When I was a kid, my three R's were Reading, Writing, and Computing. My earliest memories of books were laying out my father's 40-volume Yale Shakespeare on the floor to make roads for my miniature cars. My first computer was a TI 99/4A with which I learned BASIC, assembly, FORTH, and a smattering of Pascal. My first encounter with a camera was my father's analog SLR with a prime lens.

I've been a Unix system administrator and web application developer since the late 1990s. I've seen the dot coms boom, bust, and boom again mostly from the side lines of the university.

For the six years leading up to 2014, I developed web applications in digital humanities, first at Texas A&M University and then as part of the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities.

I've done almost everything in software engineering. Frontend, backend, infrastructure. I've worked in the academy as central computing support staff and as research collaborator. I've worked in a startup. I've been part of the U.S. Digital Service helping federal agencies create citizen-facing services. Now, I'm in a game company.

Everything on this site is my opinion only and never that of my employer or anyone else with whom I might be affiliated or connected.

I write about creating and self-publishing fiction as well as computational stuff that might be connected to literary scholarship. I don't post very often, but when I do, you can catch it on Twitter or by following my RSS feed.

I see writing and programming as the same exercise with two different audiences. Fiction alters people. Programs alter computers. If my story hasn't changed you in some way, then it's as much a failure as my program that doesn't do anything on the computer.

I've been around for a while but not too long. I saw the Challenger explosion, the fall of the Berlin wall, the first Iraq war, and 9/11. I encountered VMS and Unix before AOL made e-mail a household word.

You can contact me at my G-Mail address (jgsmith) or on Twitter.


I have code in on CPAN and Github.

My first science fiction novel is available for Kindle, Nook, Paperback, and through Smashwords.

I publish my photography on CiviScape where I focus on the landscape of civilization.


I use the jamesgottlieb.com domain because "Gottlieb" is more distinctive than my real surname, "Smith." I use "James Smith" in legal documents and in my computational work. I publish fiction under the name "James Gottlieb."

I manage this blog with WordPress.

My photo galleries are powered by SmugMug.

Seeing what happens when you collide the humanities with the digital