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An HP made a hacker out of me.....

Posted by Alexandra L. Carter on 2 Apr 2000, 9:59 p.m.

I traded by beloved Commie 64 for an HP-41, partially because I'd read books about the HP's and the crazy things that could be done with them, like non-normalized numbers, and partially because I was mad at the old Commie bacause I couldn't get BASIC to do what I wanted. So, here I had this awesome machine and I carried it everywhere. I want through the book, doing all the problems, and had a great time.

When my Pascal class started dealing with pointer variables, I'd already done them on my HP. I felt them to be my special forte, and when I got hired as an "engineering student technician" by a large company (which shall remain nameless to protect the guilty) I was told I could explore the VAX all I wanted, and so I was just itching to try out pointers on it. After all, I'd done them on the school's PDP, and on my trusty calc, how could I hurt a REAL computer??

It turned out, plenty. With the randomness only the half-educated are capable of, I found a bug or feature depending on how you see it, that allowed me to read ANYTHING regardless of protection level. I figured out how it worked, and told the sysop all about it, and got in real hot water! And I mean HOT. Moral: Your HP is your friend and the Authorities are not.


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