SPHS Student Builds Computer Operating System From Scratch
By Dan Giles, Student Intern
For Peter Dirks, who will soon be entering his senior year at Severna Park High School, all technology is something that can be tinkered with and modified. In recent months, Dirks has taken on and completed the task of building a complete computer hard drive from scratch. He utilized a system of several interior fans and hydraulic tubes to keep the device, as well as his room, from overheating.
While many consumers will vehemently stand by their allegiance to either Mac or Windows computers, Dirks custom operating system allows him to pick and choose which features he wishes to implement. Working from the ground up, Dirks outfitted his homemade hard drive with extra storage drives, varied software, and excessive amounts of RAM, as well as giving it cosmetic enhancements such as a custom paint job and interior glow lights.
Dirks said that curiosity is his main motivation to explore technology, and he is enabled to do so by information he gathers from the internet and magazines. While the whole may be considered greater than the sum of its parts, Dirks insists when it comes to technology, the parts are significantly cheaper than the sum. In other words, by piecing together individual components that are otherwise in relatively low demand, one does not have to pay for the assembly, overseas shipping, and profit markup of a completed commercial item. By this methodology, Dirks assembled his own speaker system from parts purchased from electronics stores and online, costing overall a fraction of an equitable system on the market.
Additionally, Dirks insists the devices he puts together can outperform items that can be found commercially. When he puts it together, he can call the shots. One of his past projects was modifying a remote-controlled truck so it could reach speeds of up to 80 miles per hour, and with modifications he hopes to make it soon climb to as much as 150 miles per hour.
Dirks current goal is to create a micro PC (a computer about the size of a microwave) with a processing server that can universally run any type of disc format. The best part is that you know how the machines you use in your everyday life actually work, said Dirks. Most people are clueless about what it is that makes your computer run the way it does.
Dirks, who is naturally fluent in the language of Turkish, hopes to mix his linguistic and technological skills in order to succeed in the business industry, perhaps as a regional operator abroad for a major technological company.
As for Dirks parents, he says they do not have an issue with the projects in progress that occupy his room, so long as the loud music coming from his speakers does not knock over items in the kitchen, as happens occasionally.