The (long) Story of Me and This Website

Return to Homepage

My name is Hayden Walker. I'm a university student from New Brunswick, Canada, studying mathematics and computer science.

My Supervillain Origin Story

Beginnings

I've always had many strange and varied hobbies and interest. Throughout my childhood (and still!) I would often develop an intense fixation on a particular topic, and want to know everything about it. There were a few books I would check out from the local library many times in a row, reading them cover-to-cover over and over until my fixation on the topic faded. When I was in kindergarten, learned that you could use a computer to search up facts about any topic, and my journey with computers began with our beige box in the basement (may have been an eMachine) and my father's work-issued ThinkPad (T series, but I'm not sure which model specifically).

When I was in grade one, my parents gave me an HP G60 laptop for Christmas. I would use it to search for information on the topics I was interested in at any given moment, starting with lightbulbs, then robots, then the history of the RMS Titanic, and likely many other topics I can't remember right now.

This period was a transitional period in the history of the Internet, because the juggernauts that dominate today already existed, but hadn't yet fully done their damage. When I would look for information, I would find it on Wikipedia, but also on very small, handwritten websites that would go more in-depth than Wikipedia ever could. I could find videos on YouTube, but often just as easily on topic-specific sites. This time, I'd say between 2008 and 2010, was the time I joined the Internet.

Learning HTML

On multiple occasions in elementary and middle school, I tried to learn more about how computers worked. In elementary school I tried learning Lua, so that I could write scripts for an online game I used to play. I got as far as being able to take others' scripts and edit them to suit my usecases, but I never really understood how it all worked.

In grade 8, an online friend who was a year older than me sent me a copy of the HTML unit that his broadbased technology 9 class was working on. I learned HTML from that and began fooling around with making my own sites. I used a very shady free hosting service before moving things over to Github Pages near the end of the school year, which happened to also teach me, on a superficial level, how Git works.

That year I also started fooling around with Scratch, and some JavaScript. I never got very far with the JS, though, and I wouldn't touch programming again for a couple of years. I continued to maintain my site and use it as an outlet for my odd interests.

GNU/Linux

The next big milestone in my computing journey would be late grade 9. Grade 9 was the beginning of high school, and I'd started doing tech for the school theatre. At one of our meetings, a grade 12 student on the team showed me how he'd installed Linux Mint on an old desktop that had been lying around in a closet backstage. I'd heard of Linux but had no idea what it looked like or how it worked. This made me want to learn more, and that was when I installed Linux Mint on my desktop, on a spare hard drive I had lying around (I didn't know how to partition).

Programming

Nothing much changed from then until the summer after grade 10. That was the summer I finally decided that I would learn to program, and I decided to learn Python. I bought a course on Udemy and worked through it, then worked on some of my own projects after I completed it. That summer I would bring my Lenovo ThinkPad T61 running Mint to one of my local Tim Horton's shops (my town has two of them) and I would program for hours at a time. It got to the point that they started giving me my tea in a glass mug – normally the drinks came in paper Tim's cups, but people who regularly stayed there for long periods of time would get a real mug.

Hermitage

I continued with my programming and my Github Pages site through the first half of grade 11. It was midway through grade 11 that hysteria over a certain respiratory illness caused all schools to shut down for the remainder of the school year, and the government to ban going outside for a few months. Losing my mind, I sought a hobby to occupy the time that wasn't being occupied my my part-time job that I still had to work (at a supermarket).

First I started learning German, and I still keep up with that to this day. But even that couldn't occupy me enough, so I dug out the 2GB Raspberry Pi 4 model B that I'd gotten for Christmas in 2019, and like many Pi owners who buy in without a plan, had never used. I'd been using GNU/Linux for a couple of years at this point but still wasn't comfortable with the command line. I decided I wanted a challenge, and that I wanted to set up a webserver. I flashed a headless install of Raspbian to the Pi's SD card, set up SSH, and installed Apache. In a matter of hours I had set everything up and purchased a domain name, and lo, this site went live, on the 3rd of April, 2020. Likely either in the wee hours of the morning or very late at night.

Tl;dr

I've always been fascinated by computers and this site went live 2020-04-03, either very late at night or before dawn. (Sort of like this page, which I am writing on 2021-11-14 at 23:51 AST, with a calculus pseudo-midterm in the morning...)