Thursday, April 22, 2010

Fear and Hacking

Slowly I get around to reacting to things on the internet, This article is from January, but I don't think that it is any less relevant several months later. Some time ago Americans started to fear creativity, anything that required skills that where odd was not to be trusted. Growing up in Idaho offered me some very interesting experiences that I am not sure the more gentrified of the suburban city dwelling people all around us had. I have played with Black Powder bombs, helped make cannons, known people with coal forges. In High school I had the opportunity to take intro to electronics, learned to solder and built an FM transmitter. I don't find anything about creating just to learn how to as odd. Learning new skills, pushing to combine those skills is not only normal but a habit that we should be encouraging in our children. The boy referenced in the story is likely to continue creating, but his peers are not. The crisis that likely convinced the boy he was onto something made him an outsider, something to be feared, not something to be emulated. Its a shame.
I remember in college buying Hacking the Xbox: An Introduction to Reverse Engineeringmy girlfriend at the time (now wife) thought that I had lost my mind because I wanted to softmod my Xbox. Most of the time the devices that we buy are purposefully limited in what they can do, the urge to create the world that we want to be is noble. I hope that the efforts of Hackaday, and Make Magazine can help to educate that boys peers that what he was doing is neither too complicated, nor to dangerous to seriously pursue as hobby and life path.

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