Back to the Future

07Jul08

Starting off with a large dose of honesty:

At the behest of a web-head friend of mine, I’ve started this experiment in Web 2.0-ism. This blog is meant to be the real me. Well… within reason. There are things I can’t do or express here since this is supposed to be my professional image, so this is really the filtered me. It’s, as I said above, also meant to be an experiment for me. Can I adapt to the web? So far, it’s been something I’ve been avoiding. I’ve been trying to figure out why I’ve been avoiding it for the past few years and still haven’t come to any startling conclusions. I think part of it might be that I’ve done this all before.

Back when we had Usenet in the days when spammers didn’t even register so much as a minor blip, I did everything that people are talking about today. Sharing ideas? Check. Sharing media (music, images, video)? Check. Building communities? Check. Moving technology forward? Check. I even had a chat once with a guy from Norway who shared the same interest that I did in building a new OS from scratch that wasn’t owned by any company but was freely distributable. (I don’t think it was who you’re thinking it was.) I got a little quote to put into a college paper of mine from Stephen Hawking via one of his assistants. The vast world was at my fingertips. The virtual world was in full swing in 1988. At the time I had this idea of layering a nice virtual reality interface over the text interface and everything would be like having a Second Life. But it wasn’t to be. I turned right and the world went left.

So perhaps some of my hesitance in accepting this new Web 2.0 warm and fuzzy world is because having been through it all before, I’m not wanting to go through it all again only to have it usurped by the “Next Big Thing” ™ in another decade or so. My friend tells me that I need to be realistic and accept the lack of permanence. That’s very hard for someone like me to do. However, I have reasons for wanting to make myself more visible, and as my friend points out, not having a professional web presence these days is like not having a business card. My friend is very likely right. So here I am. Coming off of my Usenet buzz from 20 years ago and attempting to re-invent myself for the next fifteen minutes. Will it work? Who knows?

I’m All About Sharing:

Frankly, the other reason I’m here is that I have some knowledge locked inside my head that I’m always willing to share. I won’t claim to be an expert on most things because I’m not that kind of person. But, I do know that people are always telling me that I could help a lot of people by sharing what I know. That’s something that attracted me to Usenet and currently internet forums. I like to help people. I like to share information. I love to teach. And I have a wide variety of interests in both my personal and professional life. So that is what I will be focusing on here. A little of the personal, a little of the professional, but always trying to share what I know with you, the reader.

Under Construction:

My friend is probably shaking her head at the above heading. (Hi there!) But, this will probably be true for a while since there is a lot I need to learn about blogging and web-centric thinking. It just doesn’t come to me from second nature. I still function at Web 0.5 since it all still works well. But, I know I’ll need to modernize a bit and learn the new way of doing things if I want to have a decent presence. So, all I ask is that you be patient with me. This stuff is very hard for me because I’m not used to working at levels higher than shell scripts and text editors. I’m also not used to giving my information over to a third-party for handling. I’m told these are not good traits to have and be Web 2.0-ish. Keep in mind that we’re working against my nearly 40 years of experience being who I am. So, I’ll be trying to adapt and there will likely be false starts, wrong turns, and well… let’s just say lots and lots of mistakes initially. Sorry in advance.

What’s Next:

I will be trying to cull from various sources, previous knowledge that I’ve shared with others in the past few years that I think are still likely to be of use to people. Most of the topics from my professional side will focus on the Linux and Unix worlds and how I’ve made the move from Macintosh, to Windows, to *nix in a little over a decade. One thing I want to make clear is that I’m not an OS zealot. The way I see it, when people say, “[insert OS] sucks”, they really mean, “[insert OS] sucks for me”. If you’ve been working with multiple platforms for a number of years you know that there really is little difference other than the colors, where the gear shift is placed, and whether or not you have a spoiler. My personal experiences and needs have made me prefer Unix and Linux based distributions, but I don’t begrudge anyone choosing to use Windows or MacOS.

Over the next few weeks, I’m hoping to slowly build the amount of information I have presented here. Probably with a heavier focus on the professional at first, and then a slow movement into some of the personal. Some of this will probably be tempered by the fact that this site will be a representation of me for professional reasons. As a result, make no assumption that this blog will represent who I am 100%. While some may not feel that this is important, I do. Image is quite important to me and knowing that this blog won’t be a complete representation is something I want stated up front. Should I ever meet you at a conference or other professional function, I want to avoid anyone being surprised by any possible contrast to my online presence.

As far as the personal side goes, a bit of my background is that I was an aspiring musician with artistic inclinations who wound up in IT. As a result my entry into IT is somewhat unusual. I didn’t take computer science classes or business classes. Computers, for me, were tools to create original music, images and video 20 years ago and they still are that to me today. It just happens that along the way I learned how to do more on the “tech” side of these machines. Going back even farther, my background was stronger in electronics. Between the ages of six and 24, I could often be found modifying, building, designing and reconfiguring the raw hardware of electronic devices themselves. Mostly in the pursuit of better mediated reality experiences. The shift to computers changed my focus a bit, but I still pull out the soldering iron from time to time. Do not have any expectations that I am bent on world domination or winning some nebulous competition. I am merely here to share what I know and ideally improve people’s experiences with technology.

Fin:

So that about wraps it up for my first blog entry. The only other thing I think I’ll close with is that I tend to be time impoverished. As a result, there may be periods of inactivity which might be longer than I prefer. If the day ever does come that I just decide to throw in the towel, I’ll make it clear that I have. One thing that drives me nuts about blogs are the ones that are just abandoned with no explanation. I don’t intend to do that. Here’s to hoping that I can grasp this shiny medium while it lasts.

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One Response to “Back to the Future”

  1. 1 Glen

    Great first post. You’re right. A lot of this stuff is not new. It’s Usenet and IRC and BBS all over again with pretty graphics (well, maybe not quite that simple).


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