TL;DR: I used to blog. Then I stopped. Now I’m starting again, and this is that blog.

This is the first post of the fourth generation of I am extremely confident that you have little interest in the contents of those prior incarnations, but I do think that a super-quick retrospective will put this in proper context. (I’ve got one or two “favorite” posts of mine that I may retrieve from backups and refresh with current thinking, but that’s yet to be seen.)

And so: Why are we here?

Hello World 1.0

My first Hello World corner of the “World Wide Web” sprouted from a DEC mainframe on the campus of Worcester Polytechnic Institute in the fall of 1994. Mosaic and Netscape were still coming of age; Yahoo! had not yet served its first banner ad. I have vague memories of hand-crafting HTML in vi with links to snippets about 3D raytracing – the subject of my graduating project. Such a horrific set of relatively ancient technologies! Microsoft Visual Studio 1.0! MFC 2.0! Windows 3.11! Waiting for hours for my top-of-the-line 486DX2/66 to render truly primitive animations of snowmen. By comparison, such simple times.

Hello World 1.0 had no purpose or structure. I have no idea if anyone besides myself and my advisor ever saw any of its contents. (Web analytics? What are those?)

Hello World 2.0

When you leave school, of course, you eventually lose access to servers and other resources, and have to venture out and re-establish your digital footprint. And so: It’s hard to believe I’ve owned this domain for over two decades now. This site has, at various points, been a webhosting service, a personal blog, a photo journal, an eBay bulk listing service. None of them were ever terribly successful, but I learned a lot in the process of building them. I’m sure other crazy side projects flowed through here like carnivals roaming town to town; During the 2.0 years, everyone was striking it rich making stupid ideas come to life and I’m sure I have some forgotten contributions to that craze. (I’ve still got a collection of a few dozen domain names that, someday, could become something amazing.)

Hello World 3.0 (the Dark Ages)

Some of the 20-odd years between HW1.0 and HW4.0 expired inside the belly of corporate beasts. Those beasts demand constant feeding, and when I’m busy feeding the beast I don’t have as much time for feeding myself. Other years were sacrificed to the altar of startup culture, which proffer much more flexible personal identities but can still make extreme demands. And so, HW3 never felt like an authentic expression of my self; the parts of me that exist outside the confines of my org chart boxes or business plans never really found a place to take root.

Hello World 4.0

That brings us to 2019, and this site. I mention all of this history so we can understand each other: the world is full of transient ideas, a rare number of which may become interesting, and while I’ll probably blather on about all sorts of odd things here I make no promises that (1) it won’t have turned out to be a charlatan and (2) that any of this will persist longer than it does. I do believe, however, that I’m getting closer to understanding myself. That self needs a canvas for experimenting with ideas and technologies and visual expression. That is what this shall be, until it is no longer needed.