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  • OS and JEDGAR
    and at IBM too OS means â operating systemâ but among old time ITS hackers it almost always meant â output spyâ OS could work because ITS purposely had very little in the way of â protectionâ that prevented one user from trespassing on another s areas Fair is fair however There was another program that would automatically notify you if anyone started to spy on your output It worked in exactly the same way by looking at the insides of the operating system to see if anyone else was looking at the insides that had to do with your output This â counterspyâ program was called JEDGAR a six letterism pronounced as two syllables jed gr in honor of the former head of the FBI But there s more JEDGAR would ask the user for â license to killâ If the user said yes then JEDGAR would actually gun the job of the luser who was spying Unfortunately people found that this made life too violent especially when tourists learned about it One of the systems hackers solved the problem by replacing JEDGAR with another program that only pretended to do its job It took a long time to

    Original URL path: http://www.no-copy.org/jargonfile/html/os-and-jedgar.html (2016-02-09)
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  • The Story of Mel
    it anyway He wrote the innermost parts of his program loops first so they would get first choice of the optimum address locations on the drum The optimizing assembler wasn t smart enough to do it that way Mel never wrote time delay loops  either even when the balky Flexowriter required a delay between output characters to work right He just located instructions on the drum so each successive one was just past  the read head when it was needed the drum had to execute another complete revolution to find the next instruction He coined an unforgettable term for this procedure Although â optimum â  is an absolute term like â unique â  it became common verbal practice to make it relative â not quite optimum â  or â less optimum â or â not very optimum â Mel called the maximum time delay locations the â most pessimum â After he finished the blackjack program and got it to run â Even the initializer is optimized â he said proudly he got a Change Request from the sales department The program used an elegant optimized random number generator to shuffle the â cards â  and deal from the â deck â and some of the salesmen felt it was too fair since sometimes the customers lost They wanted Mel to modify the program so  at the setting of a sense switch on the console they could change the odds and let the customer win Mel balked He felt this was patently dishonest which it was and that it impinged on his personal integrity as a programmer which it did so he refused to do it The Head Salesman talked to Mel as did the Big Boss and  at the boss s urging a few Fellow Programmers Mel finally gave in and wrote the code but he got the test backwards and  when the sense switch was turned on the program would cheat  winning every time Mel was delighted with this claiming his subconscious was uncontrollably ethical and adamantly refused to fix it After Mel had left the company for greener pa ture the Big Boss asked me to look at the code and see if I could find the test and reverse it Somewhat reluctantly  I agreed to look Tracking Mel s code was a real adventure I have often felt that programming is an art form whose real value can only be appreciated by another versed in the same arcane art there are lovely gems and brilliant coups hidden from human view and admiration  sometimes forever by the very nature of the process You can learn a lot about an individual just by reading through his code even in hexadecimal Mel was  I think  an unsung genius Perhaps my greatest shock came when I found an innocent loop that had no test in it No test   None Common sense said it hadÂ

    Original URL path: http://www.no-copy.org/jargonfile/html/story-of-mel.html (2016-02-09)
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  • Appendix B. A Portrait of J. Random Hacker
    This profile reflects detailed comments on an earlier â trial balloonâ version from about a hundred Usenet respondents Where comparatives are used the implicit â otherâ is a randomly selected segment of the non hacker population of the same size as hackerdom An important point Except in some relatively minor respects such as slang vocabulary hackers don t get to be the way they are by imitating each other Rather

    Original URL path: http://www.no-copy.org/jargonfile/html/appendixb.html (2016-02-09)
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  • General Appearance
    J Random Hacker  Next General Appearance Intelligent Scruffy Intense Abstracted Surprisingly for a sedentary profession more hackers run to skinny than fat both extremes are more common than elsewhere Tans are rare Prev  Up  Next Appendix B

    Original URL path: http://www.no-copy.org/jargonfile/html/appearance.html (2016-02-09)
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  • Dress
    wears a Linux penguin or BSD daemon or a DeCSS protest shirt A substantial minority prefers â outdoorsyâ clothing â hiking boots â in case a mountain should suddenly spring up in the machine room â as one famous parody put it khakis lumberjack or chamois shirts and the like After about 1995 hacker dress styles assimilated some influence from punk gothic and rave subcultures This was relatively mild and has manifested mostly as a tendency to wear a lot of black especially when â dressed upâ to the limit of formality Other markers of those subcultures such as piercings chains and dyed hair remain relatively uncommon Hackers appear to wear black more because it goes with everything and hides dirt than because they want to look like goths Very few hackers actually fit the National Lampoon Nerd stereotype though it lingers on at MIT and may have been more common before 1975 At least since the late Seventies backpacks have been more common than briefcases and the hacker â lookâ has been more whole earth than whole polyester Hackers dress for comfort function and minimal maintenance hassles rather than for appearance some perhaps unfortunately take this to extremes and

    Original URL path: http://www.no-copy.org/jargonfile/html/dress.html (2016-02-09)
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  • Reading Habits
    and science fiction The typical hacker household might subscribe to Analog Scientific American Whole Earth Review and Smithsonian most hackers ignore Wired and other self consciously â cyberpunkâ magazines considering them wannabee fodder Hackers often have a reading range that astonishes liberal arts people but tend not to talk about it as much Many hackers spend as much of their spare time reading as the average American burns up watching

    Original URL path: http://www.no-copy.org/jargonfile/html/reading_habits.html (2016-02-09)
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  • Other Interests
    medievalism in the active form practiced by the Society for Creative Anachronism and similar organizations chess go backgammon wargames and intellectual games of all kinds Role playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons used to be extremely popular among hackers but they lost a bit of their luster as they moved into the mainstream and became heavily commercialized More recently Magic The Gathering has been widely popular among hackers Logic

    Original URL path: http://www.no-copy.org/jargonfile/html/other-interests.html (2016-02-09)
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  • Physical Activity and Sports
    bicycling auto racing kite flying hiking rock climbing aviation target shooting sailing caving juggling skiing skating skydiving scuba diving Hackers delight in techno toys also tends to draw them towards hobbies with nifty complicated equipment that they can tinker with The popularity of martial arts in the hacker culture deserves special mention Many observers have noted it and the connection has grown noticeably stronger over time In the 1970s many hackers admired martial arts disciplines from a distance sensing a compatible ideal in their exaltation of skill through rigorous self discipline and concentration As martial arts became increasingly mainstreamed in the U S and other western countries hackers moved from admiring to doing in large numbers In 1997 for example your humble editor recalls sitting down with five strangers at the first Perl conference and discovering that four of us were in active training in some sort of martial art â and what is more interesting nobody at the table found this high perecentage at all odd Today 2000 martial arts seems to have become firmly established as the hacker exercise form of choice and the martial arts culture combining skill centered elitism with a willingness to let anybody join

    Original URL path: http://www.no-copy.org/jargonfile/html/physical.html (2016-02-09)
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