February 8th, 2012
02:07 PM ET

How Maker Faire changed my life

Editors note: Maker Faire is a spectacular merging of artists, tinkerers, builders and folks with big ideas who converge in one place to show off all the great things they’ve made. It’s part science fair, part “Burning Man.”  14-year-old Ben Hylak writes about his transformative experience at Maker Faire after battling a life-threatening illness.

By Ben Hylak, Special to CNN

(CNN) - I’ve always loved computers. When I was 6 or so, I realized that instead of making all my Christmas thank you cards with crayons, I could do a mail merge – my mom says I’ve been hooked ever since.

At about 8 I started to rip apart old computers in our basement for fun, and the challenge was to put everything back together and make it work better than before.

I spent the summer after 5th grade working on an old Tangerine iMac laptop I bought from ebay. At first, my dad said he thought it was pointless to dissect a perfectly good computer. My mom convinced dad it was an education, and I could be doing a lot worse things with my time. I remember that Tangerine iMac like it was yesterday. It taught me tons. In my research on the ins and outs of that computer, I learned about the MAKE Movement. FULL POST

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