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February 28, 2014 12:00 AM

About Me

My name is Kirsten Meyling Taing. Back when I was little I only went by Meyling. For some reason people always had trouble spelling and pronouncing it, so once I got into the workplace I started using Kirsten because I thought it would be easier. Turns out Kirsten is a lot harder to pronounce than Meyling because everyone thinks it's Kristen.

I've always been fascinated with computers and technology in general. When I was in third grade I played this online virtual pet game called Neopets. You 'adopted' a pet and fed it and played with it and stuff. You could even make a webpage for your pet. Neopets had this cute little HTML tutorial and I used it to make my very first webpage.

My little sister was into dress up games at one point, so I googled them and I was amazed at the fact that you could drag images on a webpage. I wanted to do that too. I looked at the source code and I copy-pasted script-y stuff until I managed to make my own webpage with my own images that I could drag and drop. Soon after that I stumbled upon Dynamic Drive and The JavaScript Source and I just started throwing random stuff on webpages.

Another amazing thing that I had stumbled upon was ASCII art. I thought it was the coolest thing ever. I tried to make some myself, and I thought I was pretty successful. I even made a geocities website, which sadly, seems to be gone forever.

I don't know why I was always so drawn to the more simplistic things, but one of my favorite web memories was the 5k competition. 5k! I couldn't believe what some people managed to make with that many bytes.

It wasn't all web stuff though. My little sister also got into cooking, so I wanted to make a computer game involving recipes. I had no idea at all what that entailed, so I just searched for a game maker. I saw free software called Adventure Maker and decided to try it. It was really easy to make screens and have sections of one screen transport you to another section, but what really drew me in was one section of the coding part. It was here that I discovered what an 'if' statement was. My mind was blown from all the possibilities. All I did was make a game in which you selected ingredients and a finished recipe was appear. It was one huge if-elseif statement that was filled with things just like 'if (peanutbutter=1 AND jelly=1 AND bread=1 AND ingredients=3) then...' But my little sister still loved it.

Somewhere along the road, I started high school, and for some reason I drifted away from my technological interests. They were always using laptops and electronic things in school, and for some reason that bothered me. So I forgot about my passions as a little kid.

It's a good thing my high school physics teacher told me to be an engineer, and it's an even better thing that they make all the future engineers at my school take an introductory programming class. I learned some basic C stuff, and it all just clicked for me.

Programming during my first couple of years in college was enjoyable and all, but the real fun started happening once I started my first co-op rotation. They used Linux there for a lot of things, and so I started using it and I realized that Linux made programming just so much more fun. My current laptop was getting old and slow so I completely removed Windows and installed Ubuntu. I just loved how easy it made everything for me.

Something hit me during my second rotation of co-op. I just had a realization one day and I thought 'I love what I'm doing.' I got into reading lots of technical blogs (and lots of fitness blogs as well). Sometimes I get into a rut and get bored and don't feel like doing anything, but it's pretty easy for me to snap out of that. When I think about it, I realize that I'm really lucky that what I enjoy is something that I could have a great career with.

And aside from technical things, I also love taking long walks in the park, watching competitive reality tv shows, and playing Dance Dance Revolution.