I remember once reading a book (long lost to the mists of time, and to Google) aimed at kids that introduced the reader to computers and held up the hacker as a role model. Times have changed. And yet the old sense lingers on. Steadfast old-school hackers are reluctant to let the word go and similar words - like geek, or maker - don't quite capture its meaning.
But "hacker" has to be used carefully now. I grew up with the word and probably qualify as a hacker in the good sense. But I rarely describe myself thus, lest I am misunderstood and placed on a list somewhere. Well, at least I've still got the writing: If I can't be a hacker, I'll just have to settle for being a hack.
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