Jargon Busting No.7 – Hacking

Hacking is not just about black hats (bad guys) and white hats (good guys) playing with computer code. Hacking is really about ordinary people making, sharing and learning code, how to build websites, apps and all kinds of things. The things could be practical, electrical, electronic, artistic, knitted or even conductive playdoh. 

Many people think hacking is all about geeks sitting in dark rooms trying to break into government computer systems to steal secret or trying to break into banks to steal money, just like this scene from the 1995 movie Hackers. 

The reality is that hackers are ordinary people and some may play with computer code, most ‘hack’ things by making, fixing, improving and creating. Around the world there are groups called Hackerspaces where people work together, to learn and to teach.  There are Hackerspaces in over 50 countries around the world. 

Adelaide has a great Hackerspace group that is full of people tinkering, making and learning. I have recently starting hanging out at Adelaide Hackerspace and I have learnt a lot. Most recently I have been learning about websites and how to design them, administer them and make them run smoothly.

I have also been learnt more about 3D printing, and have marvelled at other members designs and creations. Hackerspaces around the world are involved in a huge variety of community activities. In Adelaide the local Hackerspace has been involved in events such as; the Mini Maker Faire, The Show and this weekend will be at Science Alive

Next on my list is to learn about is Arduino. Arduino is a supposedly ‘easy to use’ open-source electronics platform. I’ll let you know how it goes, but first I have to keep working on making this blog not only full of great content but look good. 

So the next time you try to fix the broken toaster or better still take the toaster apart and use the parts to make something else, you can call yourself a hacker. 


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