…There is a notion that when I buy a book, it’s mine to do with what I want. I can give it to a friend, sell it in a second-hand shop; I can tear pages out, scribble on it, use it as a doorstop or a bug-smashing instrument. I can even photocopy pages for my personal use. Since I was a child, I had applied this intuitive definition of ownership to hardware. I’ve always felt empowered to take apart hardware and rip-mix-and-sometimes-burn, much to my parent’s chagrin. Hardware to me is like a book: in fact, much of the technology used to make hardware relies on similar lithographic and printing processes. A PCB isn’t a “Printed Circuit Board” for nothing. You can open and read hardware like a book; to me a schematic and a circuit board or IC layout are expressing the same idea, just translated in different languages.
…when I first punctured the warranty seal on the Xbox with my screwdriver, I had no idea I was about to embark on a journey to become a pioneer. But as they say, ‘you can tell the pioneers — they have the arrows coming out of their back’. But really, all I’ve done since then is just stand my ground and defend my little log cabin, built out of simple notions that are as old as the first trade of eggs for grain.
I believe you have the right to tinker and take things apart, which is an essential prerequisite to owning something; and I believe that ideas are most powerful when they are set free and shared openly. While the lines that define the electronic frontier are constantly changing, we need not be victims of circumstance: take a stand, and be a pioneer.
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I used to be a pioneer like you, then I took an arrow to the knee.