Benad's Web Site

This is not a proper biography per se, since most personal stuff is left out. Here is more about things of my past that might be of interest to the general public.

The Age of Music

My early childhood is, outside the confines of my family home, relatively un-eventful, until the middle of the first grade of elementary school. After an odd "auditory test", where students would be asked to compare the pitch of music notes, my parents were presented with two choices about my academic future. The first was, given my early academic results, to skip two years of school directly to grade 4. Since I was already the smallest student in first grade, such prospect, in a public school, would have been physically hazardous for me. The second was for me to start attending a public school for academically and musically gifted students. Feeling my boredom and fear of retribution from taller students, my parents obviously chose the latter choice.

From then, I spent roughly half of my school time learning and playing music, and so on until the end of high school. My specialization was the violin. That always was quite a physical challenge due to its unforgiveness and my lack of precise finger movement. I since then stopped playing music, with some regret.

Yet, beyond the theory and the endless hours of physical practice and pain, I learned from music many things that shaped me. Such things are difficult to describe here, but suffice to say that whatever would interest me from then on, I would be artful at it.

Discovering a Talent

It is difficult to say with humility that you are genuinely talented at something. But if you are, regardless of how much effort it would take to grow in such talent, that domain always feels easy and natural. For me, it was anything related to computer software.

Early on, my mother discovered that "gadgets" would fascinate me. Discovering how a tool of object works would fill me with passion, that is until I understood of it worked. The problem though was with my overall clumsiness with physical objects (which also affected my learning of violin). But with software, learning was limitless and unaffected by physical akwardness.

Me and my mother will always remember my first encounter with a Macintosh computer. Busy at work and with no access to a babysitter, she knew that I was old enough to "take care of myself" in her office while she went teaching at the university for the next hour or so. The only piece of "entertainment" was a Macintosh computer with the "Mac Draw" software loaded and the general instruction "have fun drawing pictures". And, without any instruction or prior training, so did I. And played with the system settings. And, out of many things, changed the desktop pattern, which was the only thing I haven't properly reverted before she came back. Which prompted my mother to ask me how I did it.

Unlike the other "PCs" I've seen after, nothing felt as intuitive and limitless as a Macintosh. While this was true for most people, for me this meant I would learn about the software easily and at a high pace.

A Proper Profession

Now then, there isn't anything special about being good at using software. Understanding how it works, maybe. Reverse-engineering it, maybe a bit more. But developing good software based on a deep understanding and appreciation for high quality software, now that's difficult. So being talented enough to design and develop great software in a way that seems, to the casual observer, both easy and "like magic", now that's something special enough to be considered a talent. But how can you know if you have such talent in something?

It took quite a leap of faith to try, on my own and with limited understanding of the English language, "real" programming before finishing college. And even up to the end of the 90s, "programmers" were not as such in high demand as it is now. But after some practice, I could say that I liked it and was good enough to potentially make software development a lifelong profession, even without high demand or high pay.

So I was surprised to see this "information age" arrive so fast, and lucky enouch to be in a profession with such high demand. Even if I were to be lazy and just coast off my talent, I like writing good software, even more when other people can appreciate it. So even with talent, I'm still a slave to my "art".

The Rest

What happened during University and later is, unless I become a celebrity of some kind, unworthy of much attention. Suffice to say that while my life is sometimes very difficult, it is still relatively cozy. Enough for me to have the time to write this.

This is when one would normally think about what kind of achievements would define their life. Or what one would like to experience before death.

But I don't. Toughtful passion simply drives me.

... Or something pretentious like that.