Michael Tobis 


I'm an independent software developer and a sustainability writer based in the delightful city of Ottawa, Ontario. I get to think for a living, which makes me happy.


B.Sc.: EE Northwestern U. Tech. Institute, 1976                

M.Eng.: Systems/Computer Engineering Carleton U., 1984

Ph.D.:  Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences U Wis Madison 1996

Postdocs: Argonne Lab department of Mathematics and Computer Science; University of Chicago department of Geophysical Sciences 

Intervening adventures: Manager of a web software team at Clotho Advanced Media LLC. Architect of an online citywide permit approval system for the City of Madison (since defunct). Management consultant. Author of a book on management intended for small teams and high-performance small businesses. A software gig at the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics.

Things I do

  • Edit Planet3.org and try to understand the future
  • Python and Django contract work,
  • Computing in general; Python and Javascript in particular. Increasingly interested in nuts and bolts of UX. Django.
  • Software as medium and as topic in education. Literate programming and computer literacy.
  • Cognition/Communication/Control/Modeling/Decision Theory (concepts formerly known as "cybernetics").
  • Collaboration and productivity. 
  • Random bicycling, random landscape photography, where possible at the same time.
  • Music. Jazz, blues, Texas swing. Piano and clarinet are my instruments. I am not very good.


Other things I find especially interesting, more as a spectator: 

  • History. Demographics, technology and environment as factors in history
  • Architecture, planning and civil engineering
  • Science fiction
  • Decorative and fine arts, mostly European 1850 - 1935, also Japanese woodcuts and silver age Marvel comics
  • Kubrick, The Coen Brothers, Steve Jobs, Tom Wolfe, the Naipaul Brothers, Alan Watts, Leonard Cohen, Samuel Delany, Philip K Dick, Bob Wills, Grapelli, Robert Hunter, Paul Simon, Eric Clapton ... 
  • I listen to sunradio.com all the time. You probably should, too.

My Blogs

In It For the Gold: (musings on climate / energy / sustainability) 

Pining for the Fjords: (life in general)

Planet3.0 My attempt at a sustainability magazine