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Hints and Hacks (QST)

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

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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018
  4. 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.
  5. 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?
  6. AI5DH

    AI5DH Ham Member QRZ Page

    The meaning of "Hack" has changed over the years. When I was a kid was something you or the cat coughed up, and was green and slimy. Today it can be positive or negative. Example last you want is a Hack doing work for you like a contractor building your home, or stealing your identity. Or that brilliant code writer who can make any app you want. Strange because people today wants to Hack everything, but the last thing they want is to be Hacked.

    One thing has not changed. It can still be slimy.
    KK8MM, N0TZU and KK5R like this.
  7. KV6O

    KV6O Ham Member QRZ Page

    6 c : a clever tip or technique for doing or improving something
    • We asked entrepreneurs across industries to share their favorite productivity hacks, from useful organization apps to clever tricks for cutting down meeting times.
    The example illustrates the use of the word outside the computer programming context. I have been using "Hack" in this way my entire life, and I am 50. It's not a new use of the word, although its modern use did derive from the computer field - MIT in the 60's

    A solution or feat has "hack value" if it is done in a way that has finesse, cleverness or brilliance, which makes creativity an essential part of the meaning. For example, picking a difficult lock has hack value; smashing it does not. As another example, proving Fermat's last theorem by linking together most of modern mathematics has hack value; solving a combinatorial problem by exhaustively trying all possibilities does not. Hacking is not using process of elimination to find a solution; it's the process of finding a clever solution to a problem.

    But seriously, "Hints and Hacks" has you this riled up? Let look at "Kinks":

    1: a short tight twist or curl caused by a doubling or winding of something upon itself
    2: a mental or physical peculiarity
    3: a clever unusual way of doing something -
    BINGO! The only definition that fits.
    4: a cramp in some part of the body
    5: an imperfection likely to cause difficulties in the operation of something
    6: unconventional sexual taste or behavior

    Not much that supports "kink" for what we're doing here...
    AG5DB likes this.
  8. KV6O

    KV6O Ham Member QRZ Page

    Bruce Schneier has a good article on the subject:

    A hacker is someone who thinks outside the box. It's someone who discards conventional wisdom, and does something else instead. It's someone who looks at the edge and wonders what's beyond. It's someone who sees a set of rules and wonders what happens if you don't follow them. A hacker is someone who experiments with the limitations of systems for intellectual curiosity.

    It even has a had radio reference:

    Remember the phone phreaks of yesteryear, the ones who could whistle into payphones and make free phone calls. Sure, they stole phone service. But it wasn't like they needed to make eight-hour calls to Manila or McMurdo. And their real work was secret knowledge: The phone network was a vast maze of information. They wanted to know the system better than the designers, and they wanted the ability to modify it to their will. Understanding how the phone system worked -- that was the true prize. Other early hackers were ham-radio hobbyists and model-train enthusiasts.

    Repurposing an old TV to be a ham radio is a hack of the first order, and many hams who experiment in this way - making things do things they were never intended to - are hackers by this definition. One I agree with, and have lived - proudly. :p
  9. KK5R

    KK5R Ham Member QRZ Page

    You ignore tradition. In what I wrote the ARRL, ...THIS... was my emphasis and the rationale for NOT going with some modern idea of a hacker.

    A "kink" being defined that way is also ignoring traditional meaning of the term by not realizing what it is to straighten out a kink in a wire and making it usable. Other similar concepts also apply and not applying the term to whatever can be conceived to spin the meaning.

    What I see here is a real struggle to make the word Hack a modern ham radio term. How many hams prefer this? Would the ARRL put to a popular vote which is preferred by the majority of hams?

    There are those who love to "invent" things and see themselves as novel and ingenious in some small way. 'therefore, taking a particular writer's personal definition of the words Hack and Hacker is reminiscent of someone who creates fiction just as we see those stories on the Internet that become viral but prove to be pure imagination and no more than a hoax. This kind of hoaxer is famous for twisting ideas and terms to suit their fancy in an effort to draw others into their little world.

    Keep in mind what was at the core of my letter to the ARRL: I questioned whether they were attempting to improve the column or were changing the name to attract others, people from the world of computer hackers. For me, I preferred to be associated with radio communication and hams instead of the hint that it was associated with hackers as in computer hackers, which is the much more popular concept associated with the term Hacker. Now I see an effort by some who apparently do not share my love for Amateur Radio Tradition to swing the term/s to whatever idea they can dream up and depend on some other person, not a majority, to supply them with the rationale. As for dictionary definitions, there is also the concept that preferred definitions are arranged first in the list and other, lesser-accepted definitions are listed far down the list.

    In other words, to whom was the ARRL attempting to address that column' s name change and to what purpose? Has tradition fallen into such low esteem?

    As for the meaning being used in areas other than computer technology, not everyone sees the definition in this way. As for my background in computers, etc., I was the assistant computer system maintenance administrator at the Sacramento Army Depot for several years and part of that time (five years) worked in Computer Assisted Design (CAD) while a telecommunications engineer. Where it comes to the concept of what Hacker means to most people, I was not born in the dark.

    My intention in writing the letter to the ARRL is being misinterpreted. I do not like change where change is not a dire necessity. Changing Kinks to Hacks was not necessary. They did not even reply to tell me why they thought it was so necessary. Ignoring my views on the subject is pure baloney. IF it was something of real value and was pushed by real need, it would have been easy to prove it to me and convince me. Because it was not done, I remain with the thought that it was not needed and/or necessary but was merely a change for the sake of change similar to putting a stop sign on a highway in the middle of a road crossing the desert where there is no other road and no intersection. I wonder if there are people in the highway department that look for places for such things like I also wonder if there is someone on the QST staff that sits up nights wondering what can be changed in the magazine — even where not necessary or needed.
  10. KK5R

    KK5R Ham Member QRZ Page

    That Blog is about security, not about ham radio.

    The reference to "Other early hackers were ham-radio hobbyists" was where Wayne Greene had editorials and some articles in 73 Magazine about little boxes that could "hack" telephone systems with tones and how the FCC had confiscated piles of those boxes. This cannot be used in association or applied to ham radio. And that was in a different era, somewhere in the mid-to-late '70's, about 50 years ago.

    Also, hacking into those phone systems is far from the stretch of using the term to improve some use of or concept in Ham Radio as is implied by Hints and Kinks/Hacks.

    What's next???
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2018

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