Hacker Syndrome Paper

                               The Hacker Syndrome 
                                  By Tad Deriso 
     There is some compelling force in all Hackers that seems to draw them 
     to their computers every day.  Why they get up at 4am to use the 
     modem, and why they continue to rack up a truly incredible phone bill 
     is beyond me.  
     Most computer areas, at your home or at your office, tend to be messy.  
     Even you try to keep it clean, it is truly impossible.  Whether it be 
     empty Coke cans laying all around, soldering devices, electric diodes, 
     computer parts, or integrated circuits, it is not only a pain for your 
     mother to look at, but a prime Russian ICBM missile target as well.  
     There is much detail needed to explain a Hacker.  For instance, 
     instead of organizing his clothes by color, best ones, or style, he 
     organizes his by pile.  Also, he likes to sing songs such as, "Let's 
     get Digital", "We all live in a yellow subroutine", and "Somewhere 
     over the RAMbow".  
     Most Hackers do well in school.  The reason is not to impress their 
     teachers, not to get money from their parents, and not to be educated, 
     but they do it so they can hopefully get a scholarship to MIT.  You 
     can't blame them, though, if they are looking out into space.  It 
     might be because they are worried if MCI traced the calls that they 
     sent to NORAD.  
     All Hackers, big or small, love computers, whether they be Trash-80's 
     or an IBM 360/VM workstation.  When they get on one, it's mighty hard 
     to get them off of it.  
     There are 2 types of Hackers.  One who likes to crash local BBS's, and 
     the one who writes programs in Assembly Language.  The Hacker who 
     crashes systems is the one that most people think that a Hacker is.  A 
     typical example of one is John Fredrickson (A.K.A. "The Phone Man").  
     He loves to crash computers, and break into illegal systems.  The ones 
     that he has gotten in to are MCI, CitiBank, school systems, IBM, 
     Southern Bell, and Georgia Tech, not to mention all the ones in 
     The second type of Hacker is the programmer.  He writes games, 
     utilities, and anything else that he can think of.  Take for example, 
     John Harris, a freelance software writer for On-Line Software Co.  
     John had a brainstorm one day, and decided to write Frogger for the 
     Apple.  He thought that it would take about 3 weeks to complete.  He 
     started on Frogger a week late, because of the complicated music set 
     that he had to write.  After two months, he was almost done.  He 
     decided to take a break and go to the Software Expo.  He decided to 
     take his nearly completed Frogger, and show it to the consumers at the 
     show.  He also took with him the only back-up copy, in case the main 
     disk did not boot.  
     While at the fair, he was talking to the Manager about getting a 
     booth.  He had his disks with him.  Then, when he got a booth 
     reserved, he reached down to get his disks, and they were gone!  All 
     his hard work, including the MultiLevel character generator, music 
     lines, disk subroutines, assembly routines, debugging programs, etc.  
     All gone.  
     After that tragedy, John was in a deep depression.  He finally started 
     working on it again in 3 months.  He completed it in 4 months and 3 
     Part Two: 
     Hackers always take time off.  There is always one way to notice a 
     true Hacker.  At a party, the true Hacker is the one in the corner 
     talking about operating system security and how to get around it.  At 
     the beach, the True Hacker is the one drawing flow charts in the sand.  
     At a football game, the true Hacker is the one comparing the football 
     plays against a simulation printed on 11 by 14 fanfold paper.  
     Most Hackers work for the U.S. Government-- mainly the Department of 
     Defense.  You can see the best Hackers at the Jet Propulsion 
     Laboratory in California.  
     What sort of environment does a Hacker function best in?  No, not a 
     heated room with a clean table and disks organized neatly, but they do 
     best in rooms that have line-printed Snoopy calendars from the year 
     1969.  They do not know how to cook, so they survive on Twinkies and 
     coffee.  Instead of wasting electricity for a heater, they spend it on 
     air-conditioners to cool of their computer system in mid-January when 
     the temperatures are below freezing.  They wear layers and layers of 
     clothing to keep the body heat in.  When you see one of these people, 
     instead of a Hacker coming into your mind, you think that he is about 
     to go on a Polar expedition somewhere in the North Pole.  
     Hackers also like to hang around arcades.  (This is also true for 
     kids, little old ladies, and fighter pilots.) There, secluded in their 
     own environment, Hackers can talk freely on computer hints and short 
     cuts while playing Pac-Man, or Joust.  
     All Hackers like Graphics.  They like low-resolution, but prefer high-
     resolution the best.  These graphics, such as Sine waves, rotating 3-D 
     boxes, and little balloons, are confined to the limits of a systems 
     capability.  The older more experienced Hackers are the ones who are 
     lucky enough to get to work on a VAX system, and maybe even a CRAY-1 
     SuperComputer.  If they use these, they have only the limits of their 
     imagination to stop them.  
     Most Middle School Hackers between the ages of 10 through 14, like to 
     use computers to do reports on, and play games.  Some of these younger 
     generation Hackers have gotten into BASIC programming.  
     Some people, like to impress real Hackers by making them think that 
     they know everything.  There is a certain name for this kind of 
     person.  He is a Sub-Hacker (Intillectuous dumbfoundeth).  For 
     instance, you come up to them one day, and say,"Hey so-and-so what 
     does BASIC stand for?" and you could sit there for days, and he would 
     act like the answer was on the tip of his tongue, when it was probably 
     in his toes.  It is people like this that give Hackers a bad name.  
     Part Three: 
     All Hackers have certain rules that they go by.  One is to never call 
     long distance on Monday, because of the high phone charge.  Another is 
     If builders built buildings they way programmers wrote programs, the 
     first woodpecker that comes along would destroy civilization.  Another 
     is, if the computer accepts a program on the first run without any 
     errors, either there is a malfunction, or it must be a dream.  
     Hackers are a unique breed.  Combining intelligence, personality, and 
     a morale sense of good taste.  A Hacker enjoys the environment that 
     appeals to him the most.  Such as, the computer room, the arcade, 
     science lab, or the Atari downstairs.  They like to be alone.  
     Secluded in their own thoughts, thinking of what the password could be 
     to log on to General Electric.  Hackers are the people who are going 
     to make our future brighter, and more exciting in the field of 
     electronics, data processing, artificial intelligence, and 
     programming.  We need to support these people in all the ways that we 
     can, so we will be insured of a more happier future in the world of 
     technological advancements.