About

About me

I am a computer scientist, software designer, and writer living in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The joys of my life are my wife, Merry, music (I’ve been a jazz fan for more years than I care to count, and a guitar player for almost as long), our animals, and our home.

Our home is a beautiful old house in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains that we purchased in 2003. It was built in 1964 in the modernist style, which is unusual for Albuquerque. Although the prior owners loved the house as much as we do, the inevitability of time had left it needing work, and we have been restoring ever since. This takes up most of my spare time, and all my spare money.

Our animals include Blossom the bird, and a gang of five cats who came to us as one week-old orphans. We bottle fed them (every two and a half hours for about six weeks – it nearly killed me), and happily all survived to become part of our family. We also host the occasional foster from a cat rescue that my wife started a few years back. Her organization, Fabulous Felines, is a small but growing charity.

As for my intellectual and professional life, the enduring theme continues to be reconciling my interest in science with a persistent calling to the creative arts. These twin passions have led to a long and diverse career. My education has spanned both a BA in English Literature and a PhD in Computer Science. My professional life has included work as a jewelry designer, health food store owner, musician, computer science researcher, writer, college professor, and most recently, a computer scientist at Sandia National Laboratories.

In 2011, I decided to retire from Sandia Labs while I was still young enough to pursue certain ideas about the relationship between people, culture, and technology. I plan for this web site, additional writing projects, and a consulting practice to be my vehicles for that exploration.

About the site

I have taken “technology, media, and culture” as a focus for the site because both my research and professional experience have made clear the deep interconnections between these topics. We cannot understand any of them apart from the other two. For example, in spite of its grounding in empirical objectivity, the specifics of scientific practice depends deeply on media ranging from scientific journals to the Internet, and those media in turn have a direct influence on the formation of research teams, the allocation of funding, and the priorities of research communities. The success of science depends on a range of cultural values including freedom of speech, intellectual property protections, a belief in progress, and a commitment to empiricism as a foundation for knowledge of the world.

Similarly, media, from the printing press to the Internet, are among the most significant products of technology in our society, and are also the essential field for the expression of culture. Media shape the nature of their content through the expressive forms they provide. For example, sites like YouTube and Flikr, and the technologies that make them possible have dramatically altered the role of visual images in social interaction.

Finally, culture itself could be thought of as the set of values we attach to the products of technology and the communication media, and these values define the development and application of both technology and communications media.

Of course, the main reason for this stated focus on technology, media, and culture is that it not only covers just about anything about which I might want to write, but also provides a powerful lens for those examinations. I hope you will enjoy reading these explorations as much as I have enjoyed their creation.

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