The Hacker Test

(BTW, please don't bother asking me how to be a hacker.)

This test was conceived and written by Felix Lee, John Hayes and Angela Thomas at the end of the spring semester, 1989. It has gone through many revisions prior to this initial release, and will undoubtedly go through many more. Conversion to HTML and grading done by Suzanne Cook.

And now for the questions...

Click on the box next to each question that you answer 'yes' to.

What is your name? 

 Have you ever used a computer?
 ... for more than 4 hours continuously?
 ... more than 8 hours?
 ... more than 16 hours?
 ... more than 32 hours?
 Have you ever patched paper tape?
 Have you ever missed a class while programming?
 ... Missed an examination?
 ... Missed a wedding?
 ... Missed your own wedding?
 Have you ever programmed while intoxicated?
 ... Did it make sense the next day?
 Have you ever written a flight simulator?
 Have you ever voided the warranty on your equipment?
 Ever change the value of 4?
 ... Unintentionally?
 ... In a language other than Fortran?
 Do you use DWIM to make life interesting?
 Have you named a computer?
 Do you complain when a 'feature' you use gets fixed?
 Do you eat slime-molds?
 Do you know how many days old you are?
 Have you ever wanted to download pizza?
 Have you ever invented a computer joke?
 ... Did someone not 'get' it?
 Can you recite Jabberwocky?
 ... Backwards?
Have you seen...
 ... "Donald Duck in Mathemagic Land"?
 Do you know what ASCII stands for?
 ... EBCDIC?
 Can you read and write ASCII in hex or octal?
 Do you know the names of all the ASCII control codes?
 Can you read and write EBCDIC in hex?
 Can you convert from EBCDIC to ASCII and vice versa?
 Do you know what characters are the same in both ASCII and EBCDIC?
 Do you know maxint on your system?
 Ever define your own numerical type to get better precision?
 Can you name powers of two up to 2^16 in arbitrary order?
 ... up to 2^32?
 ... up to 2^64?
 Can you read a punched card, looking at the holes?
 ... feeling the holes?
 Have you ever patched binary code?
 ... While the program was running?
 Have you ever used program overlays?
 Have you met any IBM vice-president?
 Do you know Dennis, Bill, or Ken?
 Have you ever taken a picture of a CRT?
 Have you ever played a videotape on your CRT?
 Have you ever digitized a picture?
 Did you ever forget to mount a scratch monkey?
 Have you ever optimized an idle loop?
 Did you ever optimize a bubble sort?
 Does your terminal/computer talk to you?
 Have you ever talked into an acoustic modem?
 ... Did it answer?
 Can you whistle 300 baud?
 ... 1200 baud?
 Can you whistle a telephone number?
 Have you witnessed a disk crash?
 Have you made a disk drive "walk"?
 Can you build a puffer train?
 ... Do you know what it is?
 Can you play music on your line printer?
 ... Your disk drive?
 ... Your tape drive?
 Do you have a Snoopy calendar?
 ... Is it out-of-date?
Do you have a line printer picture of...
 ... the Mona Lisa?
 ... the Enterprise?
 ... Einstein?
 ... Oliver?
 Have you ever made a line printer picture?
Do you know what the following stand for?
 ... DASD
 ... Emacs
 ... ITS
 ... RSTS/E
 ... SNA
 ... Spool
 ... TCP/IP
Have you ever used
 ... TPU?
 ... TECO?
 ... Emacs?
 ... ed?
 ... vi?
 ... Xedit (in VM/CMS)?
 ... SOS?
 ... EDT?
 ... Wordstar?
 Have you ever written a CLIST?
Have you ever programmed in
 ... the X windowing system?
 ... CICS?
 Have you ever received a Fax or a photocopy of a floppy?
 Have you ever shown a novice the "any" key?
 ... Was it the power switch?
Have you ever attended...
 ... Usenix?
 ... DECUS?
 ... SHARE?
 ... NetCon?
 Have you ever participated in a standards group?
 Have you ever debugged machine code over the telephone?
 Have you ever seen voice mail?
 ... Can you read it?
 Do you solve word puzzles with an on-line dictionary?
 Have you ever taken a Turing test?
 ... Did you fail?
 For the oldtimers: Ever drop a card deck?
 ... Did you successfully put it back together?
 ... Without looking?
 Have you ever used IPCS?
 Have you ever received a case of beer with your computer?
 Does your computer come in 'designer' colors?
 Ever interrupted a UPS?
 Ever mask an NMI?
 Have you ever set off a Halon system?
 ... Intentionally?
 ... Do you still work there?
 Have you ever hit the emergency power switch?
 ... Intentionally?
 Do you have any defunct documentation?
 ... Do you still read it?
 Ever reverse-engineer or decompile a program?
 ... Did you find bugs in it?
 Ever help the person behind the counter with their terminal/computer?
 Ever tried rack mounting your telephone?
 Ever thrown a computer from more than two stories high?
 Ever patched a bug the vendor does not acknowledge?
 Ever fix a hardware problem in software?
 ... Vice versa?
 Ever belong to a user/support group?
 Ever been mentioned in Computer Recreations?
 Ever had your activities mentioned in the newspaper?
 ... Did you get away with it?
 Ever engage a drum brake while the drum was spinning?
 Ever write comments in a non-native language?
 Ever physically destroy equipment from software?
 Ever tried to improve your score on the Hacker Test?
 Do you take listings with you to lunch?
 ... To bed?
 Ever patch a microcode bug?
 ... around a microcode bug?
 Can you program a Turing machine?
 Can you convert postfix to prefix in your head?
 Can you convert hex to octal in your head?
 Do you know how to use a Kleene star?
 Have you ever starved while dining with philosophers?
 Have you solved the halting problem?
 ... Correctly?
 Ever deadlock trying eating spaghetti?
 Ever written a self-reproducing program?
 Ever swapped out the swapper?
 Can you read a state diagram?
 ... Do you need one?
 Ever create an unkillable program?
 ... Intentionally?
 Ever been asked for a cookie?
 Ever speed up a system by removing a jumper?

Do you know...

Do you know who wrote Rogue? ... Rogomatic? Do you know Gray code? Do you know what HCF means? ... Ever use it? ... Intentionally? Do you know what a lace card is? ... Ever make one? Do you know the end of the epoch? ... Have you celebrated the end of an epoch? ... Did you have to rewrite code? Do you know the difference between DTE and DCE? Do you know the RS-232C pinout? ... Can you wire a connector without looking? Do you have a copy of Dec Wars? Do you have the Canonical Collection of Lightbulb Jokes? Do you have a copy of the Hacker's dictionary? ... Did you contribute to it? Do you have a flowchart template? ... Is it unused? Do you have your own fortune-cookie file? Do you have the Anarchist's Cookbook? ... Ever make anything from it? Do you own a modem? ... a terminal? ... a toy computer? ... a personal computer? ... a minicomputer? ... a mainframe? ... a supercomputer? ... a hypercube? ... a printer? ... a laser printer? ... a tape drive? ... an outmoded peripheral device? Do you have a programmable calculator? ... Is it RPN? Have you ever owned more than 1 computer? ... 4 computers? ... 16 computers? Do you have a SLIP line? ... a T1 line? Do you have a separate phone line for your terminal/computer? ... Is it legal? Do you have core memory? ... drum storage? ... bubble memory? Do you use more than 16 megabytes of disk space? ... 256 megabytes? ... 1 gigabyte? ... 16 gigabytes? ... 256 gigabytes? ... 1 terabyte? Do you have an optical disk/disk drive? Do you have a personal magnetic tape library? ... Is it unlabelled? Do you own more than 16 floppy disks? ... 64 floppy disks? ... 256 floppy disks? ... 1024 floppy disks? Do you have any 8-inch disks? Do you have an internal stack? Do you have a clock interrupt? Do you own volumes 1 to 3 of _The Art of Computer Programming_? ... Have you done all the exercises? ... Do you have a MIX simulator? ... Can you name the unwritten volumes? Can you quote from _The Mythical Man-month_? ... Did you participate in the OS/360 project? Do you have a TTL handbook? Do you have printouts more than three years old?


Do you have a job? ... Have you ever had a job? ... Was it computer-related? Do you work irregular hours? Have you ever been a system administrator? Do you have more megabytes than megabucks? Have you ever downgraded your job to upgrade your processing power? Is your job secure? ... Do you have code to prove it? Have you ever had a security clearance?


Have you ever played Pong? Have you ever played... ... Spacewar? ... Star Trek? ... Wumpus? ... Lunar Lander? ... Empire? Have you ever beaten... ... Moria 4.8? ... Rogue 3.6? ... Rogue 5.3? ... Larn? ... Hack 1.0.3? ... Nethack 2.4? Can you get a better score on Rogue than Rogomatic? Have you ever solved Adventure? ... Zork? Have you ever written any redcode? Have you ever written an adventure program? ... a real-time game? ... a multi-player game? ... a networked game? Can you out-doctor Eliza?


Have you ever used a light pen? ... did you build it? Have you ever used... ... a teletype? ... a paper tape? ... a decwriter? ... a card reader/punch? ... a SOL? Have you ever built... ... an Altair? ... a Heath/Zenith computer? Do you know how to use ... an oscilliscope? ... a voltmeter? ... a frequency counter? ... a logic probe? ... a wirewrap tool? ... a soldering iron? ... a logic analyzer? Have you ever designed an LSI chip? ... has it been fabricated? Have you ever etched a printed circuit board?


Have you ever toggled in boot code on the front panel? ... from memory? Can you program an Eniac? Ever seen a 90 column card?


Do you recite IBM part numbers in your sleep? Do you know what IBM part number 7320154 is? Do you understand 3270 data streams? Do you know what the VM privilege classes are? Have you IPLed an IBM off the tape drive? ... off a card reader? Can you sing something from the IBM Songbook?


Do you know more than 4 programming languages? ... 8 languages? ... 16 languages? ... 32 languages? Have you ever designed a programming language? Do you know what Basic stands for? ... Pascal? Can you program in Basic? ... Do you admit it? Can you program in Cobol? ... Do you deny it? Do you know Pascal? ... Modula-2? ... Oberon? ... More that two Wirth languages? ... Can you recite a Nicklaus Wirth joke? Do you know Algol-60? ... Algol-W? ... Algol-68? ... Do you understand the Algol-68 report? ... Do you like two-level grammars? Can you program in assembler on 2 different machines? ... on 4 different machines? ... on 8 different machines? Do you know... ... APL? ... Ada? ... BCPL? ... C++? ... C? ... Comal? ... Eiffel? ... Forth? ... Fortran? ... Hypertalk? ... Icon? ... Lisp? ... Logo? ... MIIS? ... MUMPS? ... PL/I? ... Pilot? ... Plato? ... Prolog? ... RPG? ... Rexx (or ARexx)? ... SETL? ... Smalltalk? ... Snobol? ... VHDL? ... any assembly language? Can you talk VT-100? ... Postscript? ... SMTP? ... UUCP? ... English?


Ever copy a copy-protected disk? Ever create a copy-protection scheme? Have you ever made a "flippy" disk? Have you ever recovered data from a damaged disk? Ever boot a naked floppy?


Have you ever been logged in to two different timezones at once? Have you memorized the UUCP map for your country? ... For any country? Have you ever found a sendmail bug? ... Was it a security hole? Have you memorized the HOSTS.TXT table? ... Are you up to date? Can you name all the top-level nameservers and their addresses? Do you know RFC-822 by heart? ... Can you recite all the errors in it? Have you written a Sendmail configuration file? ... Does it work? ... Do you mumble "defocus" in your sleep? Do you know the max packet lifetime?

Operating systems

Can you use ... BSD Unix? ... non-BSD Unix? ... AIX ... VM/CMS? ... VMS? ... MVS? ... VSE? ... RSTS/E? ... CP/M? ... COS? ... NOS? ... CP-67? ... RT-11? ... MS-DOS? ... Finder? ... PRODOS? ... more than one OS for the TRS-80? ... Tops-10? ... Tops-20? ... OS-9? ... OS/2? ... AOS/VS? ... Multics? ... ITS? ... Vulcan? Have you ever paged or swapped off a tape drive? ... Off a card reader/punch? ... Off a teletype? ... Off a networked (non-local) disk? Have you ever found an operating system bug? ... Did you exploit it? ... Did you report it? ... Was your report ignored? Have you ever crashed a machine? ... Intentionally?


Do you know any people? ... more than one? ... more than two?


Are your shoelaces untied? Do you interface well with strangers? Are you able to recite phone numbers for half-a-dozen computer systems but unable to recite your own? Do you log in before breakfast? Do you consume more than LD-50 caffeine a day? Do you answer either-or questions with "yes"? Do you own an up-to-date copy of any operating system manual? ... *every* operating system manual? Do other people have difficulty using your customized environment? Do you dream in any programming languages? Do you have difficulty focusing on three-dimensional objects? Do you ignore mice? Do you despise the CAPS LOCK key? Do you believe menus belong in restaurants? Do you have a Mandelbrot hanging on your wall? Have you ever decorated with magnetic tape or punched cards? Do you have a disk platter or a naked floppy hanging in your home? Have you ever seen the dawn? ... Twice in a row? Do you use "foobar" in daily conversation? ... "bletch"? Do you use the "P convention"? Do you automatically respond to any user question with RTFM? ... Do you know what it means? Do you think garbage collection means memory management? Do you have problems allocating horizontal space in your room/office? Do you read Scientific American in bars to pick up women? Is your license plate computer-related? Have you ever taken the Purity test? Ever have an out-of-CPU experience? Have you ever set up a blind date over the computer? Do you talk to the person next to you via computer?


Can you write a Fortran compiler? ... In TECO? Can you read a machine dump? Can you disassemble code in your head? Have you ever written... ... a compiler? ... an operating system? ... a device driver? ... a text processor? ... a display hack? ... a database system? ... an expert system? ... an edge detector? ... a real-time control system? ... an accounting package? ... a virus? ... a prophylactic? Have you ever written a biorhythm program? ... Did you sell the output? ... Was the output arbitrarily invented? Have you ever computed pi to more than a thousand decimal places? ... the number e? Ever find a prime number of more than a hundred digits? Have you ever written self-modifying code? ... Are you proud of it? Did you ever write a program that ran correctly the first time? ... Was it longer than 20 lines? ... 100 lines? ... Was it in assembly language? ... Did it work the second time? Can you solve the Towers of Hanoi recursively? ... Non-recursively? ... Using the Troff text formatter? Ever submit an entry to the Obfuscated C code contest? ... Did it win? ... Did your entry inspire a new rule? Do you know Duff's device? Do you know Jensen's device? Ever spend ten minutes trying to find a single-character error? ... More than an hour? ... More than a day? ... More than a week? ... Did the first person you show it to find it immediately?


Can you use Berkeley Unix? .. Non-Berkeley Unix? Can you distinguish between sections 4 and 5 of the Unix manual? Can you find TERMIO in the System V release 2 documentation? Have you ever mounted a tape as a Unix file system? Have you ever built Minix? Can you answer "quiz function ed-command" correctly? ... How about "quiz ed-command function"?


Do you read news? ... More than 32 newsgroups? ... More than 256 newsgroups? ... All the newsgroups? Have you ever posted an article? ... Do you post regularly? Have you ever posted a flame? ... Ever flame a cross-posting? ... Ever flame a flame? ... Do you flame regularly? Ever have your program posted to a source newsgroup? Ever forge a posting? Ever form a new newsgroup? ... Does it still exist? Do you remember ... mod.ber? ... the Stupid People's Court? ... Bandy-grams?


Have you ever built a black box? Can you name all of the 'colors' of boxes? ... and their associated functions? Does your touch tone phone have 16 DTMF buttons on it? Did the breakup of MaBell create more opportunities for you?

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