hckr.fyi // thoughts

What Apotheosis Hath Wrought

by Michael Szul on

I promised myself that this new blog would not tetter off into the past with immersive odes to nostalgia. That is still the case; however, I do feel the need to close the book on a number of projects, and in doing so, consolidate some of those projects under the current domain name. The history of the Internet is important, and so is some personal history.

Although I've consolidated several pieces of my Internet past—even mentioning to my good friend Bill Ahern that I have blog posts older than some of my employees—I wanted to start with Apotheosis because it's the only project I took mostly wholesale and converted to this domain. Apotheosis (it even had its own domain name for a time) was meant to be a separate project from Codepunk, consisting of a monologue-style podcast accompanied by written transcripts. Bill and I were already doing Codepunk as a technology podcast with cyberpunk seemingly creeping into the discussion. At the time, I started to buy some old books and work with some older technology that very much reminded me of some of my earlier excursions into cyberspace. I though that reevaluating some of these subjects would make for a good podcast.

I launched Apotheosis as a completely separate web site/podcast at first. I considered Codepunk to be a joint operation. I didn't want to clutter up the project with ancillary, independent work. But a few episodes into Apotheosis, Bill was family building and I wasn't sure I could manage two independent projects. I decide to change Apotheosis to Codepunk's Apotheosis and bring it into the fold as a secondary, monologue podcast. This allowed me to keep Codepunk updated and wait for the dust to settle. As someone with kids of my own, I knew that "dust settling" wasn't something that was going to happen in the short or medium term. Ultimately, with Bill on hiatus, and me becoming disenchanted with the idea of "Internet presence" I decided to shut Codepunk down. It's still out there on the Internet (and I even moved a recently found technology post over to it), but I have zero intention of updating it frequently. Maybe once Bill is ready.

Apotheosis as a project/podcast/experiment probably brought me the closest to my technology interests. It wasn't just about programming, but was a combination of technology history, hacker culture, the early Internet, and many of the stories that emerge when we combine humans, algorithms, and digital life. I spent some time on William Gibson, took a look at some old protocols, talked about my early Key 23 days (more on that to come), and trashed both Boing Boing and Mondo 2000 (at least what they became). It had a good feel to it, and probably best represented where I was at in life at that time. It was certainly much closer to my own personality and interests.

Apotheosis probably best holds hands with this new hckr fyi excursion. I would probably say that hckr fyi is basically Apotheosis without the formality or podcast… and it won't be held back on topics or time periods.

The Apotheosis project consisted of:

I excluded the Max Headroom readout since that has been written about (and better) in other places. Many of these have been slightly modified to exclude self-references to the project as if it were the current project. You can also always listen to the podcast, which also exists on the Internet Archive.

This will be one of several projects consolidated here in the near future, but is likely the only one taken in near completion. Other projects may be partially taken, or just talked about and never brought over (not everything I've written is worth saving).

There is a catharsis that exists in all of this, and I think it holds for many of us that have spent so much time creating on the Internet. It allows us to review past personas, ideas, and interests, and puts you a path of discovery (or rediscovery—potentially bringing you back full circle). I have no idea what I really want to do here, and it's true that many of us create projects and watch them naturally evolve. I want mine to naturally condense into a single motivating purpose. Much like writing in a journal or dream diary, the very act of doing so holds value. I don't want to repeat the past. I want to know "why then?" in order to figure out "why now?" and what ways that will impact the future.