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7+ years and counting


digip
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Saw the challenge coin in the hak5 shop, and realized, 7 plus years and counting. Wow. There aren't a lot of things on the internet that last that long, let alone podcasts or internet TV shows, including hacker groups and movements in general. Hak5 is one of those things, you either love us or hate us, but I say us, because for as long as I've watched the show, its always been about the community around the show as part of the show and not just about the people in front of the camera. From past cast and crew members, to feuds I'll never understand completely, nor need to, to the sub culture that was the old Hak5 IRC and original forums, to today's current show and forums, we're still here.

Back in about 2004/2005 I was watching a lot of weird stuff, some good, some bad, some foreign TV just because I could and it was different. I remember watching Sean Kennedy and a few others on Rant Media, some playlist of stuff I found on some site somewhere, using of all things, WinAMP on Windows 98 (yes, I didn't move to XP until around 2006 or so). One night there was a rotation of techy shows and just internet TV in general. Most of it was just people with cameras goofing off, pre YouTUBE era, so seeing real people from around the world video tape themselves and put it online to watch, was kind of home movie style, no real direction but still entertaining. People wanted to talk and get their message out, and lots of others found they had the same interests, or common topics of interest such as technology and computers. Then I caught an episode of Hak5, and began to try and figure out what it was I was watching, since I hadn't found it through their site, but from some playlist with a rotation of stuff like SKTFMTV. This was a bit different, and less anarchist and underground. This was just a group of young geeks, but they seemed to have things down a bit and looked like the kind of friends I hanged with, drinking beer and messing about with computers and stupid shit. Their show was structured and flowed naturally, and everyone seemed to just speak like the average Joe and make sense of what they were doing with their projects, explaining them in detail, almost instructional, but not too hard to follow along with, and I was learning something new each month on top of staying interested. I was instantly hooked on the show, and for a while, so was my wife.

Working at a bank at the time, doing data processing, running VSE and MVS on an IBM Mainframe, I already had an interest in computers, technology, and wanting to know hoe everything worked. I was also building websites on the side just by teaching myself by viewing the source of websites and figuring out, what happens if I change this here or move this here, etc. I was also in a band at the time, and ready to quit my job and move to Oregon to play music full time, something that I was very close to doing had it not been for computers. Because I knew how to create websites, I was obviously in charge of doing our bands website and also in charge of recording our music, which was everything from just about us, to a music and band review site of other bands, where people would mail me CD's and I would review and post their music online for others to listen to, to going back to just being about our band. I had my own music studio and started recording other bands albums, mixing, mastering and producing stuff, while my band mate moved to Oregon, I stayed behind working on computers and recoring my own music at home. We were still trying to figure out how to make a living at being musicians ourselves and monetize our work at the same time... Needless to say, I decided a steady pay check working at the bank made more sense than moving to Oregon to sleep on someones floor while trying to find work in a state and town I knew nothing about. My bandmate was not making any kind of real money, and he was still playing open mic nights, pretty much what we were doing here, so I said screw it, I'm not leaving good money and benefits for being homeless and nothing to live on.

I met my wife, and my work at the bank was the more solid and important move, which led to many promotions and new responsibilities, and in some part, Hak5 and my interest in computers kind of kept me grounded to that. I wanted to get more into networking and building computers, fixing and learning about them and Hak5 helped keep that interest for much of my inspiration with computers. I became somewhat the geek of our department, where most of the people I worked with were older than me, often 30 or more years older than me and half computer illiterate, but they had been doing Mainframe Data Processing for most their life, and like trained monkeys, only knew what they were taught. I learned my job in 2 weeks, something that wasn't supposed to happen that way, but because I had a knack for computers, I more or less picked it up right away, and the guy who trained me then jumped ship and left me to fend for myself. I spend the next year working with my boss over the phone most nights, having him actually teach me how to do most of what my trainer had not. It was sink or swim, which is kind of true in today's IT world. If tasked to do something, they expect you to figure it out, whether you've been shown or trained how to do it or not. Hak5 and the forums kind of helped fill that void because there were and are still plenty of things people come in here asking about that I have no clue about, and it keeps me on my toes. One learns real fast how to find info online and I developed my own ways of finding information long before I'd ever even heard the term "google dork", using sites as old as WebCrawler, Lycos, Excite and Yahoo, and even MSN search, I don't even remember what year it was when I made Google my default home page on my browsers...

When the show first started, DIVX and XVID were all the rage for making home movies online. RealPlayer and windows media player were becoming old hat, and broadband was becoming more accessible, so downloading 300, 400, and 600mb tv shows was becoming common place. My wife and I used to download all the early Hak5 episodes and I would burn them on dvd so we could watch them together on our living room DVD player, which at the time was one of the first stand alone DVD players to be able to play DIVX and XVID avi files. It was there, that we spent hours watching all the early season one and two stuff and became fans. By sometime around 2006 and I joined the forums and I've been here ever since. A lot has changed over the years, but a lot is still truly the same if you look at everything the cast has done and gone through, to what the community is today.

I don't come in as often as I used to, and I've seen plenty of rotation of cast members over the years, but the show is larger than the sum of its parts, past and present. Its existence is still here because of everyone, not just the crew, but also because of the community, on and offline. We get picked on a lot and I've heard some harsh words here and there over the years from other groups and communities that like to make it out as a rivalry thing, people who've put us down, hacked into the site and forums, dumped our passwords and so on, but as far as I am concerned, we have some of the smartest and brightest people, right here in the Hak5 community. We may not go around defacing websites, or teaching people how to steal credit cards, or run LOIC's to DDoS websites, but I think people here are smart enough to know how to handle themselves, and know that hacking isn't about how many boxes you can pop, but its more about the people, the knowledge and the relationships made with others in the community and that shared interest in technology and inventiveness in general.

I've met some of you in person, talk with many of you online, and also worked with some of you on a number of projects. I've even started a second business with one of the members of our community, all because I trust and respected his abilities. I have the highest respect for all those who have come and gone and contributed to the community over the years, both cast and crew members, to moderators and the original IRC people who lurked in the shadows. By and large, you are all why Hak5 is still here, 7 years later, keeping us entertained each week, but also what keeps our interest. I love coming to the forums to see questions I have no answers for, because it means I still have a lot to learn,things to research and figure out on my own, and for as many that have tried to come in and take things down, troll us, or just plain insult us, I have met some of the nicest, humblest, and smartest people in the hacker community because of Hak5. I would have never met half the people I worked for and work for today, such as the folks at Offensive Security and Social-Engineer.org, or people like Dave Kennedy and Iron Geek who put on Derbycon. Its because of Hak5 and others like them that I keep coming back.

For what its worth, I hope Hak5 and the rest of us are still here another 7 years from now. Have a safe and Happy New Year, to all the cast, crew and community, past present and future! Cheers and trust your technolust!

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Great post! I share all the same sentiments, and also raise a toast to Hak5 and everyone, including our awesome community, who makes this place such an amazing wealth of knowledge and energy on all the things hack.

I'm an old phreaker/hacker (and compared to many here, I DO mean OLD) who lived it all before the net:

- who built blue/red/black boxes from scratch

- who learned to whistle a 2600hz tone and shared many fond gatherings over international party lines

- who remembers when ToneLoc wasn't a rapper...

- who remembers the day he got his Cardinal 2400baud modem to replace a 300 baud acoustic coupler

- who remembers fondly his shell accounts on eskimo.net

- who remembers modding phoenix irc scripts and riding netsplits like a boss

- who remembers when eggdrop was only a chinese soup

- who used gopher on a regular basis

- who downloaded tablature from redrocks

- who SysOp'd a very notorious H/P/V/A BBS in the midwest before BBS's "were cool" (a nod to Rusty and Edie's goes here, RIP!)

- who remembers when Winsock was a new curious requirement for Internet access

- who remembers his first hacked telnet account at the local university

- who decades ago turned that love and curiosity into a wonderful career in IT

- and who is eternally grateful to all who make this community what it is!

The Hak5 community has so much amazing talent and so many bright minds, it's great an old phracker like me can feel right at home with this great group of like-minded, free-thinking guys and gals who are so giving of their knowledge and time...it's beautiful. I want to go have drinks with you all, it's just like it was for decades...the same mindset, just different players.

I stumbled on Hak5 when I got a Roku2 a few years ago (dumped cable), found the Revision 3 channel, and looked into an interesting little ditty called "Hak5". That was the moment for me. :)

I was hooked in the first few minutes, and have spent much time catching up on all those early episodes and knowledge.

Yep..I'm an old guy who's been married and raised a kid who's since grown and left home, but my natural curiosity and penchant for "pushing the envelope" with technology has always been there, and the fire still burns in my belly for pushing that same envelope...it never stops. I feel that same passion from this community, and it's wonderful...I'm very grateful to be a tiny part of it.

Indeed, Happy New Year to you all, and never stop keeping the fires burning bright. One of the best and brightest communities I've ever had the good fortune to be a part of.

Bless you all.

hf

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Wow! I remember trying to download the shows, then having to burn them onto CD-RWs and get them home. All this on the university computers in the library.

I was a teenager and my parents didn't "get" the Internet and technology. It was so hard to get on IRC (I had to go to friend's places or some other places) I finally figured I would sign up to the forums. The first shows were awesome, in all their crappy production and horrible audio.

I wish I could write something long and meaningful like digip.

The people on IRC were always amazing. So many wasted hours. :-)

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By the way, anyone wondering, (shameless plug), I really was going to move to Oregon to do the music gig full time had it not been for computers. We did manage to put out an albumn though. Take a listen: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/twistedpair maybe buy some songs, help pay the bills ;)

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I love the post digip. I didn't want to comment at first, it just seemed like one of those...

Anyways, well put. You're certainly a pillar of the community here and we all appreciate the depth of knowledge you're willing to share with us. You and Mr P. and Infiltrator and Whistle Master (for us pineapplers) make this place what it is, and make it a destination for aspiring white hats.

As for the band, first of all you rock, second of all - TWISTED PAIR! When I saw the name, I totally lol'd.

For those non-cabling nerds:

http://www.twistedpair.co/wp/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/twisted-pair-cable.gif

telot

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I love the post digip. I didn't want to comment at first, it just seemed like one of those...

Anyways, well put. You're certainly a pillar of the community here and we all appreciate the depth of knowledge you're willing to share with us. You and Mr P. and Infiltrator and Whistle Master (for us pineapplers) make this place what it is, and make it a destination for aspiring white hats.

As for the band, first of all you rock, second of all - TWISTED PAIR! When I saw the name, I totally lol'd.

For those non-cabling nerds:

http://www.twistedpair.co/wp/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/twisted-pair-cable.gif

telot

Thats kind of where we got the name from, since we were a sort of post industrial band and my love of computers, and the fact, there were only two of us in the band. We played all the instruments and recorded and sampled ourselves for drum loops and such. Other than what we programmed on the groovebox and spliced from Acid drum looks, everything else is us, inventing instruments, etc. We have some songs, which if you listen to our older stuff before that CD(if I can find will post links) and even on that cd, use things like kitchen forks, knives, plates, pots and pans, trash can lids, etc. We even recorded my voice through the telephone from just picking up the handset dialing a 1, then picking up another in the house to have an open line and record vocal parts on the song Piece of Me. Some stuff was sampled from tv shows as well like Twilight Zone or roayalty free audio cd's we purchased and just spliced up samples from. It was a fun time period, lots of 3am recording sessions with neighbors calling management to have us thrown out. I ended up having to move out of the one house I was renting where we used to have like big house parties and play music all night. needless to say the neighbors hated me...lol

When we played live, we recorded all non guitar and vocal tracks to dat tapes, and then played that through the PA system through a mixer that mic'd in our vocals and my guitar amp. This way we could still play without a backing band.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Finally got around to putting up the whole album - http://grooveshark.com/#!/album/Old+And+The+New+Its+Inside+You/8680406 Best listened to with head phones, since there is a lot of binaural effects lost on a standard stereo system and the 3d effects we used, were really meant for hard core headphone users. Little bit of something for everyone, from Industrial to rock, to just weird experimental shit.

There were only two of us in the band and we had a 3rd friend who used to come in and help write with us and contributed to some tracks on vocals. If I can dig up our earlier stuff Dave, the 3rd friend, did a lot more singing on early demos from the 90's, and the music was much darker and more industrial and experimental, closer to our Skinny Puppy roots.

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I joined the show when we joined Rev3, back in '08. I had no clue what I was doing (i.e. my first few segments omg), but for the past five years I've learned so much from researching my own segments and watching others. We have a cool thing going here (not just Darren, Paul, and I- but the whole community!), and I'm happy to be a part of it.

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