- behind the screen with independent designers, developers and others.
Some folks can work with technology, some folks can write, very few can do both.
What did you do before the Web?
A bit of everything. I was a software developer, DBA, Information Repository modeler and so on, primarily working with larger systems at Boeing, Nike, Intel, Halliburton, and Standard Insurance Company. Prior to these jobs and before getting my degrees in Computer Science and Psychology, I worked at all sorts of jobs, including being an insurance underwriter and a photographer's assistant.
How did you find the web?
I had been connected to the Internet before the Web, primarily through Usenet and bulletin boards or through CompuServe, that sort of thing. I was at Intel when one of the engineers there asked me if I had seen this new technology, this thing called the "Web". He opened an application he called a "browser" to a page, and clicked a hypertext link, which opened up a second page. Something so simple, but I felt like I found the Holy Grail. I was lost.
Why are you here?
Because I'm lost?
Methods of production
What do you use to create your sites?
I am about as basic as you can get. I use Notepad in Windows, vi in Unix, and Textpad or emacs on the Mac. I use Movable Type for my weblog, though I have started incorporating Movable Type managed content into my other web sites - I am quite fond of this product.
For my images, I use Corel Xara, and Adobe PhotoShop. I've also used Dreamweaver in the past, but since I mainly work with templates, I don't necessarily need the front-end power that Dreamweaver provides. I don't use any form of Flash and that type of product at my web sites.
I'm not much of a front-end person - my strength's are in back-end development, preferring P2P-based technologies, J2EE/JSP, PHP, web services, web application systems, CGI/Perl, and Python. I was also a big fan of Microsoft's COM+/ASP, but not as happy with .NET, which is why I've moved all my web sites and development to Unix and Mac OS X.
About the Web
What do you see as the greatest strengths of the web?
By far the connectivity. Too many people focus on the technology of the web, forgetting that technology is nothing more than a gateway to wonderous things. The web introduces us to beauty, creativity, truth, new people and new ideas. I genuinely believe there are no limits to what we can accomplish given this connectivity.
What do you see as the greatest dangers?
Those who want to control the connectivity. Who want to copyright, legalize, box in, and shrink wrap our abilities to share and communicate.
I said in the last question that technology isn't the important component of the web, the connectivity the technology enables is what matters. However, it is up to technologists such as myself to ensure that we create and defend technology that keeps that gateway of connectivity open. We have a moral obligation to block those who would shutter the beauty, restrict the creativity, prohibit the truth, and silence the people and ideas.
What would you say to folks who want to work the web?
First, that the dot com explosion is over and they aren't going to get rich.
If that doesn't scare them away then my recommendation would be for them to try out new things, to offer their efforts online, to support open source efforts and work with others of like interest