This week we decided to pay homage to a member of Geekdom's youth, knowing that kids 17 and under represent the majority of websurfers worldwide. So, it is with dubious pride that we introduce our latest subject, Bill S. (henceforth known as B.S.) from Massachusetts. "Bill" is a high school senior bored with standard academics and obsessed with deviant, high-tech thrill seeking. Warning: what you are about to read is the unsworn testimony of a whippersnapper hacker (we suggest that law abiding, censorial types log off now to avoid complicity in the facts to be recounted).
This interview is set up in a "Q & A" format to 1) preserve the integrity of the subject's statements 2) aid in the suspension of your disbelief 3) provide more blank space for you to bemoan, "So this is the future leadership of America?"
NW: How did your NerdLife evolve?
BS: My main [nerdly] characteristics are… frightening mathematical and computer abilities. These features, along with my somewhat insane sense of humor, have earned me the title "Satan" and "Lord of the Darkness" among my peers and enemies. Initially, I became interested in programming by learning TI-83 Basic on my own during math class. This gradually emerged into True Basic on the computer, and later Visual Basic. I developed extensive knowledge of Visual Basic, and this led me to other languages and general applications, including database design, Windows API programming, Active-X design, 3-D imaging and animation, web design, and OS structure. My hard drive is clouded with samples of code, miscellaneous functions, pieces of programs and complete applications.
NW: Describe your first computer.
BS: The first computer I ever owned was a high-tech gadget compared to the Commodores that were floating around just before that. It was a Packard-Bell with a Pentium-386, 4 megs of RAM, 200mb hard drive, incredibly slow CD-drive and Windows 3.0.
NW: Describe some of the cooler programming libraries you've used.
BS: Actually, I'm not really a fan of programming libraries unless I'm really stuck. However, I do like to study and use Active-X controls designed by other people, which tend to be complicated. Some of my favorite controls include an mp3 player, AVI player, form constructor, and a gradient coloring tool.
NW: Did you ever develop a real life hack?
BS: I have definitely had several hacks that the government wouldn't be very fond of, one of which has more entertainment value. At my high school, they run Apple Talk on a Mac network with the infamous "At Ease" and other security features. During my junior year I took a class held once a day in one of the computer labs. Unfortunately, I hardly knew anything about Macs. But I did know some networking and picked up the tricks of the system quite easily. Using the debugger, I eventually found a way to launch myself into the finder and proceeded to steal the preferences. For a couple of months, I was essentially running the school network, which provided a world of opportunities. I created new accounts for myself, viewed what people were doing at other schools in the area and saw what interesting sites some of the administrators "accidentally" looked at. However, my activities caught up with me when the network administrator noticed that I logged on and off my normal account a little too often. He wanted to expel me, but the principal did not end up doing anything at all about it.
NW: What's the most expensive piece of equipment you've ever fried?
BS: My uncle received a digital camera as a company promotion and he decided that it was ok for me to "experiment" with it. I was trying to figure out the drive mechanism and disk storage, when I noticed one of the wires in the camera floating around loosely. I don't know a great deal about electronics, but I decided it would be fun to solder the wire back together myself. Needless to say, the camera hasn't worked since and it probably never will again.
NW: What do you do for fun?
BS: I probably spend the majority of my spare time on the computer. However, I also enjoy hacky-sack and classic video games like Super Mario Brothers, Rampage, Pac-Man, Sonic the Hedgehog, Arkanoid. Of course, my main pleasure is scamming the government and large corporations.
NW: Do you have any role models?
BS: One of my nerd role models is a colleague and a good friend. I will just say that he is currently on probation and can't use the Internet as the result of this little misunderstanding he had with a major airport. An animal I definitely admire is the weasel. They are conniving, backstabbing vermin just like us nerds!
NW: How do you want to be remembered?
BS: I would like people to remember some revelation of mine, or some revolutionary idea. This may be something related to the computer industry or of a more philosophical nature.
Diabolical genius, or wayward youngster out for a joyride on the information superhighway? Either way, we bestow upon Bill S. the honor of being our first junior Nerd of the Week, hoping that such positive reinforcement will aim him toward highest achievement and the betterment of NerdKind.