The Glider

2004-07-28 17:25 - Programming

Any true computer scientist cares about algorightms, and bits, and other computer mumbo jumbo. One very old, very famous, very cool demonstration of some very fundamental computer topics is John Conway's Game of Life.

No, not the board game with the big spinner and the car and kids and the (possible) poorhouse at the end. This game of life is a simulation that is driven by some very simple computer algorithms, and can result in some truly amazing stuff. I've recently included "The Glider" image on my page at the bottom of the right column. This carries some weight, being the only image on my site, save for the "favicon." (By the way, I made a version of it for my favicon as I decided to rename the site to just Arantius.com instead of Arantius' Blog, as it started to grow.) Why? Because it's been proposed as the emblem for hacker society.

I find it unfortunately necessary to point out here what a hacker is. Let me refer to The Jargon File (which, you may note, displays the glider emblem). The Jargon File is a reference of hacker jargon , slang and culture. It simply defines hacking as an appropriate application of ingenuity. This often means simply solving a problem in a special way. Perhaps the solution is truly elegant, perhaps it is a kluge but somehow, the solution takes a special application of intellect and skill.

Anyone that solves problems like this is a hacker. A carpenter, an engineer, or a computer geek. Cracking on the other hand is what the media usually means when they refer to hacking. Cracking is simply hacking with nefarious intent.

I am a hacker. Perhaps not an upper tier, ultra elite, awe inspiring hacker. But I always strive for innovative and hopefully elegant solutions to my problems. This should be evident in the comments I've made previously about being forced to gunk up my code to make things work in Internet Explorer. I enjoy solving problems the best way, or even just a creative way. And thus I proudly display the emblem.

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