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Pythoncraft and Pigs With Wings
Aahz's Yet Another Blog Introduction
by Aahz
May 30, 2003
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 AltaVista and then Google to find information, but I stuck with Lynx as 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 information:

I still maintain my website in vi, it still has no graphics, and I still despise JavaScript.

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 support mindset.

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.

What's Pythoncraft?

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 craftmanship.

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 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 sharing them.


Cochlear implants

General info about cochlear implants:

Advanced Bionics, manufacturers of my cochlear implant:

Internet/Web resources

vi, text editor of champions:

Home page for the Lynx text browser:

Home page for browser accessibility (AnyBrower project):

Web design rant (by my partner, Stef):

Anti-JavaScript FAQ (by yours truly):

Python and programming resources

Python home page:

Discussion about Python is mirrored between newsgroup and mailing list:

You can find various versions of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass through Project Gutenberg:

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About the Blogger

Aahz has been using Python since 1999 and is the co-author of Python for Dummies. He helps people on comp.lang.python, and is one of the webmasters for Aahz is currently working as a developer for web applications.

This weblog entry is Copyright © 2003 Aahz. All rights reserved.

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