About Jakob

For those interested in contacting me, here’s my info. There’s also links to my presence on other sites in the footer.

Yeah, I figured the blurb on the front page was a little anemic. Now that I’ve got my contact info out of the way, which is probably the only point of interest for most people landing on this page, I’ll give a more comprehensive self-introduction. The first few years of my life were spent in Roxbury. My parents would let me wander within reason, but I was a mischevious little bastard and their preference was for me to be in their sight. As a result, I was treated to a reasonable amount of time in front of the Nintendo 64, which was ultimately my inspiration to learn to program - I wanted to make my own video games.

Later on, my family left Roxbury and moved into the MetroWest out of concerns regarding the quality of the Boston Public School system. Around the time I turned seven, my father was sufficiently sick of me always talking about how I wanted to make video games and introduced me to Scratch, which I believe he learned about from this Slashdot article.¹ This kept me occupied (though not to the point of being a recluse), making crappy “games” and sharing them on the Scratch website. The community was susprisingly active. I eventually learned HTML and made a website related to my presence on there. At the time, I was using a Javascript snippet or something similar to get comments, but it didn’t provide moderation features and people were writing naughty things on my site, so my parents got me a book on PHP in hopes that I could learn to write my own comments system. I took the easier route of just removing comments entirely, but that PHP book did start me off in computer security. It had a chapter on SQL Injection which I’d read, reread, and experiment with obsessively.

Hacking around with Scratch ended entirely when I began my last year of elementary school, and I took somewhat of a hiatus from everything related to programming when I entered middle school. There were a few unfruitful attempts to learn Python and BASIC in that time, especially during that last year of elementary school, but I was just more interested in girls and trying to fit in with the cool kids. The hiatus ended when I started high school, began lifting weights, and decided that I wanted a hobby that was more academically rigorous to supplement the physically rigorous one (after all, Mens et Manus). I learned Python, then C, and began playing in CTFs to satisfy my young self’s obsession with breaking software.

Of course, much more happened in that time, but that’s the arc that pertains most to my serious interests. I tried to learn electronics, but became frustrated with how learning it was unlike trying to learn programming. As such, that’s a project that continues to this day. I became a ham in hopes of having something to apply the electronics education towards (my callsign is KC1KAS). I’ve been playing drums since I was ten. All in all, I think most people would consider my childhood fairly typical for a suburban kid who was curious about everything and liked math class.

Oh yeah, and now I’m in college. Fun stuff. I’m looking for internships, so if you’re a recruiter and interested in my writing or anything else I do, drop me a line and I’ll send you my CV. Appreciate it.

1: I brought this up with my parents on a recent visit home, and we concluded that it was more likely my mother who in introduced me to Scratch. She mentioned that some of her friends on an internet forum were using Scratch and Alice with their children, which was her inspiration. I have a vague memory of my father sitting at his desk with that Slashdot article open, which is why I seemed to think he was the one to discover it.