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Ask Slashdot: What Inspired You To Start Hacking? 153

An anonymous reader writes "What got you into hacking? This is a question that Jennifer Steffen, IOActive CEO, often asks hackers she meets on conferences around the world. More often than not, the answer is movies: War Games, Hackers, The Matrix, and so on. But today, it is the real life hacking that is inspiring the movies of tomorrow. 'Hackers are doing epic stuff,' she says, and they are now inspiring movies and comics. So, what got you started? And what makes a good hacker today?"
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Ask Slashdot: What Inspired You To Start Hacking?

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  • by jaeztheangel ( 2644535 ) on Friday May 30, 2014 @06:13PM (#47132497)
    When I was a kid I burned my right hand at age 5. I couldn't write, and I had recently gotten a rubiks cube. I wondered how to solve it and worked it out in my head. When my bandages came off I solved it in one day. Because I couldn't open it up or play with it I had to think about it, it made me hungry to play with and understand everything. Something I still feel to this day.
  • TI Calculators (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Prien715 ( 251944 ) <> on Friday May 30, 2014 @06:30PM (#47132663) Journal

    When I was in middle school, I got a TI81. On those things, the only way to transfer a program was to manually copy it. After copying a few, I got an idea about the language/syntax and starting coding my own. Friends wanted me to copy my programs to their calculators and by the time the "cabled" calculators came out, I was a being asked for games I had written by strangers in HS. While it's not Lisp/Java/C, TI Basic gave me a love of programming (creating things!) that got me through university with a CS degree and I'm typing this from a senior level engineering position in silicon valley a couple decades later.

    But without that calculator? Who knows. Coding while in algebra through differential equations classes in grade school/high school was also a great way to look like I was "paying attention";)

  • by birukun ( 145245 ) on Friday May 30, 2014 @07:28PM (#47133037)

    How did I start?

    Age 6 - taking apart any old electronics. old radios, walkie talkies, whatever
    Age 11 - Commodore 64 and IBM PC XT comes to the house
    Age 12 - learn how to solder, mostly unsoldering components from old electronics
    Age 14 - Introduced to Borland C
    Age 16 - CB and dabbled in HAM
    Age 18 - College for Comp Engineering, only to fail out after spending every hour in computer lab instead of class (uudecode anyone?)
    Age 20 - US Navy working on 60s era computers
    Age 24 - First Net admin job migrating from Novell to WinNT + First home PC of my own! .....computers ever since along with car repairs, etc
    Today - job in cybersecurity doing all kinds of different stuff, with side projects in the Internet of Things related to security

    What makes a good hacker today?
    Same thing as always, the desire to not just have technology, but the desire to know how it works!

  • Re:Not MIT but NTH (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TapeCutter ( 624760 ) on Saturday May 31, 2014 @09:16AM (#47135233) Journal
    What got me started? - 1965, first year of primary school, some random kid demonstrated how to a flashlight worked with a battery a wire and a torch bulb. It was in a busy corridor at recess and everyone was taller than me. I was absolutely fascinated by it, I spent a small fortune in pocket money over the next few months on batteries, torch bulbs, and sticky tape.

    Thirty years later my (ex) wife came home from work one day, she was not dumb by any stretch of the imagination, she says to me with a tinge of excitement - "Do you know what comes out of a battery?" Note sure what she was angling at I said "Electricity?". She express disappointment because her trivia question failed to stump me. I then asked her what she had thought came out of batteries. "I dunno, just Ommphhh!" she says, it soon became apparent that hysterical laughter was not the response she had been looking for.

    NGOML or I will be forced to tell you the story about how we used to tie an onion to our belt....

To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing. -- Elbert Hubbard