Not only is WFMU my cultural touchstone, it’s my source of tech news too.
Great swaths of deepest geek Japan know him as a core contributor to the programming language known as Ruby. There are various cultural camps that gather around various programming languages and Ruby, a relatively accessible "scripting" language, has a reputation for bringing the creative types together, the bike mechanics, and the micro-brewers, the in-a-banders, and the creators and solvers of absurd problems.
The mysterious personage known as Why The Lucky Stiff wants to draw creative brains to this party from wider sources. And he’s done so by publishing absolutely unique technical book works like The Poignant Guide To Ruby.
His work is informed by early 90s zine culture. And maybe British drug comedy. (And perhaps syphilis. That’s just my theory.) And lately he’s on a new kick that tops all of his previous manic passing obsessions…
That new kick is Hackety Hack:
Wanna hack like in the movies?
* Code Yourself a Blog in 6 Lines
* Or Your Own IM in About Twice That
* Just Seven Lessons, Totally Conversational
* Let’s Say: 13 and Up
One more nugget from the WFMU blog post:
When he realized that he needed a better way to allow users to create user interfaces he decided to basically build his own programming language to suit the task. He’s been working on it forever and now he’s released the guide for free. It’s called Nobody Knows Shoes. And taken as a new confluence of disparate cultures and as a social project for the common good, it’s verifiably genius. Somebody call the MacArthur folks. I’m not even kidding.
I second the nomination.
Lately, when I talk about the colossal self-destructive stupidity of the music industry, I gently suggest that educators might learn from those mistakes. Maybe we shouldn’t put too much faith in our monopoly on accreditation, and accept that if we don’t do our jobs right we might find that others do it better. This is the kind of non-aligned activity I’m thinking of… Why the Lucky Stiff describes himself as “a fledgling freelance professor, one who will die young and make no lasting impression.” But this sort of freelancer might be the harbinger of something very impressive indeed.