January 9th, 2020

Hard Stare

It's funny how life can be fractal: recursive and self-similar.

About 15 years ago, I agreed to review Douglas Adams' TV documentary Hyperland for the newsletter of ZZ9, the Hitch-hikers' Guide fanclub. I still haven't, but I finally got around to watching it 6 months ago, and it features Ted Nelson.

My non-$DAYJOB research into computer science has led to me reading and following Ted Nelson, inventor of hypertext and arguably the man who inspired the creation of the WorldWideWeb because Nelson's Xanadu was never finished, so Tim Berners-Lee did a quick-and-dirty lightweight version of some of its core ideas instead.

And here I am blogging on it.

When I finally got round to watching Hyperland, who is interviewed but... Ted Nelson.

My recent research has led me to Niklaus Wirth's remarkable Oberon language and OS.

But in $DAYJOB I'm documenting SANs and the like, which led me to ATA-over-Ethernet among other things. It's a tech I've long admired for its technical elegance.

I found the author, and his blog... and he talks about his prior big invention, the Cisco PIX. That was my last big project in my last hands-on techie day-job. It emerges he also invented NAT. And reading about that:

... What does he talk about but Oberon.