Hacking Rhetoric

Sandbox Hack – Artist Statement

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I was assigned to hack Woody for my sandbox hack. I had a very difficult time figuring out Woody’s password. I first went through the hints of potential password categories and used any information I could find on Woody’s Facebook to crack the password. But because of Woodpress’s password security protocols, it wouldn’t let me use this plug and chug method very many times. Then Woody posted a hint, “My password is the city I was born in. don’t forget the “1″ after the city name”. At this point all I knew about Woody is that he was born in China (from his first blog post), but no where had he posted the exact city he was born in. I could also not find any of this information on any of his social media. So I began the plug and chug method again using the largest cities in China with a 1 after it. After going through the top 30 cities based on population (and getting locked out the of login screen several times) I eventually gave up as there are over 800 cities in China. Eventually Woody posted his password hint number 2, “I was born in a city about 140 km east of Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong. Google map might help but make sure you don’t confuse cities with districts.” I took his advice and used Google maps to find out that he was born in Huizhou.

I decided to hack Woody’s third blog which talked about how he had never used Siri up until he discovered some Siri suggestions on hackerlife.com. I decided to hack his post by converting the entire text into Siri’s voice.

My first instinct was to use Siri on my actual iPhone to have her speak Woody’s post, but I couldn’t figure out a method to record the voice digitally. I then figured out that Siri’s voice is a built in Apple voice that can be downloaded into your system preferences. This voice was called “Samantha” and I proceeded to download and install the file into my preferences. I then used Terminal (Mac OS’s built in console application) to make my computer speak Woody’s text. I did this with the command “say” along with –o and “filename” plus Woody’s blog text. This automatically saved an audio file of the spoken Siri text to my computer. I then converted the file to an mp3 using an online converter and uploaded the file onto Soundcloud. You can listen to the mp3 at the following link:


My main reasoning for hacking Woody the way I did was purely because I wanted to transform the text in an unusual way. I didn’t want to edit or delete his blogs, but rather I wanted to completely transform his post into something new, much like how I converted my hacking paper to Morse Code. I soon found Woody’s post about Siri and knew right away that it should be converted to Siri’s voice.

This hacking experience for me was somewhat frustrating but yet exhilarating. Although I was frustrated that I couldn’t figure out his password without substantial assistance (but seriously a random city in China is pretty dang obscure as far as passwords go) actually performing the hack was both exciting and a little scary. Even though I knew that everything I was doing was perfectly legal, and I had complete permission to do it via the class, something about typing in someone else’s username and password and editing a blog as that person made the whole experience very edgy.


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