, see Phalanx CIWS. R2-D2 (called R2, or Artoo for short), is an astromech droid and colleague of C-3PO in the fictional Star Wars universe, created not long before 32 BBY. R2-D2 was played by Kenny Baker in five of the... Harvard University is a private university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, and a member of the Ivy League. ... Yale can refer to an educational institution: Yale University, one of the United States oldest universities. ... United States simply as football, is a competitive team sport that is both fast-paced and strategic. ... Trogdor the Burninator is a fictional dragon that is a part of the Homestar Runner series of animated cartoons. ... A pad of fan-folded Post-it pop-up notes, shown still glued together A Post-it note (or just Post-it) is a piece of adhesive-coated stationery designed for temporarily attaching notes to documents, computer displays and so forth. ... Amateur radio, often called ham radio, is a hobby and public service enjoyed by about 3 million people[1] throughout the world. ... A kludge (or kluge) is a clumsy or inelegant solution to a problem. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ...


The initial hacker community at MIT, particularly those associated with the Tech Model Railroad Club, applied this pre-existing local slang to computer programming, producing the variant which first came into common use outside MIT. A "hack" now meant a clever or quick fix to a computer program problem, as in "That hack you made last night to the editor is working well". A hacker came into the lexicon as meaning one who hacks, using this definition. The surface implication (which might be a modest mocking and play on the literary definition) was a casual attempt to fix the problem, but the deeper meaning was something more clever and thus impressive. The Tech Model Railroad Club (TMRC), also known as The Midnight Requisitioning Committee a student organization at MIT, is one of the most famous model railroad clubs in the world. ... Computer programming (often simply programming or coding) is the craft of writing a set of commands or instructions that can later be compiled and/or interpreted and then inherently transformed to an executable that an electronic machine can execute or run. Programming requires mainly logic, but has elements of science... Hackers are sometimes portrayed as mysterious and strange. ...


It was used especially among US university computing center staff, such as those at Stanford in the period beginning approximately in the mid-1960s. The context determined whether the complimentary or derogatory meanings were implied. Phrases such as "ugly hack" or "quick hack" generally referred to the latter meaning; phrases such as "cool hack" or "neat hack" referred to the former. United States is the current Good Article Collaboration of the week! Please help to improve this article to the highest of standards. ... Stanford may refer: Stanford University Places: Stanford, Kentucky Stanford, California, home of Stanford University Stanford Shopping Center Stanford, New York, town in Dutchess County. ... The 1960s decade refers to the years from January 1, 1960 to December 31, 1969, inclusive. ...


In modern computer programming, a "hack" can refer to a solution or method which functions correctly but which is "ugly" in its concept, which works outside the accepted structures and norms of the environment, or which is not easily extendable or maintainable (see kludge). A kludge (or kluge) is a clumsy or inelegant solution to a problem. ...


In a similar vein, a "hack" may refer to works outside of computer programming. For example, a math hack means a clever solution to a mathematical problem. The GNU General Public License has been described as a copyright hack because it cleverly uses the copyright laws for a purpose the lawmakers did not foresee. All of these uses now also seem to be spreading beyond MIT as well. Euclid, Greek mathematician, 3rd century BC, known today as the father of geometry; shown here in a detail of The School of Athens by Raphael. ... The GNU logo The GNU General Public License (GNU GPL or simply GPL) is a widely used free software license, originally written by Richard Stallman for the GNU project. ... Like John says copyright law in the UK is u make something and its copyrighted but in america u must make a patent haaaa ...


The term has since acquired an additional and now more common meaning, since approximately the 1980s; this more modern definition was initially associated with crackers. This growing use of the term "hack" is to refer to a program that (sometimes illegally) modifies another program, often a computer game, giving the user access to features otherwise inaccessible to them. As an example of this use, for Palm OS users (until the 4th iteration of this operating system), a "hack" refers to an extension of the operating system which provides additional functionality. The general media also uses this term to describe the act of illegally breaking into a computer. The examples and perspective in this article or section may not represent a worldwide view. ... Hackers are sometimes portrayed as mysterious and strange. ... The terms computer program, software program, applications program, system software, or just program are used to refer to either an executable program by both lay people and computer programmers or the collection of source code from which an executable program is created (eg, compiled). ... Palm OS is a compact operating system developed and licensed by PalmSource, Inc. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ...


Sometimes the jargon used by hackers is thought of as a language in its own right, called hackish. This should not be confused with "1337" or "leetspeak." As described by Eric S. Raymond, hackish is a sociolect of the english language used by members of the hacker subculture. ... Leet (1337) is a sociolect variety used primarily on the Internet, particularly in online games. ...


See also

Hackers are sometimes portrayed as mysterious and strange. ... The Tech Model Railroad Club (TMRC), also known as The Midnight Requisitioning Committee a student organization at MIT, is one of the most famous model railroad clubs in the world. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... HAKMEM, alternatively known as AI Memo 239, is a 1972 memo (technical report) of the MIT AI Lab that describes a wide variety of hacks, primarily useful and clever algorithms for mathematical computation. ... A Boolean Programming Method is an object with only two variables: 0 and 1, that is, on or off. ... In computing, a Haxie is a hack specifically designed for use with the Mac OS X operating system. ... A mural by Roof & Tunnel Hackers at MIT. Roof and Tunnel Hacking is the unauthorized (generally prohibited and often outright illegal) entry into and exploration of roof and utility tunnel spaces. ... NetHack is a single-player roguelike computer game originally released in 1987. ... This article needs a complete rewrite for the reasons listed on the talk page. ... IHTFP is an abbreviation which makes up part of the folklore at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. ... An MIT hack is defined as a clever, benign, and ethical prank or practical joke at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. ...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Hack (technology slang) - definition of Hack (technology slang) in Encyclopedia (637 words)
Hack is a term in the slang of the technology culture which has come into existence over the past few decades.
There, the original meaning of "hack" was an elaborate and flamboyant student prank; it was used with hacker, meaning "one who perpetrates a hack".
The term hacking is the act of constructing furniture with an axe, which may have led to the computer-industry compliment of calling a programming effort a hack, although the etymology is more likely rooted in the MIT use.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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