C++ Hacker's Guide
C++ Hacker's Guide
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Originally term hacker meant someone who did the impossible with very little resources and much skill. The basic definition is “someone who makes fine furniture with an axe”. Hackers were the people who knew the computer inside and out and who could perform cool, clever, and impossible feats with their computers. Now days the term has been corrupted to mean someone who breaks into computers, but in this book we use hacker in its original honorable form.
My first introduction to true hackers was when I joined the Midnight Computer Club when I went to college. This wasn't an official club, just a group of people who hung out in the PDP-8 lab after midnight to program and discuss computers.
I remember one fellow who had taken $10 of parts from Radio Shack and created a little black box which he could use with an oscilloscope to align DECTape drives. DEC at the time needed a $35,000 custom built machine to do the same thing. There were also some people there who enjoyed programming the PDP-8 to play music. This was kind of hard to do since the machine didn't have a sound card. But someone discovered that if you put a radio near the machine the interference could be heard on the speaker. After playing around with the system for a while people discovered how to generate tones using the
interference and thus MUSIC-8 programming system was born. So that the system didn't have a sound card didn't stop hackers from getting sound out of it.
This illustrates one of the attributes of great hacks, doing the “impossible” with totally inadequate resources.
This book contains a collection of hacks born out of over forty years of programming experience. Here you'll find all sorts of hacks to make your programs more reliable, more readable, and easier to debug. In the true hacker tradition, this is the result of observing what works and how it works, improving the system, and then passing the information on.
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