The good sense of hacking lives on

Back in the days when you could leave your car unlocked in the driveway, and you could leave your Unix shell account unlocked on your server, the term hacker was a noble one. We keep trying to reclaim it from the identity thieves and 1337 skryptkiddi3s, but language is notoriously hard to manage in any purposeful way. Still, we haven't created a suitable new term for the concept, so any references to hacking in this post refer to the good kind.

What hackers do best is use the tools at hand in ways that were never intended by the providers of these tools. Smart providers revel in this. Idiot providers do all they can to prevent it. In the interest of promoting the smart providers, I'd like you to take a look at the latest version of brilliant hacking.

Mobile phones are getting pretty sophisticated. A lot of them now have accelerometers in them -- something that can detect movement. Of course, almost any mobile phone has a vibrator (steady, now), and virtually all of them have a speaker. Add in the fact that these three things can be controlled via software. A good hacker will look at this situation and ponder, "What can we do with these raw materials?" Well, some boffins in Glasgow (there's no better hacker than a Scots hacker) came up with a doozy. (Go ahead, click on doozy. Go read about it. This is how the internets are supposed to work.)

I never would have thought to combine those features in this way, but it's exquisitely hawesome. (Wil Wheaton taught me to spell awesome this way. Honestly, it's not my fault.)


Rocky the Flying Human

You have to see this video of people who actually fly the same way flying squirrels do. Watch the video here. (Via Doc Searls' Weblog)


Scoble's biggest fan

I thought this was interesting when it showed up on Facebook today...


Rolling Stone rock quiz

I got a 47 (Expert). There must be some better use of my memory cells, but there you go. Rolling Stone's Almost-Impossible Rock and Roll Quiz,


Must-read essay: Schneier's "The War on the Unexpected"

Bruce Schneier lives in an interesting middle ground between cryptography and journalism. This perspective gives his essays on security an uncommon and refreshing bias toward common sense. His latest, "The War on the Unexpected", should be required reading for every employee of the Department of Homeland Security and the TSA, not to mention every living soul in Boston.

Nothing I could add would help. Just click here and read for yourself.

Disclaimer: Bruce and I worked together briefly around the turn of the century. That fact doesn't make this essay any less brilliant. It's just why I always read his writings.