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Most of the cracked software originate from the Warez Scene. Warez scene
At it’s highest level, crackers usually don’t do it for the money. They do it mostly for the challenge and bragging rights. There is also fierce competition between cracking groups to be the first to break the copy protection mechanism of software.
And if you are a member of the scene, contributing something new gives you access to other resources. For example, someone who is part of a group releasing cracks would gain access to the groups high speed FTP servers (aka topsites) full of all sorts of pirated material including movies, games, etc.
Where to even start?
How about with “I wish that incredibly stupid book had never been written”; that’s probably as good a place as any to start, I suppose.
First: A job is not something you “crack”.
It is not an egg, it is not a nut, it is not a coconut, it is not a firewalled computer, it’s not Al Capone’s Vault , it’s not Fort Knox, it’s not Alibaba’s Cave, and it’s not The Temple of Doom.
It’s also not a chocolate covered caramel, where once you get through the hard outer shell, you are automatically entitled to all of the sweet, chewy goodness inside.
Yes. That’s a good start: getting a job somewhere does not entitle you to anything other than a job — you are an entry level employee.
Second: Anyone who thinks they are the smartest person in the room, probably isn’t.
I want you to try an experiment. It’s probably not going to cost you a lot, and no one is going to know that you are doing it, but if you’re smart it should be enlightening.
Have a small dinner party. No more than 6 or so people, plus or minus a couple, consisting of your very good friends. Get the party going: everyone chatting, talking over old (and new) stories, and generally having fun. This is preparation for an exercise in enlightenment.
Now here’s the exercise (this works best if you do not actually need to go to the restroom); follow each instruction before reading the next:
- Excuse yourself to go to the restroom
- Go into the restroom
- Close the lid, and sit on the toilet
- Count to 300
- Look around
Now consider: your friends are out at your party, having fun, and you are sitting on a toilet, alone in a restroom, counting to 300 and looking at fixtures.
Who is the smartest one in the room?
Now go out an rejoin the party, but before getting started, notice that you are surrounded by good friends, who are all having fun.
Who is the smartest one in the room? None of them just spent time sitting on a toilet, counting to 300.
Third: Companies hire people to do a job.
To solve engineering problems, the companies are not hiring the smartest people, they are hiring the smartest engineers.
Just because the interviews are difficult (and seriously: the difficulty should be telling you something about the other engineers that they’ve already hired), does not mean that the people who are hired after passing those interviews are inherently better than anyone else at the company. Or smarter than anyone, except perhaps the people who went through the same process and weren’t hired — although that might be team fit or something else, rather than being smart: the people who weren’t hired could still be smarter than you.
Fourth: Career advancement path.
Why is it that technical people from some cultures have this mindset that “up the ladder” means “into management”?
This was, in fact, the historical advancement track for technical people, pretty much everywhere in the U.S..
Let me introduce you to The Peter principle .
Simply stated, it says that you get an entry level job, you spend some time doing it, and then if you are good at doing it: you get promoted. And if you spend some time doing the next job, and are good at it, you get promoted again. This process repeats until you do a crappy job. And then you stay in this job you are crappy at, making a mess of things, miserable, because you can’t really accomplish anything worthwhile (because you can’t really do the job), until you retire. And then you collect a pension.
This is technical people going into the management track. This is not the case today. Today, a technical person, in this case, a software engineer, can expect:
- Entry level software engineer
- Junior software engineer
- Software engineer
- Senior software engineer
- Technical lead software engineer (maybe)
- Distinguished software engineer
Being technical lead is actually somewhat of a lateral move. It involves aspects of project management, and fitting pieces together. I’ve spent most of my career as Senior software engineer or technical lead.
The point of all this is: you generally do not get to tell other people what to do. A technical lead typically handles the parts of things that other people don’t, makes sure there are no loose ends, and occasionally asks people to do something.
And if the people do those things for you, it’s because they like you, respect you, know that they are the best person to do the thing, or some combination of all three.
It’s not a position of authority, other than arbitrating between conflicting approaches to solve a problem, and that’s really not about authority, either, it’s about owning the whole of things if you make a bad decision, and things go to hell because of it. It’s “look, we have to make a decision, and it will be my head on the chopping block if I’ve made the wrong one here”. You’re there to break logjams, not exercise authority. You’re also there to mentor.
Fifth: Qualifying as a leader, and the purpose of managers.
Your second point was:
And they get to order these smart folks to do stuff for them. How do they qualify to become “leaders”? How do they deserve this when they couldn’t have got in at entry level.
Let me give you an answer you won’t like.
The first thing we need to get out of the way is the difference between leadership and management. You’re actually talking about management, not leadership. Being a manager is not the position you think it is; we’ll cover that, but first, I covered the leadership angle a bit in my discussion of the role of a technical lead, in the previous section. But let’s make it succinct; here’s a quote I like:
- «Leadership is an action, not a position.» —Donald McGannon
But what’s a manager?
First, I’m going to ask a trick question, and even knowing it’s a trick question, you will get the answer wrong, and then I’ll ask it again after a bit, and (hopefully) you’ll get it right.
Who do managers work for?
Got your answer?
Nominally, they have power to order people around, right? Wrong. That’s not a manager, that’s a petty autocrat.
The main purpose of a technical manager is to stand between the people he or she manages, and the rest of the organization. And protect those people.
There’s a certain amount of HR function, and you have to settle squabbles, and you’ll have to occasionally tell someone they are no longer welcome on your team, or engage in lesser disciplinary action. But that’s not what being a manager is about.
Mostly, it’s about saying “no”.
Each manager has a team, and each manager has a position within the organization. Each team has deliverables. These deliverables are negotiated between the manager and the rest of the organization, and the manager and their team. For technical teams, the manager doesn’t have to be technical, they just have to trust the professional opinions of the people reporting to them.
When the organization makes unreasonable demands on a team, it’s the managers job to say “no” to the organization. Obviously, this should trigger a negotiation, followed by a compromise, but the most important part is the initial “no, if my team says no”.
A lot of managers don’t get this. They end up being pretty crappy to work for, and in a functional technical organization, they stop being managers and either leave for greener pastures, or go back to being an “individual contributor”. It’s not a demotion, it’s an avoidance of “The Peter Principle”.
Conclusion: OK, let’s ask again…
Who do managers work for?
That’s right: the people they manage. Being a manager is a position of power only within an organization, and it’s the power to say “no” on behalf of their team, and it’s the power to engage in negotiation of terms with other managers.
There is no “And they get to order these smart folks to do stuff for them”.
Hope that answers your question!
First, I don’t agree with your premise. You may find examples of leaders in tech companies who don’t have an engineering background, but in my experience nearly every engineering leader has an engineering background, at least at the parts of Microsoft, Amazon, and Google that I worked at.
Second, you’re misunderstanding the value of both education and interviews. They aren’t good indicators of your uppermost potential, nor of the minimum distance you will go. Instead, they are useful filters for preventing people who will fail from getting offered a job. Those are very different functions.
Finally, the people leading an established company — even at the level of first-line managers — need experience to make the right decisions. You don’t get that experience in school, you get it by working. Success and experience at working is proof by demonstration of ability to succeed at working.
Entry level candidates often have no experience, so they start in highly supervised roles to provide experience. In the case that an entry level hire is experienced, they’ll either be brought in at a higher level or promoted quickly. I would consider the first rung of SDE experience to be about a year in industry, so let’s call it 2,000 hours of programming and design.
“I fail to understand why all the giant tech companies hire smartest people from Stanford, Carnegie Mellon, Georgia Tech, Berkeley right out of college to solve engineering and design problems for core engineering product companies”
Because brilliant graduates are:
- More loyal
- More dedicated
- Hungry for knowledge and success
- Have a clear mind (seniors already think in analogies). Having a clear mind makes you more adapted to think in first principles (i.e Elon Musk). Elon Musk started thinking in first principles as opposed to analogy. Thinking in first principles is a form of creative thinking and it means to reduce everything to the basic fundamental, first principles that created it (go back to the fundamental/mandatory list of basic indivisible building blocks) and start again ( Ab initio ) from there. It is mandatory to do so without letting your previous knowledge (the thinking in analogies & social conditioning) interfere in the process (by usually limiting you in accepting one/existing process by default). Elon re-engineered the battery, the (electric) automobile and the space rocket, among other things. Those ideas existed before, but it was his original execution of those ideas that made all the difference in the world.
“People who grow the ladder and lead the company are people who often have no background of technology. How do they qualify to become “leaders”? How do they deserve this when they couldn’t have got in at entry level.”
This one is complex. Leadership takes multiple forms and assumes multiple corporate core values. A leader of an organization tells you more about the core values of an organization than the list of copy-paste fake values listed on their website.
Business leadership is different than technical leadership, even in a technology company.
Those leaders are there for very different reasons that vary from company to company. Some are leaders because they are great sellers, some are there because they are great marketers and communicators, some are there because they have great reputations, some are there because they have great people skills, some are there because they are great managers, some are there because of politics and so on.
That being said, let’s look at some relevant examples: Bill Gates, the richest man in the world, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Ellison, Larry Page, Sergey Brin are among the top 15 richest people in the world. To this list we can add great innovating leaders like Steve Jobs and Elon Musk. Numbers don’t lie and they paint an interesting picture.
They tell you that leaders with a background in and a passion for technology are the real “rock stars”.
A crack intro, also known as a cracktro, loader, or just intro, is a small introduction sequence added to cracked software. It aims to inform the user which «cracking crew» or individual cracker removed the software’s copy protection and distributed the crack.   Many people who did the actual cracking did this competitively. They even credited themselves alongside the software publisher’s name in their custom cracktro screens.  Warez groups began to add their own intros instead of modifying the existing loading screen. Names of the group’s members would scroll as little animations. Intros became more complicated and sometimes as large as the game itself.  It had to look good to impress viewers as well as peers, and sometimes the result was more impressive than the game itself.  [ better source needed ] They first appeared on Apple II computer in the late 1970s or early 1980s.    The early text screens in many ways resemble graffiti, although they invaded the private sphere and not the public space.   In 1985 the Dutch teams The 1001 Crew, programmers from the city of Alkmaar, and The Judges started adding intro demos, challenging others to match theirs. Dozens of demo crews formed within a year to try and do just that. 
These first appeared on ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64 and Amstrad CPC games that were distributed around the world via Bulletin Board Systems (BBSes) and floppy disk copying.  Initially the intros consisted of simple messages, but they grew progressively more complex as they became a medium to demonstrate the purported superiority of a cracking group.  Even the commercially available ISEPIC cartridge, which produced memory dumps of copy-protected Commodore 64 software, added a custom crack intro to the snapshots it produced. 
Crack intros became more sophisticated on more advanced systems such as the Commodore Amiga and Atari ST, as well as some IBM PC clone systems with sound cards. 
As a result, crack intros began to feature big colourful effects, music, and scrollers.  Cracking groups would use the intros not just to gain credit for cracking, but to advertise their BBSes, greet friends, and gain themselves recognition.  Messages were frequently of a vulgar nature, and on some occasions made threats of violence against software companies or the members of some rival crack-group. 
Crack-intro programming eventually became an art form in its own right, and people started coding intros without attaching them to a crack just to show off how well they could program. This practice evolved into the demoscene. 
Crack intros that use chiptunes live on As of 2018 [update] in the form of background music for small programs intended to remove the software protection on commercial and shareware software that has limited or dumbed-down capabilities. Sometimes this is simply in the form of a program that generates a software package’s serial number, usually referred to as a keygen. These chiptunes are now still accessible as downloadable musicdisks or musicpacks.