A belated introduction

BearHeart / Bill Weinman (BearHeart@bearnet.com)
Sat, 23 Dec 1995 18:10:20 -0600

I just realized that I've jumped into a couple of threads
here without ever properly introducing myself.

My given name was Bill Weinman, but I prefer to be called
BearHeart. It's a Cherokee medicine-name and it's a long story.
Most of my friends call me Bear, but you may call me Bill if
you prefer.

I have been involved in technology all my life. I built my
first computer in 1973 with a 4004 and a solderless breadboard.
It had a K of core that I wound myself and a bunch of toggle-switches
and LEDs for I/O.

I don't have the 4004 anymore, but I do still have my MITS kit.
It's got a 30 Mb 14-inch hard disk that weighs about as much as
Montana and a couple of Qume DT-8s that I picked up at a swap-meet
in San Jose sometime around the Jurrasic period. It lives in a 4'
rack in my Dad's garage in L.A. I fired it up about five years ago
and it booted without a problem.

Currently I use two Pentiums for my work and play:

mars.bearnet.com runs Windows 95 and I use it mostly for
writing (because there is nothing like Word for writing) and
other things that require an MS environment

luna.bearnet.com runs Linux and I use it for programming. I am
fluent in several assembly languages, C, Perl, and ksh/awk/sed.

Both of these machines are behind rather thorough firewalls,
so don't bother looking for them. www.bearnet.com is on a different

I wrote some COBOL once, but I didn't compile.

I have no formal education (I was thrown out of the seventh grade
for being generally disruptive and the first student in the history
of the Los Angeles City School system to get straight Fs). I've never
had a J-O-B in my life.

Through most of the '70s I designed musical electronics:
synthesisers, power amplifiers, and the like. I did consulting for Moog,
Oberheim, Infinity, Altec-Lansing, and SAE; as well as optics research
for Bell Labs, NASA, and L. Livermore Labs. I built a fiber-optic system
for Voyager that's still working and is aproaching the city-limits of
the solar system right about now.

In the '80s I did mostly software consulting: Banking systems (I wrote
some of the arbitrage programs that have been blamed for the crash of 87),
commercial software (parts of stuff for MS, IBM, Central Point, etc.),
and custom networks and stuff for small businesses. I spent two years
writing a client/server system that interfaces to a television studio for
a financial news station (KWHY-TV 22) in L.A. This was evidently the
first fully-automated broadcast ticker-tape--predating CNN's by about a

These days, I write technical books (I'm currently working on
The CGI Book, New Riders, ISBN: 1-56205-571), I do some consulting, I
play blues guitar (mostly sessions these days) and I study, lecture, and
teach in both computers and shamanic medicine. Occasionally I do other
things if they're interesting.

I currently live in Dallas, Texas.

As a technical writer, hacker, songwriter, and poet, I have a passion
for language. I am fluent in English and conversational in Spanish,
French, Italian, Pig-Latin, and (soon) German. (I'm planning a walk-about
in Europe next year so German is becoming high on my list.) I tried to
learn Japanese once but it made my brain (and about 42 other muscles)

I like parentheses.

My interest in HTML is mostly due to the Web's power as a medium
of expression. I see HTML as a small poorly-thought-out language with
a definition that's lagging behind its popularity by about 20 klicks.
The gap is widening daily.

I would like to be a part of fixing that, but I see a couple of
problems that make it difficult for me: 1) I'm very opinionated; and
2) Other people don't know how to handle #1. The way to deal with it is
with substantive debate. But I don't know if this is the forum for it
or not.

- - - - - - - -

I would like to be a part of the definition process for future
versions of HTML, but I'm finding it difficult to participate in this
forum. Right now my major commitment is to finishing a book on a
deadline. Since the subject of the book is CGI, keeping abreast of HTML
is important, so I will continue to receive this list. But it feels like
the substantive discussions are subordinate to semantic and personal
debates, so I may have to sit back a little more than I have.

I actually enjoy semantic/religious/political/personal debates, but
alas my deadline looms.

Also I have a few suggestions I would like to make that could
succinctly focus HTML and make it more flexible and powerful, but I
have chosen to wait until the debate over <PAGE> wanes somewhat,
because I don't have the attention-bandwidth to spare right now.

I hope this helps put me in some perspective for y'all. It's a
privilege to be rubbing elbows with the people who will determine the
form of the most powerful medium for the next cosmic moment.

* BearHeart / Bill Weinman
* BearHeart@bearnet.com * * http://www.bearnet.com/ *
* Author of The CGI Book: * http://www.bearnet.com/cgibook/ *
* 'Tis an ill cook that cannot lick his own fingers. --Shakespeare