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The Best of 2600: A Hacker Odyssey 1st Edition

27 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0470294192
ISBN-10: 0470294191
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Editorial Reviews


" … The Best of 2600: A Hacker Odyssey is an important, amazing book that tells the story of these kids and adults as they explore a new frontier."
—John Baichtal (Wired Blog, August, 2008)

"...a testament to a culture which thrived before computers and the internet mattered to most of the world." (New statesman, September, 2008)

From the Inside Flap

The hacker subculture — shrouded in mystery, spiced with a hint of glamour, and thoroughly misunderstood by those who don't belong — was revealed in the original edition of The Best of 2600: A Hacker Odyssey. The book became an instant bestseller. If you're a 2600 subscriber, a member of the hacker community, a geek freak, or simply a hardcore technology fan, you are not surprised. The Best of 2600: A Hacker Odyssey is a journey inside the hacker's world—indeed, inside the hacker's mind.

Since its birth in 1984, 2600: The Hacker Quarterly has published, sometimes anomymously, the discoveries and adventures of hackers worldwide. From the first curious and intrepid souls who discovered they could outwit Ma Bell to those who've hacked the Department of Defense and ParadisePoker.com, the people whose stories fill the pages of 2600 tell their experiences in this captivating book.

Now you can own a personal, numbered copy of this remarkable tour through 24 years of enduring exploits, creative controversy, and hackers who made history. Complete with a full-color poster showing every 2600 cover, a CD featuring the best of Emmanuel Goldstein's Off the Hook radio broadcasts, and credit given to all contributors, this one-of-a-kind Collector's Edition documents the experiences and experiments that have shaped technology. --This text refers to the Digital edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 888 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (July 28, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470294191
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470294192
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #209,819 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Neurasthenic VINE VOICE on November 18, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I remember finding my first issue of 2600, in a bookshop attached to an enormous, secretive government laboratory. Those were in the days after ESS but before the Internet (well, we had NNTP and SMTP and telnet, but HTML hadn't been invented). It seemed so illicit and exciting, I bought every issue I could find for years, and even wrote one article for them.

Over time, I read it less and less, both because the writing was generally bad, and because the revelations were often so weak. The Best Of book fairly reflects the content of the magazine -- it gives a good sense for the passions of a particular technological subculture, but much of what is here is dross.

So many articles were clearly written by people who did not know much, and who punt when they get to difficult work. "The encryption is done by a custom chip and, uh, you might want to decompile the EEPROM and see what's in there." Or they contain only trivial information, made to fill many pages through the inclusion of anecdotes about how the writer came to know the trivial information. (Four pages on how you discovered that ATMs run OS/2? The entire article could have been reduced to four words: "Many ATMs run OS/2.") And then there are the political articles, most of which are screeds about how the government and/or big companies are coming to take your freedom away, and their desire to be paid for your pirated movies proves it.

In some cases, it is hard to imagine how a given article was selected for inclusion in the magazine, let alone for reprinting in the book. An essay on the mathematics of lotteries is particularly weak, using high school level combinatorics to argue that nobody should ever play.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Hacks on August 24, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Emmanuel Goldstien and his companions have written alot about hacking over the years, but now most of their writings have come together in tome form.

If there was anything you ever wanted to know concerting what hacking was like before the explosion of the Internet, or how hackers have been portrayed with biased by the media and in some cases the government, this is a must read book.

If you subscribe to 2600: The Hacker Quarterly or if you patiently wait at the book store or mail box for a new issue every three months, you will definitely want to pick up this book.

It will be interesting to see in the future, online hacker zines to try their hand at publishing their writings such as TOTSE and Phrack.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By John C. Stepper on August 25, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The hacker ethos is beautifully captured in this anthology. I've often skimmed 2600 at bookstores but it was only when I went through this hefty tome that I realized how deep and rich are the culture and accomplishments of the hacking community.

More than just the cartoonish representation in popular media, the hacking movement is a testament to creativity and innovation. Rightly so, this book is a celebration of cleverness and ingenious engineering instead of the more malevolent applications.
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Format: Hardcover
I am attending Hackers on Planet Earth (HOPE) in NYC this week-end, and have just spent time with this volume. Unlike the individual issues, all of which I have had in my possession over the years, this volume is HUGE, readable, indexed, and priceless. I mean that--PRICELESS.

The publisher is to be saluted for not only putting a great deal of effort along with the editor, the founder of 2600 Magazine and also of the HOPE conference, for making this volume a true reference work. I was immediately impressed by the selection of "best of the best," the organization of the material, the index, and the fact that the publisher moved away from the micro-print that was used to keep costs down on the volume of knowledge being transmitted in the individual journal issues, and instead went for a high-end glossy, "just right" white space presentation that should be in every Information Technology library across the country, and is also a collectible for anyone who pretends to know anything at all about information INsecurity.

If you got this far, this lovely volume, easily worth $60, is a real value at the much lower price being offered, and I hope enough people buy it to occasion a reprint or a second volume.

It merits comment that this is not just a volume of hand-picked items from a single journal.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jaypoc on September 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
2600: A Hacker Odyssey is an invaluable tome of knowledge, history and perspective on the hacker culture. It covers several topics of hacking, social engineering, telephones, security and more. If you're familiar with 2600 magazine, this is a must have. If not, get caught up with articles going all the way back to the beginning. Magazine Editor and author Emmanuel Goldstein and his crew have gone out of their way to organize such a great resource.
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