Vocations in which I have engaged: Sound-board operator, typesetter, graphic designer, curriculum developer, imaging-center manager, professional granola maker, box-office manager, course manager, catalog manager, programmer, editor, conference planner, speaker, book-information expert, columnist, reporter, radio guest. I was once quite literally paid to write some high-quality gibberish.
I was trained as a typesetter, one of the last such apprenticed in that profession, and have a degree in graphic design. I learned how to typeset and print on a letterpress in college, and in 2011 took a class to refresh and extend my knowledge. In 2017, I became designer in residence for the year at the School of Visual Concepts to hone my letterpress skills and print a book of my reporting. In 2019 and 2020, I created the Tiny Type Museum & Time Capsule, an edition of around 100 sets of printing and type artifacts, with the accompanying book, Six Centuries of Type & Printing. I worked on my elementary school, junior high, high school, and college newspapers, both as an editor and typesetter/graphic designer.
Things I did: In high school, I acted and made callbacks for the movie Stand By Me. Between 2010 and 2015, I wrote about 400 blog posts for The Economist; I've written about 100 other articles for them since 2005, including a U.S. edition cover story and many print features. I was the editor of the The Magazine from 2012 to 2014, a digital magazine for curious people with a technology bent and eclectic tastes, and owned it from mid-2013 until it was shuttered after subscriptions fell. (We made a hardcover anthology you can still purchase.) During the same period, I produced and hosted The New Disruptors, a podcast about creators finding their audiences directly. From 2000 to 2013, I wrote a column every two or four weeks for The Seattle Times about Apple stuff. For a decade, I wrote nearly daily at my own wireless data site, Wi-Fi Networking News. Between 1998 and the late 20-oughties, I wrote at various points extensively for The New York Times, Wired, Popular Science, and Business 2.0. I have written something like 20 books, many of them in the Take Control ebook series produced by TidBITS Publishing, and all the rest by Peachpit Press. You may hear me at times on the radio as a guest on national programs like All Things Considered, Science Friday, and To the Point. I was a weekly tech pundit on KUOW for three years. I worked for Amazon for six months in 1996–1997 and never regret having left when I did. I know more than most human beings on the planet about the vagaries of book data, such as page count and authoritative titles. My first computer was a 1979 OSI C1P. I love the smell of letterpress ink, looking at ladybird beetles, and eating goat-cheese fritters. There are probably other things I could tell you that would bore the pants off you. My old site is still reachable with outdated content at links like this and this, but I’m only maintaining it to avoid breaking a few useful static pages.