About TechnoSophos

TechnoSophos is the blog of Matt Butcher, a software engineer based in Colorado.

The term TechnoSophos is a neologism, combining the Greek Techne and Sophos, roughly translated 'art' and 'wisdom', though techne has a more nuanced reading. Aristotle used the term techne to denote that which is done with skill, a term more like artisanship than artistry. From techne we get the word technology.

So technosophos roughly means "artisianship wisdom" or "wisdom of the craft" or something like that. Thus the site's tagline: "Technology. Wise."

Background

I began developing websites in 1995. I was still in high school when I developed websites for Colorado Springs Utilities. By late in the '90s I had become a web consultant for Sysix Technologies.

A few years later I started Aleph-Null, Inc. During my time there I had the pleasure of working on some magnificient projects with the likes of WebMD, Agilent, Global Mapping International, HCorp, L7, Tuxia, Development Associates International, and many others.

In 2008, I shut down Aleph-Null in order to work full time on Drupal with Palantir.net. Later, I moved to the New York Times, Inc., where I worked full-time on ConsumerSearch.

From there I went to HP Cloud during their phenomenal growth period. While there, I created their PHP and Node.JS APIs, wrote a WebDAV server, was on the core website team, and became the tech lead for the APaaS (Application Platform as a Service) team.

I have felt fortunate to ride the Web wave in the 1990s, and then the cloud wave. And now I am riding the Home Automation wave at Revolv, where I am the Lead Cloud Engineer. It's like working at the toy factory.

Over the years I have contributed to many, many Open Source projects and communities. Usually, I show up under the names technosophos or mbutcher.

I have a BA, an MA, and a PhD in Philosophy. Along with technology stuff, I occassionally write on computers and philosophy, epistemology, and the philosophies of science and religion.

My ideal day would involve drinking some coffee, writing some code, reading some philosophy, and hiking with my family. It would probably also involve cake. Chocolate cake. With frosting.

The Interesting Projects

  • Some of my favorite projects have been the libraries Matt Farina and I built under the moniker The Masterminds. They're almost all on GitHub
  • At HP Cloud, we used ActiveState's Stackato to build a large platform as a service offering. One day I got to write code in seven different languages. Then I had cake.
  • I wrote QueryPath 1.0 over a series of several weeks during my daily commute by train. Best. Commute. Ever.
  • At WebMD, we wrote a semantic network. It was so awesome that someone paid us NOT to release it.
  • At Sysix I wrote JavaScript front-ends to a C-based CGI server which executed COBOL business logic. Ah, the heady 90s.
  • At Colorado Springs Utilities, I wrote server-side JavaScript on a Netscape server. That's right... server side JS existed a decade and a half before Node.js.

And writing...

  • My longest book (at 400ish pages) was Mastering OpenLDAP, which is also one of my best-selling. The authors of OpenLDAP were not at all happy about the book. It was a disappointing enough situation that I unsubscribed from the mailing list and stopped doing LDAP work.
  • In contrast, my dissertation was about 200 pages, had exactly 3 readers, and I'm the only person alive who paid for copies of it. But all three readers were happy.
  • In philosophy, I have had the great honor of working with Paul Moser, J.D. Trout, Tom Wren, Blake Dutton, David Yandell, Thomas Carson, and also many of the members of the International Association of Philosophy and Computers. In addition I have been a long-standing member of Loyola's Emerging Technology Lab. I have learned more from these people than I could say.

Frequently Asked... well, okay, just some random answers

  • No, I am not the emo rock singer.
  • Yes, my house is automated.
  • No, I don't want to work at Google. Unless it's on the Go team, or as a philosopher-in-residence. Or both.
  • Yes, I am in fact a horrible speller.
  • vi. Not emacs. Ever. :wq
  • I would rather be like Mother Theresa than Superman.
  • And, yes, I do believe in hiding easter eggs and silly comments in almost all of my code.