More introduction (this time, the geek side)

I under­stand that self‐identifying as a geek in 2010 makes me nei­ther cool nor spe­cial, now that geeks are con­sid­ered… you know… cool and spe­cial. But hav­ing laid out my blog­ging cred, I’d still like to make the case for the geek side of the equa­tion (equa­tions being some­thing I actu­al­ly know very lit­tle about).

Yep, a dis­taste for math­e­mat­ics cur­tailed dreams of study­ing com­put­er sci­ence, or some­thing along those lines, in col­lege. Back in mid­dle school, how­ev­er, I was hap­pi­ly hack­ing BASIC in my school’s Apple //e lab. I had sort of a knack for it; in com­put­er class, I raced through the pack­et of pro­grams we were required to tran­scribe faster than any­one else, and began spend­ing my time writ­ing my own pro­grams, which would do things like tell my friend that his favorite foot­ball team sucked, repeat­ed­ly, through the mag­ic of 20 GOTO 10.

I didn’t real­ly apply this knowl­edge very well at the time; it would still be a cou­ple of years before I had a com­put­er at home. And even when I final­ly did, a com­plete­ly awe­some Pen­tium 166 MHz IBM Apti­va1 run­ning Win­dows 95, I didn’t quite know how to get start­ed pro­gram­ming on it.2

Anoth­er device appeared in my life a few years after the com­put­er; I received a TI‐83 graph­ing cal­cu­la­tor for use in Alge­bra II. I ini­tial­ly found that it made a great mobile Tetris machine, but it wasn’t until read­ing Bill Gates’ The Road Ahead, in which he recount­ed his ear­ly days pro­gram­ming prim­i­tive com­put­ers, that I found myself inspired to do more with it.3

The cal­cu­la­tor seemed like a good place to start pro­gram­ming, espe­cial­ly because the user man­u­al con­tained an entire chap­ter devot­ed to teach­ing the TI‐BASIC lan­guage! I picked this up pret­ty quick­ly, since I still remem­bered a lot of con­cepts from Apple BASIC. In my junior year of high school, I was soon writ­ing pro­grams to help me take short­cuts to solv­ing math and sci­ence prob­lems. But most impor­tant­ly, I want­ed to make games.

So I made a game. How I did so could be its own entry, and very well may be in the future.

This inspired me to sign up for the Com­put­er Pro­gram­ming I elec­tive in my senior year. They taught us Visu­al Basic, and the class was nei­ther inter­est­ing nor fun. This, paired with the real­iza­tion that study­ing com­put­er sci­ence in col­lege meant tak­ing lots of math (some­thing I’d always heard, but col­lege course cat­a­logs assured), made it clear that I should focus on the oth­er thing I liked doing: writ­ing.

I majored in com­mu­ni­ca­tions, and the rest is his­to­ry. Except for a fruit­less for­ay into Python a cou­ple of years ago, I haven’t pro­grammed much late­ly.

But I still embody, I think, the hack­er ethos. For me, 2005 could also have been called the myth­i­cal Year of Lin­ux on the Desk­top, thanks to the then‐nascent, but still quite amaz­ing, Ubun­tu dis­tri­b­u­tion. While it was alien to me, and didn’t quite ‘just work’ on my lap­top, I per­se­vered (smug Windows‐using friends would say I “suf­fered”) and use it to this day. I love Ubun­tu, and it still… almost just works.

Along the same geek lines, doing more with the devices I own seems to be a recur­ring theme in my life. These days. I car­ry in my pock­et a root­ed Android phone (run­ning Cyanogen­Mod), and at home have a homebrew‐enabled Nin­ten­do Wii and DS, a Canon Pow­er­Shot sport­ing CHDK, and Linksys routers run­ning the dd‐wrt and Toma­to firmwares. My (lack of) skill‐set means that you won’t find me help­ing the cause of hack­ing open a new device, but I’m glad to file the occa­sion­al bug. In short, I like to get as much as pos­si­ble out of my devices, includ­ing, quite lit­er­al­ly, my data. Back­up is a top­ic I’ll be com­ing back to, for sure.

I think that about sums up my geek side (and unin­ten­tion­al­ly makes a pret­ty good case for my navel‐gazing side).

  1. Mine looked exact­ly like the tow­er pic­tured there!
  2. Let’s remem­ber this when we talk about the iPad.
  3. My 2010‐self is a lit­tle embar­rassed by hav­ing drawn geek­spi­ra­tion from Bill Gates, but you’re read­ing a truth­ful blog.

An introduction

Hel­lo, Inter­net. It’s Everett, and I’m blog­ging. I’m sort of new at this.

And at the same time, I’m not.

See, it was 2001 when I first became aware of the fact that peo­ple on the Web were writ­ing reg­u­lar­ly updat­ed, reverse‐chronological con­tent about what they had for break­fast. I was a col­lege fresh­man. I took up my key­board and start­ed a blog1 that no longer exists, on a ser­vice that I didn’t like very much (but is still around today).

After a few months there, I start­ed a Live­Jour­nal that exists to this day, but hasn’t been reg­u­lar­ly updat­ed in a num­ber of years. I was once a paid user of Live­Jour­nal, an acknowl­edged con­trib­u­tor to the project and, sim­ply, a humon­gous fan.

Some­thing changed in my life, a few years lat­er, around the time I fin­ished col­lege. Per­haps I no longer felt the need to tell the world what I was hav­ing for break­fast (of course, today that’s Twitter’s job), or maybe my life got a lot less note­wor­thy (if it had ever been). Maybe LiveJournal’s mul­ti­ple changes in own­er­ship tar­nished its image. Or maybe all the cool kids moved on to pure social net­work­ing ser­vices, which were com­ing of age at that point.

It was prob­a­bly a com­bi­na­tion of these things, plus anoth­er big one: I was hired to work in a public‐facing role at blogging/social networking/photo sharing/etc. ser­vice extra­or­di­naire Multiply.com. To be clear, Mul­ti­ply didn’t silence me; I made sure I was allowed to con­tin­ue blog­ging else­where before tak­ing the posi­tion. But hav­ing a real job, one that had me among oth­er things, blog­ging, sim­ply wasn’t con­ducive to after‐hours blog­ging.

With all of this in the past, I think it’s time I start blog­ging again. Everyone’s cat has a blog, in which they dis­cuss what they ate for break­fast, so why don’t I?

Okay, now I do.

  1. Though I was at the time unaware of the term “blog,” which was by no means in com­mon use in 2001