Thursday, March 18, 2010

Nerd Word of the Week: Bricked

IMG_4763Image by tinney via Flickr
Bricked (adj.) - Term for an electronic device that has been rendered nonfunctional by an internal kill switch, thereby making it as interactive as a brick. Bricked is most often applied to mobile phones that have been shut down by their carriers, typically in response to users trying to unlock or enhance the features of the phone (known as jailbreaking). Larger devices can also be bricked, but the term isn't often used to describe products that are actually bigger than a masonry brick.

I bring it up because of something that happened in Austin, Texas this week. No, not at South by Southwest, though there were surprisingly fewer quasi-bricked iPhones there this year thanks to AT&T getting their network off its ass for the festival. Nor does it involve the also brick-laden shooting prowess of the Texas Longhorns men's basketball squad, which managed to take a former #1 ranking and turn it into a #8 seed in the NCAA Tournament. No, in Austin this week, a disgruntled employee actually managed to brick 100 cars by hacking the theft-deterrence system of his employer, Texas Auto Center. Basically, a local version of OnStar turned on its human masters and rendered several dozen cars and trucks into multi-ton paperweights.
Enhanced by Zemanta