System Stack Research

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Obligatory welcome post

Welcome. This is System Stack Research, an exploration into computers as tools. It’s a new web space where I intend to do some deep thinking about the systems we use to organize our lives, and the technology stacks we use to support those systems.

What does that mean?

I think the only way to really be clearer about that is to talk about what those words mean.

“Exploration”

This, at least now, is a space for floating ideas, trying things on, and thinking out loud about them. What I want from this space is to think out loud about technology, and the way people can use it to organize their lives, and to nerd out over the advances being made in small, cheap computers and what they can do.

“Computers”

You know, the beep-boop things, where you type stuff and things show up on the screen. But, really, what I mean mostly are personal computers, the kind you can use in your everyday life. Whether that’s a Raspberry Pi you use to play Nintendo games, or some old luggable running Wordstar—computers that you can physically interact with. “The Cloud” is abstract, and hides the physical from you. It’s cool, but not really what I’m interested in.

“Tools”

Tools are things we use to accomplish things we want to accomplish. A computer, at its very root, is a tool. (A tool for doing a bunch of binary math really fast, if you want to be very pedantic about it.) But if you approach them as a tool for doing things, rather than a means to an end, or a “device” (what an anodyne, euphemistic way to talk about it), or whatever. I like to think about them as tools, ways to do things. That’s the context I’ll be writing about them and working with them in this space. “What can I do with this thing?”