In November's Discover Magazine:
1 Hacker originally meant “one who makes furniture with an ax.” Perhaps because of the blunt nature of that approach, the word came to mean someone who takes pleasure in an unconventional solution to a technical obstacle.
2 Computer hacking was born in the late 1950s, when members of MIT’s Tech Model Railroad Club, obsessed with electric switching, began preparing punch cards to control an IBM 704 mainframe.
3 One of the club’s early programs: code that illuminated lights on the mainframe’s console, making it look like a ball was zipping from left to right, then right to left with the flip of a switch. Voilà: computer Ping-Pong!
See "things" 4-20.