Here's a thing that's been going around LiveJournal.
Leave me a comment saying "Resistance is Futile."
• I'll respond by asking you five questions so I can satisfy my curiosity
• Update your journal with the answers to the questions
• Include this explanation in the post and offer to ask other people questions
I don't really dig telling other people what to blog, so if you like please feel free to just post your answers in the comments to this post instead.
Now then, I swiped this from Tottenkoph, who asked me:
1. How'd you get involved with Off the Hook?
I think that came about because of a number of factors.
Long story short: I'd known Emmanuel and the crew for ages via our 2600 meetings and the HOPE conferences. After years of volunteering for odd jobs at HOPE and doing the odd presentation, I ended up joining the core staff of The Last HOPE. That led to hanging out with the crew more, sitting in the studio during the show now and then, and eventually being invited on mic. At first it was to talk about HOPE, and if you look up the episodes from around then in the archive you can clearly hear I had no idea WTF I was doing on a live radio broadcast of a show that'd helped to change my life years before (more on that in my answer to the next question) but I eventually got more comfortable with it. It's been and continues to be an absolute blast.
2. What got you interested in hacking/phreaking?
Long story long: Ever since I was a small child I've been fascinated by how things work. As soon as I could hold a screwdriver I was taking apart my toys. I was glued to science programs more than cartoons. Typical nerdy 80s kid.
In the mid 1980s my family was pretty damned poor, but my mom had the foresight to somehow scrape up the cash for a home computer; a brand spanking new TRS-80 Color Computer. I remember the trip to Radio Shack, I was around 8 or 9 years old. They had a demo TRS-80 running some game or other the Radio Shack salesman taught me how to control, and I was really excited at the prospect of getting one of these things for myself. My mom talked with the salesman about how advanced I was in school, etc. while I played around on the demo. Then I dragged my mom over to the game cartridges, figuring we'd have to get some of these to go with my new computer; being a veteran of Atari consoles I knew how these things worked. However, that Radio Shack guy did something that tangibly altered the course of my life; he handed my mom a couple of BASIC manuals instead. One was kid-level with BASIC games you had to type into the machine to play, and the other was the extra-fat manual which actual programmers used. I remember actually being a bit disappointed, until the salesman explained to me that there were more games in those two books than there were on the whole shelf of cartridges, and the books would even teach me how to make my own games.
Sooo, this led me to teach myself BASIC out of these books, which of course led to the realization that I could change the code to make the games work differently. I also figured out the basics of making my own programs. There were also graphics programs, and since I was already addicted to drawing I jumped at the opportunity to draw with my computer. I learned that the real possibilities of this wonderful machine were in changing and creating, not just passively using, and I never looked back.
I'll always wish I could track down that Radio Shack guy; he must have recognized that spark of a potential geek and figured out how to best encourage me on that path.
As for getting involved in the public hacker scene, that actually came about from finding Off the Hook on my radio dial. I was not a social creature at all as a teenager (I dont think the term "brooding and disaffected" really begins to cover it) but I was hooked on BBSes, and later email discussion lists and message boards. Happening upon Emmanuel and the others talking openly about hacking and phreaking stuff had really been the first thing to drive the fact home to me that there was indeed a living breathing scene out there in the real world full of geeks like me, and eventually led to me venturing nervously out to my first 2600 meeting to be a part of it all.
3. Have you ever presented/are you interested in presenting?
I've co-presented a couple of HOPE panels with my pals from Phone Losers of America, but those aren't traditional presentations so much as us being totally random and making teh funny while playing our old pranks. I remain interested in doing that sort of thing again, as well as some other stuff I have half an idea to do. Watch this space.
4. Are you going to NOTACON this upcoming year?
I truly hope so! I absolutely loved Notacon, and have resolved to go to every one I can from now on.
5. What is the newest thing you've put on your iPod?
I have no iPod, just a $10 USB stick that plays audio. The last thing I added to it was this pair of mashup albums.