You may recognize that quote. It's important to me, because, I think the book really pushed me to see what was possible at the time. The book, William Gibson's Neuromancer was as if he had some inside information on what the Internet would become, well, at least partially. We still don't have the cybernetic implants, or 'chrome' to enhance our abilities, and hacking has never played out on the screen as it's so often been written about, but that book, the world it was set in, I kind of wanted to live in it. I suppose some part of me still does.
Am I a 'Hacker'? Nope, I've never been skilled enough to call myself that, but I do enjoy finding out what makes things work, and discovering how to make things work in ways they were never designed to. I'm no coder, but I like tinkering with code. A long time ago, before the Internet, my first days of using computers largely revolved around calling local bulletin board systems or 'BBS's and then becoming fascinated with the software that was used to connect people like me. I downloaded various BBS Software source code (ie: Telegard 2.5, Vision .82) and trying to figure out how it all worked, these BBS's were written in Turbo Pascal and this was the first programming language I dabbled in. Eventually I created a couple different BBS software packages, and ran my own board for a year or so.
When I first connected to the Internet, some years later, I discovered the world of 'Multi-User Dungeons' or MUD's, and once again, had to find out how these things worked, downloading the source to the original DikuMUD, and then ROM 2.3, I taught myself C, or taught myself to code poorly in C, would be a better description. I spent several years working to create my vision of the ideal MUD, which ultimately ended up being called 'South of Heaven' I still have the source code to this project, and back in the day, I contributed code (ex: 1, 2, 3, 4 ) to the MUD community. From time to time I still dabble with it. Sadly, I think the days of text-based adventures are long gone.
After that, the World Wide Web came to be, and websites, and web-programming languages began to appear. You can probably guess what happened from there.
From about 1995 on, I've been using the Linux operating system. I started with Slackware Linux when it was a collection of 1.44mb images that had to be written to floppy disk using the RAWRITE.EXE program, I moved on to Debian, and then RedHat. In 1997 I took a chance and decided to apply for a Tech Support job at my local ISP, a Mom and Pop shop called Stratos Internet Group in Cleveland, Ohio. I was just in the right place at the right time. Neil and Dan gave me a chance and I worked my ass off there to learn as much as I could. In time, I moved on and have worked in a variety of IT environments, from very small companies (ie: less than 10 people in the entire company) to very large companies, such as my current job at Microsoft. I've worked in a number of roles, from vanilla SysAdmin, Threat Avoidance, Implementations, Engineering, Development, etc. The one thing that has always been part of the equation for me is Linux.