considering that hacking is simply exploration, it is certainly not restricted to computers alone although it usually revolves around technology. we must respect the law (as well as people's privacy), but we must also question the system and attempt to find flaws in the system.
hacking goes far beyond code and therefore one doesn't necessarily need to know the slightest thing about programming in order to be a hacker. for example, a hacker once figured out that the whistle you got in a box of captain crunch cereal had the same tones used by a major long-distance telephone company. you know when you dial a number on a payphone; sometimes you hear little tones before the call goes through? imitating these tones resulted in free phone calls; this is referred to as "red-boxing" and is only one example of phreaking. another example could be re-wiring the phones in your house to be off the hook even when they're on the hook at the command of a switch, letting you eavesdrop on other people's conversations. why not pick up a hand-held cellular phone jammer (they're not too pricey, and a nice tool to have with you at the movies when you know some prick will forget to turn off their phone, now you can do it for them)?
i actually got to see a red-box in action during my early teen years: an out-of-town hacker (who i didn't know was a hacker at the time) was visiting and created a red-box from a tone-dialer he bought at radio shack. it looked like a hand-held calculator with an ear piece instead of an lcd (liquid crystal display). he showed me how it worked on a mall payphone and then tried to sell it to me but i wasn't sold (having an assembled red-box is a federal offence; that is, if anyone can figure out what it is). nowadays you can download dial tones off the net and onto your mp3 player. telephone companies have implemented better security measures to prevent red-boxing; for example payphones might have the microphone turned off or muted until your money has been deposited; however, with a little research these things can still be modified.
barcodes, which can sometimes be deciphered and reprinted to increase the savings on a coupon or the like, are another good example of hacking off-line. rfid (radio frequency identifier) technology is the hyped-up replacement for barcodes: these are devices so small that they can be hidden just about anywhere. the whole idea for the future here is that people won't even need to see a cashier before leaving a store, but rather the frequency will be picked up on their way out; the rfid tags will tell the store what items they're carrying, and similar technology would be used to automatically deduct the amount owed from their credit. there is a lot of potential (and danger) here.
then there is "the art of hacking, without hacking." i will explain with an on-line example; however the same concept can be used off-line as well. virtual chat rooms, which are rooms where you get a little character to control and you can walk around and talk to other animated characters kind of like a video game, can be fun. one time while minding my business in a virtual chat, some character named geno (which i later found out stands for galactic empire of a new order) showed up, and then another showed up, and another, each with random numbers after their name… before i knew it, the entire place was crawling with genos and all the characters tended to dress alike as well. the funny thing is that the majority of them didn't even know each other. somebody got the bright idea to start this gang, and wouldn't ya know it; people are trendy. needless to say the owners of the chat weren't too pleased. the system wasn't compromised, but their entire chat was taken over regardless.
televisions share common codes for remote controls; you can program a remote to work on any station (or even get your hands on a remote control wrist-watch or key-chain) and change the channels at your local electronics store (or heaven forbid messing with the super-bowl viewers at your local pub). garage door openers also share a common frequency; you can drive down the street (with your own garage door opener) and open random garages. how about fast-food restaurants? they use a radio to communicate with the people driving through, and hackers have tapped into them to make crude/humorous comments to customers. if you have a bright enough spot light, you can shut off street lights (they're light sensitive). the all powerful bic pen can act as a skeleton key, as the cylinder shaped body fits perfectly into circular locks commonly found on bikes, arcade games, vending/soda machines, change machines, etc. you can even find out what info they're storing about you on your credit card.
you want to steal music? it's easy. no matter what form of media these commercial idiots embed their copyrighted songs into, you can still extract it. go to radio shack; get yourself an audio-dubbing cable, plug one end into the "output" on your computer and the other end into the "input" on your stereo (or another computer). whatever noise comes through your speakers, you own, and you can transfer it back onto your computer in any format you want. that's just a generic example. in other words, if you can hear it (audio) or you can see it (video) then there is no possible way to prevent you from ripping it. this is why you can often download movies before they hit theaters (somebody made a home video); of course you'll usually have to suffer horrible quality but obviously people don't seem to care much about that considering they continue doing it. video killed the radio star, but the internet pwn3d the video star.
"dumpster-diving" can be useful for a lot of things, such as computer parts, financial records, pizza, etc. you'd be surprised what some people throw away, and you'd be even more surprised what lengths people will go through to get their hands on it (or what they can do with it).
traffic lights, security systems, the self-checkout lane, et cetera. the list can go on forever. people say the internet is like the wild west (uncontrolled anarchy) but "hello" umm, take a closer look; the internet is actually a very organized place compared to the rest of the world. the only reason it might appear to be chaotic is because you're only looking at what is on the surface. st00p-3d p33pl3. hackers run & operate the internet (they are the good guys), and that is a fact. it's impossible to rid the world of crackers, but we learn to co-exist and this is where the law (another system-in-progress) comes in.
overall, beating the system has but one result: an improved system; cheating the system is another story altogether. say it loud, and say it proud, "i d0n7 fix c0mpu73r5, i br34k t3hm!"