Chapter 3. The Challenges of Life as a Hacker

Like all humans, hackers encounter many different sorts of problems as they journey through life. However, unlike most people, hackers find problems that often venture into the arena of the unbelievable. That's because hackers are always pushing the limits and exploring in places where others have too much sense to wander. Most of the hackers' difficulties are caused by this insatiable quest for knowledge coupled with the rest of society's inability and unwillingness to understand them. And whenever that happens, sending a letter to 2600 is the best way to vent and also help get the word out.

Over the years, we've been a sounding board for all manner of injustices and, in more than a few cases, I think it's made a real difference in changing things for the better. While there are still plenty of horror stories that go on in schools where smart kids are penalized for knowing more than the teachers or for finding security holes in their computer systems, we see increasing instances of teachers and administrators who listen to and respect the knowledge of the kids. And, as a side note to this, our forum has helped reach out to these same kids to let them know what's acceptable, what is constructive behavior, and what is not.

Of course, the problems don't begin or end in the schools. They're everywhere. and hackers are constantly running full force into them. It could be a confrontation with an obstinate mall cop. (I remember one time getting ...

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