Hackers, here, means just great programmers and problem solvers (not "crackers", those that break into systems).
I know that I've got some of the attributes of a hacker. I like to automate drudgery tasks. I like to control my computer (so: linux since 1996, no windows). I like nice problems that need solving. Things that are just screaming for a solution.
The last paragraph is interesting as I'm slowly starting to look for a job/company: my PhD should be finished at the end of the year:
Can you cultivate these qualities? I don't know. But you can at least not repress them. So here is my best shot at a recipe. If it is possible to make yourself into a great hacker, the way to do it may be to make the following deal with yourself: you never have to work on boring projects (unless your family will starve otherwise), and in return, you'll never allow yourself to do a half-assed job. All the great hackers I know seem to have made that deal, though perhaps none of them had any choice in the matter.
Don't do a half-assed job, don't do boring projects.
My name is Reinout van Rees and I work a lot with Python (programming language) and Django (website framework). I live in The Netherlands and I'm happily married to Annie van Rees-Kooiman.
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