So, I guess this is where my intro goes...
I don't really know where to start. Chronologically? I've been taking things apart and "fixing" them since I was 5 or 6. When I say fix, I mean leaving it sitting around, partially disassembled, and always missing 2 or 3 screws (Come on, really... Unless it's a ground or load-bearing, are they REALLY that important?)
That pretty much continued until '94, when my parents got sick of my friend and me taking things apart, accidentally blowing things up, and coming home with random items from the local Home Depot and Radio Shack and wreaking havok in our back yard. So, they bought me my own PC. We had a 486dx for a while, which I played Wolfenstein on when I got "Nintendo thumb," but this was a Pentium! 75 mhz! 8MB of ram! A 1GB hard drive! A MODEM!
So I would tinker with it, eventually have to call gateway support, and they would talk me through resetting my bios or whatever. The fact that they had me doing everything was what got me into computers. I met some friends in middle school that were into the same ideas. Dialup BBS, DTMF decoders, payphones and acoustic couplers, finding a coveted Captain Crunch whistle, etc. We would always get together and read the latest quarterlies, listen to Goldstein on OTH, and try to build things that never actually worked out of a copy of the cookbook that we passed around on floppies. My favorite source was Happyhacker.org, which, oh my god, still exists and looks exactly the same!
In my high school we lucked out and had a computer programming class that ran all the way through AP CS. I finished them all in two years, became a teacher's aid, captain of our programming team, and went to work on my own 3D graphics engine in C++ and inline assembly. I took some pieces from "Tricks of the Game Programming Gurus", I admit lol. We also got into linux at that time. Being a kid that cut grass for parts, I had to do everything on the cheap, so I got into overclocking. My first Celeron 300A was my baby. After upgrading to a Monster secondary GPU and after the release of Half Life and Unreal, my interests forked off into game programming and theory. My dream was always getting my degrees in CS, math, and physics, and building physics engines. Lol. Almost 15 years later, I'm still a triple major at UCF trying to make that happen. Counter Strike, Ultima Online, and and World of Warcraft kind of slowed things down. Oh, and my son, too :-D
(tl;dr childhood hacking, mmorpgs ruin your life, and having kids changes priorities)
Along the ride of life, I got more into theoretical and astrophysics, and pulled away from programming. I started amateur rocketry with rocket candy and eventually AN/HTPB. I'd like to learn more of the electronic theory and circuitry work to make some really awesome rocket-powered projects. I want to get back into programming. Right now I'm in cellular phone repair. I kind of fell into it. I took a break from classes in 2010, which meant I had to come down off the high of grants and student loans and find a job. CDMA flashing was starting to get popular, so anyone that could clone a cell phone was pretty valuable at the time. I started as a tech and my main focus was software, but started doing hardware repairs. The days of people paying $125 for their phone to be flashed, rooted, or jailbroken are over, so I've moved into management over the last few years. It's pretty stressful sometimes, so I'd like to start doing hobby/side projects to unwind.
I heard about you guys when planning a trip to Defcon (I do every year, but never go.) I saw that there was a group that met at FamiLab. I checked out the classes on your site, and I've been dying for someone to teach me how to solder properly for the longest time. I mean, I can get the job done, but it's never to my liking. Also, I don't have a garage at the moment and nobody ever seems ok with me pulling 20kv transformers into the living room or cooking rocket fuel in the kitchen...
So having a space to do things, bounce ideas off of people, and actually have someone around to ask for help when I hit a wall would be awesome. Last night was like I was in a playground. My son, a minecraft addict, also has a lot of me in him. Hell, he IS me lol. I'd like to get him involved with the young makers. He's turning 8, in gifted classes, and needs more things to do. We're always trying to find ways to challenge him, and I think the environment would be perfect. I just really felt like... hell, like I found people like me last night.
I'll be at some classes with my papers for sure, and maybe even relapse with my bawls addiction :-)
Thanks again, guys. I had a blast.
Edit: because grammar and fat fingers