[Home]BobTrower

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My goodness. What a fuss I'm making. This is really here, just as a landing page so I can add some material to the wiki and then point rms to it. I just happened to have that crazy 'overshare' personal stuff near to hand and thought I would just dump it here to show it is, indeed, a personal home page.

What is this all about? EpochParty I put it up, but what drives someone to do such a thing. It's not quite *crazy*, but it is not quite right either.

I want to put up a graphic and a rant to go with it.

BobTrowerIPisEvilVennDiagram

I have my own websites, blogs and all kinds of other 'presence' on Cyberspace. The following is completely personal and likely of little interest. If you want to know about me 'professionally', just do a Google Search for Bob Trower:

[Google Bob Trower]

I fancy that people would like to see a picture of me:

Personal

Disclaimer

You are warned in advance that this LONG, it is PERSONAL; it is likely BORING unless you have an unhealthy curiosity about me. There are no 'juicy details' to spice it up. It is just straight from the hip personal stuff for people who are curious. If you read to the end, you will likely know me better than if you met me in person.

Nerdosity

I am a computer-guy and interested in 'geeky' stuff.

I am NOT a 'math-weenie'. It comes up in my work and is interesting, but I do not do parlor tricks. Most people are crazy-terrible with math and that just makes me look like a math-geek.

The last four digits of 1687^1687 are (drum roll) 1-6-8-7. I am interested in things geeky and often find stuff like the above amusing for some reason.

I am NOT a genius. I am smart, but just that. Plenty of geeks are not geniuses and some of them are not even that smart. I hang with smart people, but you should not let that intimidate you. If you understand some of what I am saying here, I will likely not disrespect you or your opinions.

In the grand scheme of things, I am pretty ordinary. If you are of reasonable intelligence or have some expertise where I suck (like music), you would more than hold your own and I would be interested in what you have to say. Sorry to say that, but even with the disclaimer people run and hide. If you are hip to that sort of thing, I have an IQ two standard deviations or more north of center. If you are 'average' to 'superior', we can likely talk. People who are 'very superior' or south of center, I think, would find me boring, but I answer all messages as best I can.

About me

I am, as near as I can tell, close to what I would like to be and I am doing what I'd like to do. Things went well for me, I have been blessed and I appreciate it. I have no real complaints about my life. I am striving for more, but I enjoy the process and I try to remain content throughout.

I sometimes repeat myself myself.

I am married. I have kids and all the joys/responsibilities and occasional sorrows that go along with it. I came to it later in life (I was a Yuppie), but I love kids, love being a dad, etc. I love dogs, but cannot do the maintenance. We have a couple of cats that I do not mind, but it was the kid’s idea, not mine. I do not need pets, but I do not mind them either. I am, BTW, a GREAT dad and I am proud and pleased about that. My kids think I am the world’s greatest dad and I have no reason to doubt their judgment. They are remarkably astute.

Unlike (it seems) many of the people active in cyberspace, I am quite a bit older and in a different place in my life.

I have a varied history, but am something of a 'Plain-Jane'. By most standards in Cyberspace, I would say I am mostly ordinary. Judging the wacky stuff you sometimes see, I seem to be, perhaps, extraordinarily ordinary.

I am a bit of a 'lefty' with a twist. I am a 'socialist, but aggressive in my defense of true individual liberty. For me, that means tolerating genuine broad diversity even for things of which you do not approve. And I can tolerate deviation from social norms. I don't care if you start a sentence with a conjunction. I don't care if you end a sentence with a preposition, after all, who is writing for? I am that much of a rebel and more.

Despite my defense of diversity, beyond a taste for a surprising range of ethnic cuisines (and Vindaloo-level heat), I am rather 'un-diverse' myself. I have diverse(ish) tastes and interests, but am remarkably ordinary. In my defense, I was somewhat extraordinary in my younger years, and I have attempted to compensate that out of existence. I am still crazy enough to be inventive, but skilled and intelligent enough to pass for normal ('rilly').

This is hardly a 'summary', but it's hard to say anything meaningful without either a TON of editing and craft or a lot of words. I would like to come back for an edit later, but I despair. If I do, this will likely get even longer, not shorter. Hopefully I can spare all of us that 'enhancement'.

What I'm doing with my life

Right now, I am fiddling with the various bits and pieces of web-related software that my company produces. I do some funded research and I own the little company in question. It is a little company, but I am in the process of putting together things to make it a big one. It is a little more complicated than that, but that is a little sketch. I do OK, have done better and expect to do better again when things get going. With luck, I will finally be able to offload the many things I do to other people. As it is, I do just about everything.

I have done, in the past, just about every type of job. I have taught in a couple of different colleges. I've been president of companies a couple of times. I have worked as a union member on the shop floor in various industries (for nearly a decade off and on. As a young adult, I went back to University to finish my B.Sc. degree (and did graduate). I have worked for some of the largest firms in the world, one and two-man shops and just about everything in between. When I was only eleven, I worked full time (68 hours a week!) on a farm.

Because of my background, I can do almost everything, so I dabble. I do a little woodworking. I fiddle with decorating the house. I write software and do related research professionally, but I also do all kinds of related things as a hobby. I have a LOT of computers in my home offices. This room has five.

I am working 'to plan' to grow my company in a new phase. This occupies a lot of time, energy, meetings, etc. However, I also consider it important to broaden one's horizons, so I have learned (and am still learning) to play the piano a little. There is also one of those in this room (it's a big room).

A while ago, I thought I would attempt to pick up the guitar. I bought a junky electric and took to it immediately. I bought a nice (Fender Stratocaster) some time later and I play a little every day. I LOVE to make music.

I lead a normal ('ish' for a computer geek) family life and have friends and family around for various occasions or just a nice visit. I spend more than an average amount of time with my kids and it's (mostly) great fun.

I used to travel a lot for business. It got old fast and have hence never been much of a 'travel junky'. However, I have been across most of Canada, The U.S., parts of the Caribbean and parts of Europe. I am half-planning some next trip somewhere, but I can take it or leave it.

Here's what I did, apropos of travel: I used to live in a big city and when my daughter was born I decided I should pick where I wanted to be and go there. Because of my citizenship (Canadian/British) and my qualifications, I could have gone anywhere. I considered it all: New York, Floridia (sic -- made it up), Chicago, Houston, L.A., S.F, Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, London Ont., Winnipeg, Edmonton, the far North, Scandinavia, London England, Paris, Rome, places in Australia and South America, Asia, even Africa (Tanzania for some reason), you name it. At the end of the day, I settled on a small town a few hours from NYC, Montreal, Toronto, etc. That was years ago and it worked out to be better than I had ever imagined. I love it. My point is, why spend your life wandering when you can find a nice place and just live there for good?

People wandering about 'looking for something' should maybe slow down a little and look inside.

"The only Zen you find on the tops of mountains is the Zen you bring up there". -- Robert M. Pirsig

Back on the ground, I am, at this time, half looking forward to and half-dreading Summer Vacation. The kids love it, but it drives me around the bend. I love having the kids around, but I work at home and things can get hectic and a little tiring. It sounds awful, but you know what I wish: I wish we could have one whole year where all the holidays were suspended (you get the time off, but no stat holidays). Imagine what a rest that would be!

You can't have it all, but like many people, I try. I always feel a combination of weariness and impatience. I have so many things on the go; I am always out of time, even though I only sleep (naturally) about 6 or seven hours a day and am on the move all the rest of the time. I am fast, too. I read much faster than normal, type about as fast as I can speak, do whatever household chores I do without even thinking about it and since I work at home most of the time, I gain all that unused commute time. Even so, there are never enough hours in the day.

Why, then, you might ask, are you wasting time here. Well ... It's a long story. It relates to my work and it is something that interests me. One of my perquisites is that I get to choose what avenue I pursue in researching things.

I'm really good at

I am good at being a dilettante. I would like to be a renaissance man, but I lack the intelligence and the skill that would allow me to make the grade. I fake it well, though. Except for real renaissance people (who dat?), I can probably fool most people. I know a smattering of languages, I play (badly) piano, flute and guitar. I can read and write (badly) music and I have composed some of my own tunes. I have a little training in various arts and have done a little painting (watercolor, tempera) and various other things. I took training in 'industrial arts' for a number of years, so I can use just about any tool including welding equipment. I do a little of this and that from time to time. I can fashion small machine parts (again, badly, but they work) by hand. I'm left-handed, but can write (badly) with both hands. I have usually done all the writing for various documents for places I have worked. I do most of the writing everywhere I go. I am 'OK', but compared to a family member who is actually an author (more than 20 books) -- I suck. I have written some poetry and even a song. The one major body of written work that I worked on but did not write, I edited and then did all the compositing, photography and artwork to have it (a book) published. That included the whole shebang including getting ISBN numbers, etc. It's easier now than it was, but it is still not for the faint of heart.

I am good at cooking. I don't make a lot of dishes, but the ones I do make I do well. I have a great feel for what things go together, for when things are done, and for how and how much to mix things, etc. I can make my own candy without a thermometer or any other special equipment.

Once upon a time, back in the sixties when people wanted 'groovy' clothes but could not find them, I designed and helped my mom cut and assemble and sew a groovy Nehru jacket. No kidding. Some of my family was in the military and I think we got some kind of ethic that it was more "manly" to be competent at sewing one’s own buttons on than going begging to someone else. I sew on my own buttons.

I have studied drafting.

I have been (and did training as) a college teacher.

Anyway, I have tried my hand at just about everything. I can do it all. Some of it, as mentioned above, I do badly, but at least I can do it. I am game.

Speaking of games, I also have participated in various sports. This is not a strong suit for me -- I blame it on being left-handed. Everything is backwards for me, so I'm a bit klutzy. I can't golf to save my soul. However, (probably because I shoot left-handed) I am a better than average pool player.

By most standards, I would say I am widely read. It is hard to pin down a figure, but I would say that most people read no more than ten or twenty books a year, if that. One has to take into account what they are reading too. I estimate I have read about 3,000-5,000 books or more (depending on what you count as a book). That may not be as much as it sounds. In my early years, I read nearly a book a day. I have been reading for nearly fifty years and even at an average of only two a week that would be 2*50*50=5,000. I've not averaged much less than that. I definitely read the equivalent of a couple of books a week in technical material and industry journals, etc. A lot of my 'recreational reading' is pure junk. For many years, I read Science Fiction and Fantasy novels. For instance, I read all six books (about 3,000 pages) of the Thomas Covenant double trilogy one week. It was pure Junk, but it was also pure Joy. Like other geeks, I read The Lord of the Rings something like three or four times. Not everything was junk, though. I have read a ton of real literature ([inter alia, no particular order] Shakespeare, Chaucer, Goethe, Plato, Mallory, Cervantes, Machiavelli, Conrad, Dostoyevsky, Melville, Homer, Hemingway, Swift, and Nabokov -- you get the idea). I have also read a mountain of 'near literature' that was quite amusing. For instance, I have read nearly everything ever written by Mark Twain. I took my smoking cessation plan from him. Off the top of my head, another thing comes to mind that is (a little) more contemporary is Fran Lebowitz' Metropolitan Life (I think that's it). It kept me in stitches. Unlike the truly well read, I have yet to finish Atlas Shrugged, Gravity’s Rainbow or Ulysses. I’ve picked them all up, but I have just not had the will to plow through them. As it happens, Atlas Shrugged is the first book, to my recollection, that I ever failed to finish. I owe a debt of gratitude to Ayn Rand for teaching me that you could decide a book unworthy and toss it aside. Since then, I’ve done it a few times. Stephen King keeps suckering me, but I’ve managed to dump a few dreadful reads over the years. My vote, BTW, for the one book I would recommend everyone read would be Nineteen-Eighty-Four by George Orwell (Blaire). Seems to me either you get it or you don't. If more people got it, we would not be in near the state we find ourselves.

I have read a fair amount of poetry and I enjoy it. Favorites would be people like Browning, Eliot, Tennyson, Ondaatje, Marvell, Shelley, Thomas [Dylan], Cummings, Marquis, Purdy. No order there and there are tons more I like just as much. It is just to give you an idea. For me, poetry is like song without the music. In some ways, it's not as catchy, but in others, with the words standing alone, they have more power.

I am wondering if I like these books or have an opinion on their likeability. They are important and I have had multiple copies over the years: "The Prince", "The Art of War". In some sense, they are both sort of like secular 'anti-bibles'. They offer practical advice that works in the real world that is devoid of morality. They are 'must read' books for anyone in business if only that the other business people are following the advice the books give.

Speaking of morality, I consider myself to be rather more 'moral' than average. In these latter years, I would attribute this somewhat to spiritual teachings and introspection. However, my early upbringing was quite enlightened in this regard.

As an aside, if you were to ask me the question: Are you a Christian, a Muslim, a Buddhist, Hindu, etc. or are you an agnostic or an atheist? -- My answer would be yes. I am all and none. Many people cannot deal with this. Try.

Finally, (whew!), I am good at creating software. I design and write programs and software systems. Yes! I do the programming. I have done it for a living most of my life. This I do goodly, not badly. If you were to do a Google search for one small program I wrote, you would see that the code has been incorporated all over the world. Between that, other stuff I have published and still other stuff that I can't publish (written for some very large companies under contract), chances are good that during the next year something you do will touch on code that I have written somehow. Mind you, although this likely makes me the best software author to graduate my high school, it is a drop in the bucket in this huge world of ours. I am not expecting to win any Nobel Prize any time soon. Tens of thousands of programmers or more have had a similar effect. You would be surprised how much software is affecting your life. You might be even more surprised how many people were somehow involved in bringing you this web page.

The first things people usually notice about me

I talk. A lot.

I am shorter than average for a man (5'-6"). Actually, I am a shave taller than that now. For reasons completely beyond me (and I studied biology), I grew in my adult years. Still, in my mind, it is better to under-promise and over-deliver, so I stick with that.

I joke a lot.

Sometimes people notice that I am shy. Sometimes they notice I am gregarious. I am sometimes one and sometimes the other.

Like many who have no problem speaking in public (I don't), I am very private. I am an open book for the most part, but I don't always feel like sharing or having company.

Usually, when I am setting the schedule, I go out only when I'm 'on'. When I'm 'on', I am gregarious, energetic and ready to mingle. However, I am more often than not feeling like having private time. This can be quietly one-on-one with someone, but I don't like to mingle much unless I'm in the mood. Fortunately, I can turn myself 'on' with some effort. If I need to, I can, but I pay a price. You can't write software, read mountains of material, learn piano and guitar, and study other languages when you are out partying. I am a little bit of a workaholic, so I sometimes resent relentless series of social engagements that steal time from my work and self-development. I'm not proud of that, but it is pointless to lie about it.

Favorite books, movies, music, and food

I have dealt with books above. It makes no sense to list thousands. I have read just about every genre. I am mostly agnostic about them. I like a nice turn of phrase. I like a grand premise. I like fine sentiments. I like important thoughts. I like junky page-turners like Turow, King, and Kellerman -- whatever.

Similar to books, I have a rather catholic interest in films. I still love Metropolis (Lang). I loved 'Swept Away'. I liked 'Sleeping in Seattle'. I LOVE wacky action flicks. I just saw Resident Evil and Milla Jovovich (literally) kicks ass. [Note: had the wrong actress due to having Charlize Theron on my mind from Æon Flux -- they both are formidable.] All the Kung Fu junk that Tarantino gives homage to in 'Kill Bill' is hilarious and yet artful in its own way. BTW, I like everything by Tarantino. The Die Hard series? Terminator? Lethal Weapon? The Alien Movies? TRES AMUSANT! The Godfather Movies? High Art. Loved them. I used to like the old movies we saw on TV when I was a kid, but the black and white thing throws me these days and I find them a little corny. I am sorry, but I have never successfully witnessed the entirety of 'Gone with the Wind'. I just don't get it. I fall asleep every time. You can't like it all. If it was a box-office hit of any kind, I probably liked it at least a little. I love Hollywood production values.

Music: Like it all. My collection is about 20% one favorite prog-rock group, 25% classical -- Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, Brahms, Wagner, Shubert, Debussy, etc. For the most part, I have some examples of every major classical composer. Pop/Rock music from the 50s/60s/70s/80s/90s dominate the balance with a little country thrown in. I love the country classics like Hank Williams, but also like Randy Travis, Dwight Yoakum and ones that are more contemporary. At some point, it seems to me that all pop/rock/country/rap, etc is just 'popular music'. I like some of almost all of it and don't care for some of almost all of it. I really liked Guns and Roses Music but could not stand the actual person of Axel Rose. I compromised with one CD, but I have mixed feelings. Oh yeah -- Al Jolson and Glen Miller. Somewhere in my collection, I used to have Gregorian Chant.

Food: Once again, I am up for just about everything. On a regular basis (when available or we cook it here), I eat Traditional French 'Haute Cuisine' from (I think) the tradition of the court of the Sun King. I think this is my favorite, if I have to choose. I also like ethnic foods from the British Isles (I like Haggis, for instance). I like things like Goulash, Paprikash, Perogies, etc. I like all manner of Indian food. I am especially fond of Madras and Vindaloo, but I like milder stuff too. I love Naan. I like various types of stuff that I guess I would call 'nouvelle Moroccan'. It's hard to explain. I would have to take you some places if I could find them again. I also love things like Shawarma and Falafel. Only good stuff though. That stuff seems more and more spotty of late. Mediocre Falafel really sucks. I love sushi and all the trappings that come with it. Italian? Mama Mia! I make the best Alfredo going. I eat almost all Italian except Italian Wedding soup. My family loves it, but I'll take a pass. German: I'm in. Swiss? Ok by me. For a time I lived in the Southern States and I learned what Tex-Mex was all about. It is SO good. I like it murderously hot. Speaking of which, I also like killer Szechuan. I will bite right into those peppers and cry like a girl. Going much milder, I really like Vietnamese food. I especially like real Vietnamese spring rolls. They beat any other kind. It's no contest. Greek? I used to have Souvlaki every week. I often have Calamari by itself for a light meal. Saganaki? Oopa! I'm on fire, baby. Seafood? Raspberry Point Malpeque. I rest my case.

I'm sure I've offended somebody's regional cuisine. You would think I like everything from looking at the above. In fact, I'm a little fussy. I like good stuff that I like. I am very much NOT interested in stuff I do not like. Big Mac? No thanks. I will choke down a Teen-Burger from A&W, but anyone who has had a real hamburger is going to feel a bit disappointed by that junk.

I love red wines, but they do not love me back. I will occasionally have a single glass of a particularly good French or Italian red wine. Otherwise, I only drink white wines or champagne and only Italian, good French and very good Spanish at that. I typically drink/serve a nice ITALIANO Pinot Grigio, Soave or Verdicchio. Where I live, the Italian wines are hands down the best value for money. Maybe it's just me, but I often think that people who talk about Australian/Canadian/Californian/Chilean, etc wines don't drink much wine. I have tried and tried and tried and tried those. They are either brutal tasting or poisonous (bad hangovers from two glasses) or both. Wines acquired by canny Swiss operations here in Canada used to be very good (though expensive). I think you CAN buy batches of great wine from almost anywhere. However, production in quantity seems only to be reliable from Italy in my experience.

Similar to the wine, I am as fussy as hell about beer. I only drink natural beers and for the most part, I stick to Stella Artois. Mmmmmm. I like the taste of Canadian beers but two of them give me a deadly hangover. The Stella does me just fine.

Things I could never do without

As long as life goes on, I can do without just about anything. I need oxygen, water, food, sleep, protection from the elements and (I suppose) some alone As long as life goes on, I can do without just about anything. I need oxygen, water, food, sleep, protection from the elements and (I suppose) some alone time. Other than that, there are many things I really, really need emotionally (like family and friends), food for the soul (like books, wine and song). I am not certain I could survive without my kids, but that is simply the unthinkable. It ain't gonna happen on my watch.

I want many things. I am fussy about many things. However, I know what it is like in both feast and famine. I can handle both and arguably a little of what you fancy and a little of what you don't fancy (like deprivation) both do you good from time to time.

On something like 'Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs’, I spend all my time in Self-Actualization. It's great, but I think you can over-do it. If anything, I am over-actualized to the point of being a little out of touch with regular life. Like anyone else, I (arguably) need the things lower in the pyramid. However, I have those things and am in no danger of losing them anytime soon.

I will say this; I have spent nearly every day of the last quarter century at the keyboard of a computer. I have a few times been away from it for a few days and I find it quite annoying. Once you have a system like I do and you type, draw, create self-operating tools, etc it becomes frustrating to get ideas together without it. For instance, one site posed a question: Two cars starting back-to-back, driving forward (away from one another) for 8 miles and turning 90 degrees left and driving for six more miles. The question was 'how far apart are they at the end?’ It is (obviously for me) a 3-4-5 === 6-8-10 [6^2+8^2=36+64=100=10^2 -- the Pythagorean Theorem] triangle. That means the cars will be -- on the straight line of the hypotenuse (the 10) above -- 10 miles from the start or (because of the straight line) 20 miles from each other. Fine. However, I did not want to get out a pen and paper and I was too sleepy to do it all in my head. I did, and got the right answer, but the choices were in kilometers, not miles. So to answer, I took out a drawing tool on the computer, drew the triangles to confirm the answer and then Googled for the metric conversion, which was 32.1. That rounded down to one of the choices offered -- 32km. It took a minute or two on the computer and a minimal amount of brainpower. It would have been a pain in the ass to do entirely in your head. You would have to hope you remembered correctly the arbitrary conversion to metric. I spend a lot of time thinking about stuff and quick checks on the computer (I can write a program to solve real brain-busters, for instance) renders trains of thought feasible that would be infeasible otherwise. Note that I would normally just skip such a question, but it was pertinent at the time.

But I digress...

What I spend time thinking about

OMG. Read the above. I am someone who spends a fair amount of time attempting to suppress thoughts. I think about everything. Twice.

I think about my Family all the time.

I am a complete dilettante and dabble in almost every area of human interest.

I think in terms of (in no particular order):

Philosophy Evolution through natural selection. Human Biology Psychology Development Sexuality Politics Theology Various specific types of Religion Sociology Oh The Humanities Economics Ethics (I SAID no particular order) Theory of Science Physics Chemistry Computer Science Software Engineering Mathematics Set Theory Probability Statistics Standard normal Curves Standard Deviation History Linguistics Geography Astronomy Literature The Arts Fine Arts Dance Painting Music Theatre All Art Damnit ToE?? Homilies such as Think Globally, Act Locally (The end of) Privacy The coming all-pervasive ubiquity of the Internet through Convergence How we are morphing into Cyborgs without even noticing it.

I live in a beautiful home that looks like better homes and gardens in my living room and bedroom and like something out of a horror novel in my offices.

I need to Clean Up my bazillion computer devices.

A typical Friday night

We do a family night most Friday nights. We eat in front of the TV and watch a movie together.

Sometimes, if I am pulled away for some social occasion, I might be at a party or some similar type of function. Sometimes I would be having dinner with friends and we might go play pool or something like "Texas Hold'em" (for fun, not money).

On occasion, I have just gone out with a friend for a rowdy time on the town. Sometimes it gets a little weird. I don't mind that, but I seem to have less and less time for it. It must be more than a year since the last time I really went out and got silly. That will be corrected.

There are times when I am right in the middle of a project with a deadline that I will work through the weekend. That means I would be working Friday night and I would be working until I drop or I'm done.

Confessions

Ooooh. You won't get much here. If you are looking for something 'juicy', look elsewhere.

There are not that many things I consider private in the way that other people do.

Feel free to ask.

I can not reveal actual private things like specific identifying details of people, passwords to systems, ways to defeat security systems or things of that nature.

I don't think it makes any sense to go into any specific details about matters of a prurient nature. I am ordinary in that regard and if it is an ordinary activity, I generally do it in an ordinary way. That is, it's private, but not a secret. There is nothing to confess.

Some things are not so private for me, but they would compromise the confidences of others, so I won't go into those things.

This is more like an 'anti-confession' -- I have never cheated on anyone in a committed relationship -- my own or others.

I don't know if this is a confession, but I really like women but take a little while to warm up with somebody new. I have had more than my share of relationships, but I have never just jumped in the sack with a stranger and I don't ever expect to. I do not find it sexy at all to get intimate with strangers. Even very attractive people who are intimate too fast give me the creeps. It's neither here nor there since I am already married, but I think women should hear that not all men are hell-bent on groping people they don't know.

I have something approaching a confession:

The movies I like the best are brutal revenge movies, things with crazy mayhem, bizarre horror, etc. My favorite sport is boxing. But ... I cry watching schmaltzy movies. I was recently in a movie theater watching "27 Dresses" with my two daughters and their friends (I was the adult taking them all). I cried like a girl. I was a wreck. Seriously. I have not wept about anything painful since I was a child. For some reason, though, I go to pieces for completely predictable, manipulative nonsense. Many people who know me would laugh if you said that I'm 'a softy', but I am. I am part Scottish and we get sentimental.

That's *so* not satisfying as a 'private' thing, since I don't make it any secret and I don't give a rat's pants what people say. For some, it would be a 'confession', but it's not so much for me.

I gotta come up with something juicy. I may have to 'dare to eat a peach' and report upon it.

You should contact me if

I have been in cyberspace for more than thirty years. In my experience, usually there is not a lot of traffic from this sort of thing unless you are a drop-dead gorgeous person who is complaining of loneliness or have said something particularly risible. Sadly, the former is not true (I may be gorgeous, but there have been no fatalities) and the latter, if true, would be interesting to hear about.

Note that people who would like me can read quickly and well. That may not be true of you (even if you plowed all the way here). It also will likely not be true of most people. As much as possible, contact should be short, sweet (if only I could follow my own advice) and to the point. Even very literate people appreciate a simple honest missive. In fact, I think most truly literate people prefer a simple style. You can easily lose both audiences by stretching too hard and you are not likely to lose either with a nice little message that shows you have a sincere interest.

The end. Call me.

Welcome Bob in Meatball, the community of communities. I read your whole introduction and I guess that you can interface to a lot of different communities. -- FridemarPache

Fridmar, this is BobTrower -- Thanks. I read your comment some time ago, but there is so much going on in cyberspace for me, it sometimes takes a while to respond to things. I may even have replied somewhere else. I will make a little comment on your profile, which I read. It is flattering to think you bothered to read all of this and still felt moved to make a kind comment. Good for you. It makes me smile to be 'welcomed to cyberspace' after being here for decades. I am truly not being sarcastic. I think it was very mannerly and pleasant and reflects one of the things I rather like about 'WikiWay'.

FWIW, I have been a 'stealth' member of this and other communities like it for years. Unlike others, I have a rather strong objections to the 'outing' of people who do not wish to have their privacy disturbed. I am not a fan of the RealNamesPlease concept, nor of some of its adherents (sorry). IMNHO, it is a myopic point of view that is implicitly a little naive and (ironically after my accusation of naivete) unmannerly. Lots of people have very legitimate reasons for wishing to participate in public life without sacrificing the privacy of their friends and families. Even if we do not agree that their reasons *are* legitimate, we have an obligation to respect their right to make their own choices. It is not our decision to make.

Inviting them to *not* participate, BTW, does not constitute respect, in my opinion. Somewhere out there in mild-mannered 'WikiWorld' I received that very invitation from someone quite vociferous that my right to comment in public discourse on programming was contingent upon presenting 'bona-fides'. That I have them to present is hardly relevant. Whether or not I have made the same mistake as a programmer for decades hardly provides much of an argument that it is not a mistake. If a cogent argument can be made in favor of dispensing with unconditional jumps in program source, what does it matter where it came from?

Young people, celebrities, people whose opinions must be circumspect due to their livelihoods, people who are stigmatized for one reason or another, people vulnerable to the opinions and prejudices of others (a graduate student about to defend to a very conservative committee?), people with vulnerable charges, etc. All of these and more could have very legitimate reasons for wishing to be discreet. Even by saying to anyone that they MUST reveal their identity unless they have a compelling reason to hide it places those who wish to be discreet in jeopardy. If all but a few people are known, the remaining people might lose their voice if the community is in general agreement that only the (somehow) illegitimate remain anonymous. I would say that in the absence of a compelling reason to reveal one's identity, it should be kept secret as a means of providing cover for those who must keep their identities a secret.

There are parts of the world where a misplaced word can result in imprisonment or even death. By creating a culture where everyone must reveal their lapels, we expose those with yellow stars to their peril. I oppose that. It is, to put it mildly, bad manners to insist that somebody's mom, dad, sister or brother dies so that they may exercise speech. Besides, execution suppresses free speech rather convincingly and makes the ease of expression on Wikis rather moot.

Beyond practical matters of privacy, the entire rationale behind 'RealNamesPlease' is rather suspect. It is intended (I suppose) to make people more careful what they say and to take responsibility for their speech. Leaving aside the problematic nature of insisting on something that inhibits free discourse at all, It often poisons discourse by inviting so-called 'Fallacies of Diversion' such as Ad Hominem attacks and 'Guilt By Association' and 'Fallacies of Intimidation', such as 'Improper Appeals to Authority'. Sure, if the provenance of the argument is known, it might help in many cases. BobTrower, for instance, is a reasonable (although not entirely authoritative) source of information on BobTrower. On balance, though, I think that a culture of reputation 'pinned' to 'meat-space' identities is counter productive.

All that being said, I am increasingly doing things in my own name, have revealed a poorly kept pseudonym and grow weary of attempting to cloak my identity. I was writing something somewhere one day when I realized it took only five chosen words from the text to reveal my identity with a Google search anyway. My anonymity is shot anyway.

Gee, I think I already said 'The end' above. Can I get away with saying this is 'epilogue'?

Again, though, thanks for your kind remarks.


Must Create new page for snippy letter to the weasels at VUESTAR:

PriorArtInvalidPatentsAndMailFraud


Driven to Create new page for snippy letter to weasels promoting 'BadgeWare':

BadgeWareIsEvil


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