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Sunday, September 19, 2004

Mr. Fujitsu and Me

I crashed pretty early yesterday night, zonking out at around 10ish. Woke up at 6 this morning, booted up Mr. Fujitsu and proceeded to do some work. Work, today, meant listening to some gamelan music I downloaded to be used in my corporate branding exercise.

Token_Penang_Guy said something funny and apt yesterday: "The problem with the Advertising industry is that there are no creative people working in it". That's a thought to ponder.

I don't consider myself a Creative as much as I consider myself a Tweaker. Tweakers are akin to Hackers, except hackers do hard-coding and tweakers use and modify apps. Uhm, at least that's what I think it means. Here, lemme copy and paste the definition from the Whatis website.

Tweaker:

A tweak freak (also known as a tweaker) is a person who tinkers with hardware and/or programming to a point approaching obsession. Sometimes the intent is to enhance system performance beyond the norm. But many tweak freaks engage in the activity largely because it is interesting, fun, and can be a learning experience. It can also be frustrating and at its worst, dangerous.

The term "tweak" may have originated in the early days of electronics, when tweezers were used to adjust the position of a wire on a crystal of galena in order to detect amplitude-modulated (AM) radio broadcast signals. Nowadays, hardware and programs of all kinds can (and often should) be aligned or debugged for optimum performance; technicians and programmers call the process tweaking.

The tweaking of computers, especially software and operating systems, is not for the faint-of-heart. Excessive or improper tweaking can cause computers and Web browsers to become unstable. Vulnerability to virus or Trojan horse infection may be increased. Excessive downloading and installation of tweaks and patches can increase the probability of program conflicts and crashes. Some tweaks facilitate illegal or questionable use of the Internet, and should be avoided by people who respect the law and the rights of others (and who wish to stay out of court). Let the tweaker beware.

Hacker:

Hacker is a term used by some to mean "a clever programmer" and by others, especially journalists or their editors, to mean "someone who tries to break into computer systems."

1) Eric Raymond, compiler of The New Hacker's Dictionary, defines a hacker as a clever programmer. A "good hack" is a clever solution to a programming problem and "hacking" is the act of doing it. Raymond lists five possible characteristics that qualify one as a hacker, which we paraphrase here:

  • A person who enjoys learning details of a programming language or system
  • A person who enjoys actually doing the programming rather than just theorizing about it
  • A person capable of appreciating someone else's hacking
  • A person who picks up programming quickly
  • A person who is an expert at a particular programming language or system, as in "Unix hacker"

Raymond deprecates the use of this term for someone who attempts to crack someone else's system or otherwise uses programming or expert knowledge to act maliciously. He prefers the term cracker for this meaning.

2) Journalists or their editors almost universally use hacker to mean someone who attempts to break into computer systems. Typically, this kind of hacker would be a proficient programmer or engineer with sufficient technical knowledge to understand the weak points in a security system. For more on this usage, see cracker.

I've been a published writer for around 14 odd years and I now work in Advertising. Being a published writer got me in the door, learning to be a copy hack keeps me paid. People in this business are only interested in what works (i.e. what sells). If I really wanted to affect a creative air, I'd sit around in my parent's basement and write the Great Malaysian Novel. But Zuli wants persians and kitty food needs money.

Having said that, a trained monkey could do a simple copy and paste job. That's why most clients prefer to have their PAs write the copy for their ads because their PAs have intimate product knowledge. However, thinking that just because a PA can write means that a PA can write good copy is like saying that just because I have hands I'd make a good neurosurgeon. Anyone who shares that belief can come to my operating theatre located at the basement of my parent's house for a very expensive surgical procedure. Just like writing a term paper, dude, if you have to copy and paste, for the love of God, EDIT! That's the problem with most wannabes these days, yes, actual creative thought is draining and undervalued but if you have to take shortcuts (and admit it, we all do) at least do it well. We are getting paid to do a job, you know.

Anyway, I'm off in an hour to Kepong to oversee the production of my Corporate Video short and Flash presentation. Then I'm headed back to the house at around 2ish to attend a short Administrative Board of Directors meeting and oversee Hapless_Designer_Guy as he does the graphics and layout for my company profile. Then tonight I get to tweak my company website and tomorrow I'm headed to Damansara Uptown to get some shit printed for my meeting with DBP on Friday. Oh, and then there's the meeting with Zuli's boss at 6 on Monday. It's going to be a tough week.

But I swear to God I love this business.

More to follow sheeple (yes/no/maybe/I don't know/can you repeat the question?). Catch you all on the flipside.

1 Farts in the Wind:

Blogger Frisky Kitten said...

Yo berukness! There's no link, is there? It doesn't exist, does it? You pulling my leg or what???

1:54 PM  

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