Hack (term)

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In a wide sense, a hack is a somewhat unexpected act of cleverness, especially including practical jokes. The term originated at MIT, where it much later became especially associated with smart computer programmers—hackers.

The epicenter of the latter started at the Research Laboratory of Electronics (which had the TX-0, and later one of the original PDP-1's); it later moved to Project MAC. Similar groups quickly appeared wherever enthusiastic people were allowed somewhat free rein with computers, and many adopted the hacking philosophy.

A display hack is a short program that produces surprisingly complex and interesting patterns on a display. In recent times, the term life hack has come to mean a smart way to make your life easier.

A hack can also be a 'quick and dirty' solution which is somewhat unsatisfactory (also known as a kludge).

Further reading

  • Steven Levy, Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution, Doubleday, Garden City, 1984

External links