Hints and Hacks (QST)

Discussion in 'General Announcements' started by KK5R, Apr 15, 2018.

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  1. KK5R

    KK5R Ham Member QRZ Page

    I emailed the message below to the ARRL for inclusion in their Letters column.

    There was no reply or "hint" that the message was received...


    RE Hints and Kinks name change

    I got back onboard with the ARRL a couple of years ago and much of this was to get QST, our journal. I have a few articles published in the magazine in what used to be called Hints and Kinks. It was, surprising to me, that it was changed to Hints and Hacks. What’s with that? Was the name changed merely for the sake of change or does it have some intended goal.

    Could it be to be more inviting to Hackers, some of those who use computers to the max and invent new ways to use the technology? Could be, maybe, but not all go along with this concept of a Hacker. Consider the term “hack job” and what most people think when they hear “computer hacker.” These terms have definite negative connotations with many people.

    We are hams. The term ham also has some negativism involved and it is for the most part a view used outside ham radio by those who really don’t know Ham Radio. I prefer the standard use of Amateur Radio even though that also has some sentiment of being less than professional. In Ham Radio, however, we know that we are called hams but we also know that when applied by hams to other hams, there is little concern about the hint of the notion that it refers to a less than professional use of communications electronics. We are so busy using and appreciating our art that we merely smile at the idea that “ham radio” is less than professional.

    Ham could even be an attention-getter for those who wonder what ham radio actually means. It could also be an entry point into a conversation about ham radio as a form of communications art when it is explained to someone who has never really heard of or thought about the significance of the term Ham Radio. However, in this case, the term ham radio has little negativism inherent in it, in my opinion, because it is being noticed by someone outside of ham radio who could then become interested in it.

    Considering the “Hints and Hacks” name change, though, if it is indeed a change merely for the sake of change, the benefit is dubious. I had a good feeling about the term “Kink” as if it is something that is twisted or modified in an unexpected way that is of great benefit to the builder. However, the term “Hack” has little to redeem its use. For me, I do not want the term Hack associated with me or the ham radio art. If it is merely change for changes sake, will the ARRL someday become defined as “The National Association of Hack Radio”???

    I do not mind and smile when someone calls me a Ham but do not want to be associated in any way with a Hack.

    Has the change to Hints and Hacks added anything to ham radio? Is there any benefit in it at all? If not, maybe it’s time to go back to Hints and Kinks as it was for decades, possibly from the days when QST was first put to print.

    Bob Lunsford — KK5R

    By the way, I have not changed my mind...
    K5TCJ and N2SUB like this.
  2. KA9JLM

    KA9JLM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hacks are something that makes things work out of the norm.

    Kinks are a bit kinky, And need a hack to fix them. :rolleyes:
  3. US7IGN

    US7IGN Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    You are really have a lot of free time =)
    WD4IGX likes this.
  4. KA0HCP

    KA0HCP XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Yes, it's true. New hams can't possible understand old terms and the ham culture. We must change things for the sake of their weak minds and social unease. Sigh.

    Next month: Wouff Hong becomes the Grippy Bruiselator!

    Last edited: Apr 15, 2018
    KK8MM, VE1IDX, N6HCM and 3 others like this.
  5. KK5R

    KK5R Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yep, but it's MY time...:p:)
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2018
    WB5MG likes this.
  6. KK5R

    KK5R Ham Member QRZ Page

    Ah! so that's the definition floating around now? Gives Reverse Engineering a new twist, huh?
  7. KK5R

    KK5R Ham Member QRZ Page

    You get it. Too many people love to see things change even if it's non-productive. They they try to disparage what hams think that go back to the '50's. Wonder how many of them even know the lore behind the Wouff Hong and who invented it... It was dedicated to them, by the way... ;)

    Nice qrz.com bio page, by the way. I flew on a PBY-3 Catalina flying boat on the Amazon in 1956. Was with Panair of Brazil. Those were the days... (sigh)
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2018
    KA0HCP likes this.
  8. US7IGN

    US7IGN Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I hate it!
    KK5R likes this.
  9. KK5R

    KK5R Ham Member QRZ Page

    As do I. Talk about a waste of time... Those who change only for the sake of change have no imagination at all. If what they wanted to change had good and profitable reason, I'd be all for it.
  10. US7IGN

    US7IGN Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Ha! Now they do things worse in fact, but add whistles and bells, and sells even more expensive. Look at the cars. They change the honest four-wheel drive to a cheap electromagnetic clutch, but add unnecessary LEDs anywhere inside and sell the car for several thousand more. And I soon just can not buy a car without these monitors.
    KK5R likes this.
  11. KF5FEI

    KF5FEI Ham Member QRZ Page

    In ham terms, a hack might be wiring a telephone handset to work as a speaker / mic. Or making a slot antenna out of a satellite dish, because your HOA doesn't allow other types of antennas. Or modifying an old CB to work on 10m. Even reverse-engineering the firmware on a Chinese HT to add / remove features. It is merely legally modifying an item for an unintended use.
  12. KA9JLM

    KA9JLM Ham Member QRZ Page

    In the day QRZ did not allow talking about hacking.

    It was rated up there with sex talk.

    Both are fun. :D It is best not to talk about it.
  13. KK5R

    KK5R Ham Member QRZ Page

    Rubbish...!!! This is another attempt to justify use of the word "hack" without looking it up in the dictionary.

    The dictionary does not even hint that this is the meaning of "Hack." Here is THE dictionary definition of Hack and it has NOTHING like some of the definitions cited in this forum which proves them to be an imaginary exercise and no more. Not even Slang references has reference to this (and slang entries are cited in the dictionary). It has some idea of how it is a term used in computer programming but NOTHING about using it being a term used in enhancing technical work or its adaptation. Check it out here:

    hack 1
    v. hacked, hack·ing, hacks
    1. To cut or chop with repeated and irregular blows: hacked down the saplings.
    2. To make or shape by hitting or chopping with a sharp implement: hacked a trail through the forest.
    3. To break up the surface of (soil).
    To alter (a computer program): hacked her text editor to read HTML.
    b. To gain access to (a computer file or network) illegally or without authorization: hacked the firm's personnel database.
    5. Slang To cut or mutilate as if by hacking: hacked millions off the budget.
    6. Slang To cope with successfully; manage: couldn't hack a second job.
    1. To chop or cut something by hacking.
    To write or refine computer programs skillfully.
    b. To use one's skill in computer programming to gain illegal or unauthorized access to a file or network: hacked into the company's intranet.
    3. To cough roughly or harshly.
    1. A rough, irregular cut made by hacking.
    2. A tool, such as a hoe, used for hacking.
    3. A blow made by hacking.
    4. An attempt to hit a baseball; a swing of the bat.
    An instance of gaining unauthorized access to a computer file or network.
    b. A program that makes use of existing often proprietary software, adding new features to it.
    c. A clever modification or improvement.
    6. A rough, dry cough.

    REF: https://www.thefreedictionary.com/hack
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018
  14. KF5FEI

    KF5FEI Ham Member QRZ Page

    You sure you can read? From your quoted text:

    "c. A clever modification or improvement."

    Exactly what we're talking about.
    KF5RHI, AG5DB and N2EY like this.
  15. KK5R

    KK5R Ham Member QRZ Page

    What a "clever" misreading of the definition...

    Section 5 relates to computer programming or, do you mean the "rough, dry cough" part?

    It sure is a struggle to invent new definitions and ignore what the dictionary days, doesn't it.

    And I can read ... in English, Spanish, Portuguese and French. However, it appears that a lot of Special English students read by mouthing the phonics but where it comes to understanding what they read, they sit there with a pipe in their mouth and wait for some kind of social promotion type award.

    Try going back and read what I sent to the ARRL. You might ponder the idea of a tradition for a change and give slang and invention of terminology a second seat. I have no doubt it will do you good.

    And as for the "Exactly what we're talking about" part, who are the others, Tonto?

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