I was reading Slashdot yesterday when I noticed the following story:
After 20 Years, Phrack’s Final Issue Looms
“According to BBC News, the legendary phreaking/hacker magazine is set to close up shop after the publication of its forthcoming issue, no. 63 (which will be hardbound in commemoration). The editorial staff is stepping down, and no one has expressed an interest in taking up the reins. Bruce Sterling is quoted as saying, ‘I’d be surprised to see the thing stay dead. They’ve got no fixed address and anonymous contributors.’ If you’ve ever wanted to helm a magazine, here’s your chance!” Full Thread Here
Wow. Phrack. Haven’t heard that name in forever. Takes me back to my college days, when issues of Phrack (and 2600) littered the floors of my dorm.
I first became interested in computers after seeing the movie Hackers for the first time. I didn’t exactly “understand” the movie, at least not any more than your (then-)average 17 year old. But what I saw seriously intreagued me. “Could someone really DO that?! Wow!” I wasn’t long before I called on an old band buddy, Rick — who also just happened to be a “hacker” — to ask him to teach me what I needed to learn. Rick introduced me to HTML and Java, but it wasn’t long before I again lost contact with him.
The following summer, I discovered Phrack, when I learned that computers weren’t the only things that could be hacked, but that you could also hack phone systems. (This is called “phone phreaking.”) Man, I was going to be the coolest of the cool — being several years behind everyone else notwithstanding.
With the HTML and Java that I learned I hoped to learn how to hack into people’s computers and put in my “logo,” the Knighty Knight.
“Free Kevin!”… “Hack the Planet!”…Whatever…
(One time, I even went as far as e-mailing the editors at 2600 Magazine to teach me how to let a program loose on the Internet that would put a little icon next to my name or any link to my website. If you know anything about programming, this is about when you start laughing your butt off.)
Instead, Phrack taught me about the internals of telecommunications hardware, and how to build things like a blue box. (Or rather, teach me their history, in the case of the blue box.) Having absolutely no prior knowledge of electronics or hardware made this a particularly difficult task. And it didn’t help that my bombastic personality boasted to others that I was learning all these things. (Needless to say that in cases where I had to put up or shit up, I usually did the later.)
I eventually became somewhat up to speed on these things and soon I was programming semi-professionally, administering networks, and learning about the innards of computer hardware. This eventually led me to a career in writing about technology, having written for sites such as NewsForge.com, Linux.com, and other software and hardware related websites. (Click on the “Looking for a Writer” link for more information on my career history.)
Although Phrack helped me launch my technical career, I went for years without even thinking about the magazine. Then I saw this story. But what caught my eye about the story wasn’t the Phrack-is-going-bye-bye part, but rather the “no one has expressed an interest in taking up the reins” part.
Is Phrack, the magazine of my beginnings, in need of an… Editor?! Needless to say I’m tempted in stepping into the role. But I obviously have a few reservations about stepping up to the plate. Sure, I have the experience, but do I have the drive? The immediate answer is — well, no. I don’t. But then there’s the temptation. Should I throw my hat in to the ring? Frankly, I don’t even want to delve into the details of all this unless I can say “Yes, I’ll take the chance.”
//Still thinking about it.
//Still wishing for a bBlog editor with spellcheck.