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-title: Not being
-status: draft
-date: 2022-08-07
----
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-Every 4-5 years I feel a cycle is about to end and I drop into the muted corner. When I can't come out from it with a new 4-5 years resolution, angst and dread submerge me.
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-How to carry on with life for the next cycle? What's the next big area of research and does that overlap also with client work, or some kind of remunerated activity?
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-Whenever I bring this up to someone, I roughly slice up the past 12-15 years in: body (1), graphic design (2), programming (3). [Etc etc maybe cut this up, make short, refined list]
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-At some point I found myself in a good place to switch to be fully focused on computer programming, hacker culture, etc. Building website was fine, good mix of graphic design (to some degree) and gaining knowledge on more and more custom systems for various projects. Now that's someone ended, I feel it is over. I am still doing that, but need to reconfigure something about how things work.
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-This switch to full-time programming has brought at least two problematics:
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-- when I want to apply for a job at a company, should I apply as a designer? Front-end developer? Back-end developer? (Why is no one using the word programmer? Too vague? I like it)
-- more and more people approach me as "the programmer", somehow cutting out everything else I have experience with (I could give comments or inputs about other areas of a project — yes still as the programmer nonetheless), as well as I began perceiving a certain idiotic, or precluded idea?, of my role and certain assumptions about it; while that could be even OK in a company / office-like work context, in the freelancer to either other freelancer or (small-medium-big) art / culture institution, or in the so called culture sector, I would expect a certain mind flexibility (as much as those same expected values are often part of the pre-requisites of those same projects I'll help build with the rest of the working group)
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-Talking about this recently with someone, and outlining my phase-approach to do things, they joked about me being, maybe unaware?, operating like an artist. Why should that be precluded to that category, and how did that person define that category in the first place? Does it mean I need apply for grants, etc to be able to do things the way I explained them? Sharing about the episode with a friend, they saw in it a certain superficial cynism, or a strictly prescribed (limited), understanding of things and, or how they could be. I appreciated the comments I received from the first person, as well as the follow up bounced back from the friend.
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-Given I am still interested to function as a business, then is this shape coming up as a constrain? For sure it's hard for a one person operation to setup an R&D facility for mostly for myself? I am digressing.
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-The current kernel of dissatisfaction seems to be this in-betweenness of coming from art-design and currently being mostly concerned about computer software. Recently I began pointing out I see sofware as a design material. I am aware of having learning everything I know about this domain by way of working on client projects and some few other type of collaboration. My knowledge is bit and pieces, very fragmented, I miss the core ideas even. Nonetheless I managed to put together, often by accident, certain combination of ideas into a software format (mostly websites), which have kept my interest in this area of doing things very up.
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-I said this cycle has reached an end. What does still interest me in programming? I spent the first years primarily working on user interfaces, and the latter years primarily setting up the overall pieces in the background to make the system work — while implementing other people's ideas of UIs (something having the luck of being asked for input or suggestions about them).
-
-I am interested in:
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-- p2p systems; I want computers to be able to work together between themselves
-- log-based data structures to be used in most / everyday application; more software that give affordances like git, or BitTorrent than how it is now (and I find this more interesting than global, coin-based blockchains for most "personal computing")
-- patch-based form of collaboration; I want to write about the "patch" as the basic unit of work in a computing environment
-
-Some months ago I applied for a job at a company (rare thing), went through the whole process and in the end did not get selected. There were two (overlapping) reasons that made me want to apply for a job at a company: the interests pointed out above and, most important, the long-term, hyper focus on the project. In other words, joining an environment with other people working on those same things less because of a day job, and more because of a deep interest and amusement by dealing with those lines of work for some long strech of times.
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-As I am still left dealing with websites building as my current source of income *and* (partial) space of interest exploration for the time being, I thought I could as well make it more "compact" in order to start this new phase and try to maximise on how I work: tools and time spent. As most people, coming from graphic design I first picked up some simple and extensible CMS to build websites. You (help) define the overall structure of the website and focus in the best cases 80-85% on the frontend, the rest of managing how and which data should be input from the website user backend (the panel, or CMS). Whether by accident or not, I came across this thing called "wiki": a radically different way to use a website: instead of a CMS, a behind the scene area for some users to add content and give shape to the website, a wiki assume a basic level of collaboration and often "publicness" in the process of these actions. More and more complications happened since then, but I still wonder: how come some websites I built both design + programming are working still great after all these years?
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-In part using an existing piece of software maintened by other people helps a lot (until you need to hard upgrade to a major version and your custom code need a translation or simply cannot work anymore), in part is because being able to set choices also for the design gave a certain "longevity" to the website.
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-I can't tell — and am not sure if I want to — whether I'll mostly work for small-medium artist or projects where there is a minimal level of bureacracy involved to make things happen sharp and fast, but I began thinking that maybe for certain types of websites I could build a system I put together myself, using tools that allow higher flexibility, code introspection and easier debugging, better documentation so that jumping back on a project after 6 months or 2 years (given a certain self-discipline in documentation) won't necessarily mean spending easily a couple days bouncing around in the codebase, checking which dependencies still exist and must be upgrade and don't break and which ones do, and so forth. Which is to say, help myself as much as possible at least on those elements I can decide upon.
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