I’m Mark Hughes / happybeing / theWebalyst and am very old, well old enough to have used Microsoft ROM basic in a single board computer I built from a kit and housed a cardboard box, later upgraded to a wooden fruit box sturdy enough for a full height 5.25" floppy drive, and other goodies, which I had to design myself - hand etching the pcbs, wrote a simple DOS, all self taught cos we were the first back then!
Studying physics didn’t get me near the job I wanted, but all that hobbying soon landed me the best first job in the world, if you don’t count my first job building radar magnetrons while sneaking off to play with the brand new company mainframe until I landed at a premier design & development house in Cambridge with lots of bright people, much brighter than me, designing digital bits to go in all sorts of different fascinating gizmos, from mass market, to top secret, to technical wizardry… later migrating to writing software for the same very varied range of multi-disciplinary projects.
As if that wasn’t the luck of the devil, when I got too costly to be allowed to do the interesting stuff, I crowbarred myself into a startup software company that created ground breaking visualisation software for investigation and analysis. It grew from five to 150 and put this clever, superbly easy to use software in the hands of cops and spooks (I know), the world over, in the days before most police didn’t have a PC (the computer that is) in the office, and had to buy one just to use our cool software. We found it necessary to use dongles to stop the police pirating the stuff!
All the while I was doing other cool stuff writing and selling my own and others’ software and hardware from magazine pages and later over the internet, and eventually the web. I always loved creating tools for myself first, then packaging them for others, things like Agile HTML Editor which I still like if I ever delve into raw HTML.
These days I’m semi-retired but still very busy with fixing up my new off-grid narrowboat home, and just being.
I’m also an idealist, keyboard activist, philosopher (oh, qualified counsellor slipped in there somewhere), and very concerned about the concentration of power in corporations and a wealthy elite that is destroying our society, planet and civilisation. The problem as I see it is that they subvert rather than foster human values, by placing profit and financial gain as goals for a few rather than as a means to a better world for all.
In this vein I’m a fan of physicist David Bohm, as David Irvine is of Richard Feynman. The former said science needs to change its mindset or it will continue to create more problems while trying to solve the ones we’ve already created. I think he was right. He explained this to colleagues but most didn’t get it then, and still haven’t got it yet. This is available on YouTube (link below), and even though this is from 1989, science has not yet recognised this and is still working with an out of date broken world view. Highly recommended - Bohm is a pleasure to listen to as he explains quantum mechanics for lay people, the paradoxes, theories of perception, and how a simple shift in scientific perspective can explain it all, and also will help us save our civilisation.
Must watch David Bohm interview 1989 still way ahead of the current broken scientific world-view.
Whether or not he’s seen Bohm’s ideas, I think David Irvine gets this. Ultimately it’s a kind of holism: the universe being a whole that has divided into parts, which then make up larger more complex parts, rather than starting as parts that come together to make larger parts and then a whole. Bohm believed this went to the heart of physics as well as being a better mindset that would enable science to overcome its obvious limitations when trying to fix world problems.
I care deeply about nature and people (even though I often find it hard to be around them - I need a lot of space to be me), and about the world my two kids, and possibly their kids, will inherit.
Fixing the internet is dear to my heart because of all of the above, so when I came across MaidSafe through a post on Diaspora I quickly saw its potential, and began following the project. Since then, everything I’ve learned about David Irvine, his ideals, the foundation, his team, the technology and what this can achieve inspires me to be involved. I’m here with a variety of experience, masses of enthusiasm, if not as much patience and energy as many of you. I hope if I ruffle any feathers you’ll forgive me, let me know, and we’ll get on with what matters, which is making “SAFE” Network a household name, as familiar as the “web” which it may well replace.