Merry Hacking!

One of my most vivid memories as a kid is sitting on a little wooden chair in the garage next to my dad as he was dismantling the entire engine of his Dacia 1310 at weekends. He’d explain what the various parts do, then clean and put them back in. Sometimes he would discover stuff that was broken, sometimes the parts wouldn’t go back in as they should but no matter how long it took, he’d finally put everything back to its place and the car’s engine would be like new.

I don’t have a garage and wouldn’t be able to dismantle a car engine, but I spent this past weekend hacking together a hardware product made of Arduino parts. It reminded me how much I loved electronics as a kid (although I broke more stuff than I created), how much I enjoyed coding as a teenager and how fulfilling it is to build something with your hands and see it working.

Now whether it’s dismantling car engines, creating hardware prototypes or making art – I like to call it hacking. And hacking is important because it encourages problem-solving (“shit, we don’t have a soldering iron, what do we do?” “oh, let’s just sew the parts together using conductive thread”) and it spurs creativity. These are skills you can use in your everyday life, so if you’re currently not hacking around at weekends or on holidays, maybe you should. If not for learning something new, at least for having a bit of fun. 

Ah yes, and as with most other things – hacking is better with friends. Happy Hacking this Christmas break.

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