• Question: What is hacking?

    Asked by uwotm8 on 13 Jan 2015.
    • Photo: Wallace Viguier

      Wallace Viguier answered on 13 Jan 2015:


      Ast the root an hack mean cutting roughly, with heavy blows. So when applied to technology this means modifying something in a rough way. Usually this entails adding functionalities that were not neccessarily planned when the object was created.

      At the end of the sprectrum, hack can also relate to fraudulent actions were people are trying to steal information. For example the recent hack were a very big company saw movies, emails and many more data stolen from their servers. The term hack is used their as in computer science an hack is a way of making software behave not as planned when reated with often the end to gain access to otherwise secure data.

      In the recent years the word definition and connotation has changed quite a lot. In fact, the world hack is now used for all sort of modifications. So we have now hackspaces, which really are shared workshops were people repair and create things. This term is closely linked with the DIY movement.

    • Photo: Tim Stephens

      Tim Stephens answered on 13 Jan 2015:

      Hacking is all about making something work just the way that you want it to. It might be as simple as changing the handle on a door to work in a more convenient way, or it might be modifying an electrical gadget with something like an Arduino to work in a different way. I always think of it as ‘scratching the itch’ when something doesn’t quite work the way I think it should.

    • Photo: Andy Hearn

      Andy Hearn answered on 14 Jan 2015:

      Here at work we use the term “hack” also to mean a quick workaround to get something functioning while we find out a better solution to that problem.

      I have to be careful how I use the word “hack” outside my workplace (and those who aren’t software developers) otherwise I’d risk giving the wrong impression 🙂

    • Photo: Steve Cox

      Steve Cox answered on 14 Jan 2015:

      I’m making a 3D printed prosthetic hand and I’ve applied a “hack” to it, that is I’ve added something to the design to make it better.

      To help the fingers grip things I’ve moulded a new material called Sugru onto the fingertips. Sugru is a self-setting material which you can mould like putty but when it sets it acts just like rubber. This should make picking things up much easier with the fingers.

      Anything you do to a design to modify or improve it to make it better, or more suited to what you want it to do, can be called a “hack”.