Ben (@vivavolt), August, 2021
For anyone who loves programming and finding new ways to think. If you find my enthusiasm for computing infectious, then welcome. Basic code competency is probably required but I write for those who are curious like me. I'm still getting the hang of it, always will be.
And more importantly why should you care what I have to say?
I'm Ben, I fell in love with programming when I was 10, and 18 years later not much has changed. Simple rules expressed in tasteful monospace font will probably always bring a smile to my face. The blinking cursor overflowing with potential, what shall it be today? a game? a tool? a website? a whole world for someone to step into and explore? Yes please.
Every interaction on the computer takes place in an abstract, intangible space defined by the particular keys a particular programmer hit on a particular day. How fucking cool is that? The programmer defines a space, the computer hosts it and the user explores it. In some sense you can feel the particular mental models of a programmer in their work. It's like stepping into a carefully (or, chaotically) constructed dream plucked straight from the author's mind.
I see the study of computing and the study of thought itself as intrinsically linked. Programming has taught how me to think clearly and intentionally about my life and, in turn, my personal development has taught me that programming is hell of a lot bigger than "what is clean code?"
I've written a lot of code, but not for anything famous. I grew up designing and developing videogames and websites in every spare moment. Over the years I've:
At university I majored in software engineering, with a focus on human computer interaction and a surprising amount of embedded systems. As an undergrad I worked at a startup where we used Model Driven Development and code templating to generate PHP webapps from domain model diagrams. I completed my thesis on "Modular, Reactive Digital Education" and built a MOOC.
As a graduate I've worked on indoor mapping, microservices, virtual reality, design systems, complex user interfaces and event sourcing. I've gone by various titles: full-stack web developer, R&D officer, UI/UX designer, UI engineer and technical lead all while juggling far too many sideprojects. In the past few years I've dived in to functional programming and fell head-over-heels for clojure. Today I am still making games, still making web sites and I'm dabbling in tools for thought, generative art, web3 and livecoding. I'm fascinated with the creative, educational and deeply human ways that we use computers, whether for work, community, entertainment or self-discovery.
So it's a bit all over the place, yeah. Can I make you a better programmer? I dunno. I just want to write about the programming ideas that excite me.