Something like seven years ago, in the days of yore when my older brother was in college and I was not, said older brother spun me a tale so fantastic that it captured my imagination for years, affecting the fervor with which I pursued more knowledge of computers.

Our older sister and her husband had been visiting him in his college dorm, and, like any self-respecting nerd, her husband wanted to get on the Internet. My brother offered to type in his username and password to allow him to access the Internet, but he declined, saying it wasn’t 1337 enough.

For the uninformed, 1337 (pronounced “leet”) is a way of saying “cool” in reference to computery things. For instance, “I just built an awesome gaming box! It’s so hardcore 1337!”

Instead of doing it the easy, normal way, my brother tells me, he changed his laptop’s hardware signature to match my brother’s computer, so when he connected to the school Internet, it allowed him on without additional credentials.

This story undoubtedly helped play a part in the year of my life when I learned more, ahem, hacktivities than any other. In particular, it helped motivate me to start using Linux (which isn’t only for people who like computery things, but nonetheless).

Today, I was sitting at work remembering hearing this story. That’s when I suddenly realized: I can do that now! I know how to change my “hardware signature,” also called a MAC address, to match another computer! I am the next generation! I am 1337!