In another world, and under a handful of other names, Josh M. has written extensively on backcountry camping, fly fishing and fly tying. Josh M. has also dabbled in fiction; he has one novel and three short stories to (one of) his (pen)name(s).
One might call Josh an Official Literary Critic. The very first pieces he published were on Milton and Kafka, this while he was an undergraduate at CU Boulder. He remains a close associate of his mentor, the current Dean of Graduate Studies at CU.
Recently, Josh and his brother recreated the gunship scene from 'Apocalypse Now' in miniature, complete with a tiny Robert Duvall. It smelled like victory.
In the anarchy of late adolescence, Josh M. found the Johnston Center the most appealing institution of higher learning in the US. At Johnston, there are no traditional degrees, trajectories of study, or even grades; instead, students create their own major ('Ultimate Frisbee', for example, seriously), pursue a track of their own making, and receive extensive evaluations in place of grades. Professors at Johnston serve more as guides than pedagogues, assisting in crafting whatever course of study a student chooses, and, of course, teaching here and there. Josh M. ultimately found even that program too confining.
A curious thing happened at CU, Boulder: at the behest of a handful of English professors, Josh published, and was subsequently offered an unusual deal: he would be elevated to the graduate program, and finish his bachelor's and master's degrees simultaneously. A few years in, the now Dean of Graduate Studies and Josh, over a quiet drink, discussed the future, concluding that Josh should leave immediately to embark on a writing career. Josh deferred to his elder, and is deeply grateful to the Dean; The Academy can steal your soul, Josh has seen it. Josh and the Dean remain in close contact.
If it's new or weird, it will pass through Josh's office, that appears to be his lot. Josh has written hundreds of reviews of various consumer/prosumer/professional equipment, with a particular emphasis on audio, video, or some combination of the two. He's spent a great deal of time writing on home theater systems and components, from systems ready out of the box, to wireless parabolic speakers, to HD televisions, to all-in-one total home computing and entertainment. Now and again, UPS will deliver a digital video camera or prototype cell device.
Aside from the usual, that is, processors and video cards, Josh has written pounds on data storage and archiving, from simple desktop IDE hard disks to mass storage arrays. In particular, he's written on small- to medium-scale optical and magnetic solutions, robotic archiving and retrieval, SAN, NAS, SAN/NAS hybrids, optical duplicators and replicators, clusters (physical and virtual), and explosion management.
All Josh's work springs in one way or another from here, even the outdoor pieces. In the widest category possible, Josh is a physicist. Narrowing that down, his areas of expertise are psychophysics (psychoacoustics in particular), optics, and robotics as they apply to mass storage. On those subjects, Josh has written in every literary form known to humanity, except the sonnet: white papers, user documentation, training materials, reviews, features, editorials, web copy, brochures, name it.
A lot of hardware passes through Josh's office, and these machines are always accompanied by software. In other words, the list of software Josh has seen is long, and he has no wish to glaze your eyes. We'll say instead that Josh has an abiding interest in three categories of software: analog capture, audio engineering/restoration, and audio preservation. As we move through history and technological advance, not everything is preserved; this, of course, appears to be a function of what is and what is not profitable given the dominant contemporary medium and cultural inclinations. There's vinyl that needs to be kept alive, and it's nowhere to be found in the iTunes store. So, Josh quietly amasses terabytes of forgotten music and narrative. In the interest of making himself practical, Josh is versed in several EMR suites, all that is needed for virtualization, and, while committed to Open Source, Josh runs hard metal machines of pretty much every operating system.
Josh devoted his column to the intersection of technological advance and our culture at large. The pressing concern, to him, was what becomes of older art forms in the face of what's now an almost purely digital world. Josh talked with filmmakers about the advent of digital recording, painters about Photoshop, musicians about lossy compression, photographers about cameraphones, and writers about immediate access to almost every bit of knowledge we've accumulated.
Most of Josh's writing on the subject of outdoor recreation is web copy. Of particular interest to him is the lightly explored backcountry, primarily because there are no other anglers to bother him. Josh's writing in this area largely consists of fly fishing the small, brush-choked waters of the wilderness, and what is needed in a backpack for that. Other articles of note concern hazards one might encounter in the woods - escaping a bear, for example - and minimalist existence.
Josh writes on fly fishing-related crafts. He's a practicing rodsmith and reelsmith, as well as an active (some say innovative) fly tyer. On the subject of building fly rods and reels, Josh has written a number of practical pieces (finding splines, burnishing wraps, that sort of thing) as well as some off the beaten path (wooden grip inlays, guide spacing theory, unusual alloys). Josh made his bones as a fly tyer with his invention 'Old Greg', a microcaddis imitation now widely fished along the Rocky Mountain front range.
On a lark, Josh helped his physician go electronic with his charts, which in turn led to a side-career. The easy part, it turns out, is server construction and maintenance, network security, database security, availability, redundancy, and deployment of Electronic Medical Record (EMR) software across clinics. The hard part, possibly because it was so utterly boring, was memorizing HIPAA so as to ensure compliance. At the clinics Josh built EMR infrastructure for, he found himself learning law, medicine, and unfamiliar software so he could write training and informational documents for the entire staff, doctor to receptionist.
Josh is advised he can say he worked with litigators on three technology-related lawsuits, serving as an expert witness, a writer of expert reports, a researcher, the civil equivalent of a private investigator, and a consultant. It being that the parties involved are household names in all three suits, he can only offer broad generalities as to the litigation: some things broke, causing a stir. Josh then set out to deliberately break these things, wrote up his experiences, and testified to his findings.
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