Great Computer Hacks Make Hackers Hacker Computers

In the year 1995, computers were, well… boring. The future wasn’t here yet, and computers were drab, chunky beige boxes. Sure, there were some cool-ish computers being sold, but the landscape was still relatively barren. But as you’ll see in the video below the break, it doesn’t have to be that way, and the [Hackers Curator] shows us the way by recreating Johnny Lee Miller’s computer from the 1995 movie Hackers.

Hackers wasn’t popular when it came out, but over the years it has gained quite a following. It portrayed computers and the people who loved them in completely new ways, representing a culture that has never existed. Even so, it inspired so many young hacker types. Among those inspired is the crew over at [Hackers Curator] and they have taken it upon themselves to, uh… curate… the props, costumes, and stories surrounding the movie.

Recreating Dade’s iconic camo “luggable” computer came with quite a lot of difficulty. It turns out that the original movie props were working custom computers that used hacked together customized cases and Mac Powerbook 180c internals. Dade’s (aka Zer0 Cool and Crash Override) was mashup of the a Compaq Portable 486c and the aforementioned Mac. [HackersCurator] have lovingly recreated this prop from two broken computers, but chose to run the internals with a Raspberry Pi.

The techniques used in the creation of this beastly cyberdeck are ones that can be used in building so many other projects, even if you’re not a Hackers hacker. Customizing the plastics and placing a trackball in the most awkward of spots was expertly done, and we’ll be referring to it in the future for guidance when doing similar projects.

Are movie replica hacks your thing? You’re in luck! It turns out that this isn’t [Hackers Curator]’s first build. In 2019 they tackled Lord Nikon’s laptop, and of course, we covered that one too!

14 thoughts on “Great Computer Hacks Make Hackers Hacker Computers

  1. Nice build!
    Hackers may not have been especially realistic, but it did have quite a good soundtrack, especially “Grand Central Station” by Guy Pratt the legend that is David Gilmour.

  2. “In the year 1995, computers were, well… boring. The future wasn’t here yet, and computers were drab, chunky beige boxes. Sure, there were some cool-ish computers being sold, but the landscape was still relatively barren.”
    I’m am guessing a fair proportion of readers would still have been in nappies (prolly disposable craptraps) and looking back at the archaic monstrosities of the day could see it that way….
    Can you imagine the thrill of adding a 2x CD READER to your system (2086 with 512k ram) or a TsengLabs 512k video card or the venerable SoundBlaster audio card?
    Early computers in their time were exciting game changers…..
    Remember if you can…
    the sound of a 1200 baud modem over the phone line and hooking into a mate miles away…..
    Or BBS
    Writing batch files to do shit
    Norton Utilities
    Dos 2
    Yeah, guess it was fairly bland and boring…..
    These days I have a drop dead laptop with all the bells and whistles that was only speculated about and prophesied to arrive….
    Also an OS which I don’t really have control over…. read Auto Updates, subscriptions blah blah
    A www that is brimming with malware, viruses, scammers and social media that wants to bleed you till you’re dry and dusty…

    Oh… Sorry, I thought you said 1985……

    1. Ah, the 90’s. There was nothing quite like knowing the com3/irq5 trick, or setting up himem.sys so you could actually use more than 640K. BBSs were awesome too. I remember my friends and I agonizing over whether to buy a 2x cdrom drive or a 3x. Caddy or no caddy. 14″ monitor or *gasp* 15″?

      Computing itself was fascinating in significantly different ways than today. I was honestly specifically talking about the aesthetic more than anything. CompuTING was *amazing* but computers themselves were the drab chunky beige boxes I described. Yes, there were a few outliers- the Libretto in the late 90’s, and Compaq had a 486/33 lappy that I pined over, because it was *different*. And Tiny.

    2. Yeah…. what was so exciting about Doom, Duke Nukem 3D, MDK (hell – it was 256 colours and looked marvelous!), Quake? Or the fact that you actually could choose between computers that really differed in software and hardvare? Nothing important happened in OS world – this Linux thing was a failure wasn’t it? It is not like every new CPU really made difference on that time.

      Ok – enough. How come that author can’t see all the exciting things that 90s were about?

  3. Hackers may be cheese but a lot of it is not only accurate then, but still works today if you replace a few minor details.

    Gathering passwords and other information by social engineering / phishing is as alive and well as ever, dumpster-diving for printouts (perhaps e-waste diving now?), and people being lazy with passwords… how things change!

    Replace public payphone for public wifi and a lot of it holds up as well as it ever did.

  4. Toshiba Libretto had it’s nipple in much the same location and that actually made a lot of sense.
    One of the the best laptops ever made. And there is very little that matches it today for size and function.

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