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Archive for February, 2013
23 Feb

The definition of ‘Hack’

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Taken from The Original Hacker’s Dictionary (1988)

HACK n.
1. Originally a quick job that produces what is needed, but not well.
2. The result of that job.
3. NEAT HACK: A clever technique. Also, a brilliant practical joke, where neatness is correlated with cleverness, harmlessness, and surprise value. Example: the Caltech Rose Bowl card display switch circa 1961.
4. REAL HACK: A crock (occasionally affectionate). v.
5. With “together”, to throw something together so it will work.
6. To bear emotionally or physically. “I can’t hack this heat!”
7. To work on something (typically a program). In specific sense: “What are you doing?” “I’m hacking TECO.” In general sense: “What do you do around here?” “I hack TECO.” (The former is time-immediate, the latter time-extended.) More generally, “I hack x” is roughly equivalent to “x is my bag”. “I hack solid-state physics.”
8. To pull a prank on. See definition 3 and HACKER (def #6).
9. v.i. To waste time (as opposed to TOOL). “Watcha up to?” “Oh, just hacking.”
10. HACK UP (ON): To hack, but generally implies that the result is meanings 1-2.
11. HACK VALUE: Term used as the reason or motivation for expending effort toward a seemingly useless goal, the point being that the accomplished goal is a hack. For example, MacLISP has code to read and print roman numerals, which was installed purely for hack value. HAPPY HACKING: A farewell. HOW’S HACKING?: A friendly greeting among hackers. HACK HACK: A somewhat pointless but friendly comment, often used as a temporary farewell.
[The word HACK doesn’t really have 69 different meanings. In fact, HACK has only one meaning, an extremely subtle and profound one which defies articulation. Which connotation a given HACK-token has depends in similarly profound ways on the context. Similar comments apply to a couple other hacker jargon items, most notably RANDOM. – Agre]

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23 Feb

My first tweets: live-tweeting my son’s birth

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Before I created and focused on the @webjournalist account, I had – and still have – a “personal” Twitter account named after my original domain name: @isoardotnet.

Since Twitter archives were being released, I recently went back to look at my first tweets.

Overall, like now, I talk about work and experimenting with technology… I remember sending my second tweet via txt tweet using my Motorola Razr. I remember being disappointed and wondering what the point of Twitter was.

What I didn’t remember was that I live-tweeted my son’s birth:

Well, here we go – we think. Connie has begun to have early contractions. Stay tuned.
@isoardotnet
Robert Hernandez



Contractions began at around 4pm, so we are 6 hours into it. Connie has been doing her breathing techniques.
@isoardotnet
Robert Hernandez



We’re at the hospital. Been here since 11:45PM. After being in triage we got moved into a labor room.
@isoardotnet
Robert Hernandez



About 20 min after being admited, the doc checked and Connie was at 6 cm! Doc is still monitoring baby’s heart.
@isoardotnet
Robert Hernandez



We have reached 8 cm.
@isoardotnet
Robert Hernandez



Doc says baby’s heart rate has improved.
@isoardotnet
Robert Hernandez



Well, we’ve just started the drug ‘petocin’ which is to increase the intensity of the contractions.
@isoardotnet
Robert Hernandez



It’s a boy! Nico Peter Hernandez arrived at 12:26pm. He was 6 pounds 8.4 ounces. Mom is doing great!
@isoardotnet
Robert Hernandez



Successes! Nico took to breastfeeding fast and dad gave him his first bath.
@isoardotnet
Robert Hernandez



Thank you all for your warm wishes. Connie and I are truly grateful.
@isoardotnet
Robert Hernandez

This started with my EIGHTH tweet ever! Sheesh. It’s amazing to me that I did this… I’m not sure I would do it now, to be honest. I try not to name my son on Twitter, actually.

But, I have to admit, it is incredible to see that this moment was documented.

BONUS: Look at what other historical event I captured on Twitter!

Today, at 6:19 p.m., our parenting dream came true… the circle is complete… Connie and I introduce Nico to Star Wars: A New Hope!
@isoardotnet
Robert Hernandez

NOTE: I first posted this discovery on Facebook, but I also want to “document it” on my blog… for future reference.

Categories: Personal, Social Media, Twitter Tags:
11 Feb

The Pope, the Invisible Gorilla and journalism

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This post is brought to you by today’s Morning Edition.

Two stories from today’s show, for me, are made relevant to journalism after running it through my journalistic filter.

Those who know me (or have read past rants) know that newsroom leadership, across the country and regardless of medium or market size, has frustrated me.

The news story about radiologists that invoked the ‘invisible gorilla’ reminded me about this struggle. Years ago, while I was at The Seattle Times, editors were brought into a retreat called Newspaper Next, I believe. (The site no longer exists, but thanks to the way back machine, you can still see it).

This was a retreat that had started popping up in newsrooms across the country, dealing with one central question: How do we pivot and use our existing resources to generate revenue for the newspaper.

Great topic.

During the presentation they played a video that has stuck with me for years since the talk, and which was played this morning on NPR (KPCC is my local NPR station).

I didn’t recall the name, but now know it is called the ‘invisible gorilla.’

While mine was slightly different, here is the video. Play it and follow the instructions.

The logo from theinvisiblegorilla.com is a gorilla reading a newspaper. A newspaper!

So, did you notice the gorilla? Or those other changes? Isn’t that amazing? According to the story and video, 50 percent of people who see this video are so focused on the task at hand that they miss the not-so-invisible gorilla that walks into the frame.

The take away from the video during that newspaper retreat was “are we so focused on newspapers that we are missing the gorilla?” And in newspaper speak, the gorilla meant digital.

A high up editor at the time, after watching the video, said how eye opening the exercise was… me, being a bit of a loud mouth, responded by saying “I’ve been that guy in the gorilla suit. Not only waving my hands, but also jumping up and down.”

Most digital journalists have had this experience.

It’s the culture difference between traditional and, well, digital leadership and competence that is such a challenge. Many of us have dealt with this in a variety of ways.

Which leads me to the second story: The Pope.

In his resignation, Pope Benedict XVI said “I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry.”

In today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith … I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me,” said the Pope.

I hear that, then tweet this:

If the Pope can realize he’s not fit to lead in these modern times, why can’t some newsroom leaders? #thingsithinkabout
@webjournalist
Robert Hernandez

And then I write this post.

Look, there have been so many changes in newsrooms and its leadership. We are the better for it. But there is still much more to go. And it’s on us to push it forward.

We will have moments when newsroom leaders retire, take buyouts, etc. … and their incredibly valuable newsroom knowledge will be greatly missed… but we have to remember that we are moving — slowly — toward the goal of a modern, well, newsroom.

This is not about age. No. It’s about understanding culture… in this case digital/Web culture.

And these are the things I think about. And occasionally ramble on in a post.

Please feel free to tell me what you think.

For those interested, here is a Poynter piece from 2008 about Newspaper Next 2.0: http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/business-news/the-biz-blog/87155/newspaper-next-2-0-way-outside-the-box/

π