That Inner Geek

Getting a shiny new computer has really augmented my desire to play with all sorts of tech. [1] I picked up issues 1-3 of Make at Powell’s Tech last week. I’m eager to get a soldering iron and a Dremel and start trying some of these things out.

There’s a funny thing I’ve been noticing, reading Make. Most of the projects come across as being surprisingly accessible. This is probably the first time ever that I’ve looked at this sort of content and thought, “Wow, that’s really cool. I could figure out how to do that.”

So I’ve been trying to sort out why soldering or building circuits has always seemed intimidating and difficult, when I have lots of weird complicated hobbies already. And I think it comes down to this: no one ever stopped and told me, “Hey Audrey, let’s learn how to solder today.” Or “this circuit is just a little more complicated than that lab assignment you had in physics class”. And later when I talked to people who were tinkering with electronics, they tended to act like this was innate knowledge they just happened to have. [2]

It’s a fairly recent development that I’ve concluded I can learn pretty much anything I want as long as I start from the beginning, even if I have to dig to find out where to start. I’m sad it’s taken so long, I could have been making cute little blinky lights ages ago if I’d realized.

[1] The strongest evidence of this is that I’ve whipped through all of Learning Perl in just over a week. Fun stuff.

[2] When I’m around people who express an interest in knitting, I try very hard to do the exact opposite, to explain that all knitting is a variation on one simple step. If the kick-ass colorwork Lucas has taken up is any indication, this approach seems to be working.

2 responses to “That Inner Geek

  1. Someday we will be in the same place and I will get you to teach me to knit in exchange for…um, something.

    Would you recommend make? I was thinking about getting a subscription for my sister-out-law for Christmas.

  2. Randal L. Schwartz

    After Learning Perl, did you go on to Learning Perl Objects, References and Modules?