Well, I honestly think hackerdom is far older than that. If we want to go there, Archimedes was most definitely a hacker (and maybe the inventor of one of the world’s first mechanical computers). And what about the creators of the cave paintings a Lascaux, who made do with very primitive technology to create paints that have endured more than 20,000 years?
And it’s very possible to “hack” other things than technology. Metrical poetry springs to mind - all the ins and outs of finding a phrase that fits the meter, expresses the sense and Just Works, so it seems like the words just sprang directly from your brain. So maybe the hacking mindset isn’t actually just centuries, but millennia old.
As someone who, for a living, often has to hack the equipment I work on, I also think that that the headline for that Omni article could simply have omitted the word “four” from the headline.
No one, as far as I know, has ever invented the definitive, final version of any device. If you look at all the ‘perfect’ machines we have (e.g.: the canoe and the kayak, the bicycle, screws and screwdrivers), they’re ALL the result of incremental improvements made by lots and lots of people who kept finding that “It’s pretty good. Except there’s a small problem…”
Back in my misspent youth a hacker was someone like Don Lancaster who took common circuit elements and “hacked” them to make something new and unusual. It was entirely a creative movement at that time. I’ve long regretted the negative stereotype that has been applied to hacking. I suppose that the positive form of hacking is now considered part of the so-called “Maker” movement, but “hacking” is a much more descriptive term.
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