Re: Managing Engineers

Subject: Re: Managing Engineers
From: Andrew Plato <intrepid_es -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 22 Nov 2000 10:11:59 -0800 (PST)

> Most programmers insist that "hacker" doesn't mean a person who
> breaks into other people's computers illegally, but someone who
> likes to nose around learning how things work (that's a "cracker").
> Originally, I had no formal technical background at all, but I've
> learned and thrived and get along with most of the developers
> because I have the same type of curiosity.

Funny you would mention this, Bruce. My company has a permanent contract to do
all tech and user docs for a network security firm (Network ICE). We faced
this exact issue early in the documentation cycle. The Network ICE CTO, a
brilliant genius type, was insistent to me that I not use the term "hacker" in
a derogatory way. This spawned a debate between us. My contention was that the
average joe cannot or does not discern this difference. When people hear
"hacker" they think of Wargames or Sneakers. They don't think of cute, cuddly
nerds tinkering with computers. The CTO felt this was an unfair stereotype of
people who just like to figure out complex puzzles.

Eventually, I won that battle but not after conceding to differentiate that
difference at least to some extent in the documentation. The results of that
battle are peppered throughout our docs.

Andrew Plato

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