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As Christians everywhere grow ever more excited at the approach of their main holiday of the year, and for reasons all their own, non-Christians make preparations to join the Christians in celebration of the birth of the Christians' savior, it's time to shop.
Though my last Buyer's Guide was rather a success (those Babblin' Boo Dolls sold out in days and the price skyrockeded on eBay -- congrats to those who followed my advice), this Guide is different. As part of the ongoing War Against Hacking, I offer this Adequacy Un-Buyer's Guide, for those with a teen on their Christmas list who you fear could be falling in with hacker terrorists and is asking for hacker guides to help him build his hacking "skillz".
Evil: in theory, and in execution.
Any young "hup" as they are called (meaning "hacker pup" in the underground lingo) will want to begin his training from both a theoretical and practical standpoint. For practical hacking, there is no more dangerous guide to mischief and mayhem than the infamous "**el book". The "**el book", or more correctly *rogra**ing P***l (*rd Edition) by Larr* Wa*l, *om C**istians*n, and *on *rwant, is a virtual beginner's spell book of the wicked craft of hacking. You are sure to have the "hups" in your family clamoring for their own copy, or a replacement for the use-worn copy they may already have fallen under the dark shadow of. If you are asked for this book, or see it in some irresponsible bookseller's stall, DO NOT BUY IT! And seriously consider what you are doing shopping in such an establishment.
Instead, consider buying the little "hup" his very own 6" Lord of the Rings Figure 5-Pack Value Bundle #2. Now I know this isn't really a buyer's guide, but I just can't resist mentioning that this beautiful set of collectible action figures is absolutely GUARANTEED to be worth $150 or more a year from now, and will continue to appreciate in all the years to come. So while you are saving your son or nephew from a life of vandalism, crime, federal prison, and eternal damnation, you can also be helping to secure his financial future. And yours as well, if you pick one up for yourself.
Now, I hate to digress even further, but I'm sure you have noticed that I don't print the complete titles of these appallingly diabolical books or their gangster authors. If you stop and think, you'll easily realize why. This is an UN-Buyer's Guide, meant to steer responsible adults away from books that could poison a young mind. But unfortunately, many unenlightened parents and reckless schools and libraries lack decent Internet filtering,nor do they record their child's Internet usage for parental review. So this very Un-Buyer's Guide could be used by the many hackers and "hups" who sometimes find their way to Adequacy as a sort of reading list, by simply ignoring my advice and buying exactly the opposite of what I recommend. By keeping the titles vague, yet still recognizable if you see them in your child's letter to Santa, this is prevented. For the same reason, I have carefully disabled Adequacy's proprietary automatic linkification system, to prevent any links to unscrupulous booksellers from being inserted, defeating the entire purpose of this Guide.
There. Now back to the the un-shopping list.
Wickedness: ease of use and reliability
Just as important as practice, theory is a critical concern for an aspiring hacker. Although there are many places a "hup" can find the foundational ideas that the amoral hacker ethos is built on, there as single dark volume that towers above the others in this City of Dis of corrupt literature: it is Th* My****** Ma*-Mo*** by the anti-Solomon himself, *rederick *. *rooks. *rooks was perhaps the seminal hacker, and his years of experience are distilled into a toxic extract of the worst kind in this thin yet information-rich tract. These are the ideas that will turn a skilled yet poorly strategizing "hup" into a super-hacker, one whose "success" will go beyond mere expellation from school and rise to the level of Federally-prosecuatable offenses. Don't let *rooks lead your boy down that path.
There are several other books that pose the same kind of threat to boys at a crossroads in their adolescence: they do not just teach hacking; they teach a kind of mega-hacking. Hack-fu, they call it. While you are shielding his eyes from books with humped beasts on the covers, don't accidentally let his gaze fall on this innocently named little viper: The Des*gn of Ev*ryday Th*ngs, also known as The *sychology of Ev**yday Th*ngs in its hard back abomination. You wouldn't think at first that these guides to interface design have anything to do with writing malicious code, but even in the dog-eat-dog world of cutthroat hacking, the human being enters the equation. The Osama bin Ladens of hacking take this into account, and set up their snares and tricks with ease of use and minimal human error as fundamental design considerations.
If you really want your boy to know good design when he sees it, buy him this fantastically designed Lord of the Rings Ring Wraith and Horse, along with an Arwen with Asfaloth. Getting both gives you a collectible SET, and having sets is what it's ALL about for the smart investor.
Mayhem and Debauchery: advanced methods
What is not a smart investment is buying your impressionable young one a copy of the infamous "D*ill B**k", or more properly, U**X P*ower T**ls. Everything an aspiring terrorist wants to know about the foundational hacker environment is in this infernal book. Like many of the worst influences in our society, it is published by O*Reilly, which is the Al Jazeera of hacking. This hacker propaganda outfit also puts out the "D*ill B**k's" partner in crime, the "R*d B**k", formerly the "P*rpl* B**k", officially, U**x *y*tem *dministratio*. These two books are unique in that few hackers actually read them, because they are too hard. But they love to own a copy, and especially the love to tell other hackers they own a copy. Without getting into a deep ethnology, let's just say that hacker culture is lousy with mythology, ritual, totems, taboos and twisted rites of passage. These books are hacker totems, and make good paperweights, doorstops and bookends as well.
There are more of course. "The T*ger *ook", for example, is simply a work of pure evil, and I mean that from the heart. I swear every page was spat straight from the maw of hell. Or anti-American fiction like M*cro*erfs. I call it the "how to hate what made your country great book." There is an unbelievable volume of fiction to feed the feverish hacker imagination, by such degenerates as W*ll*am G*bs*n and B**ce S**rl*ng. You'll be asked to pick up N*ur*manc*r, for example, or Crypt*nomic*n, or perhaps even Th* D*f*er*nc* *ng*ne, which, while utterly corrupting, is not a bad little book, especially if you've never read a high-tech science fiction historical novel.
If you're wise, however, you'll steer completely clear of all such "cyberpunk" trash, and read and share books of morality and virtue. If you want a potential "hup" to learn morality, get him a copy of the very book that explains moraity: The Critique of Pure Reason, by Immanuel Kant. It's all in there.
That is enough to keep the worst influences out of the kid's life, but it's only a start. Keep your browser tuned to Adequacy for more forbidden books. And more hot collecting buys, such as this fine set: a 12" Lord of the Rings Frodo and a 12" Lord of the Rings Gandalf. What makes these so collectible is not just the quality and the beauty of the art. It's the scale. These are big, and big means big dollars on the collectible market.
Don't forget: buy the complete set. Merry Christmas
Christians, and non-Christians too who are participating,
for what reason I myself cannot fathom.