My life has been surrounded by computers for as long as I can remember, and I’ve been programming them for just about the same amount of time.
I really clicked with programming as a craft, and many years later, I’m now working as a software engineer at Google. The whole world of computing is full of wonders, and I try to sample as much of this wide field as I can.
I have a list of my current projects, if you’re interested in seeing more of the stuff I’m up to at the moment.
Open source, open culture
Much of the hacking I do these days involves Open Source software.
If you do not know what open source is, I highly recommend reading about it. It is one of the hallmarks of the information age: never before in our history has information been so easy to share, and the open source community is a worldwide example of how knowledge and information exchanged freely multiplies and becomes far greater than the sum of its parts.
This causes tension, because information wants to be expensive and restricted as much as it wants to be free. Debates over copyright infringement, using loaded terms such as “piracy” and “theft”, is just the most publicized aspect of a much deeper divide created by our digital society.
I encourage you to check out what the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Question Copyright have to say about this, and to think about how you’d like our society to adjust to this new playing ground. If you want just one article to get you started, I recommend The Promise of a Post-Copyright World.
At some point in my programming and open source adventure, I flew so close to the hardware that I tripped and fell through the floor of software. It turns out that hardware is also a funny old world, and that it’s furthermore an interesting funny old world.
I’m not yet terribly good, but I can assemble a microcontroller board with peripherals from scratch, given time and equipment. I’m currently studying the zen of the lower levels of electronics, to try to attain the zen of computing: being able to build and program a computer from scratch.
If you don’t like flying, chances are you’ve only ever flown as a passenger of a commercial airline. If that is the case, here’s what you should do: find a flying club in your local vicinity, go there, and sign up for a trial flight. It’ll cost you about $100 for a taste of life in the pilot’s seat, and will help you understand why I want to learn to fly so badly.
My plans for flying are currently on hiatus pending other changes in my life, but I’ve already logged half a dozen hours, and can’t wait to get back into the sky for more.