Geoff Chappell - Software Analyst
Much of the point to having one’s own website is to have full control over the content and presentation. Importantly, I have no editor or publisher to answer to. It’s not that my experience with editors is bad. Neither is it with publishers, but publishers tend not to think they are in the business of funding research—which indeed they aren’t.
Publishers pay for a brain-dump, at best for expression and even insight, but not for the research itself. While there’s truth to the notion that information wants to be free, anyone whose business is the digging up of information knows what very hard work it can be. Though I don’t doubt that publishing also is work, I decided in 1997 that since the research counts for so little in the minds of publishers, the writing that only exists because of the research would better not be profit for the publisher.
The big liberation for self-publishing back in the late 90s was, of course, the Internet. Anyone can get pages hosted at an HTTP server and perhaps even gain a readership. That’s also not without its problems, of course. There’s an awful lot of crud out there on the Internet, both self-published and not. I can’t do much about that except to be my own sharpest critic so that my own work is not counted as crud. Frequently cited websites that nobody thinks of as self-published might do better to aim similarly.
Thus did it come about that for very nearly two decades I published to nowhere but my own website. Even now, there are only very few exceptions.
But let’s start chronologically. My very first professional writing on computer programming looks to be completely absent from the Internet and perhaps never was available on the Internet. It’s a book review that I wrote in 1991 for a British magazine which is long, long gone:
In 2016 and 2017, I wrote two articles expressly for Poc||GTFO, which I now reproduce at this website:
I’m also not one for attending conferences. The days in attendance, or even just in travel, are days not spent either on research or on the paid work that sponsors the research. Such time looks first and foremost like time lost. There surely is something to gain socially or for self-promotion, perhaps even for advertising the paid work or encouraging a sponsor, but I am not naturally a networker. Worse, what would I ever speak about? The nature of these conferences is that the speaker revisits old work. I have no end of new work to get on with. Putting more time into research will always win.
Still, I was persuaded to speak at SummerCon 2017. Had it not been in Brooklyn—so close and yet so far—I surely would have declined. I’m glad I didn’t, for I thoroughly enjoyed myself, not least because of the organisers’ hard work and attention. For better or worse, here are the slides that I ad-libbed from: