Emmanuel Goldstein (email@example.com) has been publishing 2600 Magazine, The Hacker Quarterly , since 1984. He traces his hacker roots to his high school days in the late ′70s, when he first played with a distant computer over highspeed, 300–baud phone lines. It didn′t take long for him to get into trouble by figuring out how to access something he wasn’t supposed to access. He continued playing with various machines in his college days at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. This resulted in an FBI raid, as he once again gained access to something he really shouldn′t have. It was in the midst of all this excitement that he cofounded 2600 Magazine , an outlet for hacker stories and tutorials from all over the world. The rapid growth and success of the magazine was both shocking and scary to Goldstein, who to this day has never taken a course in computers. Since 1988, he has also hosted Off The Hook , a hacker–themed technology talk show on WBAI 99.5 FM in New York City. In addition to making the hacker documentary Freedom Downtime , Goldstein hosts the Hackers On Planet Earth (HOPE) conferences in New York City every two years, drawing thousands of hackers from all over the world.
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As someone who has an interest in hacking, but no skills whatsoever, I eagerly opened this huge compilation of letters written to the editors of 2600: The Hacker Quarterly, a newsletter/magazine published since, fittingly, 1984. What I found was a sometimes-hilarious, sometimes-informative, sometimes-tedious series of letters compiled by theme. Perhaps the most intriguing part of this book is the chronological organization within topics that often combine to give a brief history of the rise of computers in American society through the eyes of hackers, security experts, and ordinary citizens who just want to understand more about the technology. Of course, since 2600 is a hacker's publication, there's an underlying rebellious streak and mistrust of authority in both the letters and the editors' responses.
I couldn't read this book from cover-to-cover in a few sittings the way I might a non-anthology book since, after a while, the letters became too much of the same despite their different topics. Even the editors' comments started sounding like more of the same. Instead, this book is best read by section, in chronological order, to give a sense of how technology and the issues that accompany it have progressed over the years. The clueless and the marginally insane among the letter writers can be both entertaining and sad; however, some of the letters are incredibly articulate about matters that go beyond criminal activity and into the realm of pure technology and common sense. And I really enjoyed the sense of history created by the dated letters. For example, I knew, but had forgotten, about the original hackers -- the phone phreaks of the eighties-- and how they worked more to conquer the limitations imposed by phone companies (or even just ATT, when there was only one) than to invade individual corporations since the internet was not yet prevalent enough to provide an entry into all aspects of American life. The section of letters written by prisoners focuses almost exclusively on how to circumvent prison phone restrictions; however, later letters by the incarcerated touch on matters of civil liberties, the issue of rehabilitation versus banned computer use, and a few others. That 2600 gave these largely ignored individuals a voice is remarkable, even if some of those voices are just trying to commit another crime, this time from behind bars.
As a cultural document, this book offers a sampling of the history of computer technology and the people who hope(d) to harness it, and for that, it's worth reading. Don't expect any articles or special insight into computers or hacking, however, since these letters were written mostly in response to articles that non-subscribing readers are unlikely to be familiar with. Still, you don't need the articles to understand the letters because most passages are relatively superficial. The more complex entries stand out and are probably the most interesting, but their technical expertise may be difficult to follow for the layperson.
-- Debbie Lee Wesselmann
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Laughter and joy29 juin 2010
- Publié sur Amazon.com
First, I have to hand it to Goldstein and 2600 for putting out such a solid magazine year after year after year. But this slice of history takes the cake. These letters and more so Goldstein's repartee are presented in such an engaging way, seeing the progression of 2600 and the American (and International) hacker delighted me to no end. My wife heard me belly laughing and came to investigate. Even though she has little experience with technology and hacker culture, we ended up staying up way past our respective bedtimes reading random letters aloud to one another, in stitches. This is a unique and solid tome that did not disappoint. It belongs in the humor section, or history section as much as the computer or security. Fantastic!
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Entertaining browsing for technogeeks23 juillet 2010
I started reading 2600 many years ago when part of my job involved security on a University computer system. I never did learn much that was of use in my job but I always enjoyed thumbing through this little magazine, reading obscure bits of information about embedded systems, telephone networks and so forth. One of the most entertaining parts of 2600 has always been the letters section, in which hackers, would-be hackers, gamers, script kiddies, outraged citizens, paranoid schitophrenics, unrepentant convicted felons, and, for all I know, government agents wrote in with stories of screwing around with business computer systems, hacking foreign phone networks, obscure functions found in electronic devices, and countless requests for the secret information that would turn the writer into a real 1334 h4><0r, or some variation thereof. There were also the letters bragging of having cheated a store by switching price codes (very much frowned upon by pseudonymous 2600 editor "Emmanual Goldstein") or having stolen computer services (more acceptable). All of this provided a fascinating insight into at least part of the world of hacking and hackers.
This thick volume contains a very large sample of these letters, and while there's a good deal of variety in the themes of the writers, there's also a good deal of repetition. How many indictments and defense of Kevin Mitnick do we really want to read? How many ways can Goldstein make fun of someone asking the same dumb question? Still, I find myself repeatedly returning to the book, even if just to read a few letters before putting it aside again.
Of all the various themes, I find myself most interested in the reports of obscure hacks of old telephone and computer systems While most of the practical information on systems and networks is old enough that probably no longer of any real use, it's still pretty interesting to someone who's been working in and around computer systems for almost 40 years.
If you're a regular 2600 reading, no doubt you've already ordered your copy. My review is really aimed more at the technically inclined non-hacker with a curiosity about the world of hacking, phreaking, and related activities. For them, this book (and the earlier "Best of" volume) will provide and interesting and entertaining introduction into that culture.
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Half of the Priceless Set17 juillet 2010
Robert David STEELE Vivas
- Publié sur Amazon.com
I've been browsing this marvelous collection--559 pages--all afternoon, and the afternoon has been broken up frequently with outrageous laughter and occasional gasps of disbelief. This book, organized as it is, is vastly more important and easier to read than the original 2600 Magazine letters that I have been glancing at since first helping and joining this group in 1994.
The other book, The Best of 2600: A Hacker Odyssey now reprinted in a more expensive The Best of 2600, Collector's Edition: A Hacker Odyssey is absolutely essential and the other half of this set.
Hats off to Wiley for having the brains to see the value, and the editorial talent to select, edit, and present so perfectly. This book, thick as it is, has exactly the right amount of white space, the selection and use of fonts is just right, and the index, while not as extensive as I would have liked, is adequate.
"Look Inside the Book" has been set in motion, in the meantime, here is the table of contents that runs from the early days in the 1980's up through today, with absolutely phenomenal selections that provide priceless insights into the mindsets of BOTH bona fide hackers AND the clueless wanna-bes.
1. Question Upon Question 2. Tales from the Retail Front 3. The Challenges of Life as a Hacker 4. Technology 5. Our Biggest Fans 6. Behind the Walls 8. A Culture of Rebels 9. Strange Ramblings
Easily half if not more of the value of the book is to be found is the witty, acerbic, funny, insightful, surprising comments of the author Emmanuel Goldstein (not his real name), who has single-handedly but with many willing volunteers created the legitimate means of enabling information sharing and sense-making among hackers, who I am often at pains to describe as being the same as astronauts and pioneers, pushing the edge of the envelope.
This books is more fun than the first, but both are necessary in any responsible library seeking to understand both the good of hacking, and the idiocy and lack of ethical engineering in government and business that makes hacking so necessary.
Other books in this area that I recommend: The Second Self: Computers and the Human Spirit, Twentieth Anniversary Edition Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution - 25th Anniversary Edition The Hacker Crackdown: Law And Disorder On The Electronic Frontier Free Software, Free Society: Selected Essays of Richard M. Stallman The Virtual Community: Homesteading on the Electronic Frontier The Art of Intrusion: The Real Stories Behind the Exploits of Hackers, Intruders and Deceivers Stealing the Network: How to Own a Continent
See also this DVD: Hackers (features Emmanuel as the skateboarding hacker, he was a consultant to this film)
The DVD The Net with Sandra Bullock, and the Matrix movies, as well as Bruce Willis in Live Free or Die Hard are all worth looking at.
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Got too bored to make a title, but I put something here to let you know I thought about you.18 novembre 2010
Firstly, no, I'm not the same Emmanuel Goldstein who wrote this book, but I do take honor in the name. lol This book is comprised of some of the best letters sent in by 2600 readers. Well, you already know that, duh! :) Well, let's just say the guys at the top of the edititorial pecking order did a good job and you will find a rather interesting assortment here that you'll keep you awake. This is a book that I pull out on days that I'm feeling bored and there is always some place I can turn to get to get laugh or smile. There's something in here for everybody. Though this is no substitute for a lifetime subscription to 2600 (which includes all back issues since inception), for those of you who cannot afford the investment, this is a good deal. Get it before the Feds find a reason take it off the shelves. Yeah, yeah First Amendment this and that, but we already know too well where that is headed.