My name is Tony Flanders. I was born in New York City and lived there for nine months of each year when I was a child. The other three months I spent at my family’s country home in upstate New York. So I feel equally comfortable navigating the sidewalks and public transportation of a major city and strolling through a forest miles from any road. Different as they are, these environments share two things that I treasure: unpredictability and endless variety.
Like many other technically minded people who grew up in the 1960s, I became fascinated by computers and realized that they would provide an easy way to make money. I landed my first computer-programming job in 1968, at age 14, and continued to work in that field until 2003, by which point I was well and truly tired of doing the intellectual equivalent of solving crossword puzzles to earn my living.
I became well established in computers before the subject was widely taught in schools, leaving me free to pursue other interests in college. I flirted with Folklore and Mythology but ended up with a degree in English Literature. After college I traveled around the world, climbed mountains, and in 1997 bought a small telescope and became obsessed by stargazing.
By amazing good fortune Sky & Telescope magazine offered me a job as assistant editor in 2003, not long after I had been laid off from my last programming job in the aftermath of the dot-com bubble. I continued to work full-time at S&T until 2014, when I changed my status to contributing editor so that I would have more time to travel before I become too old to do so.