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Welcome to HAXX: a cerebration of multifarious extrapolations of pattern

This is it- the moment you've been waiting for (whether or not you realized you've been waiting for it): the kick-off of the best mailing list and proto-hacking community you've ever been a part of. I hope this is the start to something truly inspirational.

If you are receiving this, you have responded to my invitational message with some semblance of interest (lacking any specific provided e-mail address, I subscribed the one you replied from). And what an influx of interest I have experienced! The stories already shared with me, the excitement over this endeavor. I have truly been inspired by the messages and conversations I've had outside of this list, about this list. I hope that everyone who has shared stories with me posts some aspect of them to share with the group (that's really how this endeavor will thrive and take on a life of its own).

Posting to haxx@

To post to the list, from your list-subscribed lab46 e-mail address, send a message to:


Introduce yourself

With that said, please proceed full steam ahead with introducing yourself to the list (certainly do share some of the stories you've been sharing with me, I think they will benefit the whole group). Who are you? What's your deal? What inspires you? Any stories to share that your Lab46/LAIR experience better prepared you for?

And most importantly: What's best?

Different from the traditional “What's New?”, technically EVERYTHING is new from the perspective of this group. But we aren't really interested in what is new with you, instead we want to know what is BEST! A notion borrowed from one of my favorite authors/philosophers Robert Pirsig (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance / Lila), who suggests a more productive aim for promoting worthwhile interactions is not to worry about the state of what is new, but instead focus on what is currently best and resonating with you.

Also, feel free to provide any pertinent background information (year/program of graduation, $JOB, interests, etc.)

I'll also state, that if you're not yet ready to post, lurking is acceptable. I would say, though, that the overall health of this endeavor depends upon contributions, so for the benefit of everyone, being active is definitely helpful.

It shouldn't need any encouragement, but I would emphasize being verbose over being terse. Perhaps it is the educator in me, but I'm always looking to cull out and further develop abilities in people, and if I could indulge you yet again, I think (especially with sustained practice), you will reap considerable benefits. The more content there is, the more there is to respond to (and I certainly encourage you to respond! Not for the sake of responding, but because there is some aspect of a message worth your time and effort responding to!) Be sure to utilize trimming of non-relevant content and e-mail quoting practices (it really helps with readability).

A common theme by some has been the idea of being able to explore and undertake interesting projects (as if my classes somehow represented a height of diverse uniqueness in intellectual explorations). I would hope that, upon introducing ourselves and getting into the swing of things, some worthwhile sub-groupings of interest will occur, and we could very likely take such desires to the next level.

Also: the general aim is the pursuit of interests, especially those related to thinking (cerebration). Mockery and derision of others has no place here; criticism should be reserved for helping to enhance explorations, not to tear things down. Many of us have likely found we've had to hold back what we share with others / the world; I want this place to encourage a comfort and freedom to share, so we can do what we want to do moar betterer: leet haxx.

If you're unsure of the right approach to criticism, by all means consider this piece of advice (that I use, and encourage others to use, when dealing with bureaucracy, or parties of uncertain contextual reception):

  • be specific with your praise, and generic with your criticism

#haxx irc channel

Should it be desired, I have established a password-protected irc channel (#haxx) on the lab46 irc.

The password is: 1337h4xx

Keep it secret, keep it safe!

If you're using irssi, you can join with:

  • /join #haxx 1337h4xx

(That's “leethacks” in 13375p33k (“leet speak”), with a number one and number four).

haxx group/wiki content

I've created a group on lab46 ('haxx'), so that we can have a dedicated (and access-controlled) wiki section to ourselves:

You all have full access rights to anything under /haxx, so feel free to break out new pages and sections.

Lab46 HAXX files

For those that remember my class “public directories”, that hosted pertinent resources- I have done the same for HAXX. Located in /var/public/.haxx, all haxx members have rwx access, so they can place things like code, or scripts, or files to share with the group.

Mailing list archives

Mailing list page for HAXX can be found here:

From here you can manage subscription settings and other list-related transactions.

Web-Accessible Archives

To prevent convenient access by non-HAXX members to the mailing list archives, I have disabled public access via the normal methods, and made a copy in a non-standard location where we can access them.

I've put a copy of the archives on my web space, for easier browsing:

E-mail forwarding

Lab46 does have mail forwarding (forward(5)). All you need is to set up a ~/.forward file (permissions 0600), and comma-separate your addresses.

If you'd like to ALSO keep a local delivery of mail on lab46, the following ~/.forward recipe will do that (replace 'username' with your actual lab46 username; and yes, that lead-in backslash is NECESSARY for the local lab46 user, if you're choosing to deliver local mail):

\username, user@domain.tld

Purpose of this endeavor

Again, the focus here is not to feel pressured to produce anything. It is more for the sake of sharing ideas, offering insights, having an audience to present your fascinations to, and even announcing available resources. Yet, many of us often create things in the process of our pursuits; this environment offers a place to share your works with others if you choose to do so (and I hope you do!)

So if you're working on something, and would like to share even some piece of it, that's what this list is for. Hopefully some conversations will also instantiate, on a number of topics. Or share stories; of experiences, of pertinent adventures. All for the sake of enhancing the passion that interests us: thinking and problem solving in some way, shape, form. We've got the wiki for you to post content as well (especially if you've got any graphs/charts to go along with things), yet some may also have external blogs or other web resources.

And while it isn't intended to be predominantly used as such, the inevitable social networking (the classic sense) may well happen. People know people. I know you, you know others. Opportunities and resources have been made available because of such things.

Remember the aim is to proliferate/promote active thinking: seeking out patterns, better understanding patterns, discovering new patterns. Which is why this can apply to all sorts of content areas throughout the hacking spectrum.

All accomplishments are worthy accomplishments

An unfortunate impression far too many people get in their transactions with the world today is that perfection must be achieved at all costs. That only a completed project is worth sharing, or a successful solution is the only worthy solution.

This could not be further from the truth, especially for groups like HAXX.

Quite often, the best projects will never be completed, and will never be perfect.

Mistakes, failure, shortcomings… these are growth opportunities.

If you learned something, realized something, enjoyed something: it doesn't matter the actual state of the thing… such things are worthy of sharing with the group. What made this enjoyable? Or what made it a particularly noteworthy experience?

The aim is to have fun, learn, and pursue interests and projects that are meaningful to you. Sure, not everyone in the group may share your particular interests, but there are those that do. Sharing your exploits, in whatever form they are, helps to fuel the group, and keep it active. This ends up being the secret to long-term hacking success.


For the time being, the current eligibility rules for list membership are as follows:

  • approved by me (hello, I am your benevolent dictator)
    • there are a few personality conflicts among some, I am trying to avoid recombining them / preserve the desired low-stress environment.
    • having encountered the eligible list members, I am somewhat (certainly not perfect) able to make judgments on if they'd be a compatible fit (again, looking for those who have expressed the capacity to explore and think on their own, which is separate from those still actively overcoming hurdles, and those who may have moved more into the “professional” space (perhaps being less able to unwind))
      • having a level of discipline is important
      • being able to still have fun and not take things seriously is critical
    • has taken at least 1 class with me (so there is familiarity with Lab46/the LAIR). Most of you still have active lab46 accounts. If it has been a while, I'd be happy to reset passwords; or…
    • have been involved with me in some undergraduate research endeavor (like the SUNY Geneseo DSLAB). It may not have been a class, but the same general atmosphere and knowledge sharing interactions took place with some individuals.

It would probably be best not to advertise or boast about being in this group (especially if you're an active student at CCC). The intent for this group is to foster the exploration of ideas; and while I've intentionally set up a buffer to insulate us from the world, that shouldn't be used as any means to leverage advantage over others.

I have extended invitations to those I have perceived as being able to handle such an environment. Especially current students (there are a few; and they've demonstrated a sophistication and discipline that mitigates worries that this would be a distraction to them/their studies), I will continue to watch, and in time, as I witness a threshold of factors being achieved, I will extend further invitations.

Another big reason to keep us insulated: for those who aren't yet ready, it could serve as a disruption and distraction to their studies (I know a handful of existing students who would likely end up failing classes if they were introduced to this type of environment, or drive some of us crazy with their untamed zealousness). So things like that factor into my considerations as well.

That being said, for past students/alumni; if there are people you wonder might be good fits for the group (and you have access to a viable e-mail address), feel free to shoot me an e-mail and suggest/ask. As I said, I am trying to walk a somewhat delicate line of “those who are capable” and “those we can get along with” (and sadly, there are some personality conflicts in existence).


Should you find yourself in a situation that may be facilitated or benefit for divulging aspects of this group (like doing a paper, project, presentation, interview, whatever), it may be best to describe our group not by name but by purpose:

  • “a group of inquisitive like-minds that share a passion in learning”
  • “an unofficial gathering of learners who have shared our autodidactic experiences and are continuing the journey towards enlightenment”

There may well be appropriate forums for being less concerned with sharing such information (presenting at somewhere not CCC, so there'd be less tangible perception of the group as an object of value, and more of a 'worthwhile experience').

Similarly, if anything that occurs here results in some deliverable (paper, presentation, project, etc.) that is externally available, be sure to give credit where credit is due. Don't run off with the ideas or accomplishments of others.

If unsure, ask! I definitely don't intend for our actions to be hidden away from the world. After all, part of the focus is to “embiggen” our capacities for thinking and exploring new areas of interest.

I guess the preference is: keep the group less (locally) visible; our ideas can take over the world.


It shouldn't need to be said, but since we are technically utilizing resources located on the campus, we do need to be mindful of certain issues (ie I'd like to keep our efforts off the litigation-minded radar of administrative paranoia). So, we're not overtly public. Also: content discussed and actions undertaken are done so by each individual, under their own self-authority and assumed sound mental state. There exists no implied approval of our activities by the college, nor other group members, nor should they or the college be held or considered liable for any antics on your/our part.

Any content that may be construed as medical-related should not be interpret as any sort of advice, specific or otherwise.


  • “do no evil”, and
  • “be kind to one another”.
   Matthew Haas
   Lab46 System Administrator
   Instructor of Computer & Information Science
haxx/start.txt · Last modified: 2019/05/23 15:02 by wedge