Suz Hinton’s internet alias, noopkat, comes from the computer programming term “no-op,” which she defined as “an empty placeholder function that doesn’t really do anything.”
But don’t let it fool you.
Born and raised in Melbourne, Australia, Hinton picked up basic coding when she was nine years old through her first computer, the Commodore 64. It was when she wanted to create art with that computer when she realized she needed to fiddle with the internal programming to do so. In elementary school, she’d go to the library on the weekends to study up on HTML and learn about programming. She’s been hooked ever since.
“I’ve always been someone who’s excited about limitations of a platform,” Hinton said. “The most interesting problems to me are when you have to creatively work around the restrictions that you have.”
Before Brooklyn, Hinton lived in Las Vegas for four years working for a tech company owned by Amazon but eventually decided it wasn’t the city she would be happiest in. After nearly two years in the borough, she says Brooklyn feels like home. (As she put it in her TinyLetter: “My heart is very split these days between Brooklyn and Melbourne.”)
The local art scene is something she’s grown to love, citing the amount of creative people she’s met. For Hinton, art works its way into her technical work in ways that can “make people feel good.” One of her more fun projects was a pair of musical sensor-enabled shoes dubbed “Meow Shoes” that she built at the Vegas Hack Fashion Tech hackathon in 2013.
Watch her demo the shoes at the hackathon below.
Hinton is quick to mention that she doesn’t know everything about programming. She hopes that by speaking at events, she can inspire others who are fearful about getting into the field. She said she loves being up on stage to “demystify technical things.”
I think everything I do must have been "easy" because I don't think I can do hard things, and I wrongly conflate "easy" with "not valuable".
— Suz Hinton (@noopkat) September 4, 2016
“Almost like a dare,” Hinton said.
The avrgirl project is one she works on during her live coding streams on Twitch. She said the streaming experience has been a positive one, motivating her to get work done in a short amount of time while also interacting with the viewers.