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Interview: the "Punk Hacker Kid" Responds 188

Monday we got lots of questions (and rude comments) for Abe Ingersoll, the self-described "punk hacker kid" who was on MTV's Road Rules last year. Today, well after the agreed-upon (Thursday evening) deadline, we got his answers, which he apparently ran by "his editor" before he finally sent them to us - in Word .doc format. Mmmm. The full Q&A session appears below.

Bucko asks:
I read the Salon article, and it wasn't exactly kind to you. Do you think it was fair or a hatchet job?

Abe answers:
Hatchet job, no. Contorted, yes.

The article was written about four months ago and was passed around between a couple different media outlets before it was finally published on Salon. When I consider how many editors it went through, I can't be too disappointed with the final product.

The hatchet job was the "hacker" verbiage! EVERY single chance I got during the interviews I would correct the writer's inclination to use misuse of the term. "It's cracker. CRACKER! CRACKED! CRACKER! Please don't use 'hacker' or I'll look like an idiot." Back when I filled out "punk hacker kid" on my written Road Rules application I had wanted to sound cool to the technology illiterate casting team. My bad. I've since learned that 'dropping the term', even off-handedly, is painfully equivalent to 'dropping the soap' in flame hell.

GuySmiley asks:
Why does MTV suck so hard?

Abe answers:
I plead the 5th.

antizeus asks:
Do you see fragmentation in the Linux distribution market to be a good, bad, or neutral thing? Do you think that the"media frenzy" over Linux tends to harm other worthy OS projects like the BSDs and BeOS? Do you think that big business's entry into the Linux market will change the gift-culture aspects of Linux, or will the businesses in question adapt to Linux? Or both? What do you think is in store for humanity in terms of relations between governments, businesses, and individuals? Do you think that we should actively pursue colonization of other planets in our star system at this time, and if not, then when?

Abe answers:
You'll feel better if you take the long view.

Your questions all tie together and fit the theme of "ask Abe" well. One part traveling with peers in Mexico plus two parts juvenile conflict and one part media distortion equals "The Bad Guy"? I digress, yet according to MTV it does. But the media is like a big baby with an infant's attention deficit disorder - it focuses and probably tries to destroy one thing at a time; soon enough it moves on. The role of "big business" is less predictable but I think in the end likely to prove less damaging. For one thing, "big business" isn't as big as it once was; there's lots of money to throw around, sure, but success (a la Silicon Valley housing prices) ultimately leads to failure. Yin to yang.

So right now, maybe the earliest contributors to Linux are thinking about cashing inwives and kids and mortgages can do that to you. But behind them are more young coders who will keep the phenomenon of widely-shared free OS alive. That old joke about Microsoft and the Catholic church isn't really all that funny, but Martin Luther came along. And then when the Lutheran church got fat and dull with official state sponsorship, new generations advocating a kinder, simpler (and less expensive) church came along. Same with operating software, only in a time frame of months, not centuries. The process of creative destruction is inevitable.

True also for our human self-organization. After a few hundred years, we're in a period of decline for the nation-state. Borders are permeable (or fundamentally useless) in the "computer age." I don't know if your question comes from Peoria or Paris and it doesn't matter. There's still fear and a great respect for unimportant divisions among humanity, but there are many hopeful signs that that is changing. Even in a forum like this we tend to challenge each other's ideas without reference to gender, race or religion. That's nice; that's a good model for the development of the world.

Eventually government, business and the individual will not be seen as antagonistic elements but as cooperative strings on the violin of human culture. And when we have progressed as musicians, then we will be free, ready and eager to explore and colonize space.

brianvan asks:
(He had many questions; this is just one of them)'re a person who had a rough childhood who happens to be good at computers. What are your thoughts on making computers and the Internet accessible to the "financially challenged?" What can people do to make sure that no one misses out on the computer age, including those who are poor and/or homeless?

Abe answers:
Your overall question is a larger issue that deserves more time than I've been given here. I feel strongly about making computers and the Internet a force for promoting greater income equality and educating everybody to their greatest potential, but strategies for doing that are complex.

One important thing is to make a difference in your own communities, and right now I'm a college student. The Associated Students of Cuesta College (ASCC) have an annual budget of approx $100,000. Through involvement with the student senate, I've learned that 4000 of those precious dollars had been partitioned off for upgrades of M$ office for the free ASCC computer lab. I'm going to have to volunteer my own time for setup, and I will likely need to 'convert' an IS administrator or two in the process, but I can guarantee you that while I'm at student at Cuesta, not a dime is going to be spent on M$ products. At least not any student body funds. I'm angling to get the money reallocated to hardware upgrades or making Linux CD's freely available.

This summer BMP brought all of the recent Real World and Road Rules cast members back to LA for a professional three-day public speaking seminar. (BMP's in bed with - "For the low, low price of $750 apiece, you can get MTV's backwash live and in person at your local campus! Call BMP's Joffe Agency now at 818-756-5244 and you too can meet the 'punk hacker kid' in person!")

Joking aside, on the onset of this training all eighteen of us were given different topics we could speak on for our final-night presentation. A few hypocritically choose to speak about std/aids awareness or alcoholism. I choose the topic closest to my life, volunteerism. Having had little first hand knowledge practicing the topic, I ended up relating my personal experience from being on the receiving side. You know - planned on exemplifying how important volunteer work really is by telling my welfare and YMCA camp stories. I ended up giving a 1200 person crowd a short introduction to Open Source Software ideology and using OSS as an example of unconventional yet dramatic ways of giving back.

So, save participating in local LUG's and extolling the virtues of OSS to unsuspecting BMP lecture audiences, I'm in no position to make sure the computer age reaches all. At least not yet

asad asks:
Do you feel that having a Slashdot interview about an 18 year old who got to be on MTV is sad evidence of Slashdot's decline into media-whoring pablum? I mean, sure there are countless programmers, writers, artists, thinkers, or developers with something intelligent to say, but dude, have any of THEM been on MTV?

Abe answers:
Mr. Robin Miller came to me back in July. I sat on his request until August, replying that a position paper on how the Open Source movement is enabling a whole generation of otherwise misguided teenagers would probably be much more interesting. ("Ask who?! You're kidding me!")

I apologize to those who truly deserve the exposure.

When you're on this end of things, Slashdot's so-called "decline into media-whoring pablum" seems more a product of its tough crowd quotient rather than any particular interview or story.

DonkPunch asks:
Explain the universe. Give three examples. :)

Abe answers:
Our planetary system is a spit-drop on a cosmic string which has been growing and unraveling for roughly 18 billion years. In another two billion years, we're going to ratchet back up like a yo-yo. The earth is a cosmic egg waiting for the right moment to hatch. The chick's going to be a hungry 4-trillion-ton pecker and we're all just feed. It turns out that hiccups are attempted transmissions from God. When we try to stop, we are actually inhibiting the evolution of the universe.

Python asks:
(Two questions selected from a long list he submitted)What line of work do you plan to persue after your 15 minutes of fame with MTV?

Would you recommend that others use your tactics of cracking boxes and breaking into future employers boxes and so on to get a job with them?

Abe answers:
I would recommend using all legal means available to unstack the deck. Contrary to many folks interpretation of the Salon story, I did not investigate Bunim-Murray Productions Windows/SMB network until the casting process was in it's final leg. I had seen enough of BMP to make a judgment call that they'd probably more impressed than pissed. By that time I'd also returned all four signed copies of the 30-page contract they require of semi-finalists. Perhaps it could be argued in court that by being under contract, and under so much scrutiny from them, my explorations constituted an acceptable behavior.

In the end, I've never used or had any inclination to use ill-begotten information for a malicious purposes. That won't protect my bare ass should MTV come calling with a legality spanking, but at least I maintained some dignity by not publicly airing their dirty laundry.

As for future plans - Every time I walk out of a class, I want to major in that subject. Perhaps Cuesta's better than most community colleges, or I'm just passing through a standard deer-in-the-headlights freshman syndrome. In the long run, computer science and business would be an obvious choice, but communication, psychology and journalism better fits my personality. I want to do it all.

rcade asks:
I'm one of the people who suggested Abe Ingersoll as an interview subject on Slashdot. The guy snuck into the unsecured network of the Road Rules producers and used the information he gained to (a) improve his odds of getting on the show, (b) play head games with people on the show, and (c) improve his odds of getting laid while on the show. Millions of TV viewers know the guy as a "computer hacker" or "computer cracker."

Add all of this up, and I think it's worthwhile to see what's rattling around in the guy's head. Besides, he's not much more of an MTV fan than people making comments here, comparing Road Rules to "looking up someone's asshole" in the Salon article.

Some questions:

  • If you are on probation for the credit card scam, snooping through Bunim-Murray's network could have sent you to jail. Did Bunim-Murray or anyone else make noise about pursuing legal action against you?
  • What bug reports were you reading when you got the idea to employ Back Orifice on the Bunim-Murray network?
  • By all appearances, you haven't suffered much in the way of negative consequences for cracking and other misdeeds. Now that you're on the MTV-celebrity lecture tour, are you doing anything to teach the teeming millions that cracking is a bad idea?

Abe answers:
The only comment I got back from Bunim-Murray regarding the Salon article was a smile. I think they may have expected that I'd do much worse, and are just hoping I don't get in bed with a lawyer who's seen "The Fight" before a statute of limitations runs out.

As for bug reports, that's essentially a misquote. I was asked to paraphrase statements about keeping abreast of computer world news in general into something more quotable.

If anyone needs to an example of how cracking is a bad idea and will eventually just cause you to hurt yourself, follow this link [no link was provided -ed.]and set your threshold low.

Next week's interview: Alan Cox

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Interview: the "Punk Hacker Kid" Responds

Comments Filter:
  • Zoinks, what a bland set of answers. The hacker kid could've put an interesting spin on something, couldn't he? I read it, and felt like I was reading the slashdot-political version of novell's product documentation. Bring on Alan Cox!

  • Well, I believe this must have been one of the more difficult moderation jobs done by the /. guys
    You're fingertips must still be raw after weeding through all that flammable material. As for Abe.... nice cover-up on both the ego, and for the misnomers that non-technologically minded Hollywood-types thrust upon you.... Even though I have to say WTF is up with a MS .doc file
    Didja have to run WINE to get OFFICE to Load up..... BRRRRR the mere thought of that paperclip on a Linux box gives me the willies

  • I'm stunned. After reading this I sat for a minute and just stared at the screen. I guess I should have been warned when Roblimo wrote it was sent to them in Word format. I'm looking forward to seeing something from Alan Cox though!
  • Lame. I can't WAIT for bandwidth to be so plentiful that "underground" music stations do to MTV what email is doing to the postal services, and Icecast has already started on traditional "corporate" radio... (on the company T1, do you prefer commercials on RealAudio or just plain MUSIC on icecast).

    MTV has all the sincerity and integrity of a bleached blonde silicon-enhanced porno whore, and if we don't want the culture they push they'll just keep pushing anyhow...

    Anyways, I got this email today: idc?Product=Bill%20Gates%20Asshole%202000

    Originally it came to me as a different URL, but in a rare show of bug-fixing Microsoft plugged that one already...
  • by Signal 11 ( 7608 ) on Friday August 27, 1999 @10:08AM (#1721213)
    First off, I'm glad I stuck around to read the last line of the interview "Next week: Alan Cox" otherwise I might have written the whole article off as a huge waste of bandwidth.

    I submit the following to the slashdot audience to be moderated into oblivion...

    1. Real Hackers aren't going to appear on MTV because they have long beards, look like hippies, and have spent so little time in the big blue room that they glow in the dark. As such, they are completely "unhip", and will not be appearing on any "hip" TV shows.

    2. Let's face it: the life if a geek is boring. We spend all day in front of our computers checking our e-mail, coding, and sitting on our duff doing "nothing". Atleast to the untrained eye. On the molecular level, however, we are quite busy.

    3. Ever tried holding a conversation with those tea-drinking, pony-tailed, geek-wannabes? You're more likely to find a fufilling conversation with your toothbrush. If you can get them to stop talking about the evils of eating meat, of course. *ducking and running*

    As such, this article is a scam! Repent, heathen! :)


  • I would expect a true hacker to submit an obfuscated Perl script resembling line noise that cleverly outputs his Q&A session as HTML.

    Or something.

    But not MS Word. That's no fun.
  • I couldn't give two ~!@#$% about the Real World/Road Rules or this guy, but the story was interesting. At least it took my time away from these NT device drivers I'm writing. Damn Microsoft DDK..

    If I had the chance to ask this guy a question it would've been:

    Real World is sometimes interesting, but Road Rules just plain sucks. It was created as an after thought and is totally boring.

    "Why didn't you hack your way onto the Real World?"

    But I guess I'm too late with that question...

  • by Nato_Uno ( 34428 ) on Friday August 27, 1999 @10:09AM (#1721217)
    If "Abe" was passing his answers by his "editor(s)", he might have *had* to use MSWord for them to be able to do their thing.

    In other words, it might not be *all* his fault...

  • >BRRRRR the mere thought of that paperclip on a Linux box gives me the willies

    I keep waiting for some enterprising programmer to program a penguin helper for Office 2k. He can sit around and berate you for using inferior MS products. :-)

    Also, whenever you ask him how to do something in office, he'll tell you how you would do it using a REAL operating system...

    Otto - who is forced to use NT4 at work...
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Was the comment that next week is Alan Cox's turn! :-)
  • Congrats, Abe. You've taken a bad situation and made it work for you. That is the secret to success in this world. ;)
  • Considering the editors had to screw with this several times, and they are probably mindless M$ using people, I doubt abe had a choice.. even if he sent it raw text they prolly converted it... maybe without even meaning to.
    also, can someone find the link that his editors removed? i imaging that i dont want to take a personal machien to the site, due to his security mention, but still...
  • I have no direct knowledge of his programming creds, but he's certainly a good writer. We need that as much as we need good coders, maybe even more. Hacker advocacy so far has been amateurishly pathetic except for a few shining instances. It's time we started winning -- and this guy writes like a winner.


  • Real Hackers code in obfusciated C !

  • ...well, where are my three examples?

    #include "standard_disclaimer.h"
  • "Punk Hacker Kid" The name should have said enough. Did he attach the .DOC file to a message from AOL? OR MSN?
  • GuySmiley asks:
    Why does MTV suck so hard?

    Abe answers:
    The fact that I've been on MTV should be answer enough.

  • by GFD ( 57203 ) on Friday August 27, 1999 @10:20AM (#1721230)
    He obviously gives as good as he gets!!

    "When you're on this end of things, Slashdot's so-called 'decline into media-whoring pablum' seems more a product of its tough crowd quotient rather than any particular interview or story."

    How true, ohhhhh how true...

    "That won't protect my bare ass should MTV come calling with a legality spanking, but at least I maintained some dignity by not publicly airing their dirty laundry."

    :D !! (I couldn't resist - very sly...)

    "If anyone needs to an example of how cracking is a bad idea and will eventually just cause you to hurt yourself, follow this link [no link was provided -ed.]and set your threshold low."

    CRUEL!! VERY CRUEL! How can I break it to you Roblimo but the link he is refering to is the comments link following the article. (heheheheee..)

  • Plead the 5th? What the heck is that supposed to mean? And why does he have to use a team of editors anyway? Isn't he supposed to be a regular person like everyone else? I detect bullshit!
  • Yes, it's an IRC reference.

    '/me string' sends "* nick string *" to the whole channel. In my case, '/me shrugs' would produce "* BZ shrugs *".

    As for what's wrong with just saying "my mind boggles at the concept," there's nothing wrong with it. People get used somewhat used to the sort of shorthand one would use with IRC or other chat software (/me, imho, ttyl, and so on) and begin to use it in other contexts, including those in which it is rather inappropriate. No cure has been found for this yet. :)

  • I'd be willing to give him slack on the .doc thang if he pleads guilty to using a human editor. My experience is that it's real hard to find an editor who won't microsoft-up your text files when you send it to them to peruse. I had a WSJ guy send me a three-line question as a .doc attachment to an email---argh! Kudos to my Salon editors for respecting my .txt, although it *did* return to me with suspicious microsoft-isms...
  • by pohl ( 872 )
    To me, Abe clearly survived the trial-by-fire. I'm very pleased.
  • i actually had my mouse pointed to the wrong window and didn't preview the message.

    i was too busy trying to be a dickhead and get the first post no matter how lame it sounded... i deserve the flamebait :)
  • ...on the other hand, anybody who sends a DOC formatted file where plain text is sufficient needs a swirlie.
  • PostScript files are not easily editable. Thus if one wishes to send a file and have it returned with corrections, it is not an acceptable format. Also, most windows machines do not have a PostScript viewer installed, that I know of.

    Now sending plaintext (or HTML or RTF if one must have formatting) may be a decent idea. That way anyone could read it.

  • Maybe next he can supply an Excel Spreadsheet of his cracking exlpoits.

  • No, they code in obfusciated "whatever is best for the job"

  • What do you think Perl actually is?

    Disclaimer: I really really like Perl. I've just fought with it all morning and through my lunch hour.

    QDMerge [] 0.21!
  • Heh...And people accuse me of being a narcissist. Have you people seen this guy's page?
    Bowie J. Poag
  • by Sun Tzu ( 41522 ) on Friday August 27, 1999 @10:38AM (#1721245) Homepage Journal
    Indeed! On the [no link was provided -ed.], the clue for the clueless was "...and set your threshold low." Now, I wonder what he could have possibly meant by "threshold", eh? ;)

    My coworkers are looking at me mighty funny. I can see it now. Ahhh, sounds truly inspiringly evil.
  • We all know that this is a publicity stunt. The comments talking about what format he used to submit his answers is a moot point. The guy got his 15 minutes of fame - and quite frankly, there are probably a lot of jealous readers out there. It is obvious that the guy has no real skills - hell, he admits that himself. I think that people need to take this "interview" with a grain of salt and maybe concentrate on some *important* issues - such as the chaos that will occur once everyone in the mainstream realizes that - by god - people might actually LIE to get on TV.

    Just a thought

    - Rick
  • Make Alan sing too! And bring is wife along for the ride.

    I'de ask you to put Richard Stallman on MTV as well, but I'm afriad that he'll kill someone (or himself) as soon as he hears the word "Linux". And then the show would never air.
  • No, I liked him too.
    But I am just a girl with a weak spot for hacker kids.

    I really don't understand the point of so much inventive whining and bitching. If you really don't care, why bother?

  • What a boing interview. About as exciting as a comman brick! Didn't find one iota of content that was the least bit thought provoking. Me thinks we have a Punk Hacker Kid that's looking to make big moola by using buzz words and getting his 5 minutes in the limelight. Boring...

  • Given that Abe oviously uses linux, as stated in the interview. I would be willing the bet that the MS word document was not his fault. Obviosly as he is probably still under contract with BMP(does anyone know what BMP stands for?) they most likly forced him to give them the article first, then edited it, then sent it onto Rob directly in Word format, without giving it back to Abe for finalization.
  • Pleading the fifth is a response that can be given in court when asked to testify against oneself. It refers to the fifth amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which states:

    "No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."

    In other words, he believes answering will jeopardize his relationship with MTV.

    Man, that was dry.

  • Just a quickie.... Why does this kid need a gang of editors? I am always interested in interviews even if it's someone I don't have any clue about [like this guy]. If he is a l33t hax0r l1nux dud3 why does he need editors to make sure he says "the right thing" he isn't a politician... he isn't even famous. I am just confused as to why he needs a "team" to talk to us... Linus or Alan or any of our gods don't have outside people editing them... why him?

  • He can have his 15 min. I never even saw the show.

  • No kidding.. I've been trying to get a piece aired here on Slashdot for two friggin weeks, offering free hosting space on a monster-sized server for Linux community projects.. Something that could really help alot of people. Apparently, Abe and his spiffy skydiving adventure takes greater precedence, however.

    I could launch into a diatribe here, about there being two types of computer geeks..But I think its already abundantly clear to all of us where Abe falls. This guy has no less than 9 pictures of himself on his figure it out.

    Bowie J. Poag
  • I would expect a true hacker to submit an obfuscated Perl script resembling line noise that cleverly outputs his Q&A session as HTML.
    [...] But not MS Word.

    Ah, did anyone bother running this... "Word Document" through a Perl interpreter? Java VM?

    Just wondering.... ;-)

  • Maybe it was the shock of getting a word doc... :)
  • Cox can wait a week or two. Gvie the people what they want; it's high time for Ask Puck.
  • think
    - spell check master
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Why is someone that has been on MTV important? Does that automatically give someone more precidence over someone else? I would rather read an article from an average Joe Linux user on the street, that hasn't given me a reason to think he is an asshole.

    Millions of people saw this "computer hacker" on TV, and thousands more read about him on Salon. If a Slashdot interview can cut through the hype and figure out the guy's ratio of substance to bullshit, I think that's worthwhile.

    I don't understand the notion that Slashdot should only interview admirable people. This is a news site; it isn't a religion. By interviewing Ingersoll, Slashdot provided a much more complete picture of the guy and his abilities (or lack thereof) than Salon did. If this site can debunk a few more hacker/cracker myths propigated by the mass media, more power to them.

  • Hey, Do any of you guys remember when mtv used to play music? and as for Abe, why the hell are you calling yourself a "cracker", and then turn around and say, "Well I didn't really do anything". BS
  • thinking the link was mebbe a mitnick thread on /.
    with his talk about setting the threshold low :)
  • by prodeje ( 58779 )
    You are.
  • >MTV has all the sincerity and integrity of a
    >bleached blonde silicon-enhanced porno whore, and
    >if we don't want the culture they push they'll
    >just keep pushing anyhow...

    I know quite a few "bleached-blonde silicon-enhanced porno" stars/whores who would be quite insulted to be associated with MTV.

    You should apologize!

  • Sorry Abe, you are not a hacker. Hacker is not a term that you can claim for yourself. Hacker is a badge of honor that has to be bestoed on you by others. Real hackers don't have to call themselves hackers. They know they are and other hackers know they are. It is not a thing, it is a state of being, a level of enlightenment.

    But you are on the right road, I think. One day someone might call you hacker and it will be true. When/If that day comes, you will know it. You won't need Mtv, you won't need to Slashdot. It will just be, you will know it and that will be enough.

    But sadly, that days isn't yours yet.

    Damn! What the hell are they putting in cold pills today. That reads like something out of Zen and the Art of Modercycle Repair.

  • Do you actually think this 18 year old kid wrote that or was edited (written) by his editors?
  • Does that mean he couldn't get into
    Cal Poly SLO's CS program?? A hacker -

  • Yeah, it bugs me when people bitch about "Cracker" like a bunch of politically correct weenies. The fact is that although all "hackers" are not "crackers", most "crackers" (I wouldn't call script kiddies crackers) are also "hackers" by virtue of their computing skills.

    Ditto re:AGE. Whence I was growing up in West Virginia, a cracker was something I munched on while hacking.

    ...or one of my neighbours.
    ...or both. (ObFacetiousHomoErotica)

  • HAHAHAHAHHA! I can just see a frenzied up Stallman beating the crap out of some pretty MTV kid with the boom mike screaming "GNU/Linux!!!!!!" over and over at the top of his lungs. Hilarious...

  • I could have a planet instead? Wow, I wish that I had known that. That would make the feature so much better! Yeah, right.....

    OK, thousands of people probably complained to Microsoft that they didn't like the paperclip. So, they probably launched an initiative to come up with more popular alternatives. Hence, the planet.

    Of course, if Microsoft had listened to what people were REALLY saying about the paper clip, professor, planet, cat, whatever, they would have eliminated the entire "feature".

    These make Office worse to use than even whatever problem I'm having lately that GPFs Word every couple of hours.
  • By "the paperclip" I think people mean all the office assistants, not just the default paperclip. I can't stand the OA stuff since even if I turn it off, it takes up a shitload of memory and CPU and loves to pop up at inopportune moments to let me know that the wavy lines mean I misspelled something...

    Yet another reason I don't use Office. I just do all my word processing in HTML, myself.
    "'Is not a quine' is not a quine" is a quine.

  • Considering the people that I know that read slashdot and call themselves openminded I think the questions this kid got are pretty good. If your gonna be open minded don't bash something because it's mainstream. A lot of people to day want to be in some sort of underground movement because they think being underground is cool. Listen to your heart and don't think that just cause the kid is on MTV that he's a sellout looser no he was just a kid with a good scam to be on tv. I think it was a pretty good scam myself. So think about that one a little bit and don't be so quick to jump on someone's back.
  • My guess would be that the companies involved would "like to see" what he has to say. It's similar to how PR people usually need to run things by their higher-ups. One slip could mean major probs for these corp-types. Of course, after "looking over" his work, they're free to edit it as they see fit as long as he's under contract to them. Therefore, he might have had more to say than was let through. Doubtful, but it's still a minor possibility.
  • Or more likely, he talks sh*t about MTV, they stop signing checks or use a clause in that 30-page contract to take him to court.
  • Your toothbrush keeps talking about the evils of eating meat? Bad ass! Guess it must be bad for the bristles or something...


    Seriously- hackers come in all shapes, sizes, and affiliations. One would be wise not to create the equation "hip punk kid == skript kiddy && dull boring geek == Real Hacker". The best programmers I've met have all been really interesting people who were quite different from each other.
  • Come on, Real hackers use their hard drive and a tiny magnet to write documents
  • tempting as it is to flame the unholy hell out of this guy, (and believe me, I KNOW!) You've gotta admit that he was a good sport about the whole thing.. I'm not so sure that I would have taken all the flames in stride as well as he did. Besides, he did rip a few zingers of his own..
    Slashdot's so-called "decline into media-whoring pablum" seems more a product of its tough crowd quotient rather than any particular interview or story., indeed! He also managed to deflate antizeus' attempt at a mocking question by mocking it himself... You'll feel better if you take the long view. Ouch! Smacked that condescending question volley right back in his face, eh?
  • tempting as it is to flame the unholy hell out of this guy, (and believe me, I KNOW!) You've gotta admit that he was a good sport about the whole thing.. I'm not so sure that I would have taken all the flames in stride as well as he did. Besides, he did rip a few zingers of his own.. Slashdot's so-called "decline into media-whoring pablum" seems more a product of its tough crowd quotient rather than any particular interview or story., indeed! He also managed to deflate antizeus' attempt at a mocking question by mocking it himself... You'll feel better if you take the long view. Ouch! Smacked that condescending question volley right back in his face, eh?
  • BPM stands for Bunnim-Murray Productions. They produce Road Rules and Real World shows.
  • BMP most likely stands for Bunim-Murray Productions
  • BMP = Bunim-Murray Productions, I'd assume
  • Not all of us who are going to a community college before transferring to Cal Poly couldn't get in. I could get in any time I wanted to..but Cuesta or Hancock are cheaper by far, and closer to home for me at least.
  • "If this site can debunk a few more hacker/cracker myths propigated by the mass media, more power to them"

    While I'd like to agree with this statement, I can't. It's just a wild guess, but I'd say /. is pretty much preaching to the converted. Most of us here have at least half a clue what the difference is between "hacker" and "cracker."

    Sites that are visited by the unwashed masses are probably the only place any useful debunking could occur. But that just isn't happening, and I doubt it will anytime soon.

    Therefore, I'd suggest that /. isn't really the forum for this drivel at all. But, of course, The Geek Compound is free to post what they will and I'm free not to read it if I don't want to.

    At least crappy articles like this sometimes produce some pretty humourous responses from /. readers :)

  • Why would he even HAVE to send his send his Q&A through an editor? That's probably why the answers were so bland, because his "agent" probably had to filter out all the good stuff.

    I come from a place where being "a punk" means something more than just being a self proclaimed outcast from society.

  • For all the bellyaching about Abe I have to say his answers read better than most any Jon "I want to be a 18 year old hacker" Katz.

    No matter what you have to dump on this kid, he went and went where he wanted and used whatever tools he could to do it...More power to him. Would that more you loud mouthing do nothing "geeks" did the same. then maybe we would not have the general LACK of any real ACTION or WORTH here.

    In an age where 90% of the people talk loud and do nothing it is refreshing to see some one go out and kick some crap around. True he made some mistakes, true it was MTV (play the DK's "MTV get offf the air" here), and true he did play badly with terminology (which he cops to if you actualy read the aswers).. but he DID SOMETHING.

    Get off your fat code induced lard asses and go take a bit out of lifes pie.
  • He is going to a community college. That's why. Just imagine what his questions looked like BEFORE the editors got them.
  • I can't believe he used M$ when in his interview, he said that no M$ products would be bought with that Cuesta program while he was there.. traitor.. grrr
  • Any why, praytell, a devoted Linux user? I am getting really sick of this sudden assumption that because one uses linux they are tech savy and computer gurus. The fact is just like another OS the bulk of linux users know just enough to get by.

    Openstep/NeXTSTEP/Solaris/FreeBSD/Linux/ultrix/OSF /...
  • by Anonymous Coward
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    my n4me 1z MR REALHACKER
    W0RLD D0M!N8N 1999

    OFF!C14L PHC M0TT0:
    f mountd
    f imapd
    f named
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    f statd
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    PHUCK > 0-D4Y!!!!!!!!!!!!

    [PHC] [PHC] [PHC] [PHC] [PHC] [PHC] [PHC] [PHC]
    #include slammer.h
    greetz 2 DOCTOR NUKER
  • Well once again.. I feel stupid, read the article. Even saw the Bunnim-Murray Productions parts of it. But when it came time to write the comment, it didn't click in my mind. Oh well a mind is a terrible thing to waist on such useless trivia. (whenever I do something like that I just remind myself that Einstein could rarly even find his way home.)
  • Did he say he Back-Orificed Bunim-Murray Productions? Wasn't BO released August 98? The show aired around that time or earlier. The filming must have been at least 4 months before that. Auditions must have been for about 6 months?


    e quickly discovered a significant security flaw in the Bunim/Murray network -- namely, that it had no security. The company was running various incarnations of Windows, which, according to Abe, contained gaping holes. Abe doesn't hang out or correspond much with the hacker community -- "I'm not a typical hacker!" he insists -- but he does read "bug reports," in which hackers list the flaws they've discovered in software programs and operating systems. Drawing on that information and several hours of trial and error, Abe found a point of entry. Then he made a quick stop at Cult of the Dead Cow, an active hacker site, where he downloaded a copy of Back Orifice, a "remote control" program that allows someone like Abe to operate a Windows 95 machine from any location via the Internet.

    I think this whole hack thing is a lie.
  • You actually read through the thing? I am of course also looking forward to Alan Cox.
  • Ok, ok. I know what the 5th amendment is. I just wondered why he felt he had to invoke it. But thanks.
  • Actually Microsoft Word is a very nice word processing program. Every piece of software has its purpose.. and NONE of them are perfect. Sure there are little annoying parts of Word, but overall it does a nice job. And yes... the fact that it is readable almost on every machine is a good thing. I am not supporting the Microsoft Monopoly.. but I do believe we need a common platform, such that we do not have such boundaries such as not being able to display word documents on a UNIX box (at least easily) and vice versa. I think that most people that are into a LINUX as the only way to go.. arent being fair to all the other Operating Systems? Linux has its problems too.. try setting up ppp connections. It takes two minutes in Windows.. But anyways.. my whole point is everything has its purpose. Its all a matter of tastes. Why flame people for liking Microsoft Products?
  • that Alan will be the next interviewed.

    I got to read that.
  • after having read a bulk of the comments posted in regards to the .DOC file, i found myself so compelled to present an argument that actually DEFENDS microsoft. in a way i'm kind of pissed off that this is considered sacrilege, but i'll live with it for now. MS Word is actually a useful word processing application that works well! i will, however, agree wholeheartedly with those who believe the previous versions (prior to '97) were more stable and had a greater functionality than the current releases. honestly, Word IS the only reason i still have NT installed on my machine (WINE -- at least the version i tried -- didn't work with the NT registry)...perhaps i'm making it more of an issue than it warrants!

    *my 2 cents*
    -raj jr
    "why can't we all just get along?"
    ps: he should've anticipated these comments about the .DOC file...plain text would've been just fine (and probably would've saved the /. crew the time involved in opening it)
  • &ltfake Japanisee accent&gt
    Ayyyee. Grasshopper, when you can snatch this pebble from my hand you shawl understand.
    &lt/fake Japanisee accent&gt

  • Why does everyone seem to think that the paperclip was the only option?

    Because most people immediately turned the annoying thing off rather than futz around with it?

  • You get to use a hard drive and magnet? I have to use a box of iron filings, a hammer, the ground, and the Earth's magnetic field.

    Kids these days -- think they're tough.

  • No, actually it's vi and a toothpick.

  • Of course you realise that if you ask 10 different people what a hacker is, you'll get 11 different answers.

  • Hard drives? REAL hackers write directly to the RAM each time with a 9 volt battery and paperclips....

    Wow, that almost made sense....
  • As for the missing link, he was obviously referring to the comments immediately following his interview, and therefore suggesting that one of the dangers of cracking (and getting publicity from it) is incurring the wrath of slashdot.
  • If NT goes down in a forest, does is make a BSOD?

    If you don't know how to use man(1), why would you type $ man man?

    You can never open the same IO::Stream twice.

    What's the difference between BSD?

  • You just don't get it! We don't want any damn assistants! Ever! We'll do it ourselves and to hell with the planet or the cat or whoever the fuck M$ representative comes bundled with our bloatware!
  • You know there are more important thigns to worry about than the perceived sin of using MS Word.

    If a product is good use it. I like Word, i used it from my dos days. Word 2000 is a different story.

    You know if you are going to bas hsomething do so on merits, if someone attempts to better the prducts commend them, don't bash them more. But i am moving off topic. My point is so what if it was sent in a word format. Truth is a word format is probably the most common text document format used in the corporate world.
  • I couldn't even finsh this piece of trash!....I Got 1/2 way through it and this loser is asked his position on the linux stance and his opinions of the future and he's fscking talking about emptyV!!!!

    I am Insulted and offended that:
    a) /. actually submitted qustesions to this L-user and
    b) someone actually thought L-user kid was actually a somebody!

    always from the heart of my mind!
  • A real hacker should be able to speak in binary code. It'd take a long ass time to say a sentence, but its more effecient than MS Word.

  • A real hacker does NOT use DOS
  • I went to a community college for the first two years. It was comparable to the classes that I would have taken at CSUC, Chico...only a dumbass would pay a higher price for something comparable.
  • No, a real hacker uses "cat >" ...
  • I don't drink tea though.

    I know what you mean, however. My high school contained a number of punk hacker wannabes.

    They made me sick. We never bothered each other at first, but then they started asking me questions.

    "Hey, you know how to program?"


    "What language?"

    "Well, C is my main one."

    "I'm going to learn C++, it's way better."

    "Rrrreally." I wanted to ask if he thought it was better because of the "++." But, I'm not usually one to stir up shit, unless it's *really* deserved.

    Another time, when I was learning x86 assembly, a friend of mine who was a very proficient coder (he was severely into crypto) told me that I'd see some really great tight asm examples in virii. He gave me a bunch and I found some more. Learned a hell of a lot. The morons somehow found out that I had quite a collection and asked me if I could give them some.



    "Because you'll probably try to run them on the school computers or some of your little bbs enemies computers. Then when you get in trouble, you'll tell them I gave them to you. You obviously have no interest learning tight asm, so the answer is no."

    They didn't like me very much after that. It wasn't like they were hard to find or anything. This was a time when pirate sites,etc went up for a loooong time and few incoming directories were protected or even checked. It wasn't hard to find them. Sometimes an archie search would reveal one and it would still be there when you got to it.

    If they couldn't figure that out....
  • I know what you mean. I was just stereotyping to get a point across.. I didn't mean to step on anybody's toes in doing so.

    Anyway, I still deal with the wannabes on a regular basis. It wouldn't be so bad if I didn't know for a fact they weren't interested in learning how to do xyzzy magic, but instead just wanted to reap the power of knowing it. The classic example is the high school kid who wants to become a super-elite hacker and impress all his peers and "slap down" anybody who would dare to challenge him. Blah blah.

    Personally, I find those people to be as irritating as watching a Barney and Friends telemarathon. That is what I picked up from reading this article, and I'm disappointed that MTV didn't contact members of our community to get a real portrait of what a geek / hacker is before posting this sensationalistic garbage to appeal to the "hip" segment of society.


  • A real hacker is a guy who can do "cat > /vmlinuz" and have the machine boot afterward...
  • BMP? BitMaP? Another Microsoft format...

    ('Cause everyone knows real hackers use XPM...)


Q: How many IBM CPU's does it take to execute a job? A: Four; three to hold it down, and one to rip its head off.