This web site is about several different things, and serves several different purposes.
1) Instructional: about Linux, programming, the computing world, open-source and its culture, certain new technologies and what you can do with them, and potentially how to make improvements in your own systems;
2) Documentary: of my own personal experiences learning said technologies and working with them; and
3) Supportive: of others undertaking the same efforts which I am, by writing tutorials, by recommending products, services and web sites both free and commercial*, and most of all by providing a sort of companionship in the shared intellectual endeavors.
*I’m part of the Amazon affiliate program, but the only links that I profit from are under the Toys page.
The site is very technical. Your mileage may vary as to how much of it you understand, due to where you compare to me in your progress of the learning process and the subject being covered in whatever post you’re looking at, but I try to make things as accessible as I can. Even within the subject of technology, there are things I’m very good at and know a lot of obscure details about, and there are other things of which I know very little. The tech field is just too large for a 18-year-old girl to specialize in everything. (Sorry.)
I don’t have a strict update schedule. I’m a full-time student, and usually have a project or two of my own simmering. I simply update whenever I have something cool to share.
Let’s Go Larval
The web site’s title is a reference to hacker jargon. (Don’t go away; I’m about to explain.)
If your first reaction to that was, “Cool, I want to know how to pwn networks and steal software,” revise your expectations. This site was not written for you–go look for articles on cracking somewhere else, and come back when you’ve grown up.
If your first reaction was horror, disdain, or mistrust, you’re also thinking I meant crackers: malicious security-breakers who take pride and pleasure in theft and destruction. This is not what hacking is. Hacking is the process of designing and building systems, not tearing them down or worming into them, and it’s much more difficult than cracking and also a lot more fun.
Hacker culture is largely based around the idea that those people who can make cool stuff using complicated tools like computers should be held in high esteem, and that the best way to make cool stuff is by collaborating with lots of other hackers so it gets done really quickly, and then releasing it, usually for free, so that other people can play with it too.
Real hackers often know how cracking is done, but consider it both not challenging enough to be interesting, and (in most cases) against their moral code.
(I’m afraid that if you’re a white-hat cracker–one who hires out their abilities to test others’ computer security systems–you won’t find much here. I respect the discipline and consider it an honorable one, but am not personally interested in writing about it right now. I’m much more of a programmer than a networker. Again, the tech field is too large for me to specialize in everything.)
A compilation of hacker slang, called “jargon” or “the jargon”, can be found at The Jargon File. The Jargon File also contains many non-jargon descriptions of hacker culture.
The site’s title refers to “larval stage“, a phase which many young programmers go through in which they hyper-focus on learning the craft surrounding computers, to the point of neglecting parts of their life that seem normal and even essential to most people, like ever seeing daylight or another human being. If you’re over 35 years old or not much of a techie, this probably sounds horrendous… to me, it sounds like a load of fun (especially since I’ve done something similar for other subjects I liked), but right now I have too many irons in the fire in the Real World, and was brought up to be too responsible, to go all-out like that. 😦
You might notice that I’m not very good at naming things. I think the image the term conjures up is pretty funny, though.
“No, don’t disturb Jerry, he’s going through larval stage!”
“Haha, what?” *opens door*
“HIIIIISSSSSSS” from a duvet-cocooned programmer surrounded by empty Chinese takeout containers
*door is quickly closed*
“I told you.”
My name is Rebekah Yoder. I really like computers.
I also like writing (both creative and instructional), making art, psychology (because reverse engineering the “source code” of the human brain is really interesting to me, and it’s a fun challenge to pick out the useful information from the bogus), cats, tea, plants, fishkeeping, playing the ukulele (not very well), and the occasional video game.
I’m 18 years old. I am not in high school, nor did I traditionally graduate. At 16 years old and with the support of my parents, I decided I’d had enough with the graduation requirements imposed in my former school, took all the “dual-credit” (read “free college”) classes offered, and proceeded to score the highest on my GED tests that my local testing center had ever seen. That was more than a year ago. Now I’m over halfway through my AAS in Programming, after which I plan to try starting a startup. (Or before, if the situation suits me.) If it fails, I’ll either try again or go to a four-year college. The explanation of my educational history feels like bragging to write no matter how I word it, so I’m going to decide I’m satisfied with this description.
Although I enjoy programming immensely, it’s hard to feel like I’ve learned very much when I look at the larger context of things you need to know to build anything more than, say, shell scripts and throwaway programs. My best language is Python, which I self-taught… despite two formal classes in Visual Basic (not my choice, it’s required by my degree), one in C# (ditto but with slightly less resentment), and one in Java (which was years ago and didn’t get very far).
Of course, I know basic HTML and CSS, which is actually thanks to the O’Reilly book I got as a birthday present at 13 and not the formal college class I took through my high school at 15. Had I relied on the latter, my skills would be back in the 90s with scrolling marquees, animated .gifs, and auto-playing background music.
Another class of note was on Linux itself, and although it did teach me plenty of things I didn’t know (some networking stuff and shell scripting come to mind), it perhaps more importantly taught me how much I’d learned on my own just by a few weeks of tinkering–this turned out to be about half the textbook!–which was very cool.