Saturday, November 13, 2010

Formal vs Informal Hacking

I've been thinking about the perception of hacking in the wider non nerdy, non dorky or geeky community and thought I should write up my thoughts.

We use 'hacking' in many different ways with the spaces I mix in, and we understand the difference between, black and white hacking, creative and destructive etc, but I feel these subtleties are *not* recognised by many others and that the perception of hacking is always negative. Maybe I'm wrong, I have done no scientific analysis of the subject, but anyway 'hacking' is the word and I feel it could be useful to improve understanding of the phrase rather than avoiding it.

To help get the message across in the correct way I am thinking that we can divide "HomeCamp Hacking" into two types, formal and informal.

Formal in this terminology it is changes to the house, the home, the lifestyle enacted in the way a normal community person would want to undertake after having acquired a 'standard' property. The purchasing of items and services from shops (such as B&Q), suppliers and installers.

The items may be modified in small ways, e.g. material made into curtains, lampshades decorated with beads, spotlights creatively placed. I would include the use of standard item in a unintended way, such a intercepting a wireless signal with software patch. Even using a video-sender is modifying the function of the home in hacking sort of way.

Informal is the alternative approach using technology to that is not available "off the shelf", but can be created by modifying an existing product or building a new product from components. This area includes Arduino microcontrollers, sensor chip and components, making tables from tree trunks, solar walls, etc.

By connecting Formal and inFormal hacking groups there are opportunities start-up businesses to form, for commercial companies to *improve* their products and much more.

My Take on HomeCamp ( embodied in the regular podcast available via is strongly influenced by this thinking.

Let me know what you think!

No comments:

Post a Comment