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Wacko Topic of the Month

How to be a hacker

Answered By Iron, Dan Wilder, Frank Rodolph, Heather Stern,
Ben Okopnik, Huibert Alblas, Thomas Adam

(?) hi sir i want to lern hacking how i can do this please mail me and eplain in simple words

(!) [Iron]

Buy a weedwhacker. Become a prep cook. Take up golf.

(!) [Dan]

(!) [Frank]

This site might be helpful... One might have to learn Japanese first though... (The Happy Hacking Keyboard)

(!) [Iron]

Here's an English version of the Happy Hacking site. And an LG review of the original Happy Hacking keyboard. And an LJ review by The Answer Gang's own Don Marti on using vim with the Happy Hacking Keyboard Lite 2

(!) [Heather]

1. refer to a dictionary so you are sure which definition of "hack" you want to use. There is a nice 2c Tip this month about visiting Mirrian Webster's dictionary website, or you might find the Jargon File (aka. The New Hacker's Dictionary) useful.

2. follow directions for the right definition.

a. I recommend starting with a light axe and smaller pieces of firewood. As you work on bigger pieces you may want to use a hammer and wedge. The best thing is that poor practice results with the smaller wood leads to kindling size pieces, which are also needed for a good fireplace setup.

By all means, don't forget to seriously clean the flue before using your fireplace the first time in a season. You can seriously smoke yourself out if you forget that, and carbon monoxide, being invisible, is especially dangerous.

b. Most Linux distributions make it easy to find source code for its tools. Start with things which are shell scripts. Then learn perl, and study things which are perl scripts. Learning a minimal amount of C will allow you to look at the source code of "small" programs like ls or cat. As your talents grow you might feel inclined to look at the kernel, or other large programs that everyone uses. All the while make your own practice programs and try to do things which are useful for your own purposes. When these things are useful patches or programs to others, post them to project maintainers or start up your own thing (maybe at Sourceforge).

If the terms in this description are not "plain english" to you, you are not yet ready to be a code hacker.

c. th11s 11z != a cr@ckERz d-N d00d! Find an IRC channel somewhere. Try not to get caught doing anything the al-Qaeda would do. Expect a lump of coal in your stocking if you manage to hurt anybody with your internet joyride.

/me cackles wickedly while splitting the next email thread with a medium size wedge and light axe.

(!) [Thomas]

well u hammer get and move then strike computer as needed then you get your hacked piece.

simple is this enough good for u??

ok doodz, u understand now m8??


I remember when Jim Dennis (the God Father) :-) answered a question similar to this way back in LG issue 21??? --- he has a knack for this sort of thing :-)

(!) [Iron]

I assume Thomas is talking about this answer: phreaking.

Not The Answer Gang

More about Ben's reputation

Answered By Ben Okopnik, Iron

(!) [Ben]

I used to teach PC troubleshooting classes way back when. On the second day, when everyone was at lunch, I'd hose their machines in different ways (*OOOH* I was evil back then... <waiting for a comment from Mike> )

(!) [Iron]

**Was** evil back then? What about now?

(!) [Ben]

Ah. I'm basking in the glow of satisfaction; the world is complete, once again. :)

As to your question, I shall ignore it with all the dignity I can muster. Humph.

A windoze weenie gets it

Answered By Thomas Adam, Iron, Ben Okopnik

I recently formated my machine and installed win 98 on it but now i got a problem

(!) [Thomas]

Awww...I can *really* understand why.....I am so sorry you had to put Win98 onto your machine and not Linux :-((

1)i am getting no sound.

(!) [Thomas]

It has been known that in the dead of night, computers such as those running Windows98 do groan and moan about why they have such an awlful operating system on them. Maybe you need to turn the speakers on (or connect your internal speakers) to hear it :)

2)i cannot change from 16 to 256 colors or higher

(!) [Thomas]

Ha ha.....

(!) [Thomas]

what shud i do or what driver shud i load i have intel celeron and vintron motherboard 58 mb ram.

(!) [Thomas]

Driver??? Driver?? You must mean using the following command:

insmod /lib/modules/kernel-version/some_file

(!) [Iron]

Using modprobe instead of insmod will automatically load any driver this driver depends on. i tried intel 810-815... chipset vga driver fow win98 but it did not work

(!) [Thomas]

Tell me Mr. [the querent], if you send an e-mail to an address such as the following: Linux-questions-only at Would that suggest to you "oh, maybe they know something about Windows???" -- I should hope not. It would be a great help if you actually READ the e-mail address that you are sending it to.

And now, I shall do Heather Stern's piece:

* * * * * * * THESE ARE NOT THE DROIDS YOU'RE LOOKING FOR * * * * * * *

Hi, you've reached the Linux Gazette Answer Gang....
   Linux ::::::::: a modern operating system not much like any of:
               --- DOS -- Windows -- Solaris -- MacOS -- alien starships ---
               ... except occasionally, an ability to run on the same hardware.
   Gazette ::::::: published more regularly than "almanac."  In our case:
               --- a monthly web-based magazine, home:
   Answer Gang ::: Not the "lazy college student's UNstudy group"
               --- nor the "hey d00dz help me cRaK my neighBoorZ klub"

Have a nice day :-)

The great riffle caper

Answered By Thomas Adam, Ben Okopnik, Iron, Dan Wilder, Don Marti, Frank Rodolf

(!) [Thomas]

Tut tut, this question is in HTML format.

Hey Heather....lets nab him!!

<In the distance a figure looking like Ben (with those dark sun glasses), is pointing a riffle at the accused Win98 user>

(!) [Ben]

I'm so sorry, Thomas; all my riffles are currently in use. Those darn California gold-miners always have them out on rental... Besides, it's fairly hard to point one: it kinda stays pointing the way you build it.

Seriously, though - I'm not very much of a Linux zealot; other people are welcome to run whatever they want. I know what works well for me, and I do indeed attempt to proselytize those who are stuck with OSs that they hate - but it's a big wide world out there, and YKIOKIJNMK is one of my mantras.

send me free linux cd then

(!) [Thomas]

--Hum, Do you know what the "Open Source Movement" is?? I suggest you read the book "rebel code"....

(!) [Iron]

And then after we decline to help him, he demands a free Linux CD? No wonder his e-mail service is (run by PunkAss Enterprises of Boston, MA, USA, an organization with no web site). I wonder if he's a scr!pT K]dDiE too....

(!) [Dan]

Riffle? That's the fast water between pools in a stream.

I'd be pretty scared if somebody was pointing a riffle at me; Lessee, small stream, maybe 5m across, .25m average depth, that's 1.25 m**2 cross section, if the riffle is 15m long that's 18.75 m**3 of water, plus surrounding streambed. I wanna be pretty well clear of anybody strong enough to lift that, let alone point it!!!

(!) [Ben]

It's also what you call a gold-separating trough, as well as the stuff at the bottom of it (these days, a lot of folks use Astro-Turf. Go figure.)

That was what I was riffing on... :)

(!) [Dan]

Yeah, I don't know anything about gold-separating troughs. Tho I can see how it'd be called a "riffle" ... region of faster-moving water, with maybe some bumps to it. Calling its bed a "riffle" seems like taking some liberty with the term, but I guess you need to call it something, and maybe "bed" doesn't sound obscure enough.

Then in another thread...

(!) [Frank]

Lowering the case (S20hwclock -> s20hwclock) is used - as Mike pointed out - to disable the execution of the script totally, without losing the info about where it normally is...

(!) [Iron]

As Ben pointed out.

(!) [Frank]

Oops... Sorry guys... You just look so much alike... :)

(!) [Iron]

Do you want a riffle sniper on your doorstep? :)

(!) [Ben]

ITYM "riffle snipper". Beware of the Snip of Doom.

(!) [Thomas]


My spelling is terrible, lol.....

Thanks for picking that one out Dan. I'd be scared if someone was pointing a river at me!!

Also, I would just like to point out that you are wrong about what a "riffle" is.

Ehem.....having done A-Level Geography, a "riffle" is created from turbulent flow, which only occurs within meanders.....

so that means that you'll be pointing a bendy river :) :)

(!) [Dan]

Try walking some trout streams. Mostly they don't meander, at least in this mountainous part of the country, but you'll find pools and riffles alternating nonetheless. Smooth and turbulent flow.

(!) [Ben]

If I recall correctly from my trout-fishing days, "head-pool-run-riffle" is the repeated structure that makes up a mature stream. The length of the sequence is mainly dependent on the stream width and rate of flow. As Dan says, most of them don't meander; this structure is a result of the water carrying silt, building up a restriction where it settles, speeding up through the restriction, and slowing down as it exits.

(!) [Heather]

Oh, so that's where you get the trout cluebats to flog people with.

(!) [Dan]

Real streams are contingent things, at least at the scale of human beings, full of rock outcrops, changes in the lie of the land, slide debris, logs and other noise. And silt, carried predictibly by faster water to deposit in slower water. Also gravel, cobbles, and bolders, carried during the spate when the babbling brook becomes the raging torrent, its flow influenced by factors ordinarily far above its waterline. As it erodes slowly headward, carrying all to lower ground, the things it can reach, first, the rest, later.

Surprising how hard it is to get a model stream running on a uniform substrate to behave according to the model. I've tried. Enough to wonder to what extent the patterns we see in streams are just our poor minds seeking to impose order where there lies only chaos.

Though I must vouch for the repetition of the pool-and-riffle pattern. With, as Ben says, each pool having head and tail, each with their own implications for the behavior of the elusive trout.

(!) [Ben]

Oh, definitely. Dan... you've got me thinking about four-pound test, and turning over rocks for bait, and rationalizing that maybe the water isn't all that cold yet. It just ain't fair, I tell ya... I've done close to zero freshwater fishing in the past ten years; it's all been big-game saltwater stuff - 1/4" nylon line, 6 feet of solid stainless steel wire for leader, 7/0 forged SS hooks baited with a foot-long ballyhoo, and /sauve qui peut/ once you hook into the big bastard. As much fun as that can be, I've just realized how much I've missed the fine, subtle game that trout fishing can be. Well... they _did_ just open a new Outdoor World near here... I think I've got a field trip coming up tomorrow, with a bit of local stream research thrown in.

Oh, the weird and wonderful ways that discussions of Linux can go...

(!) [Thomas]

All this talk about pools and riffles (and trouts) makes me think of the following song:

Schubert, Trout quintet in A major (I played the piano part in the Leder....lots of semi-quavers, quite difficult).

Of course he is singing about catching this fish....which he does eventually. I wonder if he saw these pools and riffles????


<Here come the men in white coats....>

(!) [Dan]

Yes, we've gotten pretty far afield, so to speak.

(!) [Iron]

This riffle discussion is perfect for The Back Page. Heather, we'll need to split the thread cleanly somewhere.

(!) [Ben]

Just where the pool meets that enticing little backwater, slightly to the left of that branch would be a good place.

<The line makes a 'shhhhhusshhh' sound as the tiny Panther Martin spinner traces an arc through the still air above Loch Raven...>

Paul Revere

Answered By Thomas Adam, Ben Okopnik, Huibert Alblas, Iron, Don Marti

--- Walter asks:

Why hasn't the Linux world come to the idea that WINDOWS is a good idea and start making linux work just like MS windows without all the MicroDumb BooBoo's. Do like Paul Revere did, he did not make the cooking pots different he just made them better.

(!) [Thomas]

Now, now where is that axe??? Damn, don't tell me Ben has borrowed it again to go on one of those "trips"..... oh well.....

Walter, Walter dear boy what's going on?? Are you mad? I think you are. Linux is NOTHING like Windows and it will remain that way. If you are after a Linux based MS-Windows OS, then Microsoft released their own version of Unix with MS apps embedded in it.....try that.

BUT, don't leave the land of Linux *just* yet......KDE offers a "Windows" feel to it. Also, FVWM95 has a near complete look and feel of Windows. The "IceWM" also provides a similar style to Windows...

(!) [Ben]

[A pregnant pause. Birds twitter in the trees; the sun shines; all seems eerily normal, a calm that bears no hint of the edge-of-the-seat suspense.]



No comment.

(!) [Halb]

Who is this Paul Revere guy? The only time I heard the name Paul Revere was on the License To Ill Album from the Beasty Boys. The track is called Paul Revere, but in the song text, its the name of a horse.

(!) [Iron]

"Revere became a figure of popular history and legend, however, because of his ride on the night of Apr. 18, 1775, to warn the people of the Massachusetts countryside that British soldiers were being sent out in the expedition that, as it turned out, started the American Revolution.... it is Revere who is remembered as the midnight rider, chiefly because of the poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow."

Paul Revere's Ride by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:

Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.

He said to his friend, "If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light,--
One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm." ...

The most famous quote here is, "One if by land, two if by sea."

We learned the poem in elementary school. Although looking back, there's no way we could have understood since I had no concept of what Middlesex or a farm or a belfry was.

(!) [Ben]

I believe that the correct term nowadays is "bisexual", and any term that connotes "fence-sitter" is frowned upon.

(!) [Iron]

Of course, Middlesex is an area of Massechussetts, which was named after a region in England. Although, us Yanks never could understand how Brits can use terms like Middlesex and Sussex while keeping a straight face.

(!) [Ben]

Oh, the people who named the towns in the US were no less obsessed. :)

ben@Baldur:~/devel/geo$ grep -ci sex US_Concise.txt
Not to mention Intercourse, Pennsylvania and such...

Paul Revere was also a silversmith, and there's still a line of high-quality pots and pans ("Revere ware") named after him. He also forged pewter utinsels, I think.

(!) [Ben]

Why, he never! Paul Rever, a forger? I won't believe it! I'm sure that his pewter utensils were perfectly original. <sniff>

(Note: Pewter is cast, not forged.)

<Smile> I remember the '1 if by LAN, 2 if by C' (erm... it _sounds_ right...) <shrug> I thought he rode horses and yelled at people for a living, or something.

1001 uses for a dead hard drive

Answered By Iron, Dan Wilder, Don Marti

(!) [Iron]

Our sysadmin Dan Wilder suggests that a dead drive makes a good weight for a fishing line....

(!) [Dan]

Can be used for taking depth soundings also.

Another use for a dead drive: it contains a couple of magnets that are GREAT for picking up small ferromagnetic items, such as spilled machine screws or carpet tacks. Also useful for confining map pins and paper clips to one corner of the desk drawer. I wouldn't be without one! In fact I have a couple in my desk drawer, some in each toolbox, and the kids each have a couple to play with.

Just don't stick it on the fridge. Might be useful for holding small piles of recipes, but don't stick it to the fridge without a generous cushion or it may chip the paint.

Many drives are assembled with odd drivers for the screwheads. To disassemble, use a small drill to remove the screwheads, when you find you don't have a suitable driver.

(!) [Iron]

This is also good info for the person who wanted advice on starting a cybercafe. The chipped paint may make the health department inspectors nervous.

(!) [Ben]

<shrug> Then you'd just use the magnet to stick them to the fridge, until they realize that chipped paint is wonderful, no, they have no problems with it whatsoever, it was all a mistake...

(!) [Don]

Action Surplus in Sunnyvale, California has all the bastard spawn "security through strange screwhead" drivers.

Save the cheap Allen wrenches you get with stuff to assemble it -- you can hammer an Allen wrench into some of those strange screws, then turn it (if you don't want the screw afterward)

(!) [Ben]

<Evil Genius laugh> A Dremel tool with a steel-cutting disk makes a "flat" screw out of any of those strange ones in about three seconds. I have reason to know...

(!) [Don]

I've done this too but the ones on hard drives are countersunk below the level of the drive frame. You could cut a slot if you were willing to cut the drive frame too.

Compare and contrast

Answered By Iron

Compare and contrast the computer sytem to the manual system. Please heip me out.

(!) [Iron]

The phrase "compare and contrast" raises warning bells because it sounds like a homework question, so my instinctive answer is, "Figure it out for yourself. That's why your teacher/professor gave you the question."

However, we may feel inclined to give some amusing answers if you give us more precise information. "The manual system" of what? Playing chess on a computer vs a chessboard has a different impact than word processing on a computer vs a typewriter, and both are different from engineering with a computer vs engineering without, or building animation movies on a computer vs in Walt Disney's day.

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Russian Joke of the Month

Quick translation of a Russian joke -

The UN poses the following question to the assembled representatives of different countries: "Please state your opinion about the lack of sufficient food in other countries."

Many of the representatives ran into insurmountable problems:

Ben Okopnik

Happy Linuxing!

Mike ("Iron") Orr
Editor, Linux Gazette,

Copyright © 2001, the Editors of Linux Gazette.
Copying license
Published in Issue 73 of Linux Gazette, December 2001
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