Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Love at First Byte

Monday morning I turned twenty-eight years old.  Bleh, I'm not ready to be twenty-eight.  Granted, twenty-seven wasn't as great as twenty-six, but it sure as heck beats twenty-eight!.  That leaves me only one year and three hundred sixty-three days between now and the "Event Horizon", aka My Thirtieth Birthday.  Why am I not ready for it?  Well, the problem with thirty is you're supposed to have your act together.

In 1998, I was starting 7th grade and I began playing a sci-fi computer strategy game called Starcraft.  SC has since exploded into a hugely popular e-sport with millions of players and fans around the world.  But back then, it was a relatively new thing, and I spent a lot of time developing stratagems and studying the game's intricacies.  It wasn't long until I formed a star wars-themed "clan" (club of gaming nerds) on Blizzard's multiplayer network  As the clan administrator, I felt it was necessary to have some place outside of the game to post rules and have group discussions.  So, I started my very first website, hosted on, the path to which I've long forgotten.  This is where my story begins.

My website was a hideous thing by today's standards, but I was very proud that I didn't use a page editing program to do it.  I used plain ol' Windows Notepad and a tutorial on HTML to write that sucker.  It had nested frames, a hit counter, and a guestbook.  It even had a watermarked image of a galaxy that I was particularly proud of.  I literally felt like I knew what it was to be a hacker (sad, but true) the first time I looked at my page in source code.  I thought I was going to be the next Bill Gates.  How lofty are a 14-year-old's delusions of grandeur!

Well, sometimes life takes a more meandering route than we'd like.  Here I am today.  The deadline for becoming a billionaire genius-super-coder is long past.  I'm not a hacker, I'm not a coder, I'm not even an IT professional.  But still my interest persists.  I read programming tutorials and watch lectures on algorithms even though I don't have a clue what they're saying.  I'll read a particularly clever-seeming blog post and think, yeah, that could have been me.  

The fact is, that was true then and it's true now.  I'm giving myself two years to learn the skills necessary to get me into a career working with what interests me the most: computers.  I'm going to learn on my own as much as possible.  For me, writing helps me wrap my head around difficult topics.  This blog will be maintained as an open notebook for interesting things I come across, epiphanies, "doh" moments, and for posting snippets of code.  I am prepared to write a million "I don't get it" posts.  Hopefully, there'll be as many "Aha!" posts to go along with them.  And, I think people can profit from seeing my mistakes, as I have from so many others.

This is it.  The Event Horizon.  I'm probably going to feel dumber than I ever have in my life, but I've used up enough time feeling stupid.  Now, all I have left is serious.  It's time to get busy.

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