About Me

Quick Rundown

My name is Matthew Hoffman, I'm from Queensland, Australia. I'm a solitaire grandmaster, computer prodigy, race-car driver, beach boy, genius investor/trader, elite businessman, pro body-builder and amateur guitar player. Sarcastic jokes aside, you can read more about me below.

Data Miners take notice! I do not use any personal information in my passwords so don't even bother.

General Information

I was born on St. Patrick's Day (March 17). My favourite colour is blue, lift is overhead press, car is the Mazda RX-7 FD3S, game is Pokémon HeartGold, programming language is C, food is pizza, animal is the dolphin, movie is Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. I secretly love the Sailor Moon anime, but don't tell anyone I said that!

Personal Philosophy

These days I'm very much an advocate for Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). I try to use FOSS as much as I can in my daily life where I can, though I'm not an extremist and do have to use proprietary software for University and work from time to time. I am a big believer in Linux and free software in schools.

I am fond of the ideal that the purpose of the choices you make is to build the future you want for yourself; a man is the sum of his actions.

I think Cryptocurrency is the future, but not in its current form. 90% of projects will not make it as they just don't have a use case, and it's entirely possible a new coin will appear in future that actually solves the problem of digital, decentralised, transferrable money as the current implementations aren't up to scratch. Then again, Monero already exists.

History with Computers

I was very lucky to grow up being able to experience the internet of the mid-late 2000s and early 2010s. Call it blind nostalgia all you like, but the web just doesn't feel the same anymore and I doubt it ever will (R.I.P. flash games, I'll miss you). Defining moments of my history with computers can be summarised as:
  • Windows XP Machines in primary school computer lab (2008-2010)
  • Internet of the late 2000s
  • First personal laptop running Windows 7 (2010)
  • Emulating old Nintendo games (2010)
  • Tried teaching myself Java to make Minecraft Mods (2010)
  • Flash games and internet of the early 2010s
  • Got into the hackintosh scene (late 2011)
  • First computer built (2013)
  • Switched to Linux desktop full time (2019)
I'm particularly nostalgic for Windows operating systems from XP to 7, and Mac OS X versions 10.9.5 and lower and their accompanying icons, themes and UI elements.

Late 2000s

I got started with computers in the late 2000s. My first ever experience with computers would have been in my primary school's computer lab, fitted with around 20 or so Windows XP machines with classic games like Typing Tournament, KidPix, 3D Space Pinball, Baggin the Dragon and more. I was always quite good at the ICT class in primary school, but purely because I enjoyed using computers and not because I had any great interest in them. My parents got Timon and Pumbaa Adventures in Typing to teach me how to touch type and I 100% accredit my 110 WPM touch typing speed to that game.

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KidPix (left) Timon and Pumbaa Typing (middle) Typing Tournament (right) - the original OG's

2010

My first ever personal computer was a Lenovo G560 laptop that my Dad bought for me in around 2010 equipped with Windows 7. The most technical stuff I was doing around 2010 was video game emulation because my neighbours (who were a few years older) were very much into older Nintendo games. I was setting up stuff like Project64, VisualBoyAdvance (even brought this in to school on a USB to play on the classroom computers) and DeSmuME. Despite this early exposure my interest in computers beyond emulation and flash games didn't quite kick off until late 2011.

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Lenovo G560, my first 'personal' computer, sporting an i3-350M, Intel HD Graphics and 4GB DDR3

2011

Despite the apathy and general disappointment I feel towards them now, I have Apple to thank for kicking off my interest in computers. Sometime in late 2011 I visited an Apple store with my Mum and played around with the iMacs there, running Mac OS X 10.7 Lion and this really stuck with me. Maybe I was just bored of using Windows 7 and XP and it was something different, but I really got attached to using OS X and one day I googled as a joke "Run Mac OS X on a PC". To my immense surprise there was a huge community around doing this, calling themselves the "OSx86 Project". I stumbled onto a website called MacBreaker.com, then later TonyMacX86.com (cringe, I know) and a YouTube channel called "RocheTechnology" that I binge watched for hours.

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My first love - Mac OS X Lion

2012

And that really got me into computers, setting up a hackintosh back in the early 2010s was quite technical and I learnt a lot very quickly not just about Mac OS X but computer hardware in general. By the time I was properly ready to start hackintoshing, OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion was out so that's what I decided to try. Setting it up in a virtual machine was quite easy: grab an iso from Olarila, download a copy of HackBoot and follow a random internet guide. You'd use this to purchase an App Store copy, then create a USB from there. I tried many times to 'hackintosh' my G560 on bare metal, all failing because unknown to me at the time 1st Generation Intel HD Graphics had some sort of framebuffer issue in versions past 10.6.7, so the graphical interface would never load.

I came up with all sorts of dumb reasons why it wasn't working, tried almost every Distro of Mountain Lion one could think of, but one of the reasons I came up with was that I was making the install USB in a virtual machine, so I bought a disc of 10.6.3 Snow Leopard straight from Apple and installed that instead (iBoot + Multibeast method, yes, young me was fooled by tonymacX86). This one actually worked, primarily because Intel HD Graphics support wasn't introduced until 10.6.7 so the GUI would load but without acceleration. Any attempts to upgrade past 10.6.7 would cause my screen to display garbled static when the new driver loaded and so I knew it just wouldn't work out.

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HackBoot in VirtualBox (left) and iBoot for Snow Leopard on bare metal (right)

2013

I was still 100% keen on setting up a Hackintosh so that is when I really started looking in to building my own custom computer so I knew the parts would be compatible. I built my first PC on Boxing Day 2013 to run OS X 10.9 Mavericks, and as I had meticulously researched parts everything worked out fine and that system ran OS X for a good many years, and that's what kickstarted my wider interest in computers. The feeling of finally seeing OS X boot up with full audio, acceleration and everything was absolutely electric!

On a completely unrelated note 2013 was when I had my first experience with Linux. One of my friends brought a USB with Ubuntu 12.10 'Quantal Quetzal' to school so he could get around the restrictions on the classroom computers. Just like with Lion, I really took to the interface of Ubuntu (Unity at this point) and as I had resigned my laptop to being un-hackintoshable I had Ubuntu 12.10 installed on it for about a year, then later 13.10 'Saucy Salamander'. Not that I really knew much about Linux at that point!

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My first Linux - Ubuntu 12.10 with Unity

Recent

I was very much disappointed with OS X 10.10 Yosemite and subsequent releases due to the UI changes that were made, being generally a fan of skeumorphism so I stuck with Mavericks for a long time before finally switching back to Windows 7 to game in about 2017. I switched to Linux full time on the desktop in 2019 as Windows 7 was to go EOL in 2020 and that was one of the best computing decisions I've ever made.