March 2012 - Broken Links Archive

Moving on — my plans for the future

I’ve decid­ed it’s time for a change pro­fes­sion­al­ly, so I’m mov­ing on from at the end of the week. It was a tough deci­sion to make because there’s a lot of real­ly cool and excit­ing things com­ing up in their future, but my prob­lem is that between my salaried work and my extra-cur­ric­u­lar work, my spare time is far more occu­pied than I’d like it to be. I’ve come to the con­clu­sion that one of the two has to be cho­sen, and work­ing for myself comes out ahead.

In the short term I’m going take a few weeks off, and then start writ­ing my sec­ond book (I haven’t actu­al­ly signed the con­tract for it yet, but it’s been giv­en the go-ahead by my pub­lish­er). I’m also work­ing as tech­ni­cal edi­tor for Chris Mills’ book, so the plan is for the mon­ey from this and oth­er writ­ing to sup­port me for a bit. I’m talk­ing at more events this year, and the extra time I get will allow me to focus on get­ting bet­ter at that.

Longer term I’m in very ear­ly stage plan­ning to put togeth­er a co-oper­a­tive with some friends where we can put our con­sid­er­able expe­ri­ence to use mak­ing inter­est­ing and excit­ing things. That’s about as defined as we are at the moment.

Depend­ing on how long the co-op takes to get off the ground I may be doing some free­lance work lat­er in the year, and I’m always open to hear­ing offers about talks, writ­ing and con­sul­tan­cy, so feel free to get in touch with me about that or any oth­er oppor­tu­ni­ty you think I might be inter­est­ed in. Or just get in touch for a chat, as it’s going to be pret­ty lone­ly work­ing by myself for the next few months!

I wish the best of luck to every­one at, and I’m very excit­ed and appre­hen­sive about being unem­ployed for the first time since I left school!

Those who forget the past…

There are many who believe that the inter­net will make us stu­pid, so it may come as a relief to know that some 2,400 years ago Socrates believed* that the same would hap­pen because of the new art of writ­ing:

This inven­tion will pro­duce for­get­ful­ness in the minds of those who learn to use it, because they will not prac­tice their mem­o­ry. Their trust in writ­ing, pro­duced by exter­nal char­ac­ters which are no part of them­selves, will dis­cour­age the use of their own mem­o­ry with­in them. You have invent­ed an elixir not of mem­o­ry, but of remind­ing; and you offer your pupils the appear­ance of wis­dom, not true wisdom.

And mis­un­der­stand­ing the capa­bil­i­ties of com­put­ers is not a recent inven­tion either; in the mid-19th Cen­tu­ry the math­e­mati­cian Charles Bab­bage, the­o­ret­i­cal inven­tor of the first mechan­i­cal com­put­er, complained:

On two occa­sions I have been asked,—“Pray, Mr. Bab­bage, if you put into the machine wrong fig­ures, will the right answers come out?” I am not able right­ly to appre­hend the kind of con­fu­sion of ideas that could pro­voke such a question.

I found both of these quotes in James Gle­ick­’s The Infor­ma­tion, which despite my being only four chap­ters in, and the fact that it’s only March, is a can­di­date for book of the year.

* Accord­ing to Pla­to.


I’ve updat­ed my Speak­ing page to include more con­fer­ences, more videos, and a lit­tle on my speak­ing require­ments and pref­er­ences. I’m plan­ning to cut down on the num­ber of talks I give in 2014 (twelve is too many), but am always open to inter­est­ing offers and oppor­tu­ni­ties, so please get in touch if you’re organ­is­ing an event.

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