Words of Advice:

"Never Feel Sorry For Anyone Who Owns an Airplane."-- Tina Marie

If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground
Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It.
" -- Unknown

"There seems to be almost no problem that Congress cannot, by diligent efforts and careful legislative drafting, make ten times worse." -- Me

"What the hell is an `Aluminum Falcon'?" -- Emperor Palpatine

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Two Overworked Words

"Hack" is one. A "hack" isn't a "useful tip" or "suggestion". It meant "to gain access illegally to a computer system". "Hack" also meant someone who was incompetent or unskilled at their job. In short, it was an insult. (It also meant a taxicab or a small carriage for hire.)

Coming up with a better way to fry an egg isn't a "hack".

Second one: "Disruptive technology". It seems that every new device or method these days is "disruptive". Including an as-yet untried robot to weed fields.

Hack writers who overuse the word "disruptive" should be shot with a disruptor.


B said...


montag said...

The weeding robot is a fine concept, but it could probably wield a hoe just as easily as a spray and work just as well since being solar powered all it has to do is wander through the fields all day. And a hoe would reduce poison use by 100%

Sevesteen said...

As I understand it, hack meant "a useful bit of programming" before it meant "break into computer systems"--that was crack. There was overlap, crackers often used hacks, and media confused the terms. So it isn't misuse of the word hack, it is an attempt to reclaim it.

J4rh34d said...

Before hack was applied to computing, it was part of the culture at MIT, at the Tech Model Railroad Club (TMRC). Clever use of relays segued into computers in the early 60s

Eck! said...

In the dark ages pre internet hack was how an inexpert or low knowledge
person would more or less muddle though doing something computer until
it worked out the understood it. Also it was often applied to code that
was cleaver and took advantage of some characteristic to get a bit more performance.

As in hacking code for the 8008 (the first 8 bitter).

Later it would be applied to those trying to get past computer security but the competing term was crackers, the computer people called them crackers and
often like Sevesteen said "crackers often used hacks", the outside the realm
of computer speak would call it hackers. Then the movie... gah!

Disruptive technology made its appearance long ago with things like the Atomic Energy and in computers Visicalc was such a thing. Now its applied to stupidity and its misuse.

We have an evolving language and the stupids seem to munge it up more and faster
all at the speed of the internet.


David Scruggs said...

The others are all correct. Being a hacker was not a bad thing back in the late '70s. It just meant you knew how to get around stuff or force it to work. A cracker on the other hand was someone who broke in to systems.

My guess is the news media screwed up the terms.