The modern magician

I was about 10 years old when I first repaired a computer. To be perfectly sincere I should probably admit that I might have been the culprit of the malfunction of the mentioned computer in the first place.

At that time my father was an insurance salesman and he bought a state of the art super expensive laptop with Windows 3.11 and somehow it broke, …on my hands…, which at the moment was almost a tragedy for my father. He looked at me very mad and told me; you broke it, you fix it. I was sick that week so I skipped school and spent the whole day trying to fix the computer and by the time my father came back from work, it was working properly.

Oh, I felt so good that day. But I wasn’t completely sure of what I did. I remember having read almost a whole manual on DOS. But the important thing was that something change inside of me, from that day on I tried to understand everything could about computers. A couple of years later I started programming with HTML and at the age of 16, I received a phone call from the local internet service provider saying that if I continue “illegally accessing those servers” I would get my account closed and that they would give us a fine.

It's been many winters since that phone call and I don’t do hacking anymore. Not because of new moral standards but basically because the main reason for me to hack in those days was to access porn site and I have already overcome puberty and also because I was so afraid of getting into trouble that I lose all practice. It’s true that I became a proficient computer user but for a couple of years, that was it. A boring user with nothing more than an incredible ability to do spread sheets.

In my mid-20s, I rediscovered programming through Python. Learned about the Linux community and from that on I got impressed with Arduino, the Raspberry Pi, and the fairly new Swift programming. It’s not like I’m a good programmer or anything, I have actually attempted to do something useful many times and failed miserably, I haven’t been able to put my first app in the App Store and I don’t think that I have done anything in a field that I genuinely love. But with all that said, I still noticed that I’ve become a magician.

From the things that I’ve done, I made a program to calculate my calories while going up and down in my stairs and the program speaks to me. It’s ugly, it’s buggy but is incredible. I made another program to play a long lost game from childhood, again, buggy, maybe ugly and definitely useless but a brilliant piece of software in the sense that makes me happy and that make all my friend believe that I’m some kind of genius or, you guess it, some kind of magician.

If you would like to learn to program, my best suggestion is that you go to edx.org and look for Harvard’s CS50. [edx.org/course/introduction-computer-science-harvardx-cs50x#!] .The class is free unless you want an official certification. Also, a new course is starting today! Visit: cs50.harvard.edu The class is super hard but doable and it can literally change your life.

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