This forum might be exactly what I've been looking for on the web... here's some background about me and computers/programming as well as some of my personal stances on the state of things:
I was raised on the cusp of the birth of the net. When I was very young I spent a great deal of time on dial-up BBS's, played a lot of Tradewars, LORD, etc. as well as doing a lot of local-area chatting. I miss that world and feel that the current internet is too bright, white, and detached. Why did ANSI in a terminal feel so visceral?
Started simple scripting young making obnoxious IRC bots.
Games, games, games! Rarely played, always picked apart. DOOM .WAD files were a blast, learned a lot about graphics programming and some rudimentary animation. I made the original "Commando Wars" SCM for Starcraft which was an enormous hit around '98-'99.
Got more in to graphic design in highschool and made good money on the side designing websites.
Looked for a challenge and something different and more tangible than software so I've spent the last four years earning a degree in Chemical Engineering, to be completed this May. Applied my programming experience to the labs and write LabView control applications for reactors, quartz crystal micrographs, laser intensity measurement, etc.
Working on a secret project with the intent to destroy the social Maoism vibe of Web 2.0. No, this isn't a chemical weapon--think of it as a high-precision cyber-social bomb which will hopefully encourage/help people get up and leave their PCs altogether (without going to a Meetup, or inadvertently installing a virus).
I believe one of the best things that could happen to information technology would be to introduce a visual programming language capable of stringing together functions from all of our devices from mobile phones to webcams and microwave ovens. Then, the resident 12-year-old egghead could easily program the family webcam to become a security camera capable of sending a snapshot to dad's mobile phone, without any of this being intended-use by the device manufacturers, and with the ease of programming Lego Mindstorms.
I believe Google is not the objective deliverer of truth but a conduit for emergent mass social hysteria, as well as a hub for so much data about the human populace that those who have access to it could appear almost clairvoyant by using advanced statistical analysis software to practically predict the future. What if you had your finger on the marketing pulse of the world economy? I sure wish I could take a gander at all that data myself.
Sorry for the long post! I figured I'd drop as many anchors as possible in case anyone out there has some similar interests to mine; always looking for co-conspirators (friends?)
See you in the forums!