Why Paul Ford (Still) Loves Tech

Paul Ford, writing for Wired, “In Defense of a Difficult Industry”:

The things we loved — the Commodore Amigas and AOL chat rooms, the Pac-Man machines and Tamagotchis, the Lisp machines and RFCs, the Ace paperback copies of Neuromancer in the pockets of our dusty jeans — these very specific things have come together into a postindustrial Voltron that keeps eating the world. We accelerated progress itself, at least the capitalist and dystopian parts. Sometimes I’m proud, although just as often I’m ashamed. I am proudshamed.

Just a lovely piece that I suspect will resonate deeply with many of you. This bit, in particular, put into words something I’ve struggled to capture:

And of course I rarely get to build software anymore.

I would like to. Something about the interior life of a computer remains infinitely interesting to me; it’s not romantic, but it is a romance. You flip a bunch of microscopic switches really fast and culture pours out.

“Not romantic, but it is a romance” — I think that’s what some of us are worried about losing if the Mac grows ever more iOS-like, and it feels a bit like what Brent Simmons wrote recently under the headline “Freedom”.

Tuesday, 14 May 2019