Posted by Thomas Gideon on 20 March 2017
Command Line Merit Badge

A bit over ten months ago I said I needed to take a break. That was a year after I left my job at a think tank. I left that job due to burnout. After a year, I was still feeling burned out, specifically on technology and policy. The very subjects at the heart of this project. Writing and speaking about these subjects is demanding. It is rewarding, too, or I would not have spent a decade on them. But demanding, oh so demanding. Which is why I started The Command Line in the first place, to give myself the opportunity to dig into these topics far more deeply than I had been doing up to that point.

Working at a think tank at first seemed like a dream job. Ever have that feeling? How long did it last? Outside of an astonishing few, the answer is probably some variant of not long enough. I want to say that I learned a lot during my time there. The truth is closer to something like I learned a lot more after I left.

Here is the thing about technology, society and public policy; they are everywhere. Take a dream job and you may lose sight of that. Technologists make choices affected by and affecting policy every hour of the day in every circumstance where software is written, from free/libre/open source to internal corporate systems. As a member of modern society, everything we do is ever more mediated by some form of technology. The topics I hold dear still matter, as of course they would, despite the time I needed to take for myself. I still have so much to learn and to share.

I am in a better place than I was when I wrote about taking a break. I am in a far better place than when I left my think tank job. A lot of what I learned in the past two years has to do with being a better person, in a family, at a job, and hopefully in the world. Most of that time has been focused on the first and then the second. Technology continues to play trickster with this world. I think I am finally ready to return to my desk and my mic, to add my modest contribution to understanding how technology continues to unfold throughout our lives.

What does that mean for this site and the podcast?

To be honest, I am still figuring that out. I have been feeling for a while that I am ready to start things back up. By a while, I mean something like a bit over a month. The trick to starting, or re-starting, a thing is of course to simply do it. I had no grand plan when I started this venture over ten years ago. What was good enough then surely is good enough now. I do have a few specific topics for shows or essays. I am trying to finding a new research and writing rhythm that feels right. I am fortunate to have some long, long time supporters who never left and are happy to see things moving again.

Stay tuned. Or better yet, find me online, let me know what you'd like me to focus on, what questions matter to you. I am still all over the social networks and findable on many other tools, old (like irc, specifically #cmdln on Freenode) and new (like

And, don't forget--Hack your world.