This little guy is a design piece crafted by Troika for an installation in MoMA. The idea behind this little devil is that the device when placed into a mac, installs the newton virus on the machine. This is a truly outmoded type of virus in that its design is much more akin to a prank than the current crop of mercenary incarnations.

The newton virus, circa 2005, makes all of the visual elements on the Mac’s screen fall to the bottom of the desktop, as if affected by gravity. Then using the accelerometer internal to the Powerbooks, er Macbooks, it adjusts the positioning of the icons and clutter in relation to your tilting of the machine. truly masterful work.

In the early days of virus writing it was not uncommon for virus to do no damage to the actual computers that they ran on. At most they would be considered irritating, no self replication, no damage. Innocent fun. This was much like the early state of hacking in where people did it to do it. They got into systems that they were not supposed to. They exploited weaknesses in the system to showcase their skills.

I’m not saying that there does not exist a community of people who trend towards the good uses of hacking, and I’m honestly not trying to wax poetic about the glory days. there are groups of people out there who just search for holes in the system, and submit those holes to the vendor to be fixed. It might just be that the bad apples always get better or more publicity. This entire exercise is using an Art installation to look into the current states of affairs in the Hacking community and lament the passing of a more innocent age.

Its truly a shame that the current batch of virus writers, and hackers trend towards destruction and greed when it comes to employing their craft. You have to wonder how society has changed in the past twenty years that made the massive paradigm shift possible from harmless fun to wanton destruction.