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Hackerteen: Volume 1: Internet Blackout Paperback – Apr 21 2008

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (April 21 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596516479
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596516475
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 0.5 x 23.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 204 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,041,013 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

About the Author

Marcelo Marques is a graduate of FASP (Brazil) in businessadministration, with further degrees in business from the GetulioVargas Foundation and in marketing from Trevisan. He currentlyprovides IT-related services to a number of multinationalcompanies. In 2001, he developed a business plan and, with threepartners, founded the company 4Linux. The company launched theinnovative HackerTeen project, where Marcelo teaches entrepreneurshipand marketing. He then assumed the presidency of LPI Brasil, createdentertaining talks on open-source software and Linux, and wrote thecomedy play "Blue Screen" as well as the fantasy content of the graphic novelHackerteen. Currently he serves asDirector of Strategy and Marketing at 4Linux and HackerTeen.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa88337b0) out of 5 stars 8 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa9522cb4) out of 5 stars I think it accomplishes what it sets out to do... April 30 2008
By Thomas Duff - Published on
Format: Paperback
I've mentioned in the past that I occasionally pick up and read material that isn't my normal fare. When offered a chance to read the graphic novel Hackerteen: Volume 1: Internet Blackout by Marcelo Marques, I figured this would be my foray into different stuff. While I don't know that I'm the best person to review something like this, I'll say that it probably does a good job with what it sets out to do.

This first volume sets the stage. Yago is spending a ton of time in front of his computer, and his parents are worried. They find a school called Hackerteen that teaches students how to ethically explore and prevent computer crime. Yago is under the age limit, but impresses HackerIP (the head of the school and the "greatest" hacker in the country) with a test of his skill. As such, he's accepted into the program, becomes part of the team that is the upper echelon of the school, and is called upon to stop a hacker threat that will take down the entire Internet. But at the same time, he's been conned into planting a computer virus that threatens to do great harm, all because he wanted to earn some extra money to help his father keep his bakery afloat after a huge grocery store moves in across the street. He has to admit to his ethical lapse and clear his mentor of the charges being leveled against him. But don't expect to get full resolution here... Volume 2 is due out soon. :)

Here's where we get into the "your mileage may vary" part. Nearly all the books I read have more words in one chapter than this has in the entire volume. So, we're not talking about a major transfer of technical knowledge in the 101 pages of Hackerteen. I'm also old enough to remember when something like this was called a comic book, not a "graphic novel". Conversely, far too many kids don't read much of anything unless it's entertaining or assigned by a teacher. In Hackerteen, the author weaves in themes of ethical behavior, teamwork, and questioning authority. That last one comes into play with electronic voting machines that are "certified" to be accurate, as well as hacking laws that make it possible to convict just about anyone using a computer. It's not a stretch to see how the government has tried (unfortunately with a fair amount of success) to do these exact things. A 12 year old may not care much about voting machines that they won't be able to use for another six years. On the other hand, a graphical novel such as this can start them down the road of thinking for themselves.

There are URL links at the bottom of many of the pages that *should* give additional information on some of the subjects mentioned in the story. But when I went to the site, it was lacking any content, and the navigation didn't work half the time (in either IE or Firefox). That's too bad, as I think a strong website working hand-in-hand with the book would be a powerful combination. Still, I think Hackerteen does accomplish what it sets out to do... Educate young minds about hacker ethics in a way they'll understand and read.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa9522d08) out of 5 stars Interesting, but lacking any details May 8 2008
By mhz - Published on
Format: Paperback
I'm a computer professional, and I jumped at this book when I heard of it, thinking that such a format might help me teach my 10 year old about the risk/reward/usage of the internet.

The book has a nice semi-glossy, quality feel to it, and the art work is great. Just remember that it's a comic book. You may already know that, but Im just reminding you because I had initially envisioned my son and I taking turns reading it out loud together in the evening, and discussing it, like we do with the novels that he has to read for school. But a comic book is not suitable for that, because it often relies on pictures to convey what is happening, with comparatively few verbal explanations of the situation. A comic book is something that you have to read and understand for yourself, so it doesn't work as a teaching medium between two people, unless you each read it at separate time and discuss it later.

The good:

(A) Exposes reader to some potential bad uses of the internet
1. bad guy hijacks a teen girls webcam, records and then blackmails her, threatening to post the videos on the net (--she is shown in a towel in one frame, there is no nudity--)...after she had earlier remarked that she wasn't sure she set it up properly
2. bad guy wins a programming contest by stealing code from the laptop of a better programmer, but gets caught
3. corrupt politician works with software company to rig electronic voting machines in attempt to win a presidential election! ...also shows the spin campaign to get the rigged voting machines adopted into widespread usage.
4. bad guys hack the root DNS servers, causing the internet to almost grind to a halt, affecting commerce, business, email, etc.
(B) Emphasizes the value of teamwork, and mentions the value of open-source collaborative software development
(C) Sitting at a computer all day for self-absorbed/selfish purposes (i.e. online gaming, etc) is condemned, proposing instead that if one is so interested in the internet, that person should learn to use it for the benefit of others, contribute to the improvement of your society, etc., rather than just using the net to waste time.

The bad:

(A) Technical details. There are none. Now I'm an IT guy, so I would have been fascinated with the explanations of how the good/bad guys did their thing with the computer. But even the casual reader wants SOME idea of what went on. Many, many net users, even the teen audience, have an interest in HOW the bad guys are able to do what they do, and HOW the good guys can stop them. But the book skips over those topics completely. I was very disappointed with that aspect, because that is specifically what I was hoping I would find in a book like this. The book tells a story, demonstrates some virtuous IDEAS from characters, but stays completely clear of teaching or explaining any good or bad PRACTICES.
(B) Web links. There are a few times where a character mentions an internet or programming term, such as "open source", or "DNS server", followed by an (*). The asterisk is to act like a footnote, directing you to the bottom of the page, where you'll find a URL for the real world internet site, I assume these are supposed to take you to definitions or explanations of the word in question, but I hated this idea for a comic book. They should have added a few more frames to the comic at each one of those points, to explain the thing, if necessary. The "go-to-my-website-if-you-want-to-understand-what-I-just-said" was annoying. I felt like they were pushing me to their web site for something that should have just been part of the story.
(C) The previous reviewer stated that these URL's weren't even valid! I have not tested that myself, since I did not have the internet available at the time I was reading it, and I don't have the book handy now. If what he said is true, and the URL's found on the pages of the book are still not valid, then I'm amazed. Can you say NOT READY FOR PRIME TIME? I hope they'll get their act together on that issue.
(D) The to-be-continued-in-Volume-2 part was also annoying. The major conflicts of the story are not resolved. You just suddenly come upon the last page, and you're told to wait for volume 2. However, this may be how all comic books work, so maybe thats just normal...but this costs more than a regular comic book, and I wanted an ending.

Overall, it is an interesting story, but Volume 1 doesn't teach you anything about the internet other than: bad guys can *somehow* infiltrate computers for evil purposes, voting machines software should be open-source so that the public will be safe from political manipulation, AND a naïve teen hacker with a good intentions can be duped into helping the bad guys if he's not careful.

That said, I probably will buy volume 2, because I do like the overall concept for the story, and who knows, it may have a little more savory details than this one had.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa9523140) out of 5 stars Great for middle school to early high school aged children May 13 2008
By Robert Stinnett - Published on
Format: Paperback
As a part-time teacher who focuses on technology I've struggled for years how to get kids interested in technology and get them exploring the different aspects of technology besides the obvious (gaming, web browsing, etc). Over the years I've tried thing such as the LOGO programming language, design-your-own games and the such. Yet, I always look for ways to get kids away from the computer now and then and read up on technology and find out how to use it for good (and the perils of using it for the not so good). In Hackerteen, I found a great book that I think will not get the kids involved in reading, but also introduce them to some different aspects of technology and computing.

Hackerteen reminds me a lot of the books that used to come with Tandy Computers back in the day. They use a series of characters to talk about different aspects of technology and you follow them through various plots and sub-plots. In this particular book, Volume 1, kids are introduced to a group of characters who believe in ethical computing and the problems that arise when one of the rising stars in the group tries to help out his family by doing something he knows is wrong -- but how bad could it be? He soon finds out how bad it could be and the implications it has.

I really wish the format of the book was more like a comic book so the price wouldn't be so steep. Budgets are always trained in the classroom and the price tag is a little pricey for most libraries and classrooms to swallow, especially if they want to get more than one copy so the whole class can read it. However, despite this, I think they are off to a good start with the series and even I, as an adult who has been in IT for many years, can't wait to see what happens in Volume 2!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa952350c) out of 5 stars Fun read for teens and comic book fans June 22 2008
By ueberhund - Published on
Format: Paperback
When I picked this book up, my first thought was "This is a very non-traditional O'Reilly book". I dare say, this is O'Reilly's first technology book published in comic book form. But it absolutely makes sense as to why they did it. Take your typical teenager. How many of them would willingly pick up a "traditional" computer book to read up on open-source, linux, and internet crimes? Unless they're über-geeky, I'd say pretty much none of them would do that. This is what is so absolutely perfect about this book: it's exactly what I would have picked up as a teen--both for fun and as a way to learn more about technology.

The story is about Yago, a young assistant teacher at "Hackerteen", an elite school for gifted computer students. While trying to get some money to help his family out of a tough situation, he writes a program he shouldn't have. Shortly after, he must race to undo the damage his actions have done.

This is a graphic novel, which is a lot of fun to read. It shows teens examples of risky internet behavior and what some of the serious consequences of that behavior can be. I'd highly recommend this book for teens who want to learn more about internet technologies and ways to protect themselves online. It's a fun read and I loved the drawings. I can't wait for volume 2!
HASH(0xa95235f0) out of 5 stars Good but needs to be less predictable... Sept. 23 2008
By C. Garrett Goebel - Published on
Format: Paperback
The following review was written by my 10 year old daughter:

Hackerteen is a comic book about a boy named Yago, who has exceptional computer skills. His worried and clueless parents enroll him in a school for hackers, which has a reputation for teaching hackers to use their skills for good (white hat hacker school).

I think it was a very good idea to make something that kids will read that shows the good side of the word _Hacker_. I personally thought it should have had some twists or something of the sort that would make it less predictable. I can see that the girl that Yago helped out is going to turn into something but she is obviously not a hacker. There is a girl hacker on the Yago's team but she doesn't really do anything. All we girls out here need girl role models. All in all I think it's a good idea yet it still needs a little help to get it on the right path.

And here's a short review by myself:

Hackerteen is a good guy hacker story for tween and teen boys. Young boy becomes good guy uberhacker, fights bad guys, faces moral dilemmas, saves the family, and tries to win the girl. The plot and character development are fairly 2 dimensional. The other downside is that girls are portrayed as weak, beautiful, and contribute little beyond needing to be saved.

Tossed into the mix are footers with url links for interested kids to find out more about technological and organizational references. There is a lot of not so subtle healthy propaganda against the abuses of big business and central governments. But not much more than the anti-establishment vigilantee leanings you'll find in your typical comic book.

Two things I liked very much were that the hero, Yago, isn't perfect. He makes a bad choice and has to deal with the consequences. Also, in the end, the bad guys are defeated not through the heroic efforts of a single individual, but by people working together.