On a late summer day in 2013, I stood on a stage in a large tent on the grounds of Bletchley Park in England, the site where British codebreakers (famously including Alan Turing) defeated the Enigma machine in World War II. It was one of the better days of my life, as two fundamentally wonderful things had just happened.

First, I’d just somehow managed to win a hacking contest (that’s why I was onstage). The National Museum of Computing—also located on the grounds of Bletchley Park—was seeking tech help in creating web-based, interactive timeline exhibits. I’d stayed up through the night, extending an open source JavaScript library and building a prototype: this was my entry, which was, to my great delight, declared best in show. The ...

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