February 22, 2012

Old Dogs, New Tricks

O'Hare International Airport

In Neal Stephenson's 1995 novel The Diamond Age (Or, a Young Lady's Illustrated Primer), he distinguishes between two approaches to advancing technology, personified by the characters Hackworth and Dr. X:
"Hackwork was a forger, Dr. X was a honer. The distinction was at least as old as the digital computer. Forgers created a new technology and then forged on to the next project, having explored only the outlines of its potential. Honers got less respect because they appeared to sit still technologically, playing around with systems that were no longer start, hacking them for all they were worth, getting them to do things the forgers had never envisioned." 
When it comes to printing, I relate much more to the honer. Here, I am an old dog, and my innovations, if any, are subtle. I'm guessing that most of the people of the letterpress revival (part of the larger craft revival) are honers, too.

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