I wish my web server were in the corner of my room, Matt Webb

Reading I wish my web server were in the corner of my room — Matt Webb

But what I remember feeling most magical was the idea that there was somebody visiting that server on my desk. There was somebody coming from a long way away and going inside. An electronic homunculus.
— Matt Webb

For a lot of people the magic of computers is enhanced by their many abstractions, and I can understand that, but for me, computers and their software grow more magical the closer I get to them. My computer exists near the centre of my daily life, for better or for worse, or better and worse…

Being able to touch it, to be in touch with it, matters to me. My relationship with computers is built on trust, we trust what we can understand. When I can’t find software that satisfies my requirements of simplicity, reason-ability, and composability, I either go without or I create it myself. My computing environment is composed specifically for my needs and mine alone.

This locality/proximity is core to understanding, Matt speaks to this in the linked piece. I don’t host the web server for this site in the corner of my room, not any more, but I do write the software that composes it, I see ‘how the sausage is made’ because I’m the one making it.

A screenshot of the authors computing environment.
Me writing this post as I read Matt's piece.


Matt’s post was also my first encounter with an apparent web classic, written in 1998, Julian Dibbell’s My Tiny Life. Excerpt below:

Crime and Passion in a Virtual World

Being a True Account of the Case of the Infamous Mr. Bungle, and of the Author’s Journey, in Consequence Thereof, to the Heart of a Half-Real World Called LambdaMOO
My Tiny Life by Julian Dibbell, 1998

If that doesn’t draw you in then then don’t go, it only gets weirder, I promise.