Monday, November 15, 2004


I'm back ... but I'm just blogging this subject for myself. I'll look for a good home for a public discussion on this topic. But a blog isn't the place for it. I apologize to Christopher Alexander for suggesting that it might be. I'd still like him to blog, and I'll do my best to goad him into it.

I'm always in the midst of new projects. I'm a maniac, with too many ideas, all the time, and I sift through them all, dismiss most, present many to friends, experiment with some publicly, and finally commit ... to more than I have time or resources for. Often my projects have been inspired by the work of Christopher Alexander. Sometimes, he & I collaborate closely on projects, and he's left a marked impression on the way I work.

In that sense, everything I do is a consequence of the Nature of Order. I'm more keenly aware of the gestalt aspects of a situation, and try to concentrate on connections, harmony, feeling, unfolding and people.

Today, harder than ever, I'm trying to maximize the good I do. Although I'm an activist, I'm also a computer person ... I've been programming for over 30 years. Not surprisingly, the two activists I look to for inspiration are also the ones who, without trying, have had the greatest effect on computing.

That would be Christopher Alexander and Noam Chomsky. Their fields are architectire, art, urban planning, linguistics, cognitive and political science. The work of these two launched design theory, design patterns, object-oriented programming, wikis, extreme programming, compiler-compilers, stacks, context-switching, context-free grammars, formal language design, et cetera. It is an amazing story, which I could write a book about, if I had the time. The computer world would be a much duller place without these two anarchists. Yet they are barely aware of their influence on computing.

We can only hope they will inspire much more. Actually, you can bet on it.