Monthly Archives: February 2012

to be someone who makes things.

I remember when I was 14 and I was studying to pass the exam to enter this technical school in Manaus[1], and I was trying to make the cut into the Computer Science high school. I know I was hoping to be like dad or one of my uncles[2], just because they were the guys who made things. I mean they could really handcraft electro-things. One could go to the music shop and buy a guitar. Dad would just go ahead and make one[3]. It was nothing too fancy, but they did make amplifiers, smart furniture, and other gadgetry just for the sake of it. Just because they could. I felt like being one of them, even though this was not a clear self-reading back then.

I did make the cut. I did joined that technical school. Full of the smartest kids at their preceding schools. Not one athletic type. Not one cheerleader/prom queen kind[4]. They, like myself, were all awkward, inward talkers, toe-staring,  asthma pumpers,  and so forth. A comfortable place.

Except for one little-but-growing seed of discomfort. A forehead wrinkling  sensation of this-is-not-ive-signed-up-for.

We started studying all sort of introductions to technology. I have this very clear memory of the first Relational Database Design class: The teacher sketched a cartoonish cloud on the white board. Then she inflated her lungs with the dense solemn atmosphere of the birth of new technicians and said “this is the real world”[5]. At this point, my hopes of being a guy who could really make things were none. My friends were all so excited about programming techniques, just-launched SDKs, coding contests and so forth. I liked it too, but it was the kind of liking that you just have to like whatever is left-over to like when people like something so much. If this last sentence makes any sense to you, we can be friends.

It would start to get better at anytime now. I know I had to keep going with the learning curve for programming logic, digital electronics, etc. I liked it. It was challenging. But I guess it was like one wanting to be rich not because of the money itself, but because of what it can buy. I mean, I liked conceiving the ideas, making software, experimenting computational concepts, but didn’t really worship a particular programming language or an IDE.

I guess what I am trying to say is that this blog should be about technology making and how this relates to any human aspect I may find interesting . It should be about how the things I code will relate to e.g. the productivity of my sleep. Or how the use of a certain mobile app could slow down the pace of information pollution making around me… I also have to say that I believe mobile phones are one of the most intimate pieces of technology there are. I should be delivering some of the experiments around here in the form of hand-sculptured apps.

Now here is one thing: I graduated from Computer Science. That will not give you a solid base on Psychology or Sociology. We are not crafted to think human interactions, communications, etc. So, whenever I am debating on any topic around human aspects, I will be sitting in the comfortable chair of ignorance[6].

I wish all content delivered here reflects unveiling truth, not to awe an audience, but hopefully to inspire or provoke debate on our technology-influenced condition.
FOOT NOTES
[1] – Just so you know where I am from. I did not think this was relevant to anyone reading this blog, until I started reading this  or this and etc.
[2] – They are all engineers. Dad was the first with mechanical engineering, then his three younger brothers followed him with electronics.  Now that I am talking about it, *all* his cousins have gone ‘engineers’ after him. Btw, mom is a civil engineer. Then she decided to “humanize my profession” and graduated in Architecture. Enough with family business now.
[3] – I am now talking to him, see if i can get a picture of the guitar.
[4] – Here are the samples. I miss them.
[5] – It felt like I was going nowhere on making things.  I mean, now I get it, but for someone who was just ready to start soldering robots arms, this can be a cold shower.
[6] – The comfortable chair of ignorance is the one you sit whenever you feel like debating about something in more depth than you technically could. But you do it anyway, without the responsibility of saying the right thing (otherwise you are incompetent).  It is a self-consciousness free rhetoric tool I will use here.