KludgeCode

is Ben Rudgers

Anthropology

My interest is in computing’s artifacts. It’s philosophical not particularly pragmatic.

I’m not a programmer. Or a hardware guru. I’ve come to believe myself the amateur anthropologist. I like rummaging through the midden mound of the techpress reading what the tribespeople have to say. I’m bookish.

It started with the Amiga ROM Kernal Manuals. I learned to read some C. It took a long time. Kernigan & Ritchie and other books helped – a little. But lack of a compiler gave me an excuse not to program. Later, on DOS, Turbo C++ with Turbo Vision, didn’t offer such an excuse, but my real interest was still in reading the manual not the code. I fell into AutoCad in 1989 because it included AutoLisp and Lisp was the buzz of the techpress. I did some simple things in the language, but the disappointment in discovering AutoLisp’s limits came about after purchasing Artificial Intelligence in Common Lisp. The first piece of sample code was beyond AutoLisp’s capability – the functions weren’t there.

During the 90’s I became less interested in computing. Studying philosophy and entering architecture played a role. But it was probably workplace politics which made me most disinterested. Hardware is where the money is spent, and having no say in purchases certainly played a role in my loss of interest. But I also realized that hardware is easy for the techpress to write about. 60mhz is better than 30mhz. Four megabytes of RAM is better than two. With hardware many articles about the state of technology write themselves.

As the economy tanked in 2008, my interest in computing came back. The dual platform world of Vectorworks brought me face to face with Mac Culture and the ease with which Windows users had accepted second class status on the internet in the face of Apple’s talking points. It was looking at the ways in which this operated, sparked my anthropological interest.