A path to niche skill-sets and community

- 12 min read - Text Only

Some shower thoughts lead to a short thread. It was received well on the fediverse.

Cursed idea the light below the microwave goes out. You find its part and get an aftermarket compatible replacement. The microwave recognizes it isnt official and wont use it (its just a light!). Fed up after no firmware downgrade guides work, you look for the official part. The original bulb lasted so long they dont sell the part anymore.

Okay, so you find out some furry queer hacker wrote a blog post where they disassembled the original bulb expertly and found out that the inside chips can be used to identity a new bulb. The blog post is distracting with custom emoji reactions throughout the text but it makes sense. They even refer to Nintendo CIC chips having similar handshake ceremonies with the host system for authenticity, and this is how custom game carts could work a donor CIC chip.

The theory seems fine, and when you try to take apart the bulb, you get a lot of cuts and the shell of the bulb looks like it wont make it.

Frustrated, you find out that you can 3d print a new bulb chip base and with silicone and then a blend of epoxy resin, you can make a heat safe bulb base. Who has it? Someone that posts with anime girl characters everywhere with occasional words consistently misspelled.

After getting a 3d printer, a starter kit of silicone, and the time and patience to follow the anime girls website, you have a new base. The chip seats in and you put in a common socket part from a hardware store inside. Finally you plug in your generic bulb that looks the same on the outside as the old one and it fits.

Youve spent more than it would take to replace the microwave and followed esoteric documentation made by queer people, but at least you stuck up to capitalism or something, right?

Those people are kind of... highly engaged in something, and it kind of inspires you to create with your own tools that you now have.

Two years later, you end up on Hacker news with a my little pony original character as your identity.

All the comments say I cant read this! Theres too many colorful images! Its a waste of bandwidth

And your article describes how you eventually reverse engineered the firmware of this microwave of all things and removed the light bulb DRM. Honestly a subject that would perfectly match the content of DEF CON. As long as you didnt show any ponies.

At least your peers of queer pony, anime, furries, and a sentient tractor like you and talk with you every week now.

The same cant be said for work-sourced friends from two jobs ago.

A few responses were absolutely delightful.

@cendyne oh no this whole thing just

Too fucking plausible

@cendyne this was a wild ride especially at 3 am, thank you

I pull a lot of specific first, second, and third hand experiences when I come up with a story like the above.

@cendyne this sounds suspiciously specific. I wonder if this is related to that one furry who reaches the front page of HN so often that ppl have made Codemonkey scripts to remove all their Telegram sticker reaction images from their blog posts

Assembling real and true experiences into fiction is vital for suspension of disbelief. After all, a robot kitten found the no-fly list (archived.)

A screenshot of maia.crimew.gay with the text: hello i am maia arson crimew (it/she) and i am gay, mostly for girls, and i'm a tiny kitten :3 i know lot's of things about cyber security, programming and far too little about music but i still try to do all those things at once. if you like the things i do here or on social media you can support me on ko-fi. links to the various things i do can be found in the footer. if you're looking for some more serious info about me, there is wikipedia for that.

There are many kinds of people that create, find, and share niche interesting things. It turns out: researching and creating takes a lot of energy. No one wants to pay for it. Yet they will gladly take the benefits from our work and give little to no recognition back. We do it because it is so much more rewarding when our friends cheer us on and accept us for who we are and how we wish to be seen.

There's more in this community than identifying as a different gender than assigned at birth. We have people like maia crimew who identify as non human too. In retrospect I wish I also mentioned plural people exist too. It was 1 AM or so at the time. Oh well.

I am glad that the infosec community is widely accepting of identities and ways of life. As "Cendyne", a CEO of a security company reached out to me for some opinions on their product space. I freely gave them my perspective and feedback as a possible customer in their product space. Later, one of their sales people also found my real name identity at work and tried to pitch to me, not knowing I had already talked with their boss's boss under another name. That gave me a chuckle.

Anyway, don't let the bright and colorful pictures of people who aren't straight white males dissuade you.

Apparently I have to clarify again? I did write the driver myself (and the DRM kernel abstractions I needed). The 2 days were the debugging once the initial implementation was done. The Rust driver took 7 weeks, and I started reverse engineering this GPU 6 months ago...

Incredible things come from those who do stuff for themselves and their friends, rather than for a paycheck from a big tech company that shuts down products left and right.

Many of us are tired of the kinds of racist anti-trans discriminatory sh*t tech communities embody in the English speaking world.

hacker news is always like "this isn't new" "this is boring" "why is this a twitter thread? it should be a blog post" and even if don't read the comments, I get lots of bots pinging me for the post
HN has a gender problem. This is a known thing, but a silly side effect of it is that they assume everyone on or linked from HN is male and uses he/him pronouns.

Imagine a place, so dreadful, where people create burner accounts just to harass you over your chosen pronouns.

A hacker news post where someone says 'Pronouns in the bio says all you need to know.'

And when Alyssa Rosenzweig writes about how trans people are being legislated out of existence (archived), the community of HN gang up to flag the article so much that it gets de-listed until a moderator reinstates it. By that point, attention has moved on and the algorithm does not remind people of its presence.

I'm on the board overseeing Linux graphics. Half of us are trans. If all you care about is Linux, resist the attacks on trans people.

If you have any decency, fight back.

It's your choice.

- Alyssa Rosenzweig

You might say, well that's just Hacker News being sh*t. The same happens on reddit too. All public forums where tech enthusiasts gather is infested with this problem.

Anyway, my point is that we need existing communities to not repress minorities. These communities should embrace and enable those that are creative and maybe reward those that actually make a difference in our lives with their time, skill, and passion with kindness and acceptance. No matter what they identify as, from male, female, other gender, to non human or even as multiple people, creative people do not need to be sh*t on more for being different. Diversity is important. With diversity come those with incredible merit – who consistently feel excluded because of what they are.