On the occasion of relocating home to places more rural and secluded as allowed by the memex.
My job description, for the last twenty years or so, has been primarily concerned with the creation of hardware and software systems. My work product, however, has been the creation of artifacts of communication; communication with humans. Everything I’ve done has been the result of the exchanging, processing and encoding of ideas in various forms which can be used, immediately, or later, by other humans I’m working with now, will be working with later, or who will be working with stuff I was involved with but I’m no longer around. No longer with the company. Expatriated. Dead.
These days I write a lot of code. Code tells a computer what to do, but more importantly code tells a story. It narrates, for future maintainers, the intent of a system. Code is communication. For humans. Code could be Pynchon or Joyce or Faulkner, but you’re really better off trending in the direction of Fitzgerald (after he got past the fun the of This Side of Paradise) or Hemingway and then stepping down several reading comprehension levels to something nice and simple, so you and yours don’t feel dumb when you go back those few days or weeks or months or years later.
I have not had an office away from home for several years now. As a fully paid up member of the knowledge economy my job is to think, state some theses, and produce something antithetical to that which crosses beneath my baleful gaze. My communication is most useful to you when it persists. Your communication is most useful to me when it persists. If there is no record, then any participants not present are shit out of luck.
From out here in my pastoral paradise, this is as true as ever, and it is good. I am trained up in how to do this. Time and distance are no barriers when persistent and addressable information artifacts are being tossed around in an asynchronous ballet of packets passing. In collaboration with like minded folk around the world I get things done with less waste on the dimensions of space (this is my footprint, I live in it), time (yours and mine) and energy (mental, physical, environmental).
I’d like to think this is the future. The economic advantages for me and for the companies that might partner with me to make things happen ought to be huge, especially once many people are doing it. The environmental benefits even more so.
Unfortunately, I’m one of a privileged few in a country that itself is one of a privileged few. Is it right to carry on and trumpet the benefits maybe creating some gravity, pulling a trend? Or is there some better way?