blog, portfolio, and links


Here you can learn about David R. Sterry. It starts with a timeline followed by philosophy, thematic views and practices.


1977: Born in California

1999: Bachelors degree in Materials Science and Mineral Engineering from UC Berkeley.

2000: Machinist and production manager for a laser crystal manufacturer then software engineer writing C to test electric motor controllers.

2002: Expanded coding to C++, Perl and Python.

2004: Web/IT consultant for home users and small businesses.

2008: Developer of TweetScan, one of the first X(aka Twitter) search engines.

2015: Software Engineer at Uber automating corporate/IT systems.

2021: Developer of Ecko Mastodon fork. Marathon runner.

2022: Editor of Fediverse Enhancement Proposals.


I’ve always been curious, generating questions and finding answers until further surprises seem unlikely. Sometimes books, videos and podcasts are satisfactory but often understanding requires building.

Attention is paramount. I believe we should focus on what we can control and accept what we cannot. In the past few years I’ve discovered meditation as a powerful tool for understanding attention and the mind.

I believe the universe works mechanically though quantum mechanics tells us that everything is probabilistic. From this view it follows that free will is an illusion, a story we tell ourselves. Studies have shown that we only become conscious of our actions after the fact. This has serious implications for the legal system and the idea of justice in general.

Overall, I believe the US justice system is too punitive. Though it’s easier said than done, forgiveness seems more logical for reducing the balance of pain in the world.

Though we hear mostly of outliers, I believe most people want to be comfortable, to spend time with friends and family and to work toward what gives them meaning. I hope to be kind and supportive to the people around me and communities with which I interact.


Freedom is a broad term but I think of it in terms of stability and fairness. Software, privacy, and money are areas where freedom is most important.

Technology is so interwoven in modern life that freedom depends on the details of how it works. If you cannot know what your technology is doing, you can’t be sure it’s operating in your interests. When you buy a device running software that cannot be independently reviewed, you may legally own the device but it is under the manufacturer’s control.

Much of the software we use today is hosted in the cloud, which is just another way of saying someone else’s computer. In addition to how the software works, the cloud brings with it the issue of personal data. You should be able to control how your personal data is used including its sharing and deletion, and be able to export it for use on another service. Support of services that utilize free software (AGPL-licensed) goes hand-in-hand with control of your data. Social networking has grown to encompass a large part of online and social activity. Therefore it is important to use social networks that are operated by free software.

Money is essential however most of our payments and savings are managed by centralized organizations. Barter, gold, cash, and Bitcoin provide ways to transact with freedom. I support their private and unencumbered use.

Personal bests

It’s natural to compare performance with other people. We are constantly bombarded by stories that cannot fully relate the hard work and training that took place behind the scenes. Rather than delve into that comparison it is much better to focus on personal bests by measuring performance then working to improve.


I haven’t published as much as I’d like, but I believe in journaling on a daily basis. It helps to develop and improve thinking. As I develop better editing skills, I expect to publish more content.


We live in a world engineered toward business ends. Apps foster habituation, devices become indispensable, and games with random rewards play on dopaminergic brain chemistry. For this reason, I try to limit activities that are repetitive and of low long-term value. It’s good to push gently toward creative activities and spending time with people on the phone or in a video chat.


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