Learning Resources

Software to Try

  • Linux: Obviously, Linux is one of those things that's amazing to experience if you're interested in technology. But it's not just about technology. Linux -- or rather, the community surrounding it, is about freedom, experimentation, learning, and helping others. It's also a meritocracy, which can be ugly sometimes but is mostly awesome. Where else can a smart kid be taken seriously, regardless of age, and treated as a valued member of the community?
  • Ruby first, then Lisp: They are lovely programming languages, and they'll teach you about a lot of super-trippy amazing concepts that are fun to think about. They will also teach you different ways of thinking about systems and abstraction, which are really useful skills in life. Once you've programmed in these languages, you'll probably want to pick up lots more, from Assembly to Bash. Go (golang) is also really nice.
  • Deus Ex: That's the original, for all you young'uns who only know about the later games. The original Deus Ex is one of the best games ever made. Enjoy it.
  • Emacs: It starts as an editor, and ends as your cross-platform, portable operating system user interface. If you don't want to invest a huge amount of time right away, you can try Github's 'Atom' editor first.
  • BSD Unix: Sure, Linux is cool, but if you want to get a taste of incredibly good documentation, a ridiculously well-engineered system, and an awesome network stack, you'll want to explore the other Unixes eventually (Solaris, too). I like FreeBSD, but I hear great things about OpenBSD, DragonFly BSD, NetBSD, and the others. They are seriously powerful operating systems.
  • tmux: Very useful once you're logged into a remote machine without a graphical user interface.
  • ssh: OpenBSD's ssh is the default impolementation for most of the world, and it's really amazing. Learn to use this well -- it can do things you probably don't know about (remote/local forwarding, acting as a SOCKS proxy, etc.)

Great Books / Learning Resources

  • Meditations (Marcus Aurelius)
  • Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)
  • The Linux and Unix System Administration Handbook (Evi Nemeth et al)
  • The Prophet (Kahlil Gibran)
  • Foucault's Pendulum (Umberto Eco)
  • The Mother Tongue (Bill Bryson)
  • The Little Schemer (Daniel Friedman)
  • Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Philip K. Dick)
  • On Writing Well (William Zinsser)
  • Comedy Writing Secrets (Melvin Helitzer)
  • Zen in the Art of Archery (Eugen Herrigel)
  • Little Brother (Cory Doctorow)