What’s been going on at Grimm Labs

What I’ve not shared

I’ve been away for a few days with some time to think about the division in my life between my work life and my life’s work - that is to say, what I get paid to produce and what I want to produce. Fundamentally I’m a creative person who needs to have some kind of “output” in order to feel satisfied, but it has to be something that comes from within rather than being something I’m obliged to work on by some external entity (least of all the coercion of capitalism making me do it in order to survive).

Something that’s been on my mind a lot lately is sharing what I do, and I’ve written about this before. The dumb thing that I’ve realised is that I haven’t actually written anything about what I consider to be my most important line of work, what essentially comes closest to the goal of Computational Alchemy (or “Occultism fuck-around-and-find-out but on a computer”). We’ll call this my “Magnum Opus For Now” (because lol).

So the core of my Computational Alchemy work is on the late 80s and early 90s research operating system Plan 9 from Bell Labs. Rather than go deep into the rationale here, I’m going to leave that up to a later post to try and cement my commitment to continue writing. But essentially I use a distribution called 9front which has some newer hardware support and a more active and modern community, and attempt to credulously take esoteric systems and codify them, or otherwise participate in the only way I know how: technology. So far, I’ve done work on usability hacks to customise the system to work in a way I get along with, but also produced the foundations of a set of occult software.

Body of work

Plan 9 Usability hacks

Plan 9 Occult software

Other weird shit

So what next?

Effectively I’m committing myself to actually writing about this work to share it with the world. TarotFS certainly deserves a deeper look, as I’ve worked on it pretty extensively and actually shared the work at a virtual conference. I’ve also submitted a talk to EMFcamp which I’m really hopeful about getting accepted, but actually writing about my work is a good way to a) prep and b) not put all my eggs in one basket. (EDIT: in between writing this and actually publishing it the talk got accepted so YAY FOR ME, but also the point still stands)

Anyway, I guess watch this space! I have an rss feed at https://grimmwa.re/blog/feed.xml that’s fully populated with the content I produce here, so add that to your feed reader if you want to follow along!