Matters Technical

I studied computer science and mathematics (among other things) in school, and I’ve always been a huge computer nerd. I’ve worked with VIC20s and C64s, the original Compaq “portable,” a DECmate, CP/M, DOS, VMS, Unix, Windows, Mac OS (Classic and X), and even a PDP/8. Something about computers and mathematics has always fascinated me. I was privileged to study with some truly excellent math professors in my undergraduate career, as well. Other technical fields are of interest to me as well, but I write about them less often, as I don’t know as much.

I particularly love fields where — unlike the “natural” sciences — a confluence of rigorous technical discipline, precise rules and constraints on what is possible, what must be done and what cannot be done, and sheer human creativity and ingenuity, make possible work that is both functional and beautiful. Computer science, to me, clearly belongs in this category, as does mathematics, engineering, architecture, woodworking, typography. In any of these fields, it is one thing, and sometimes hard enough in its own right, to simply accomplish the task at hand; but though never easy, it is almost always possible to produce breathtaking beauty and elegance as well. A house, a bridge, a computer program, a chair, a theorem, or a book can be merely a success, when crafted by someone with a minimum of skill, but created with talent, expertise and love, it can be a triumph, and a joy to behold as well as use.

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