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Posts tagged as: Hacking

By definition a hacker is “a person who enjoys exploring the details of programmable systems and stretching their capabilities, as opposed to most users, who prefer to learn only the minimum necessary.” Using this definition, the Myjive team could be deemed a group hackers, because we are always trying to push the boundaries of the technology at our disposal. Our mentality is “choose to evolve.” If it’s hacking the connect to create gesture based interfaces and experiences or trying to maximize a CMS’s capabilities to better serve our clients, we continually strive to make the experiences we create better. To see a couple of hacks that we have already done please see our projects for Electrosonic or BMW Mini.

However, the mainstream media and notion of a hacker differs quite a bit. Hackers are seen as people who use their computer programming skills to “illegally infiltrate secure systems with the intention of doing harm to the system.” By this definition, groups and hackers like Anonymous and Lulzsec only fit this definition. Unfortunately, these “Black Hat” hackers tend to receive the media attention, even though there are more than just malicious hackers out there. There are also White and grey Hat hackers. White-hat hackers refers to “an ethical hacker, or a computer security expert, who specializes in penetration testing and in other testing methodologies to ensure the security of an organization’s information systems” While a grey-hat hacker is a mixture of the black and white hats. They “sometimes arguably act illegally, though in good will, or to show how they disclose vulnerabilities.”

John Connor hacking into atm

So in general, are hackers good or bad?

My personal opinion is that hackers are good, even though I don’t like some of their methods. Across the board, hackers show you the weaknesses in computer programs, hardware and networks. They also show you how far a program or piece of hardware can be pushed both creatively and technically. Also, for those companies that are open to their products being hacked, it shows how to make their products more secure or what their customers really want them to produce. We can see an example of this in the case of the Xbox Kinect and all the hacks that have been produced with that piece of hardware. Lastly, they can help protect our rights. For example, Anonymous has stepped up and actively protested the SOPA/PIPA bills in the U.S. Congress and supported Tunisia and Syria in their recent upheavals. Unfortunately, along with showing support in legal protests, they have also resorted to malicious attacks on supporters of these events, which in my personal opinion is unacceptable.

Hacker Culture
White Hat
Grey Hat

Picture of products and images that have been used in innovative ways.

The quote from Mary Howell, used in the movie “Robots,” “See a need, fill a need,” captures the essence of innovation. This can be seen through human history in a number of ways, starting in the stone ages with stone tools. From their, innovation broke off into many different directions to fill our needs/desires for our life. A couple of more recent and more relevant innovations in today’s society is the computer and the mobile device.

Technology that is derived from the computer is running just about everything. And since there is a vast abundance of that technology everywhere, people are “hacking” everyday devices, such as the Android phone and the Xbox Kinect, and coming up with new and exciting uses for them. For example, Michael Zöllner and Stephan Huber are taking the Kinect and it’s optical control and are creating a way to help the blind manuever in everyday life. While this is just one example, the trend of “hacking” devices covers devices like the Wii remote, Xbox Kinect, iPhone, Android, iPad and other tablet devices.

As mobile devices become smaller, more powerful and more cost effective, I believe we will see this “hacking” trend focus more on the use of these devices. The companies that make these devices have also accounted for that very fact with the App. The app allows developers to write custom programs of their own design for the phone, without having to jailbreak the phone. Developers are also starting to link mobile devices up to computers and other devices that use the phone’s built in sensors as information providers. For example, the i-Kinect Experimental Project created a game where the Kinect was used to steer a space ship using a person’s position, while an iPhone was used to control the gun turrets on the spaceship.

I believe that it is important to not only look at what things are and what they can do, but also look to what they can be. If you are not familiar with technology, take the opportunity and plug yourself into a local tech community and actively participate in it. The tech community can help you learn the terms, and workings of the technology that interests you. On the other side of you being immersed in that culture, you can provide an outsiders point of view and a fresh mind to other people’s works.