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The Hacker Attitude


  • The world is full of fascinating problems waiting to be solved.
  • No problem should ever have to be solved twice.
  • Boredom and drudgery are evil.
  • Freedom is good.
  • Attitude is no substitute for competence.
Hackers solve problems and build things, and they believe in freedom and voluntary mutual help. To be accepted as a hacker, you have to behave as though you have this kind of attitude yourself. And to behave as though you have the attitude, you have to really believe the attitude.

But if you think of cultivating hacker attitudes as just a way to gain acceptance in the culture, you'll miss the point. Becoming the kind of person who believes these things is important for you — for helping you learn and keeping you motivated. As with all creative arts, the most effective way to become a master is to imitate the mind-set of masters — not just intellectually but emotionally as well.

Or, as the following modern Zen poem has it:

To follow the path:
look to the master,
follow the master,
walk with the master,
see through the master,
become the master.

So, if you want to be a hacker, repeat the following things until you believe them:

The world is full of fascinating problems waiting to be solved.

Being a hacker is lots of fun, but it's a kind of fun that takes lots of effort. The effort takes motivation. Successful athletes get their motivation from a kind of physical delight in making their bodies perform, in pushing themselves past their own physical limits. Similarly, to be a hacker you have to get a basic thrill from solving problems, sharpening your skills, and exercising your intelligence.

If you aren't the kind of person that feels this way naturally, you'll need to become one in order to make it as a hacker. Otherwise you'll find your hacking energy is sapped by distractions like sex, money, and social approval.

(You also have to develop a kind of faith in your own learning capacity — a belief that even though you may not know all of what you need to solve a problem, if you tackle just a piece of it and learn from that, you'll learn enough to solve the next piece — and so on, until you're done.)

No problem should ever have to be solved twice.

Creative brains are a valuable, limited resource. They shouldn't be wasted on re-inventing the wheel when there are so many fascinating new problems waiting out there.

To behave like a hacker, you have to believe that the thinking time of other hackers is precious — so much so that it's almost a moral duty for you to share information, solve problems and then give the solutions away just so other hackers can solve new problems instead of having to perpetually re-address old ones.

Note, however, that "No problem should ever have to be solved twice." does not imply that you have to consider all existing solutions sacred, or that there is only one right solution to any given problem. Often, we learn a lot about the problem that we didn't know before by studying the first cut at a solution. It's OK, and often necessary, to decide that we can do better. What's not OK is artificial technical, legal, or institutional barriers (like closed-source code) that prevent a good solution from being re-used and force people to re-invent wheels.

(You don't have to believe that you're obligated to give all your creative product away, though the hackers that do are the ones that get most respect from other hackers. It's consistent with hacker values to sell enough of it to keep you in food and rent and computers. It's fine to use your hacking skills to support a family or even get rich, as long as you don't forget your loyalty to your art and your fellow hackers while doing it.)

Boredom and drudgery are evil.

Hackers (and creative people in general) should never be bored or have to drudge at stupid repetitive work, because when this happens it means they aren't doing what only they can do — solve new problems. This wastefulness hurts everybody. Therefore boredom and drudgery are not just unpleasant but actually evil.

To behave like a hacker, you have to believe this enough to want to automate away the boring bits as much as possible, not just for yourself but for everybody else (especially other hackers).

(There is one apparent exception to this. Hackers will sometimes do things that may seem repetitive or boring to an observer as a mind-clearing exercise, or in order to acquire a skill or have some particular kind of experience you can't have otherwise. But this is by choice — nobody who can think should ever be forced into a situation that bores them.)

Freedom is good.

Hackers are naturally anti-authoritarian. Anyone who can give you orders can stop you from solving whatever problem you're being fascinated by — and, given the way authoritarian minds work, will generally find some appallingly stupid reason to do so. So the authoritarian attitude has to be fought wherever you find it, lest it smother you and other hackers.

(This isn't the same as fighting all authority. Children need to be guided and criminals restrained. A hacker may agree to accept some kinds of authority in order to get something he wants more than the time he spends following orders. But that's a limited, conscious bargain; the kind of personal surrender authoritarians want is not on offer.)

Authoritarians thrive on censorship and secrecy. And they distrust voluntary cooperation and information-sharing — they only like ‘cooperation' that they control. So to behave like a hacker, you have to develop an instinctive hostility to censorship, secrecy, and the use of force or deception to compel responsible adults. And you have to be willing to act on that belief.

Attitude is no substitute for competence.

To be a hacker, you have to develop some of these attitudes. But copping an attitude alone won't make you a hacker, any more than it will make you a champion athlete or a rock star. Becoming a hacker will take intelligence, practice, dedication, and hard work. Therefore, you have to learn to distrust attitude and respect competence of every kind. Hackers won't let posers waste their time, but they worship competence — especially competence at hacking, but competence at anything is valued. Competence at demanding skills that few can master is especially good, and competence at demanding skills that involve mental acuteness, craft, and concentration is best.

If you revere competence, you'll enjoy developing it in yourself — the hard work and dedication will become a kind of intense play rather than drudgery. That attitude is vital to becoming a hacker.

Ms-dos hacking

DOSKEY /APPEDITUtilize doskey functions in MS-DOS command utilities such as edlin and debug.
FDISK /MBRRecreates the Master Boot Record See CH000175 for additional information.
FDISK /PRISee FDISK Page for additional information.
FDISK /EXTSee FDISK Page for additional information.
FDISK /LOGSee FDISK Page for additional information.
FDISK /QPrevents fdisk from booting the system automatically after exiting fdisk.
FDISK /STATUSShows you the current status of your hard drives.
FORMAT /AUTOTESTFormats the hard drive without any prompting.
FORMAT /BACKUP Like /AUTOTEST but it will ask you for a volume label.
FORMAT /Z:nCommand used with FDISK supporting FAT32, used to specify the cluster size in bytes where n is multiplied by 512.
MEM /A or /ALLAdds a line into the MEM command tells the available space in HMA.
SET DIRCMD=0Will make all directories hidden however still accessible, to get them back SET DIRCMD=
SHARE /NCUnknown
TRUENAMEWhen placed before a file, will display the whole directory in which it exists.
VER /RTells you the Revision and if DOS is in HMA.

Hacking Programs

Other Hacks

Ok. First of all, I have tried every single file I could find on how to
rip off coin changers, candy machines, etc. etc. None of them worked.
Believe me, I tried every one. I don't know if these articles were just
to gain a better U/L D/L ratio or what b ut they didn't work. I have
one that does.

This trick only works on COCA COLA machines. Don't ask me why. It has
something to do with the validator on the machines.

Take a dollar bill (as crisp as possible) and lay it george-side-up
with our dear first prez. facing left as if you were going to stick it
in the machine. now take some scotch tape and make 2 strips a long as
the dollar. now take those pieces of tape and attach them to the white
edge of the dolla r fcing you (just the one edge). your dollard should
look like this now.

- -
- -
- -
- -
| |
| |
| |
| |

Now take scotch tape and make bars across the two pieces of tape
already connected to your dollar(sort of like a ladder) overlapping
each one just a little. get down to the bottom and turn the bill over
and do the same thing on the other side (just the l adder rungs). now
take a pair of sissors and trim the tape to make it all even and
square. now take something hard and run it over the tape a few times to
ensure that it won't come off. (remeber kindergarten? put the glue on
and press down hard while you count to 10?) now you're ready. take
your new and improved currency to the nearest coke machine with a
dollar bill vindicator and insert your dollar. you have to let the bill
go in almost until you cant hold the tape anymore (it's important to
let the bill get in far e nough for the scanner to read the dollar) and
then whip it back out. You should hear the click of the machine and
your change drop out. make your selection and voila! Now the cool thing
is when you find a machine that only takes 50 cents. cause you get your
coke and 50 cents. I made 300 dollars one time doing that. no shit.

that's it folks.

note: this document is for informational purposes ONLY. The author of
this article assumes no responsibility for the use or mis-use of this

Coke vending machines are everywhere. They're getting more and more like regular computers with LEDs that show little "ICE COLD" messages and whatnot. Well, there's a lot more to those little built-in computers than you may think. Included in the low-level operating system that these babies run on is an actual debug menu that gives you access to all sorts of machine information and possibly gives you free cokes in older machines.

There's a very strict list of vending machines that have the debug menu. First off, they're all COCA-COLA product vending machines. This means the giant, un-missable picture on the front must show any of the following: Coke, Dasani (Water), Barq's Root Beer, Vanilla Coke, Cherry Coke, Sprite, Evlan (water), Fanta, Fresca, Frutopia, Hi-C, Sprite Remix, Mad River, Mello Yello, Minute Maid, Nestea, Odwalla, Mr. Pibb/Pibb Xtra, Planet Java, Power Ade, Seagram's Ginger Ale, Simply Orange, Sparkletts, or Tab. Of course anything Diet or Caffeine free works too.
The machine must have an LED screen. Some of the older ones just allow the LED to be set to a price amount and won't have the debug menu. You're safer if the little LED is telling you something. Usually it will scroll a little message like "Ice Cold Cokes". Newer machines are more likely candidates.