I realized recently that I have absolutely no idea how many people read this blog. I’m curious, however, so I’m going to try out Feedburner for a while, just to see if it tells me anything useful or interesting. Ok. If you have any problems with my feeds for whatever reason, please let me know. I don’t want to break anything.
I spend a whole lot of time on my computer since it lives right in the center of both work and play for me. I also tend to spend quite a bit of time messing around with new software, always keeping an eye out for applications that will make my life easier, more productive, or just more fun. Recently I’ve started using a bunch of new stuff that’s all pretty good.
At first I didn’t like TweetDeck at all, but they seem to be fixing the bugs and working to make it feel a little less alien. The first version I tried didn’t even have a proper titlebar, so it just felt completely wrong. It’s still pretty odd and takes some getting used to, but it is by far the best Twitter client I’ve tried yet.
Together is sort of a digital scrapbook application. I use it to gather and track stories to be included in the about:mozilla weblog and newsletter, for the most part, but also use it to hang on to files and webpages I want to read later, compile sources for another project I’m working on, and so forth. It’s a nice, handy, unobtrusive utility that’s easy to use and works quite well.
A growing part of my job involves writing posts for a number of weblogs. MarsEdit is a very straightforward blogging tool that lets me manage posts for multiple blogs in a simple UI that never gets in my way. It has all the features I need and nothing extraneous or distracting. It’s hard to ask for more in writing tool you use every day.
I didn’t spend a whole lot of time with the original Lightroom, so I’m not really sure what’s new or changed in LR2, but I’ve been playing with it for a few days and really like it. Lightroom simplifies and streamlines the work that goes into processing digital photos from RAW into a final version for web or print. It doesn’t do everything Photoshop does, of course, but for me it covers about 95% of anything I want to do to my images before publishing or printing. I’m still just learning how to use the software, but I can already process pictures 3-4x faster than I could in Photoshop, and I expect that will only get better as I become more familiar with the software and some of it’s automation features.
The pricetag on Lightroom 2 is a wince-inducing $300 USD, but I think it’s worth it, and I’ll be buying this one as soon as my 30 day demo is up. If you’d like to see some of the pictures I’ve processed with it, I have a set up on Flickr.
Things is basically a fancified To-Do List manager. It has the features you need if you want to go all GTD, but also lets you use a more simple system if you want. I use a semi-GTD system in that I have a list of projects in Things, and have those projects broken down into the various actions needed to get them to completion. For those projects that repeat (ie: the about:mozilla newsletter), I have a set of scheduled tasks I have to do every week or month or whatever.
Each morning I go through the full list, flag the items I want to get done today (there’s a handy “Today” star, which I think most GTD systems lack but I can’t live without) and then I just go ahead and do those things. Ta dah.
There’s also a Things for the iPhone/iPod Touch which I will eventually buy when it will sync with my desktop Things. Until then, it’s really not useful to me since there’s no way I’m going to manually manage two lists. They’re working on it, it’s just not ready yet.
Is there other Mac software out there you think I’d like? Leave a note in the comments.
One thing I am hearing consistently in posts about the Summit is that there just wasn’t enough time to meet everyone we wanted to meet. This holds true for me, but even if the conference had gone for another three days (and however many additional disasters that would have entailed), there still wouldn’t have been enough time.
This is the painful dichotomy of working with a distributed community, I guess. The global nature of our community means that we get to work with some of the best and brightest people working on the Web anywhere in the world. The global nature of our community, however, also means that we very rarely have an opportunity to meet face-to-face and talk about things in person. When we do, it’s incredible — this Summit was just mind-blowing in that it gave so many of us a chance to meet people we’ve been working with remotely for years. Online collaboration is great, of course, and is an astonishingly powerful tool that allows us to do what we do, but there’s something deeper you get from in-person meetings. Finally seeing the faces and hearing the voices of long-time friends is…something. I’m not sure how even to describe it. But it’s valuable. Immeasurably so.
I’m already looking forward to the next Summit, whenever and wherever it ends up being. I also think I will try to travel more (if I can) — more conferences, more visits, more chances to meet other Mozillians face-to-face and to talk about things. I have so many ideas swimming around my head from just three days of chatting with folks — making it a regular thing can only be even more generative, creative, and energizing.
Getting to Whistler was a 13 hour trek even without any delays or mishaps. The trip home was a bit more adventuresome (and, honestly, a hell of a lot more fun). The rockslide on Route 99 between Whistler and Vancouver really screwed things up.
Pictures from Friday’s adventures are over on Flickr: Escaping Whistler.
- 7:30a Pacific – Wake up, shower, pack.
- 8:30a – Hotel restaurant for a buffet breakfast. I’ve long since learned that traveling is a lot more pleasant if you have a full stomach. Schlepping luggage through airports does actually require calories.
- 9:30a – Meet fellow hooligans in hotel lobby. Floatplane dispatcher is contacted because weather is looking…questionable. He says, “Yeah, so the weather is looking questionable, but we’ll try.” Taxis are called.
- 9:45a – Our taxis arrive and promptly get poached by other hotel guests (wtf?). More taxis are called. We pile in.
- 10:00a or so – Get to floatplane dock at Green Lake. The weather is looking increasingly iffy. We wait. We wait some more.
- 10:30a or so – It begins to rain. More phonecalls. Travel plans are looking dire.
- 11:00a or so – Whistler Air guy says “I have a plane leaving at 1:00p, but it’s in Squamish. You want to take that?” We confer. We agree to do that if first floatplane can’t make it.
- 11:15a or so (standing on a dock in the rain, your sense of time sort of goes weird) – Floatplane guy calls back. Pilot tried to make it in to Green Lake but waved off due to weather. The floatplane is not coming. Travel plans are looking dire, indeed. We book and pay for Whistler Air flights, then continue standing around in the rain on the dock at Green Lake waiting for a bus to Squamish at noon. Air Canada is called many, many times. Travel arrangements are rescheduled since we’re now missing all our original flights. I rearrange my flight to be for Saturday since there’s no possible way to make the final connection from Toronto to Moncton at this point.
- 12:00p – Whistler Air-provided shuttle bus to Squamish arrives. Huzzah. We pile in with our luggage and sundries and several other passengers.
- 12:45p – We arrive in Squamish. Whistler Air guy there says, “Erm, planes are late,” (or something to that effect) “You have an hour to kill.” Already-rearranged travel plans for many are already beginning to look dire-ish. Awesome bus driver guy says, “I’ll take you all back into town to use the facilities and get lunch.” There is great rejoicing.
- 1:15p – Back on bus heading back to the Greater Squamish Floatplane Airport after using facilities and wolfing down Wendy burgers, coffees, and donuts.
- 1:45p or so – Group splits up. We can’t all fit on one plane. Big plane is ready to take folks who have earlier flights to catch today or who otherwise just want to get the hell to Vancouver. Mconnor, Lucy, Robcee and I valiantly stay behind.
- 2:15p or so – Small plane arrives but fills up with a family of 6. No big deal, we have time to spare.
- 2:45p or so – Finally get a plane. Pile on in, get the shortest and most to the point airplane security briefing ever, which is roughly: “If you need to open the door, pull the handle towards you then up. Buckle up.” Vroom. Flight is scheduled to last a whole 12 mins, but possibly slightly longer since they have to route around blasting (at the rockslide site). Many pictures are taken. Best flight ever. I seriously want a floatplane.
- 3:15p or so – We arrive in downtown Vancouver at the floatplane dock. I’m giddy and take a million pictures of floatplanes because it turns out they’re frakking awesome.
- 3:45p or so – Standing on a corner in Vancouver with Mconnor, Lucy, and Robcee trying to find cabs. Mconnor and Lucy get the first. Robcee and I get the second and head to the Radisson near YVR since both of our flights are on Saturday.
- 7:30p or so – Dinner is obtained (and is surprisingly awesome). Darkness falls. Time passes. Two episodes of Weeds are watched. Exhaustion sets in.
- 11:30p – Sleep.
- 8:00a Pacific – Wake up, shower, pack. Use the internet while it’s available.
- 9:45a – Head downstairs for a buffet breakfast. See above re: traveling on a full stomach.
- 10:15a – Check out. Get on shuttle to airport.
- 10:45a – I get off shuttle at Domestic terminal. Robcee heads on to International.
- 11:00a – Find myself at the end of a ridiculously long line of people checking in. I’m checked in but still have to print boarding passes and check luggage. Apparently Saturday is Cruise Day at YVR. There are eighty billion people.
- 11:30a or so – Checked luggage, have boarding passes. Flight is scheduled for 1:45p so I make my leisurely way to my gate.
- 12:00p – At gate, clinging to the outer fringes of the free wifi at YVR. Tired, but content.
- 12:35p – Notice sign at my gate now says “Departure: 13:45. DELAYED: 15:45″. No longer content. 2 hour delay means I miss the last connection from Toronto to Moncton. Despair sets in. I suddenly stop having fun.
- 12:50p – Gate agents are dealing with people who are going to miss their connections as best they can. Some non-connection-requiring passengers are being…jerks. I finally get to speak to an agent who informs me that an earlier flight has available seats. He prints me a boarding pass and says, “Um, you better hustle.” It’s already boarding and is a fair hike away. I hustle.
- 1:00p or so – I arrive at the gate and am immediately able to board. Huzzah. Better still, I have seat 12H (bulkhead row, tons of legroom). Better still, 12K (window seat) is empty. When the doors close I shift over. Window seat, bulkhead row. I am no longer despairing.
- 8:20p Eastern time – Land at YYZ. Connection doesn’t board for an hour so I take the time to get dinner (chicken ceasar salad + a smirnoff ice). Pay $6 for an hour’s worth of wifi so I can update folks on my whereabouts. It is at this precise moment that I realize I may actually need a cell phone. May have to look into blackberries again.
- 9:00p – At gate using up the last of my wifi hour downloading free stuff on my iPod from the Apps Store. Turns out free stuff mostly sucks except the Sodoku.
- 9:20p – Board. End up in wrong seat. Move to correct seat. No one’s beside me, yay. Attendant asks me if I would be so kind as to move to the Exit row since there are currently kids in it. I oblige and get extra leg room again. Pwn.
- 12:50a Atlantic – Land at YQM.
- 1:00a – Luggage obtained.
- 1:10a – In cab on way home. Chat with driver about the Eagles concert (which was tonight), the upcoming Elton John concert, and the Casino. Find out his niece is in her fourth year at Acadia and the names of a few of the other folks who live on our street. Further chat about kids these days and whatnot. I’m definitely back in the Maritimes.
- 1:30a or so – Home. Finally.
- Total door-to-door (Whistler-Moncton) travel time: 40 hours.
- Vehicles involved: Taxi, Bus, Floatplane, Taxi, Shuttle, Airplane, Airplane, Taxi.
- Meals eaten: Breakfast (Whistler), Lunch (Squamish), Dinner (Vancouver), Breakfast (Vancouver), Dinner (Toronto), journey-ending beverage (Moncton).
- Cats who met me at the door: Two.
Posted some shots of our post-Summit fun-but-not-wholly-successful adventure over on Flickr: Escaping Whistler. We all had to move our flights. We all almost had to move our flights twice. I’m stuck in Vancouver ’til tomorrow, but that’s ok. More (and properly processed) pics to come after I get home.
I’m going to write a longer post about the awesomeness that has been the Mozilla Summit 2008 later (so many stories to tell), but today had a special highlight. I finally got to meet himorin (aka. Shimono) after working with him on Mozilla Developer Center for a long time. I had originally thought he wasn’t able to make it to the Summit, so was absolutely thrilled when we were introduced. Himorin has been a driving force behind MDC since its inception, and it was an incredible honour to finally have a chance to meet him and to thank him face-to-face. MDC would not be the project it is today without his help and enthusiasm, particularly in the early days when we were still trying to figure out what a collaborative developer documentation resource should look like.
I’ve had a chance to meet lots of other folks as well, and have had tons of great, inspiring, and amazingly energizing conversations over the past three days. Being in a room with 400 brilliant, dedicated, passionate, and incredibly hard-working Mozillians is humbling. I am astonishingly lucky to be part of this community. So, even though there were bears, and a rockslide that blocked the road, and a power outage, and even snow in July — this has been the best Summit ever.