hack

(redirected from hacking around)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal.

hack

1
1. a dry spasmodic cough
2. a kick on the shins, as in rugby

hack

2
1. a horse kept for riding or (more rarely) for driving
2. an old, ill-bred, or overworked horse
3. a horse kept for hire
4. Brit a country ride on horseback
5. US a coach or carriage that is for hire
6. US informal
a. a cab driver
b. a taxi

hack

a board on which meat is placed for a hawk

hack

(jargon)
1. Originally, a quick job that produces what is needed, but not well.

2. An incredibly good, and perhaps very time-consuming, piece of work that produces exactly what is needed.

3. To bear emotionally or physically. "I can't hack this heat!"

4. To work on something (typically a program). In an immediate sense: "What are you doing?" "I'm hacking TECO." In a general (time-extended) sense: "What do you do around here?" "I hack TECO." More generally, "I hack "foo"" is roughly equivalent to ""foo" is my major interest (or project)". "I hack solid-state physics." See Hacking X for Y.

5. To pull a prank on. See hacker.

6. To interact with a computer in a playful and exploratory rather than goal-directed way. "Whatcha up to?" "Oh, just hacking."

7. Short for hacker.

8. See nethack.

9. (MIT) To explore the basements, roof ledges, and steam tunnels of a large, institutional building, to the dismay of Physical Plant workers and (since this is usually performed at educational institutions) the Campus Police. This activity has been found to be eerily similar to playing adventure games such as Dungeons and Dragons and Zork. See also vadding.

See also neat hack, real hack.

hack

As a noun, a hack is the source code of a program. For example, the phrase "it must be done through a hack" means someone has to write programming code to solve the problem because there is no pre-written software that does the job.

As a verb, hack refers to writing a small program or adding code to an existing program to solve a problem in a hurry. A hack used to imply a low-level programming language, even deploying a fix in machine language (see patch). However, the term evolved, and today it can refer to code in any computer language. See machine language.

You're Not Supposed To!
A hack may refer to an enhancement made to an electronic device that was not designed to be user programmable, such as a video game, music player, TV set-top box or cellphone. For example, a digital media hub (media extender) could be modified to play additional formats.

This level of modification is done by the serious hacker, who first has to find a way to expose the software. It may require opening the case and using tools such as a screwdriver, wire strippers and soldering iron. For example, to make the first AT&T iPhones work in another network, an early hack required applying voltage to a line on its circuit board. It meant scraping the surface of a single wire trace without breaking the line and soldering a wire to it; a very delicate operation. Subsequent methods used to unlock iPhones were less extreme.

"Hacked" Means a Harmful Hack
"Getting hacked" has another connotation. Although the original meaning of hack is program code that was modified, the popular definition is an illegal modification that causes a computer or online account to be compromised. See attack, hacker and hackathon.



Geek Humor
From "The Best of The Joy of Tech" cartoon book by Nitrozac and Snaggy (O'Reilly Media, Inc., 2003, ISBN 0-596-00578-4). (Image courtesy of GeekCulture, www.geekculture.com)







Hacks Galore
The term is often used to refer to any tip or technique for improving performance or configuring hardware or software; witness these titles from O'Reilly Media, Inc.







Hack Everything!
"The Big Book of Hacks" offers imaginative hacks from turning an old netbook into a tablet to boosting Wi-Fi with a vegetable steamer. Also included are how to make fridge magnets from a hard drive and a dipole antenna from a closet hanger. See life hack.
References in periodicals archive ?
You don't want to just leave it to chance by hacking around on the computer and trying to figure it out for yourself.
I don't want my guests hacking around with junk," says the baron of this manor.
3 It is so difficult to back up a super-low round Tournaments are littered with examples of players shooting the lights out one day and then hacking around like a high-handicapper the next, and the HSBC provided another demonstration.
5 million by the FTC for violating a consent degree and hacking around privacy settings on iPhones, iPads and Apple computers," said Simpson.
TV's massive sporting coverage is so often devoted to the superstars that seeing less talented performers hacking around a course is somehow reassuring: I only hope the BBC are not so fired by the considerable acclaim of the series that they allow it to spawn the usual flock of spin-off projects.
Even the French have got it sussed when it comes to senior states-people hacking around the place.
But there's nothing worse than hacking around in a comedy which isn't any good.
That said, humour derives from a pair of screeching Widnesian teenage lovelies hacking around the course.
Like most young golfing prodigies, the St Edmund Arrowsmith student first began playing when his Dad cut down an eight iron and he began hacking around the fairways at the age of ten.