The Difference Between MIT and ITP: Les Savy Fav vs Boston

mit itp


This is a guest post from Tarikh Korula, founder of Uncommon Projects, and originally appeared at his blog, unprojects.

I’m often asked what the difference is between NYU’s ITP and MIT’s Media Lab. Sometimes from prospective students, but mostly from high-powered executives or important writers who have heard of the program or The Show. I had one friend once who left Media Lab disappointed, so I’m super-qualified to speak about it.

MIT kids are smart. Really smart. They probably have been studying violin since they were, like, two. Then they wrote software algorithms when they were 10 to approximate a symphony that could play along with them in real time while they played Bach concertos. If these kids were a rock band, they’d be Emerson, Lake and Palmer with a laser show and a 360 major label deal.

ITP kids are… resourceful. We didn’t invent hacking or email or lasers and shit. We invented QTVRPCompGurlArduino and Foursquare. Instead of beautiful John Meada visualizations, we’ve got a lot of wooden tiles that move in concert to show you a picture of yourself and we think that’s art. It’s not really, but we never studied art so we don’t really know any better. If we were a rock band, we’d be the Ramones with their shitty recording contract and Laurie Anderson playing midi controlled tambourine. Read More


The Mainstream Media and That Word, ‘Hacker’

Hackers were likely not ski-masked in this case.

Dear Media,

It would seem that you’re struggling with a teensy bit of semantics—namely, the precise meaning of the word “hacker.” Let’s get this sorted out, shall we?

Figure 1 – a cracker

The root of the problem seems to be the distinction between bad hackers and good hackers. Many seem to swallow the qualifier Read More


Hackers Make Fools of Fox on the Fourth

Hackers having fun, unlike Sam Yin.

A group which, smartly preempting the press, is reportedly going by the techie pejorative “Script Kiddies”, hacked into the Fox News Twitter account on independence day and posted a number of disturbing messages about President Obama.

The hacked tweets claimed that President Obama had been murdered, prompting concern from the Secret Service. “BREAKING NEWS: President @BarackObama assassinated. 2 gunshot wounds proved too much. It’s a sad 4th for #america. #obamadead RIP,” began the series.

Fox was locked out of its own account and the disturbing messages remained up for several hours. Eventually some poor, hard working techies had to leave their BBQs and remedy the situation.

In recent months high-profile hacking attacks have become common, to the point where they make an easy and believable scapegoat for a high-profile politician like Anthony Weiner. But, sadly, the incursions are becoming less and less interesting or principled. Read More

The Internet Makes You Mean

A Former Script Kiddie Puts LulzSec in Perspective

Betabeat team back in the 90s

This a guest post from Brandon Diamond, who blogs at Your Startup Sucks

For one reason or another, everyone on the Internet is talking about LulzSec — the latest and, well… latest cracking sensation. Think Zero Cool meets 4chan for a very twisted, very inappropriate playdate.

Since the whole lulzy affair started, coverage has gradually increased both in frequency and righteousness. And now that LulzSec has since “abandoned ship” (crawling begrudgingly upstairs to bed without Xbox privileges for a week or longer), bloggers everywhere are suddenly locating their respective gonads.

But it’s too little, too late: the attention paid to LulzSec — a group of variously skilled crackers with a proclivity toward anarchy — is disgusting. And dangerous. Read More