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Saturday, November 24, 2007

On 22-Nov-2007, Benjamí Villoslada won the first prize in the hacker short story competition run by the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC). His friend and colleague Ricardo Galli, translated it from Catalan into Catillian Spanish and I am translating it here into English. These two hackers are responsible for the web site meméame, the Spanish equivalent of digg.


[Translation of pOwned! by Benjamí Villoslada as translated by Ricardo Galli on 22-Nov-2007.]

The hacker in the black T-shirt with the "there's no place like" logo was sure: he had a serious security problem. He knew this when the girl in the T-shirt with coloured stripes, eight to be exact, asked him for his digital key at the key-exchange event at the close of the free software conference.

He saw the colour of her eyes before he saw the eight colours of her T-shirt. They were so dark he could hardly make out her pupils. He looked for them because he was inquisitive by nature. It only took a couple of seconds for him to realise that she was also staring at him, with tenderness and, feeling disturbed, he looked away. The hacker in the black T-shirt would never have dared to look her in the eyes deliberately to impress her; he was not confident enough and was shy. But this had happened by chance. It was he who was impressed and he knew that he would soon be at risk of a serious security problem. He returned, without too much success, to the subject of the digital key.

"Do you want to see my ID number to check?" he asked.

"I don't want to see it."

"But when I write to you, you will not know if it is me, or someone else."

"I'll know."

"OK, at least show me your ID card."

"I never carry it. ID documents are only good for destroying privacy."


"If I write to you, you will know it's me."

While saying goodbye to the girl with the T-shirt with coloured stripes, he took her wrist to read the time on her digital watch. It was 10:26 PM.

When the hacker in the black T-shirt returned home, he signed all the GnuPG keys that he had collected and continued downloading his e-mail. A ciphered message came in from 8colors. GnuPG told him that the signature was trustworthy. The message only contained an attached file, which he saved on his disk to check that it was an image:

nil@fenix:~/tmp$ file 8colors.png 
8colors.png: PNG image data, 278 x 348, 8-bit/color RGB,

He could open it with the display program. He didn't even have to load an editor like The Gimp into memory to see the image. He saw ten very dark eyes in two rows: four on the first row and six on the second. He could only distinguish five pupils. From bottom to top and from right to left, the second pupil indicated a 2 in binary, the fourth an 8: the first row added to 10. In the bottom row, the second pupil indicated a 2, the forth 8 and the fifth 16. 2 + 8 + 10 = 26. It was her.

He replied to the message, “on Thursday I'll be at the install party in Can Majoral. See you there?”

The hacker in the black T-shirt with the "there's no place like" logo was a man of few words. He could express himself much better in code. His friends, mates and acquaintances, none of them hackers, told him that he would end up alone, fat and alienated. But he was sure he wouldn't. He would soon find someone who would be able to appreciate his code. He wasn't a metrosexual, but a codisexual. He was convinced from the time he had made a free interpretation applied to himself of the sapiosexual entry in

"I want an incisive, inquisitive, insightful, irreverent mind. I want someone for whom philosophical discussion is foreplay. I want someone who sometimes makes me go ouch due to their wit and evil sense of humor. I want someone that I can reach out and touch randomly. I want someone I can cuddle with.

I decided all that means that I am sapiosexual."


He had had a couple of experiences but all had ended in a security problem. He was afraid that this would happen again with the girl of the T-shirt with coloured stripes, but he had said he would be at the install party in Can Majoral. It wasn't a formal appointment, but if it were, the 'pupils code' was a huge indicator for two sapiosexuals. Or codisexuals; it was the same thing.

The hacker in the black T-shirt with the "there's no place like" logo couldn't keep secrets from the person he loved. So, when the girl in the T-shirt with coloured stripes, not seven, nor nine, but exactly eight, gazed at him again, with tenderness, he told her that he loved her, and to prove it, he gave her his root password. It had happened again.


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