Why a technophilic Luddite would choose to write a blog
What's a "technophilic Luddite"?
I call myself a technophilic Luddite because I like technology, I make
heavy use of technology, and I'm dependent on technology. (I'm
hearing-impaired and wear a cochlear implant.) But I also have a healthy
aversion to unbridled use of technology.
For many years, I resisted the pull of the Web. I much preferred (and
still prefer) the interactivity of netnews groups. Sure, I used
and then Google
to find information, but I stuck with
my primary browser (and still do). My own website consisted solely of a
single offensively rude page (which I've archived at
Aahz's old home page).
Eventually, though, I got tired of people asking the same things over
and over again, so I revamped my website to include some useful
I still maintain my website in vi, it still has no graphics, and I still
Why a blog, then?
I'm a tech support person by personal inclination and by training. In
fact, although I've been programming for more than twenty-five years, I
didn't call myself a programmer until I started using Python. These
days, I think of myself as more of a writer (I'm currently working on
Effective Python for Addison Wesley -- drop me a line if you're
interested in reviewing it), but I still approach things from a tech
What this means is that I occasionally have the urge to record something
in more coherent form than what I can do with a netnews post, but
requiring less effort than a full-blown magazine article or book. And
having it on the Web in a central repository means that other people can
find my writings.
A large part of what I love about Python is that it encourages a focus
on the craft of programming. In addition to the language itself,
the Python community focuses on programming practices that encourage
I'll probably write more about this later, but I consider programming a
craft because programming requires creative use of science and
engineering to produce artful and useful products. It's not a
coincidence that the top tier of programmers are often referred to as
architects. When the time came to get my own domain, I picked
pythoncraft.com as emblematic of the goals I set for myself.
What's Pigs With Wings?
The Python programming language was named after Monty Python, the
British comedy show. While I'm a fan of the show (I can sing the
Lumberjack song with the best of 'em), Monty Python just can't match the
whimsical humor of Lewis Carroll. More than that, reading and
understanding the skewed logic underlying Alice in Wonderland and
Through the Looking Glass tends to give a refreshing perspective
on programming problems.
While I plan to mostly concentrate on issues having to do with Python, I
want to give myself some leeway to rant about other issues that are
important to programmers. (Software patents, for example.) Like most
of Carroll's characters, I've got a lot of opinions and I'm not shy about