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Thursday, August 28th, 2008

The Curse of the Hacker

Categories: [ Grumbling ]

hacker_emblem There is a curse of the hacker. What I mean here is hacker in its original sense, i.e., a person who modifies computer programs to adapt them to his (or her, and I'll stop with that just here) needs, or simply to fix bugs. I will extend the definition to any person having enough skills in a particular domain and who is able to do things by himself instead of requiring somebody else's services.

Having the skills to do something compells you to do it if you are not happy with what you already have. I'll take an example: I've build my leffakone because I wanted a device that can receive and record both analog and digital TV, automatically skip the commercials when watching the recordings, watch DVD, DivX and other more exotic video formats, play music in various exotic formats, watch pictures taken with my digital camera, play video games and videoconference with my parents. Two and a half years ago, there was no device on the market able to do all that, and there still is none that can read exotic video formats without some amount of fiddling. So I built mine. And it took a huge amount of time. I'm very happy with the result, it was a great hobby, but it still took lots of time.

More recently, I've started a blog (you noticed, didn't you?) and again I want my blog to do what I want it to do, not what the blogging system provider thinks I want to do with it. So I went on hacking the blog engine (it is free software, it is meant to be hacked). And it takes loads of time (especially since I'm trying to get the software do things it has never been meant to do, like multiple languages and multiple categories). The result is that I'm getting late to bed, and I'm perpetually tired (and the fact that my daughter randomly wakes me up in the middle of the night doesn't help either).

But I'm not only a software hacker, I'm a cooking hacker too. I want to make my own whatever-most-of-you-buy-ready-made-at-the-shop, such as chocolate-hazelnuts paste (under development), ice-cream (in the todo list), pizzas (in production), pesto (in production) and probably more things in the future.

But there is so little time! When will I have the time to do all this? Being skilled is definitely a curse.

[ Posted on August 28th, 2008 at 00:06 | no comment | ]