Who Am I?
whoami is a command found in the Windows and Linux operating systems. It is a concatenation of the words “Who am I?” and reminds us who is currently logged in.
Who is Dan Schneck? I’m an IT & cybersecurity integrator, musician, husband, and dad to 3 kiddos + 2 chihuahuas. I’m passionate about three things: creativity, technology, and connections. These are the three aspects of life that have shaped me into who I am today.
Sound is the first thing connected with. I heard the notes and rhythms of the world and had to figure out where they came from, how they were created, and what and who was creating them.
I first connected music with technology when I sat on the floor and watched my great-grandmother (my “Nana”) play the organ. It was a giant (300+ pound) musical instrument with upper and lower keyboards for the right and left hand, a pedalboard for the left foot, and a volume pedal for the right foot.
The organ is a technically complex instrument to play. It was even more complex for Nana to play, given that she was a leg amputee. As her hands glided across the keyboards to create melodies and harmonies, her leg flew back and forth to control the pedals. Indeed, this was a fascinating phenomenon to observe!
As she played, contacts inside the organ triggered electrical connections to produce the sounds. Every so often, she would flip one of the many switches to change the sounds and rhythms. The organ’s speaker filled the room with a wall of sound. It was an emotional experience that moved me. In these early moments in my life, I realized that the sounds I was hearing were being made through technology. I fell in love with the idea that humans can create an emotional experience through technology. This was a “light bulb moment” that would shape my future.
I became obsessed with reverse engineering and understanding the digital and electronic connections inside of things (including, much to my father’s dismay, our home stereo system) because I wanted to discover what was inside. My love for creativity, technology, and connections was born.
A few months later, my mother enrolled me in music lessons, and my parents purchased an instrument of our own for me to play with. My new organ was digital with electronic buttons on it that could be used to perform more sophisticated functions including sound alteration and digital recording (sequencing). A few days after receiving it, I was diving in and programming sounds, rhythms, and effects. I studied the owner’s manual front-to-back and learned about a music programming language called Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI). It served as a perfect introduction to the hexadecimal numbering system and would soon become the basis and inspiration for understanding other computer programming languages and my future professional career in information technology.
Years later I encountered my first personal computer – an Amiga 500. By this time, I was familiar with composing and programming directly on my instrument but had yet to discover the power of personal computers. Once I discovered the magic of what a computer could do, my brain lit up with excitement! It was now possible to connect devices and instruments to a computer and create a world of possibilities.
All of us have the power to create something amazing through technology. It is the medium through which humankind can create, innovate and evolve to accomplish goals and dreams.