Being at a university, you expect that curiousity is something to be desired by everyone–including students and faculty. For the most part, I have found it true. However, in several of my computer classes, I have been chastized for deliberately trying to break a program or get the operating system to crash while I was writing programs. “Why would you want to do that, Trav?” you may ask. The answer is simple: If I know the exact thing that will cause an OS to die, I can take special precautions to safeguard against that cause and make sure my programs never destroy the machine of an end-user.
Yesterday in my database class, we were doing some simple queries that I learned how to do two years ago. Since I already knew how to do it, I was able to finish the exercises in about 2 minutes. When I got done, I started poking around in the help file for the database and finding “keywords,” which are things that cause something to happen in the database. When I would find one, I would type it in and see what happens. The professor suddenly appears over my shoulder. He surveyed my screen and saw that I was messing with parameters and such. Then he starts telling me all this other stuff I can do. He actually shows me how to change stuff that can kill the database if I don’t use it correctly, which is to imply that he trusts me enough to know I’ll keep the values within the boundries! Talk about fostering curiousity!