Hacking Rhetoric

Artist’s Statement

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The person I was in charge to hack was James. I was able to find his username quite easily because of his posts throughout the semester. However, the process of discovering his password took longer than I anticipated. I had searched on Facebook to see if he had a profile available, but it seemed like he did not use that system at all. The first hacking hint he gave in the blog post was to add the number fifty-five at the end. I assumed there would be more hints on the blog post after the Halloween date because I was not able to figure out which security question he had answered for his password. After Halloween, I had searched several days for new updates on his blog post, but nothing came up. It was during class that Beck had reminded everyone to look on Facebook or Twitter for more clues if there were not any on the blog itself. I had completely overlooked the fact that Twitter was also being used for hacking hints. Logging onto Twitter, I found his profile which said that he was a proud graduate of Taylor High School in Katy, TX. With this background information, I knew he had used his high school mascot and his favorite number as the password. I searched for Taylor on katyisd.org where I found the mascot on its About Us page.

When I finally gained access to his blog, there was a sense of accomplishment and curiosity to see what I could find. In this sense, I can see how hackers feel about treading onto someone else’s territory. However, once I had to decide on which post to hack, things became slightly difficult. He wrote a blog post on Twitter frustrating him and thought about it from a perspective as a hacker. I had a fleeting thought to transform his post from frustration to delight by altering his words. I started to feel guilty about changing anything on his posts because I did not want my hack to offend him. During this process, I wondered whether hackers feel any guilt or uneasiness about invading in other people’s property.

The blog post I chose to hack was the results of his life hack drinking apple juice every day before going to sleep. The original post had only stated that the apple juice was a success in giving him more dreams, and they are dreams he can remember in vivid detail. He also said that he would recommend this life hack to anyone because it is a healthy choice. Due to many people’s fascination about this life hack during class and on the blog, I decided to take things a little further and say that he plans to make a successful business out of this. I had also done additional research on the benefits of apple juice to make it more appealing to consumers of all ages. I explained that the reason why he had vivid dreams was due to the apple juice increasing his acetylcholine levels which affect REM sleep or deep sleep. Apple juice also has the benefits of slowing Alzheimer’s disease, reducing bad cholesterol levels, higher potassium levels, improving the functions of the intestines, and preventing certain cancers with antioxidants.

I attempted to make the business more realistic by producing a flyer I had created by using Microsoft Publisher for the first time. Throughout my education, I mainly used Microsoft Powerpoint, Excel, and Word. I knew that Publisher was mainly used to create advertisements, brochures, and flyers. So, I decided to try and learn how to use this program. It was intuitively user friendly for basic use. I was sure there were more advanced ways to create an advertisement, but I did not explore on it for very long. Since apple juice had so many benefits, I knew that it would appeal to many people of various ages. Younger kids would find it exciting to have more dreams to remember. Adults would like the healthy aspects of what the juice can do to help them fight diseases. I decided to create a flyer with bright colors and mainly advertise the benefit of apple juice is vivid dreams. I made “vivid dreams” be in rainbow colors to attract people’s attention along with a picture of fresh apple juice in a glass. I remember hearing from a professor that bright colors tend to attract people’s eyes. I came up with Dream Aid as the business name and also gave a telephone number. The details of the flyer like the telephone number, cost of delivery, and refund guidelines were in black text to make sure I got my point across without people being too mesmerized by the rainbow colors. I had additionally added a legal disclaimer stating that this flyer was only for educational purposes to avoid any trouble later on.

The rhetorical effect was that I hoped it would garner more attention to people outside of the class, and maybe someone would be interested in making an apple juice delivery business. There is not much choice when it comes to buying apple juice in grocery stores. I remember milk delivery to people’s houses every morning was very popular at one point. There were opinions floating around that milk in glass bottles tasted better than in processed plastic gallons. All in all, it became a fun experiment to experience hacking in a controlled friendly environment without repercussions.

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