There has to be a reason to do anything.
I'm going to do some writing about what I know, which is computer systems and how the world ought to work. Think of this like a message in a bottle, a return to one way communication, real web 1.0 shit.
Driving up alongside is going to be a running account of how I'm bringing you this content, from my brain to your output device. I think about this all the time, the systems we use to talk to each other and the towers of hidden systems, technical and social, that the apparent systems rest upon. More to come on this later, for now just know I'm typing out HTML pages.
The biggest reason I'm doing this now is because at this late date I'm doing a lot of things that I wish I had done a long time ago. I suppose that's the way of good things that we do, usually it would have been better to have done them earlier.
Part of me wishes we could have met before so many things, before covid, before politics got stupid, before I started getting slower from age. Then again, something is going to happen in six months that I will have wished we had met before so hello!
There will be a lot of writing about things I'm doing now that are... suboptimal. But that's the idea, that we're going to grow together.
I hope a lot of things here are interesting to a lot of people, but I really hope people who are looking at careers in computers read this. We need to find some clarity about the ideology around doing computers for a living. I also have some pointers that might smooth some rough edges as you're finding your feet.
Just to dip into that ideology with one toe, why would anyone want to do computers for a living? It is true that Uber got people to give them billions of dollars on a promise that they could make robot taxi drivers. It is true that Facebook convinced basically everyone with a computer to give them trillions of dollars worth of marketing data for free. Seems like you could get rich. On that point I want to be clear:
Working in computers can get you a good paying indoor job, modulo some impact on your mental health. However, the only people who get RICH are rent-seeking scam artists.
If you have the idea of getting good at computers so you can use them to do good in the world, that's a good thing but you don't have to be very good at computers for that. None of the BIG TIME PROBLEMS are waiting for a new algorithm to be solved. Nobody gets two houses unless everybody has one, there's the algorithm. The rest is organization and leadership. It is useful to be good at email though.
We're not at work right now though so lets do computer programming because it's interesting and because we can learn things about why things work the way they work. Majestic rivers and tributary systems of ideology are flowing through the code all around us.
This is called NO GHOSTS. There's no magic or mystery to computers, even though we act as if there was all the time. It's all stuff made by people, wizards aren't real. It does seem like there are ghosts sometimes. The emergent complexity of hundreds of interacting systems built by people who had some idea of what they were doing and no idea what anyone else was doing leaves a lot of dark cobwebby corners and unaccountable behavior!
But it's all made by regular people. There are NO GHOSTS.
We believe in ghosts at the day job where our value is measured in ghost whispering. Negotiating with fictional ghosts is an in-demand skill, it Gets Shit Done. The grinding, inexorable logic of capitalism frightens us into accepting their help. Every day that fear is compounded by the fears of the ghosts we harbor, coercing us into terrible decisions to stay out of their way.
We're doing this for our own reasons, why would we choose to live that way?
- beef kid