The Hacking Matrix

We took 25 of the biggest hacking stories we've published and assessed them along two dimensions: innovation and impact

1 min read

Some hackers use software and hardware to express themselves creatively—either solving entirely novel technical challenges or finding new ways to skin the same old cats. Others are motivated by money, power, politics, or pure mischief. They steal identities, deface Web sites, and break into supposedly secure and certainly sensitive databases.

We at IEEE Spectrum have written dozens of stories about both—the Steampunkers and Arduino do-it-yourselfers, on the one hand, the Anonymous and Lulzsec ne’er-do-wells on the other. Inspired by New York Magazine’s Approval Matrix, we took 25 of the biggest and best stories and assessed them along two dimensions: innovation and impact. (Last updated 6 July 2011)

Infographic showing how hacks compareMark Montgomery & Josh Romero

Read all the stories:

Open Source Warfare


IMF Breach

Facebook Hackathon

The UFO Hacker

Epsilon's Data Breach

Sony PSN Data Breach

RSA Compromised


Greek Cellphone Caper

Kinect-enabled Robots

Torturing Secure Chips

RFID Hacking

Open Source GSM Hack

Goldmining: Playing Dirty

Steampunk Contraption Creators


Canon Hacker Development Kit

Sony PS3 Jailbreak


Texas Instruments vs Calculator Hackers

MIT Student Hacks

Valve Battles Cheaters

Hacking Honeybees

Palin's Emails Hacked

Anonymous DDoS

The Conversation (0)

The Ultimate Transistor Timeline

The transistor’s amazing evolution from point contacts to quantum tunnels

1 min read
A chart showing the timeline of when a transistor was invented and when it was commercialized.

Even as the initial sales receipts for the first transistors to hit the market were being tallied up in 1948, the next generation of transistors had already been invented (see “The First Transistor and How it Worked.”) Since then, engineers have reinvented the transistor over and over again, raiding condensed-matter physics for anything that might offer even the possibility of turning a small signal into a larger one.

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