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How the Mac made a hacker out of me

Zeus Kerravala | Jan. 22, 2014
Although I was always interested in programming, early access to Mac systems changed the way I looked at it.

In a sense, Macs enabled me to "hack" a lot more and write less elegant code because I didn't have to worry about burning extra cycles here and there. This meant I could code more for convenience than efficiency, reducing the time I spent developing code away from the computer significantly. I mentioned earlier that I spent about four to five hours on paper for every hour I spent on the computer. I would say that dynamic flipped, where it was very little time with paper and almost all the time on the computer. Did I get into some bad habits and write less efficient code? Sure, but it didn't matter anymore and I managed to finish my assignments much faster.  

Looking back, the introduction of the Mac lab at my school brought out the hacker in me. I was able to tinker, play and try stuff that I could never have done on the CPU-restrictive mainframes. This actually helped me when I got into the workforce, as my first job was programming on Solaris and HP UX boxes, in which I wrote plenty of perl and c shell scripts.  

So I'll wish the Mac a happy 30th birthday and tip my hat to the box that changed the way I look at programming. I'll toss the rest of my 80-column paper in the recycle bin and go back to hacking away at source code.


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