Is teenage hacker culture alive out there?
June 14, 2010 8:53 AM   Subscribe

What are the cool technologies that kids on the fringes are playing with these days?

Back when I was a teenager (c. 1991), we loved hacker culture. We would read 2600 zines. We would hack around with phone systems and telnet. We loved the WELL. We played MUDs. We exchanged files and esoteric knowledge on BBSs. We chatted on IRC.

Over the next 20 years, all of that technology became mainstream. Now the average person uses email and google and plays online games and chats on facebook and downloads files through torrents.

So, what are the kids on the edges of technology playing with these days? What are they doing today that the mainstream will be doing in 20 years? Are they hacking genomes? Building windmills? Creating bio-fuels?
posted by TheOtherSide to Society & Culture (6 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
posted by nestor_makhno at 8:55 AM on June 14, 2010

quadrotor rc helicopters
posted by nathancaswell at 8:58 AM on June 14, 2010

I teach art to undergrads, so this list is mostly focussed on creative pursuits:

Video editing and sharing, especially working with iMovie and affordable HD video. Internet culture, photoshopping and and memes. Video game mods, machinima, hacking Wiimotes and Roombas. Mashups and electronic music and remixing video game music. Collaborating with people they've never met in real life. Texting. Webcomics. Fanfiction. Apple gadgets. Microblogging and Tumblr. Microcontrollers and environments like Processing and Arduino. In a few years, 3D printing. Check out Graffiti Research Lab.
posted by oulipian at 9:50 AM on June 14, 2010 [6 favorites]

I'd spend some time on the appropriate sites:

Here in Seattle:
power tool drag racing
Maker Faire 2010
Evil Mad Scientist
Hacked Gadgets
Hack a day
Technology UG
And for exclusive tech projects, there's still high voltage!
posted by billb at 11:17 AM on June 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

Software-defined radio. Vehicle bus and ECU hacking. RFID and contactless smartcards.

Read the speakers list for conferences like Defcon and Notacon and see what people on the cutting edge are telling their peers about.
posted by Myself at 11:21 AM on June 14, 2010

Another good spot to get an overview:

Lada Ada's Projects

And since the 1990s, lots of hackers ended up with their brains infected by fringe science
posted by billb at 11:53 AM on June 14, 2010

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