I Learned Coding Mostly From Porn

I Learned Coding Mostly From Porn

I still remember the first line of code that I changed: a single integer increase to make bigger explosions in a game called Clonk Rage. I treasure that moment because it was the first time I looked beneath the surface of any kind of program.

I quickly lost interest thereafter, completely overwhelmed by everything, everywhere. Then I got my coding apprenticeship pretty much solely because I talked about my casemodding hobby and could list the individual steps that it takes to cook coffee in a technical manner.

Again, I was overwhelmed by everything, all the time. I could barely keep my head above water, desperately trying to catch up to the level where I could understand patterns, inheritance, interfaces.

And then I stumbled into the world of scripting through a tool called imacros, you are probably familiar. It comes with a macro recorder that makes it possible to automate things without touching a single line of code — but you can if you want.

I used it to automate the annoying process of sharing posts from my tumblr porn curation blog to a site called sex.com (the pinterest of porn as they advertised back then). That blog grew into a whole network of blogs over time, all curating niche content and paying my rent at the end.

Of course I got banned quickly for having way too many shares per day, all in a manner of minutes. So this was the first time I ever wrote proper code, putting delays in there and using an old laptop as a sort of server to spread it all out across the day. Saved me literally hours of my time, hours of mind-numbing work.

Needless to say I was addicted, needed more. My life took a downward spiral that found its new low when I had a fully automated process of a C# application that switched user agents, logged into profiles, automated the blogs at well (tumblr had a 300 post limit in their queue).

It ran on an incredibly hacky base of generating iMacros code blocks within a console application, saving that to a folder and then using assembly calls with parameters to start a chrome browser with the iMacros Script. Them were the days.

As I was doing all these I was suddenly starting to catch some air at work, understanding a lot that I had not before. I started seeing some light, and quickly learned that my process was shoddy even though it worked. Funnily enough that whole script worked almost without errors, I can’t remember doing much bugfixing at all once I had everything figured out.

Eventually this brought me to investigate better options, namely Python and Selenium. I quickly realized that I was a complete noob, could not understand anything and eventually gave up learning Selenium — but I had some Python under my belt.

I came back to it all about a year later, this time stronger. I hit my head against the wall until the wall crumbled and I had a hole to walk through. I suddenly understood the concept of what an API is and why it’s so useful to use that instead of scripting where possible — so I took a deep dive into the Tumblr API.

That also taught me about how necessary it is to document your code properly, I spent more time on the fifth pages of Google results than I ever had before. So I automated the tumblr Queue with random parameters, captions, links out to my website sprinkled in between. Learned about Spintax and used some RegEx magic to basically ensure a heap of individual captions at random intervals. Fun, that.

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With that done away with I learned about Selenium which is infinitely more powerful than iMacros — and it can be run from within Python code. So now I had a proper solution going on, I used version control, built-in monitoring alerts and error handling for whenever something did not work.

Then I got greedy, deciding to dive into building my own websites, niche-focused tube sites that embed videos from the large sites. Funnily enough those sites don’t just let you do that, they even pay you for any traffic you bring to their sites. So I learned about static websites, using a pretty clever Jekyll system with Python-generated post files. They had future dates built in a way that would publish ten posts a day off of a list of thousands of videos and then I used a cron trigger website to call a build hook from Netlify once per hour. If a new post was ready it would get published.

And somehow this all worked. I wrote so many lines of code, did so much digging, trying, swearing. I stopped playing video games because this was way more fun. Eventually I got into Crypto thanks to this after a guy online told me about some bitcoin-based ad network that paid sometimes stupid sums depending on the day’s exchange values. A Tumblr blog that made 2 bucks a day before would now often make 20.

Then Tumblr decided to commit seppuku and ban all adult content from their site — losing about 30% of their total traffic as a result. Then they got bought for a laughably low sum. My whole system crumbled away in the span of a month, it’s a good thing that I had not quit my day job yet.

But the amount of things that I learned throughout this journey are incredible, from automation over website building to Python that all work to my advantage today. I would not have learned any of them in my regular job and I’m glad that I went down these rabbit holes.

Takeaway: Porn is an interesting field full of coding opportunities and lessons you might not get elsewhere

One thing that I learned was that the way I learned coding gives you a lot of problems that have not been solved before. Normally it can be pretty hard to find a good problem to solve and reasons to even learn — it’s just really boring to build the same RSS aggregator everyone else has.

For me this was my way to escape tutorial hell where you have no real clue how to progress, no real problems to solve. I wanted rent money and rent money addiction is the path that leads down to the dark world of creativity.

It is also a world where you’ll see a large void not many people explore, even less of them with coding knowledge. You’ll find people doing things manually, painstakingly that can easily be automated, but would not occur to them unless approached from a programming point of view.

If you enjoyed this post here are some others I have written in the past:

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