This Hacker Life!

We are, or more accurately, are compelled to becoming tach savvy to the point where we are becoming regular hackers. No, I do not mean hacking small everyday DIY stuff, like they teach at Lifehacker. I mean to hack into your gadgets to make it do things it wasn’t originally meant to, to build smart gadgets & robots with a $25 ARM Linux box computer, to use virtual currency that’s decentralized and encrypted, to go on networks that provide anonymous, untraceable exploration and communication – and the sorts.

Jailbreaking, rooting and hacking your devices has become so commonplace that often the choice of hardware depends on the ease of figuratively prying it open and gaining capabilities that are beyond the ‘official’ technical specs or above the approved apps list, be it your smartphone, your game console, your set-top box or even all combinations thereof.

The ubiquitous and ingenious Raspberry Pi is making its way into our lives in the forms of DIY projects, Kickstarter initiatives and children’s essential learning tools. And it is not just limited to scientists, programmers, instructors and geeks, but a slew of enthusiasts are using the Pi to fabricate everything from smart toys to supercomputers and cloud infrastructure.

While we’re busy hacking hardware, the very fabric of commerce is undergoing a massive, albeit latent, transformation. Digital, decentralized currencies like Bitcoin and Ripple (and others) have changed how individuals transact and assign value to their financial assets. The rocky road that Bitcoin itself and users of it have experienced recently have not deterred the masses; in fact, it’s actually growing with every passing day. Meanwhile, Ripple, another digital currency, has received strong backing from not only established VCs, but also large organizations like Google. The growing mainstream popularity of virtual currencies has led individuals, on one hand to build their fortunes on the success of the currencies, and on the other to lead regular, hacked lives using these alternate currencies.

Communication is now taking the ‘road less travelled’ route, moving from using mainstream media to the ungoverned “dark internet”. The Onion Router or TOR system is the back alley of the world wide web. As governments all over the world strive for greater vigilance, censorship and control, individuals, almost inevitably, turn to modes of communication that are covert and ‘untraceable’ in quest of privacy and anonymity. This is also being embraced by traditional media, with companies accepting submission via the TOR system from regular contributors seeking the refuge of anonymity.

Tomorrow’s everyday man/ woman seems increasing like a hacker. So, get your hack on!

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