I know enough about hacking to make all of my software un-usable, mess up my operating system, and crash my PC. I also know enough about hacking to re-install my operating system, re-install all my software and get my PC running fresh and relatively secure. I’m no criminal hacker. And I am not suggesting that. Nor can I program; I don’t know code but I do know enough to hack in a way that keeps me running, and again, secure.
Hacker isn’t a bad word and hacking isn’t a bad thing to do. It’s something that if everyone who plugs into a PC every day did, they’d be a heck of a lot more versed in the functionality and security of a computer.
The beauty of becoming a “do it yourself” (DIY) hacker is you don’t need to pay a dude to come to your home or office to fix your computer when it’s not working. Three hundred and twenty five years ago I used to pay someone to fix me. Now I can do most of it myself, and when I don’t know how to do it I look it up on Google. Chances are if you have had this problem, then thousands of others have too. There are a bazillion forums that you can go to and solve annoyances and real technology issues.
Once you start asking questions you begin to find people who know the answers. Next thing you know you are the person with the answers. Along the way you connect with people that are smarter than you are who actually do know code and how to really hack a system. Then keep this stable of experts on your contact list so when you are in a pinch, you reach out. But do your best to figure it out on your own first so you aren’t constantly bugging them. You’d be amazed at how capable you are once you invest the necessary time to learn this stuff.
Another great way to learn how to be a DIY hacker is through tech support of your new PC. Most computers come with a one year guarantee that includes phone support. Now many people complain about lousy support, but the hundred or so hours I’ve spent over the years with these people from all over the world has definitely upped my hack-abilities. Even when the tech support guy is wrong, you learn something.
Recently I got rid of all my old 5-6-8 year old PCs and upgraded all but one to Windows 7 boxes and couldn’t be happier. In the process, I had to go through a litany of changes that were always frustrating, but made me a better, smarter, faster DIY hacker. I’ve spent about 20 hours with tech support on the phone getting everything to work like it should and now I know how to do it myself when things go wrong.
“Why I want my daughter to be a hacker” is the title of a post that’s been making waves in the blogosphere. It doesn’t exactly make my point, but worth a read.