Hacking Engineering Education

October 25th, 2009 by k8gu Leave a reply »
Bell System Manhole Cover

Bell System Manhole Cover

While browsing my local public library a few weeks ago, I stumbled across the book The Best of 2600: A Hacker Odyssey by one Emmanuel Goldstein.  Despite my own youthful adventures (perhaps chronicled in a future post) with computers and networks, I never got into reading 2600, probably for the better.  But, the book represents the best of the magazine and it’s worth reading through more mature eyes.  Why?

The hackers are playful.  They are creative under duress and with limited resources at their disposal.  They tell stories.  They share mental models of the networks they’ve compromised.  They are the explorers of the networked world.  They are social—they understand that networks connect people.

Of course, this assessment glosses over the criminal and arrogant aspects of hacking.  But, the concepts of exploring, building, and sharing knowledge and models are valuable skills for the innovators of tomorrow.  Perhaps we can learn something from the hackers?