#introductions

pho4cexa

Hi, I’m pho4cexa. I know it’s a strange pseudonym.

I make software. I’m most experienced with Python but my latest employment has thrown me into Elixir and ClojureScript and I’m really enjoying all three. I’ve dabbled with Rust, Haskell, Guile Scheme, C, and assembly but I’d like to learn them better. I’m excited by efforts to replace the corporate-centric world-wide-web with light, indie, distributed, peer-to-peer, technology.

Nerd politics

Until copyright ceases to existor is drastically reformed (and I doubt this will happen in my lifetime)

, I believe copyleft is essential to freedom, and that we would be better off if more software were AGPLv3-licensed. Since I’m a fan of copyleft, I’m also a fan of Software Freedom Conservancy and the Free Software Movement. I used to be, and would be again a supporter of the Free Software Foundation if it weren’t for bad behavior and decisions by its board of directors.

Despite being a fan of Free Software, I strongly dislike permissive licensing. I believe it enriches already-too-powerful corporations at the expense of individual programmers and users. I suspect it is directly responsible for Silicon Valley “pump and dump” startup culture.

Operating System

Debian is the operating system I prefer for work and play. I’d like to try replacing it with Guix. I wish an operating system kernel existed that both had a healthy community and used the GPLv3 license. I have an infuriating Windows partition around for some video games.

Editor

I used Vim for two decades, but I envied Emacs users for their lispy extension language, their built-in shell, and org-mode. So I recently switched to Emacs by way of Spacemacs.

I still envy people who a Good At Emacs or especially Good At Org-Mode, and I often miss things I could do better with vim: large files, editing diffs, 3-way diffs, quick startup, per-project configuration and extension.

Despite 2+ years of giving Emacs a try, I often can’t quickly find ways to make it behave the way I want.

I might yet abandon the attempt and go back to Vim.

Or I might try something else, maybe see if the Xi Editor is sufficient for my use yet.

Study

I like mathematics and I regret not taking more of it in university. I was in Math Club and one year managed to place #10 in a statewide mathematics contest. :not_bad:

I wish my job demanded me improve my mathematics skills. Happily, my most recent employer makes more use of them than any other has previously.

Hobbies

I’ve recently started getting into 3D modeling and printing, hobby electronics, and embedded programming, in service of building customized computer keyboards. I have built and contributed to open source firmware for an original ErgoDox and a Mitosis. I’m learning OpenSCAD and working toward a 3d-printed chassis for a more sculpted, ergonomic keyboard.

Politics

I think I’m “left-leaning” politically, but I don’t know what precise label I should adopt.I used to call myself simply “liberal” but I’m often bewildered by the characteristics that people ascribe to that label. So I’ll just enumerate and let you decide what to call me.

I’m -7.5/-7.85 on the political compass. I believe in:

I complain a lot about “capitalism,” as many young people on the Internet these days do. But I’m not yet convinced that only a radical systemic overhaul like socialism, fully automated luxury gay space communism, etc., is necessary to fix my country’s problems. I think strong regulation, welfare systems, universal healthcare, and universal basic income is more achievable and could arrest most of the suffering that capitalism inflicts.

Religions

I don’t beleieve that any gods exist. I think most of our religions are unhealthy, as is belief in the supernatural. But I’m reluctant to include atheist in my bio because the community and movement—which, for a moment, felt good—turned super toxic: The train wreck that was the New Atheism.

But I don’t think it’s productive to harangue people about their beliefs if they’re not using them as a cudgel. And since things are improving it feels less important than it did years ago to even be vocal about it.

Likewise: I use Linux everywhere. Work, play, desktop, laptop. I hate Microsoft Windows, I hate macOS, and I avoid situations that would have me endure using them. But I’m reluctant to include linux in my bio because its more vocal advocates are a toxic bunch and I wouldn’t want someone to think I behave like they do.

Likewise: I’m a dude who likes (a subset of) “free and open source software.” But I’m reluctant to include foss in my bio because its more vocal advocates are a toxic bunch and I wouldn’t want someone to lump me in with them.

Reading

I like hard science fiction with transhumanist themes by feminist authors. Recent favorites:

I am remiss for not reading more diverse authors and seek to remedy that. Toward that end, I’ve declared a moratorium on any (new) fiction by cis white men and packed my to-read pile with women authors.

Some say one shouldn’t consider the politics of creators of art or fiction when considering their work; I strongly disagree. Especially in works of fiction, narratives are vastly improved when an author’s constructed universe takes for granted ideas like: women are people, queer people are people, and trans people are people.

Environment

I’ve lived in Atlanta before and Southern California now, but I complain about it a lot. I spent my formative years between the Adirondacks and the Catskills and dearly miss green forested hills on every horizon, colorful autumns, rain, rivers and lakes, and snowy winters. I hope I’m lucky enough to live among trees and snow again someday.

Pains

I struggle badly with time management. It never feels like I have enough time to do anything I want to. Estimating how long it will take to build a piece of software is supposed to be a core skill for programmers, but it’s the most anxiety-inducing part of the job for me.