What are your fave hacks of all time?

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Slashdot discussed this question wrt a CNet article, but I found their discussion disappointing (as much as I slogged thru, anyway).

CNet was apparently talking 'cracks' more than hacks. I'm more interested in coding miracles...

Some of my faves:

- MacHack a few years back delivered an extension that displayed everything as ascii-art, and even worked with Doom.

- Bill Budge's Pinball Construction Set accomplished miracles on a 48k (or 64?) Apple ][+ in 1983 (inspired by a preview of the Mac, iirc).

Others? (Non-computer-related pranks are okay too.)

-- Jorn (jorn@mcs.com), October 31, 1999


Along the ascii-art lines, here's the AA library homepage: http://www.ta.jcu.cz/aa/

AA is intended to serve as a VGA-emulator, in varying degrees of ASCII. If you've got a DOS or Unix machine, be sure to check out BB, the demo (crazy stuff): http://horac.ta.jcu.cz/aa/bb/

Since it's a wrapper for SVGAlib in Linux, you can run just about anything through it. Doom, Quake, graphics viewers (zgv, ?)...

The sources have this really nifty fire code, which is that old Amiga standby of the flame rising from the base of the screen; in ASCII!

I'm not sure if their stereograms actually work (can't see those durn things), but the generator is certainly an interesting twist. http://horac.ta.jcu.cz/aa/aa3d/

I covered a few ASCII games in the log this weekend. Megazeux is an interesting scriptable ASCII game engine (supports some amazing custom character graphics): http://zeux.org

Can't think of any nifty non-ASCII hacks right now.

Oh. ed macros used via sh scripts are hilarious!

:g/CR/s/CR/CR-/ :wq

-- Dan Fitch (dgfitch@hotmail.com), November 01, 1999.

I think the reason there aren't many answers for this is that there are so many glorious hacks. My own personal favorite would be the entire Linux operating system, because it's not only a great code hack, but also a great hack of standard economic models, intellectual property, and many other things. But maybe it's too big to qualify.

One recent amirable hack is the PHP scripting language for the web. They put the kitchen sink into this, so it has the ability to read and send mail, interact with about 20 different models of databases, set headers, set and read cookies, read CGI data, etc. etc. Truly a joy to code with. Makes the web fun again.

-- Arthur Alexander (abalone@zerodefect.net), November 01, 1999.

Do commercial products count as hacks? 'Cause ultimately, some guy had to say, "Hey, I wonder if this will work?" Here's some:

RamDoubler - Remember when RAM wasn't cheap?

QuickCam - Video conferencing for everyone!

Zip drive - What fits on a floppy these days?

-- Billy (doggo@corecomm.net), November 03, 1999.

re: RamDoubler

I just got the galloping shudders there for a minute. Although I'm all for swap space, it was the way that it was marketed that tortured me in tech support. A software solution to a hardware problem always rubs me the wrong way.

I'd have to say that Linux is way up there, not just in the overall sense, but because of all of the cool little things people are doing with it all over the place. It's just a blast.

The other one I'd nominate would be all of the early Future Crew demos. I mean, it's a small slice of computer life, but I remember being absolutely blown away...


-- Skrubly (skrubly@yahoo.com), November 30, 1999.


-- 007 (Z@Z.Z), April 21, 2001.

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