BEWARE!!! the Life hackers are coming! OMFG,WAAGTD!!!
T3H L337 H4xX0r2 r 1/\/ da H4vs!!!11
Forget “leet haxxors” on the web, some people would like us to believe hacking has made it into everyday life!
First a spot of background.
The original meaning of a hacker was not someone who broke in to other people’s computer systems. A hacker was a skilled programmer who was able to make a piece of code (a program) work quickly.
Similarly, to hack meant to program quickly or fix a broken program to work better or in a way that it perhaps wasn’t originally intended to.
Thus, a hack was a piece of code, usually added to older or non-functional code to improve or change its performance or to just to make the thing work.
Hacks are, by their original definition at least, typically messy bits of code which get things done more quickly by shortcutting or bypassing the rules and regs or removing bits of extraneous, slow code with faster bits.
We could say, more simply, that a hack is a way to fix a broken program, by hook or by crook.
These days of course, hacking is pretty much reserved for what was once (and still confusingly is) called cracking, i.e. breaking into another’s computer systems. A hacker is a decidedly criminal entity who hacks and the hack is itself a piece of code which is added to bypass, specifically some security measure to enable a hacker access to the system.
Lifehacking, then would seem to the average person to be a strange term, steeped with criminal connotations, like perhaps taking over someone’s bank account, address, job or even identity (I feel the urge to write a short story coming on).
Luckily for us, this is not so, hacking in this context has returned to its roots, meaning to fix, by hook or by crook.
So, lifehacking could be translated as: ways to fix your life, by whatever means necessary.
Now here’s a square term that has been crow-barred into a round hole!
To be honest, though I’ve read lots of stuff on it, but am still not sure which sound-bites are most suitible:
There’s the needlessly geeky:
“Hack your life to improve its performance.”
Then there’s “marketspeak”:
“Self empowerment through micro and macro management of personal life processes.”
Although, I think after some time, I came to the conclusion that Lifehacking just means:
“Take control of your life and time with careful planning and management.”
Which would reduce the direct meaning of Lifehacking to mere “lifestyle management”, were it not for the fact that a lifehacker would not necessarily be carefully planning his life, more he’d be using all manner of tools and techniques to “get by” with less fuss and in less time.
Also, lifestyle management is a term which nobody can really take credit for, nor does it have any street cred. Whereas the term Lifehacking can be attributed to a particular person and is flashy, provocative, elitist and makes those who use it feel somehow more “empowered” than those who don’t.
In other words, rather than being a life threatening underworld force from somewhere on George Bush’s “axis of evil (TM)” it’s mearly a buzzword for a concept that’s been in existence for as long as busy people have.
TG4T-ITIWG2D! (Thank God for that, I thought I was going to die!)