Limor (ladyada) told me a story from when she was in high school today that was so good, I asked her if we could share it on our blog (and I checked with Mudge and Kingpin too!) –
this past week, i’ve been spending a lot of time doing fun hacker-coding stuff with floppy disks. like many folks my age, i grew up using computers with floppy disk drives: c64’s, boxy macs, early pc’s, apple ii’s so, i started thinking a bit more about my first computers. back then, like it is now, i was made fun of or disbelieved when i told folks about the projects i was working on – lots of people saying girls just weren’t “really” into that kinda stuff! but i do have some great memories…
the high school i went to had a small IT department, and i would help out after school. i think i did simple stuff like wrapping cords, installing software on 50 computers in the lab, doing basic hardware swaps and repairs. or maybe i just played games – i’d like to think i was helpful 🙂
this was in 1997 or so, and the computer programming lab got a full renovation – used to be all apple 2’s (i thiiiink they were //gs but maybe they were //c’s?) and got converted to PCs. the old computers were all stacked in the basement cage when the IT director said that the school was going to toss them all out, but if i wanted some i could take them home before they were dumpstered. nobody was really using 2’s anymore by that time!
i was hanging out at the l0pht and other hacker spaces at the time, and i knew if there’s one thing that hackers *love* its free hardware! i contacted joe grand (a.k.a. kingpin) to let them know there was a great stash for picking, and joe came over to help dig through the pile. we fished out some of the best hardware and stacked it in front of the highschool quad. then Mudge (Peiter Zatko) pulled up in front of us in this INCREDIBLE BITCHIN BLACK MUSTANG COBRA. every high school kid who was outside smoking and skating stopped at once, and turned to look as i got in, with apple ii’s piled on my lap. i became the coolest person overnight (briefly), everyone wanted to know how i had a friend with such a great looking ride!
There are good people in the world, doing good and helping each other, we all get to decide if we’re going to be that person each day, I hope these stories we post will show the potential in all of us, that weirdo girl who likes computers – help make that spark that can make the next Ladyada, we need more of people like her out here. That person online, a “newbie” we were all beginners once, help them out – ya never know what they could become.
Pictured here, not THE car that Mudge had, but close from what I am told!