Michael Cardell Widerkrantz

Picture of MC, a man with glasses in a cowboy hat and faux leather biker jacket in front of a huge CDC 6500 console

My name is Michael Cardell Widerkrantz. People usually call me "MC".

Above you can see me in front of the CDC 6500 console at Seattle's Living Computers museum when I visited in 2017.

I live in Malmö in the south of Sweden.

Too see what I've been up to lately, see my now page.

Since I work from Malmö and all my colleagues are elsewhere they mostly see me like this:

Picture of MC in a military-style black cap with the CCC logo, large, nerdy glasses and a black X-Wing fighter t-shirt staring into the camera

Or like this on Github:

Picture of MC, a cleanshaved, bald man with round, dark sunglasses

Geek code

-----BEGIN GEEK CODE BLOCK-----
Version: 3.12
GCS/L/P d--@ s+:-- !a C++(++++) UBL++++$ P++$ L++$ E+++ W- N+++ o+
K++ w O- M V PS+++ PE Y++ PGP++ t 5 X+@ R@ !tv b+++ DI++ D--- G e++ 
h---- r+++ y?
------END GEEK CODE BLOCK------

Explained and commented version.

Work

From late November 2021 I work as a member of the Trustworthy Computing Research team at Mullvad VPN after seven years mostly as a programmer at Netnod.

When my daughter was very young I was a stay-at-home dad for roughly two years. I believe this was very good for both of us.

Before that I worked as your regular C/Unix code monkey for many years. See résumé for the boring details.

Background

I was born and grew up in the vicinity of Hudiksvall in the north of Sweden. I discovered computers and programming in 1981 but couldn't afford a computer of my own until 1985 when I bought a horrible Commodore Plus 4 for a bargain. Read more about current and previous computers.

I was bullied through primary school but somehow managed to survive. Computers, books and music helped. In secondary school I completed some courses ahead of time to get more time with computers. Like it says in the Kraftwerk song: "It's more fun to compute!"

More or less by chance I moved to Linköping in 1991, ostensibly to study at Linköping University (BA 1994), then discovered the Lysator Academic Computer Society, met my first wife Helena, had some kids, got my first real job and ended up spending a surprisingly long time there. In 2004 I moved to Malmö in the south of Sweden, again more or less by chance.

Interests

Like Andrew Eldritch says, "Books are the best technology there is". We have at least eleven bookcases full of SF & F and arcana of everything from politics, medicine, history, linguistics, computer science to conspiracy theories and scientific scepticism, and all things in-between.

I listen to a lot of music. I'm fond of saying I'm an old punk that somehow discovered electronic music. I mostly listen to a lot of industrial, dark/cold wave, neofolk and other vaguely gothy stuff, but also a lot of classical music and, yes, some punk.

As you can probably guess, computers are one of my main interests. I'm especially interested in operating systems, networking and systems software especially with a focus on computer security and trusted computing but also minimalist user interface design and typesetting.

I have re-occuring episodes of retro-computing, where I typically read about or try out some more or less forgotten CPU architecture, operating system or programming language.

I probably spend too much time with my computers. I try to limit the tube time by not having a TV set and working part time (30 hour week), so I can spend time with my family, my books, my bikes, and my sword.

I practise in the German school of longsword fighting at MHFS. I also train at a gym and bike everywhere on minimalist bicycles.

A longsword trainer, Federschwert

This is The Goth Bike, a 46:16 singlespeed I use in the city:

Matte black minimalist singlespeed bicycle with drop handles

A long time ago I practised aikidō.

I'm very fond of downhill skiing both in and off piste. Not much of that here in southern Sweden, though, but I usually get about 20 days of skiing per season.

Zen buddhism

I have been practising zazen since 1988. This probably makes me a (rather secular) zen buddhist.

Until 1991 I was a member of the Northern Lights sangha in Hudiksvall, at the time loosely affiliated with the Diamond Sangha network of Robert Aitken roshi.

In 1991 I started and maintained the mailing list Universal Zendo until I left it in better hands in the mid-90s.

While being religious in a way, I also enjoy a healthy scientific scepticism. As a friend once said: “New age rhymes with sewage”.

There's a movement for atheists to 'come out' as such, so yes, I guess I am an atheist. A personal hero, John McCarthy, among other things the creator of the Lisp programming language, says:

To count oneself as an atheist one need not claim to have a proof that no gods exist. One need merely think that the evidence on the god question is in about the same state as the evidence on the werewolf question.

On the other hand, I take some comfort in the words of Kerry Thornley, one of the founders of Discordianism:

Before I was a Discordian, I took life much too seriously. When you take life too seriously you start to wonder what the point of it all is. When you wonder what the point is in life, you fall into a trap of thinking there is one. When you think there is a point, you finally realise there is no point. And what point is there in living like that? Nowadays I skip the search for a point and find, instead, the punch lines.

Vegan

Picture of MC pointing to a STOP traffic sign where someone has added "eating animals".

After many years as an ovo-lacto vegetarian I started to follow a vegan lifestyle in 2004.

To quote the british Vegan Society:

Veganism is a way of living that seeks to exclude, as far as possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing and any other purpose.

This means I don't eat meat (including fish), dairy, eggs or anything that comes from animals or is harvested from animals. It also means I try to avoid the use of leather and other byproducts of slaughter or the keeping of animals.

I have put together some notes about a vegan lifestyle (in Swedish).

Politics and activism

My political leanings are toward libertarian socialism or, if you like, classical European anarchism.

I have a history as a non-violent libertarian socialist activist beginning in a punk environment in the 1980s. One of the most notable achievements is co-founding the Spunk Library text archive in 1992.

As a pacifist and antimilitarist I was a conscientious objector when drafted into the Swedish armed forces. Looking back a few years later, I wrote an amusing text about it. In Swedish, I'm afraid.


Last updated: <2021-10-28 16:13:34 MEST>