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The New Hacker's Dictionary

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*[6350]hacker ethic:

*[6351]hacker humor:

*[6352]Hackers (the movie):

*[6353]hacking run:

*[6354]Hacking X for Y:










*[6364]Halloween Documents:





*[6368]hand cruft:








*[6376]Hanlon's Razor:



*[6379]hard boot:




*[6383]has the X nature:

*[6384]hash bucket:

*[6385]hash collision:




*[6388]heads down:



*[6391]heavy metal:

*[6392]heavy wizardry:



*[6395]Helen Keller mode:

*[6396]hello sailor!:

*[6397]hello wall!:

*[6398]hello world:







*[6404]hidden flag:

*[6405]high bit:

*[6406]high moby:



*[6409]hired gun:








*[6417]holy wars:

*[6418]home box:

*[6419]home machine:

*[6420]home page:

*[6421]honey pot:






*[6426]hot chat:

*[6427]hot spot:


*[6429]house wizard:






*[6435]hungry puppy:



*[6438]hysterical reasons:



Node:h, Next:[6439]ha ha only serious, Previous:[6440]gweep, Up:[6441]= H =


[from SF fandom] A method of `marking' common words, i.e., calling attention to the fact that they are being used in a nonstandard, ironic, or humorous way. Originated in the fannish catchphrase "Bheer is the One True Ghod!" from decades ago. H-infix marking of `Ghod' and other words spread into the 1960s counterculture via underground comix, and into early hackerdom either from the counterculture or from SF fandom (the three overlapped heavily at the time). More recently, the h infix has become an expected feature of benchmark names (Dhrystone, Rhealstone, etc.); this is probably patterning on the original Whetstone (the name of a laboratory) but influenced by the fannish/counterculture h infix.


Node:ha ha only serious, Next:[6442]hack, Previous:[6443]h, Up:[6444]= H =

ha ha only serious

[from SF fandom, orig. as mutation of HHOK, `Ha Ha Only Kidding'] A phrase (often seen abbreviated as HHOS) that aptly captures the flavor of much hacker discourse. Applied especially to parodies, absurdities, and ironic jokes that are both intended and perceived to contain a possibly disquieting amount of truth, or truths that are constructed on in-joke and self-parody. This lexicon contains many examples of ha-ha-only-serious in both form and content. Indeed, the entirety of hacker culture is often perceived as ha-ha-only-serious by hackers themselves; to take it either too lightly or too seriously marks a person as an outsider, a [6445]wannabee, or in [6446]larval stage. For further enlightenment on this subject, consult any Zen master. See also [6447]hacker humor, and [6448]AI koans.



Node:hack, Next:[6449]hack attack, Previous:[6450]ha ha only serious, Up:[6451]= H =


[very common] 1. n. Originally, a quick job that produces what is needed, but not well. 2. n. An incredibly good, and perhaps very time-consuming, piece of work that produces exactly what is needed. 3. vt. To bear emotionally or physically. "I can't hack this heat!" 4. vt. To work on something (typically a program). In an immediate sense: "What are you doing?" "I'm hacking TECO." In a general (time-extended) sense: "What do you do around here?" "I hack TECO." More generally, "I hack `foo'" is roughly equivalent to "`foo' is my major interest (or project)". "I hack solid-state physics." See [6452]Hacking X for Y. 5. vt. To pull a prank on. See sense 2 and [6453]hacker (sense 5). 6. vi. To interact with a computer in a playful and exploratory rather than goal-directed way. "Whatcha up to?" "Oh, just hacking." 7. n. Short for [6454]hacker. 8. See [6455]nethack. 9. [MIT] v. To explore the basements, roof ledges, and steam tunnels of a large, institutional building, to the dismay of Physical Plant workers and (since this is usually performed at educational institutions) the Campus Police. This activity has been found to be eerily similar to playing adventure games such as Dungeons and Dragons and [6456]Zork. See also [6457]vadding.

Constructions on this term abound. They include `happy hacking' (a farewell), `how's hacking?' (a friendly greeting among hackers) and `hack, hack' (a fairly content-free but friendly comment, often used as a temporary farewell). For more on this totipotent term see "[6458]The Meaning of Hack". See also [6459]neat hack, [6460]real hack.


Node:hack attack, Next:[6461]hack mode, Previous:[6462]hack, Up:[6463]= H =

hack attack n.


[poss. by analogy with `Big Mac Attack' from ads for the McDonald's fast-food chain; the variant `big hack attack' is reported] Nearly synonymous with [6464]hacking run, though the latter more strongly implies an all-nighter.


Node:hack mode, Next:[6465]hack on, Previous:[6466]hack attack, Up:[6467]= H =

hack mode n.

1. What one is in when hacking, of course. 2. More specifically, a Zen-like state of total focus on The Problem that may be achieved when one is hacking (this is why every good hacker is part mystic). Ability to enter such concentration at will correlates strongly with wizardliness; it is one of the most important skills learned during [6468]larval stage. Sometimes amplified as `deep hack mode'.

Being yanked out of hack mode (see [6469]priority interrupt) may be experienced as a physical shock, and the sensation of being in hack mode is more than a little habituating. The intensity of this experience is probably by itself sufficient explanation for the existence of hackers, and explains why many resist being promoted out of positions where they can code. See also [6470]cyberspace (sense 2).

Some aspects of hacker etiquette will appear quite odd to an observer unaware of the high value placed on hack mode. For example, if someone appears at your door, it is perfectly okay to hold up a hand (without turning one's eyes away from the screen) to avoid being interrupted. One may read, type, and interact with the computer for quite some time before further acknowledging the other's presence (of course, he or she is reciprocally free to leave without a word). The understanding is that you might be in [6471]hack mode with a lot of delicate [6472]state (sense 2) in your head, and you dare not [6473]swap that context out until you have reached a good point to pause. See also [6474]juggling eggs.



Node:hack on, Next:[6475]hack together, Previous:[6476]hack mode, Up:[6477]= H =

hack on vt.

[very common] To [6478]hack; implies that the subject is some pre-existing hunk of code that one is evolving, as opposed to something one might [6479]hack up.


Node:hack together, Next:[6480]hack up, Previous:[6481]hack on, Up:[6482]= H =

hack together vt.

[common] To throw something together so it will work. Unlike `kluge together' or [6483]cruft together, this does not necessarily have negative connotations.


Node:hack up, Next:[6484]hack value, Previous:[6485]hack together, Up:[6486]= H =

hack up vt.

To [6487]hack, but generally implies that the result is a hack in sense 1 (a quick hack). Contrast this with [6488]hack on. To `hack up on' implies a [6489]quick-and-dirty modification to an existing system. Contrast [6490]hacked up; compare [6491]kluge up, [6492]monkey up, [6493]cruft together.



Node:hack value, Next:[6494]hacked off, Previous:[6495]hack up, Up:[6496]= H =

hack value n.

Often adduced as the reason or motivation for expending effort toward a seemingly useless goal, the point being that the accomplished goal is a hack. For example, MacLISP had features for reading and printing Roman numerals, which were installed purely for hack value. See [6497]display hack for one method of computing hack value, but this cannot really be explained, only experienced. As Louis Armstrong once said when asked to explain jazz: "Man, if you gotta ask you'll never know." (Feminists please note Fats Waller's explanation of rhythm: "Lady, if you got to ask, you ain't got it.")


Node:hacked off, Next:[6498]hacked up, Previous:[6499]hack value, Up:[6500]= H =

hacked off adj.

[analogous to `pissed off'] Said of system administrators who have become annoyed, upset, or touchy owing to suspicions that their sites have been or are going to be victimized by crackers, or used for inappropriate, technically illegal, or even overtly criminal activities. For example, having unreadable files in your home directory called `worm', `lockpick', or `goroot' would probably be an effective (as well as impressively obvious and stupid) way to get your sysadmin hacked off at you.

It has been pointed out that there is precedent for this usage in U.S. Navy slang, in which officers under discipline are sometimes said to be "in hack" and one may speak of "hacking off the C.O.".


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