Zen and the art of Modding: an Amateurs Foray As you can see, my title is based of a somewhat famous book, I haven’t read it but the title is cool. Technically I’m not judging a book by its cover; I’m just judging the cover, semantics anyhow. I need a hobby. I’m a young commerce student halfway through my degree with a well paying job working 20 hours a week and studying hard all the while and getting good-ish grades. Lovely. Well sort of, its great but work and more work gets a bit boring and drinking pints all weekend while fun lacks a certain – I don’t know – productiveness? Fulfilment? So this brings me to the start of my journey. Well actually I started a while back when I was looking for a good hobby, and being a barista and a self confessed foodie I thought as all young adolescents do: ALCOHOL! But homebrew is boring and overdone so I went hardcore. Spirits. Then I found out that distilling in Australia is very much illegal and frowned upon. Then I thought screw it and did it anyway, with the help of a friend who is a brewer we made our own still and Vodka was flowing. But distilling, while great fun and makes you a popular man (who wouldn’t want to be friends with that guy who makes vodka for $7 a bottle, yeah everyone does) ultimately ends the same as drinking pints all weekend. But replace the beer with vodka, and the hangover with well, you get the jist. Adrift as I was I wanted something to do, something productive and something rewarding. If you guessed that I’m starting a fledgling career in modding well done, did the title give it away? But I am. Even better, I’m starting a journal of my journey (journaley or journeyal, I should make that a word) through this wondrous new world. I’ve been reading and following the modding scene from the bit-tech forums for a couple of years now and it’s truly amazing work being done. I want to make something awesome and cool, and hell, lets chuck a computer inside it because wtfn (abbreviated curse phrase for kids reading). I mean how hard can it be? Bold last words I know. I have set my sights high and will be document almost all of steps on the way in my jorneyal (pat pend.). Now some if not all of you will say, great look forward to it, have you done something like this before? To which I reply well no but I’m very positive and have plenty ideas. Queue rolling eyes and looks of amusement as a grand thinking amateur falls flat on his face. Well that may be, and the likelihood of me failing in a spectacular manner (I predict a homer-esque rage attack on my mod, followed by sale in a art gallery) is quite high. Ok very high. But failure is no deterrent to me, no sir. My last hobby involves highly flammable liquids and the risk of dying in a horrible moonshine explosion or imprisonment (may be exaggerating) modding seems positively rosy. Failure or not I will write about it nonetheless for your amusement and documentation for future generations of how NOT to cut your hand off with a dremel. Hopefully in periodic instalments providing work and uni chug along nicely. So consider this entry number one into my journeyal and my first step towards modding stardom, or the hospital. First on my list, designing. I should be back within the week with plans and plenty of ideas (I’ve been working on it for about a month now). Oh but obviously there is a catch, and a large one at that. I have never modded before, never built a computer before and haven’t used power tools for probably 4 years. Yeah you can see now why the hospital is a likely outcome. But all is not lost. My brother is a carpenter which should prove helpful, my grandfather was an architect and quite a good one at that who taught me quite a few things on design. Add to this list the fierce determination and pride and it doesn’t seem so bad. I will be relying heavily upon and advice and feedback I can get, hopefully a lot, to guide me along the way and general information I have been learning. I guess that’s it, hope you enjoying reading this, and any hints are greatly appreciated. Until next time.