How I Reignited My Passion for Computers
When I was a kid, I wanted to tinker with computers. So I used DOS, Windows, and Linux. I spent hours on IRC, Message Boards, and Soulseek. I kept up to date with what was happening with computer hardware and maniacally read PC game-related magazines. I learned PHP, and I created numerous web pages about anime. Evenings and weekends spent on the Internet were what kept me going. Most of my personality was defined as “the computer guy” and “the creep watching weird cartoons.”
Then I wasn’t accepted to an informatics course at university, and my mindset changed. Guess it was a coping mechanism. My pride was attacked. Somehow, I stopped being “into” computers. Instead, I started to treat them as a tool. This change was the biggest regret of my life. However, it was very easy, as everyone around me shared this mindset. Computers weren’t sexy.
Luckily, in my later years of student life, I shared an apartment with people in Linux and programming. “Rasq,” “Errtu,” and Kuba - the three guys who reminded me that I loved computers. Not enough to keep me back on track, but still.
But years later, after trial and error, I reignited this passion. I started learning first clients for my (low) PHP skills and got myself a MacBook which was fast enough to jump into Ruby. Then, just a few years later, I was hired as a full-time Ruby developer. And the people who I met there were not who I expected. They were not playing D&D and bumping kernels at night. Instead, they were into sports, travels, and too-expensive coffee. I was almost 30 back then; they were younger yet much more praised for what and how they worked.
They, too, treated computers as tools. “Whatever gets the job done” was the mantra. And somehow, I got infected. I was coding, but I was not into it. I was into solving business needs. And I was happy; I have not felt I was missing something. I loved Apple products, and I enjoyed Google. Heck, I was even using IntelliJ! I posted on Facebook!
I used Airport Pro as my router! My misguided love for Apple is an entirely different subject, though.
And then I started looking around. A manager of all people, Łukasz, told me about his Synology. He self-hosted his own git forge and password manager. He managed a blog for the close family with his child photos. I was so jealous not of the device but of the passion. Fifteen years old me would want all those things. 35 old me not only wanted it but could do it. And so I became an owner of a home server.
This was just three years ago. I have bought myself a personal laptop, as I was managing without it. I enjoyed Arch, but at my age, I don’t have enough free time to tinker with it the way I would like to. So I made a distro hoping session: from Arch to Manjaro, then to Fedora, and finally Pop!_OS.
I have bought a VPS, which I recently migrated to FreeBSD. I am playing around with self-hosting, software freedom, and de-clouding my life.
I am outgrowing my Synology and have many projects I want to try, like self-hosting email.
10 years ago, I would not care about all those things. Now, all I want to do is to spend some more of my free time in front of a computer, and I couldn’t be happier. I am again the true me.
All thanks to Łukasz. Thank you!