Hacking Culture and the Hunger for Knowledge

Don Quixote Goes Digital

November 7, 1998

Don Quixote Goes Digital appeared last month with editorial modifications under a different title in Salon Magazine (www.salonmagazine.com). By agreement with the publisher, it is not to be published by other venues until sixty days after the publication date. Much of the email generated by the publication of the article turned on the real meaning […]

Read the full article →

Life in Space

August 8, 1998

There was so much hullabaloo at Def Con VI! (the recent convention for computer hackers, journalists, screen writers, producers, computer security and insecurity experts, programmers, federal agents, local police and sheriff’s deputies, advertisers and marketers, hotel security guards, undercover agents, refugees from raves, groupies, and endlessly curious mind-hungry men and women of all sorts and […]

Read the full article →

If Truth Be Told

August 1, 1998

The press coverage of the Black Hat Briefings II and Def Con VI tells part of the story, but the fact that mainstream media covered those cons the way they did tells much of the rest. Def Con is the biggest and most celebrated convention for computer hackers. The con has grown from sixty to […]

Read the full article →

They Call Him Mister Tubby

May 19, 1998

Like many young people plugged into the patronage system in Chicago, I exchanged political work in my local precinct and ward for summer jobs. One summer I worked in recreation at a large park. One of my co-workers was called Tubby. In addition to his larger size, Tubby was paler than the rest of the […]

Read the full article →

A Moment of Clarity

February 28, 1998

If we are fortunate, there occurs at least once in our lifetimes a “moment of clarity” in which we observe ourselves with our own eyes and see how narrowly we have lived in contrast with how we might live if we fulfilled the possibilities of our best selves. We see that we have come to […]

Read the full article →

Don Quixote of the Hackers – or – A Hacker Past His Prime

February 9, 1998

By Richard Thieme – 1998 Processing power is dirt cheap and the Feds are crawling all over the Net. So why did Aaron Blosser hack US West to solve a 17th century math problem? “Why not?” The question hangs in the air, a timid koan posed by a 28-year-old programmer sitting in his apartment in […]

Read the full article →

The Enemy is … WHO?

August 2, 1997

There are days I miss the Cold War a lot. Things were so much simpler then. The world was divided into two great camps, ours and theirs, and everybody who didn’t fit neatly into the schema could be made to fit with a shoehorn of twisted cold-war logic. Countries irrelevant to the ideological battle were […]

Read the full article →

Zen and the Art of Hacking

April 7, 1997

“Zen and the Art of Hacking” by Richard Thieme published in Internet Underground, April 1997 Don’t call them hackers, call them homo sapiens hackii — human beings who are “back-engineered” by their symbiotic relationship with computer networks to frame reality in ways shaped by that interaction. They’re not a new species, but they are a […]

Read the full article →

Off With His Hands

February 1, 1997

Off With His Hands In his award-winning science fiction novel, “The Stars My Destination,” Alfred Bester conceived of a world in which “jaunting,” or short-distance teleportation, was the norm. In order to jaunt, you had to know exactly where you were, so criminals were kept in a  maze-like cave in darkness, denied access to the […]

Read the full article →

Fear and Trembling in Las vegas

October 1, 1996

It was my privilege last summer to deliver a keynote address at DefCon IV, an annual convention of computer hackers held every summer in Las Vegas. Daytime temperatures near 120 degrees ensured that casual curiosity seekers would be at a minimum. In heat that fries an egg on the pavement, you had better WANT to […]

Read the full article →