History Hacker Show Pilot Tonight

[Bre Pettis], the former host of the Make podcast and member of NYCResistor has gotten his own show.  Debuting tonight on the History Channel, “History Hacker” will be exploring our technological past through hacking.  He reminds us on his site, this is just the pilot, it has to get ratings to have more episodes. [Bre] suggests watching it with the family as it should be educational and fascinating.  Catch it tonight at 8pm and midnight.

48 thoughts on “History Hacker Show Pilot Tonight

  1. Definitely going to check this out — am recording it w/ DirectTV too; hopefully someone can take the risk of providing a torrent download – last thing anyone needs is a copyright infringement lawsuit!

    I’m hoping this show really evolves and dives through the history of hacking, from old-school cracking (criminally intent hacking,) the infamous Kevin Mitnick, 2600:The Hacker Quarterly, Emmanuel Goldstein, Off The Hook, old-fashioned Phreaking and all of the old (and new) wonders of the hackable world!

  2. great now components are going to cost as much as the end product from some asian company thanks to a million boyscouts buying stuff they have no idea how to use to make stuff they cant complete.
    nah i’m just mad cuz i live with my parents and they watch tv at night; theres no sobriety past my bedroom door, and it will be hard to get the remote control, and harder to sit with my family.


  3. >it will be hard to get the remote control, and
    >harder to sit with my family.

    Tell them it’s “Educational”, parent usually fall for that.

    (or tell them your shop teacher told you to watch it and write a report on it… it’s homework.)

  4. It’s about half way done here, and I couldn’t disagree with skitchin more, on both points. Then again, I do love this kind of show, so I can’t be entirely objective about it.

    But for the second point, I think the world needs to be exposed to this idea of hacking, rather than the common idea of a guy with a pocket protector and glasses sitting behind a computer in a pitch black room, getting digital revenge against the people who bully him at school.

  5. I caught the last half.

    I appreciate the coverage of Tesla’s work, but I don’t appreciate the apparent advocacy of large-scale Teslian wireless electricity transmission. There are a lot of very good reasons not to use it.

    I really liked the glass blowing and shaping. That stuff is really amazing to me — but the “finale” of wirelessly lighting 40 neon tubes? Weak.

  6. I thought it was great. My 4 year old daughter loved it. @sebastienb, isnt that what its all about? If it can inspire a 4yo to want to make something, it rocks in my book! I just have to get some neon, and figure out how I am gonna blow glass now.

  7. This show ROCKED! I like science shows that take everyday stuff and make it simple, even if I have the capacity to understand the complexities of it (I’m a biochemist). It makes for tv thats entertaining and relaxing, but still engaging. Especially if it puts my two fav things together: history and science. It helps to have a witty, smart and very hot host like Bre Pettis ;) lol Hope this show gets picked up!

  8. I got cable back just in time to watch this. It was a little childish but that is inevitable for the survival of a science-based show nowadays. Imagine a show about astronomy without Neil deGrasse Tyson. Regardless, I think it is a good step in the right direction.

  9. I blame the producer for the childish aspect of the show; I’ve seen the same guy make short videos on the Make web site, and they are much better.

    It is generally agreed that Tesla went crazy in the latter part of his life (yes, you can be brilliant and crazy at the same time.)

  10. As all tv entertainment goes, it’s geared towards the masses. Therefore lots of ‘shoulda learned it in school’ facts are constantly provided to build the case of why we’re going to try gluing some magnets and wire coils onto a bike tire. It was entertaining to watch, but I’d prefer an advanced version of the show were several projects are built at once, emphasis on creative ingenuity relative to the task. Of course treating viewers like they know their history might alienate half thier viewers.

  11. I know I could get in trouble for this but if anyone wants the episode just let me know. I recorded it on my mythbox last night and can make it into a neat little package and put it up on my website if you would like. Just drop me an email at “hack ersmith [at} gmail d com” and i will put it up and send you the link.

  12. >As the producer, I blame the executives!

    Cool! (Hussar, please take this as constructive criticism.) My I suggest that you take more of a Documentary approach to it. Something like “Today we’re going to build XXX. There are many way to do it, but here is the way I chose and why…”

    Then document:

    1) Each of the major design decisions, and why that decision was made (including changes to the original design that needed to be made after construction was started.)

    2) Document each of the major construction points, and how it was done.

    3) Document any testing of sub-systems before moving on to the next step.

    4) Document final testing and how parts of it exceeded, met, or fell short of the original expectations.

    5) Give a link to additional construction details on the Make web site (a free plug for make magazine.)

    All the great questions of the world boil down to who, what, where, when, why, and how; and of all those questions, only “why” is the really hard one to answer… why is that?

  13. Just a kind reminder, it was just a pilot episode. I’m sure WHEN (when, not if) it gets picked up, they’ll make it more… scientific? But as a pilot, it kinda has to appeal to as many people as possible just so it will get picked up. Once it has, I’m sure there will be the much-desired improvements.

  14. I thought the show was interesting, that being said I did find it lacked a certain amount of basic explanation in some areas and then in others it went to deep. As for the projects I did like the glass blowing but the ending was kinda lame. All that being said I do think that producing a show about hardware hacking for the general public is not an easy task and they have done a good job. I also did not like the all white work space it lacked a certain amount of depth. If possible nix the jumping around and the odd camera views it makes it very hard to follow the show and takes away from the projects.

    Keep up the good work and hack on.

    Ciric Tech

  15. @ hussar
    re: above comment ^^

    i like the show concept, the host is good and very geeky lol. i have to agree though, that the cinematography is lacking something… the scenes like Bre in the power plant were kind of hard to follow. I lost him completely in one of the shots and was wondering if the cable a/v had desynchronized, when he was back on camera and I was like… ok whatever… and he looked like he was about to eat the wall on the skateboard after leaving the glass shop LOL could have reshot that :)

    The scene lighting didn’t always highlight the subject the viewer should have been paying attention to, and the white room ‘matrix’ style workshop is a neat idea but i think you will find it limiting later on as there’s only so much you can do with a camera in a white room.

    Yes, its a pilot :P sorry, it is really good and I think it will hit the mainstream market pretty well, it got my interest enough to watch it the first and second time they aired it lastnight. Good work, and good luck. I’m pretty sure a good chunk of the hacker community will support this in any way possible, let us know if there’s anything we can do. With programming these days lacking any kind of intelligence and open-mindedness, I don’t think any of us want to see this show fail. The executives will further dumbify (yes, not a word :P) future programming if shows like this constantly bomb.

  16. It was a great show! Kind of thought the 40 neon tubes hack was kind of lame though. This show is definitely a keeper. There should be enough ideas to keep this show in business for quite a while.

  17. downloaded the show yesterday and I have to say its pretty good. Some of facts were a bit questionable… but nothing that would get in the way of the show. Bre has done a great job evolving from his Makezine position to doing a national pilot, and I think if History Channel picks this up it’ll be a great program. For me, some of neatest parts were the animated sections. I loved the style of the artwork.

  18. I caught this without any warning and was pleasantly surprised. Took me a minute to recognize who Bre was since I used to watch the Make shorts on youtube. I always love shows where they talk about how things work, even better if they make something out of it!

  19. For those of you who think that this shiow was weak must like suppression in the world. Nikola Tesla has been hidden from history books because of big money and greed based corporations. I am glad to see more of Tesla’s genius being shed light on. Tesla was not about money he was about the betterment of humanity. In his own words…….’Science is but a perversion of itself unless it has as its ultimate goal the netterment of humanity’…Nikola Tesla 1919… Yes Edison was a great inventor but he was more greed based and cared only of fame and fortune. Tesla will always be more of a man to me. By the way cell phones, radio, as well as many other before his time tech was invented and thought up by Nikola Tesla…Why do history books not mention that?

  20. Neon tubes may be lame to some but back in Teslas day it was unknown and very unreal to all. We today take many things for granted…just think of it…without tesla las vegas would be quite dull at night and many edison bulbs would have to be replaced often! Also I think the show ended with me wanting to see and know more…which maybe could be a reason for people to call, and write in requesting more..Maybe it was designed to get a response…lets let them know we what more! Does the History channel read any of these posts?

  21. Dude – I’m watching right now – we’re about half-way through. I LOVE TESLA. This is a sweet presentation. I can’t take my eyes off the screen. GIVE US MORE EPISODES! PLEASE!?!?!

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