Megnut

Oops, looks like I forgot

PineappleOops, looks like I forgot to post a sugar packet yesterday, which means that Hawaiian Sugar Packet Week will extend until Saturday. Yes, the fun continues here at megnut. So you know that I rarely write about news, and often I avoid commenting on things that other people are writing about on their sites, but I was thinking this morning, is that fair? Is that fair to you, my dear reader? I mean, perhaps you're wondering, "what does megnut think about the Russian sailors?" Today I present megnut's thoughts on current events (feel free to stop reading right now, I won't be offended):

Russian sailors trapped in sub: Oh God, I can't imagine a more horrible way to die, and I do hope they can be saved, but I fear it's too late.

Presidential election: Ick. There's a reason I rarely write about politics. Bush scares me to death. Gore bores me to death.

Experts' predictions that Concorde will never fly again: I hope this isn't true, I've always wanted to fly on the Concorde, it seems like the closest I'll ever get to flying in space (unless they pick me for that Mars mission, come on Mars mission!! <crosses fingers>).

Dave Eggers interview "everyone" is talking about: Food for thought. I'm still digesting.

Ok, enough of that silliness. See, aren't you better off when I don't share my thoughts on current events? I thought so.

Ever wonder what things are

Ever wonder what things are like (or were like) at Pyra HQ? Three QuickTime movies show Behind-the-Scenes at Pyra. Back in March, Beto was in town for FlashForward so he stopped by for some lunch, and he brought his camera along. I'd forgotten that he'd documented some stuff while he was here, now he's put it online. For those of you that don't speak Spanish, here's a rough translation of what he's written to accompany the three short films (to view each, click on the box with the arrow and QuickTime image):

Primer Encuentro (First Encounter): "The first thing I did with the Pyra folks was accompany them to lunch at Pier 40, a restaurant near their offices. From left to right, pb, Ev, Meg, Ev's hand."

Ingreso al cuartel general (Return to HQ): "Next, I decided to film the return to the labyrinth, which until a few short weeks ago, housed all Pyra's equipment (this was before Derek Powazek and Matt Haughey joined the company). And there, the famous brick walls."

Una nueva casa para los bitacoreros (A new home for the webloggers): "Coincidentally, this same day, the new Blogger IBM NetInfinity server arrived. The moment the server was inaugurated, and the reaction of those present, has been captured for posterity."

I think the third one is my favorite because he films Ev's desk, and zooms in on the boxes that were running everything at the point in time. It's a neat slice of start-up life. Of course, the second one is cool too, walking through the maze that is our office...they're all so good!

I'm really glad that Beto filmed this stuff. At the time, it seemed silly. In retrospect, it's wonderful to have this documented. It's hard to believe how much things have changed since that sunny afternoon in March: we're twice as big now, our servers are all collocated, we've received funding. It feels more like a "real" company these days, which is good. I can't imagine being where we are today without the help of Matt Haughey, Jack, and Derek. But seeing something in those films sparked a twinge of nostalgia in me, reminded me of the "old" days, when we'd stay at work so late that we'd turn all giggly, when Blogger ran on my and Ev's desktops, when implementing a new feature consisted of someone saying, "hey, it should do this!" then telling others not to open the file, bam, and it was done.

As companies, even small ones grow, an amazing amount of structure and procedure becomes required. A team of three or four is a different beast than even a team of seven. Features are now projects, and not everyone works on everything anymore. And I've felt the growing pains, and still feel them. It's hard to remove oneself from areas where one's no longer needed, to adjust to new team members and different working styles. But we wouldn't be where we are today, on the verge of something great, without the growth, and I am beholden to every person on our team for all their contributions which have gotten us to this point. But part of me wonders if, somewhere along the way, some of the fun has been lost.

Finally after months and months

Finally after months and months of delay and worry, I've got my old megnut content into Blogger and on this site. Taking a look at it now, I wonder what the hell I was so concerned about. There's not a lot of it, and frankly, it's not that interesting. I've been wondering if I've changed my tone as time has passed, or if I've changed what I write about. My conclusion? Not really, megnut's always been full of gripes and "observations," since about day one. I just seem to write longer ones now. And I seem to write longer posts in general. Anyway, knock yourself out, it's all there beneath the archive heading on your right. Now I can get to work on gettting even older content back on line...no no no, I'm kidding, I wouldn't subject you to that.

More Hawaiian sugar packets,

tiki More Hawaiian sugar packets, this is "Hawaiian Sugar Packet Week" at megnut. I like having themes, perhaps I'll do more of them. Dan says that sugar packets, back in the day when sugar was produced by local companies, used to have locally-related designs upon them. Sometimes even specific to a restaurant. That sounds familiar to me so maybe when I was younger that's the way it was? Do you have cool sugar packets where you live? If so, send me some. I'd like to start a sugar packet gallery, so include a description of where yours is from. I'll kick it off with the ones I've collected from Hawaii. Coming soon!

Aloha from San Francisco, or

waimeaAloha from San Francisco, or I guess I should just revert to the old, "Hello!" I'm back. I'm not as rested as I thought I'd be and I'm not as tan as I thought I'd be, but I had an amazing time nonetheless. One of the (numerous) cool things about Kaua'i is that almost all of the sugar packets had funny Hawaiian-themed pictures on them. I collected several, but I thought you'd enjoy this guy shredding a monster wave the most. Other touristy places should have locale-themed pictures on sugar packets, Boston could have the Constitution and Old North Church, SF could do one with the Golden Gate bridge, etc. etc. Then as I traveled the world, I could collect sugar packets in every city.

Once we get all the pictures (there aren't a lot, I'm a lazy photographer) scanned in, I'll post them. In the meantime, let me tell you that the highlight of the trip (as Jason already mentioned, bastard! Stealing my thunder!) was swimming with Hawaiian sea turtles. This turtle was HUGE, as big as me, though it's hard to tell from the photo (hmmm...wait a sec, this might be one of the smaller turtles...well, it's still totally cool). At one point, there were five turtles hanging out at the reef with us. It was amazing. I want to go again and again! The low light of the trip was getting a flat tire, but it worked out ok, because our new car had a CD player. Woo hoo, so we spent the rest of the week cruising in style with tunes. There's more to tell about the vacation, but I'll save that narrative to garnish the pictures.

Thanks to mom for an excellent job with Momnut. For those of you who are interested in reading more, she's in the process of getting her own site up, and I'll share the link when it's ready to go.

Finding blackberries in one's backyard

Finding blackberries in one's backyard makes coming home seem not so bad.

Thinking about Meg's return from

Thinking about Meg's return from Hawaii tonight, a camp song from Aloha popped into my head as the perfect greeting for Megnut and parting for Momnut. With its Hawaiian theme, the song goes like this...aloha means hello to you, aloha means goodbye, it means until we meet again beneath the tropic sky. It carries me right back to glorious summers as a camp counselor in Vermont, summers so great that as soon as Meg was old enough, she followed as a camper and then counselor too. So aloha Meg and welcome back. Many thanks for letting me share your blog, and now it's aloha from Momnut.

What a perfect summer evening!

What a perfect summer evening! Walking home through Boston's North End , we stop for fried calamari so good you wonder why you ever bother to order it anywhere else. Up the street, the road is blocked off in preparation for the weekend feast of the Madonna Della Cava Society, and the Cannoli Girls booth (we fill it fresh for you) is already up. We take a left and walk past Old North Church into the park at the bottom of the hill. The night-lit bocce courts are full for this men's only, and apparently Italian men's only, sport. We stop to watch some very skilled ball handling, where calm and quiet finesse contrast with the more volatile scenes we sometimes encounter in the North End. After watching a bit, we continue along the path at the water's edge, and then turn right across the bridge towards the Bunker Hill Monument and home. Sometime when Meg and Mike come to visit I hope we can share an evening like this with them.

Where will I hang out

Where will I hang out when I retire? (A closer decision point for me than for some others.) On my early morning walk to get something like my favorite California coffee, I noticed both benches in front of the post office were full of older men, while the bank bench had only a single elderly gentleman. Yet later in the day when I walk to the grocery store, the post office benches are always full of women and the bank bench is empty. It seems that the bank bench location, at the opposite end of the plaza, does not have the same cachet as the post office benches. Is it like high school all over again? Are there certain times and specific places where the cool old folks go? I wonder if it will be as hard to join the right group as it was in high school.

Today I spent the day

Today I spent the day working on the GUI for an EP B2B POC. Why can't I figure out how to say that in normal language? I hate acronyms.

Oh I had such grand

Oh I had such grand plans this morning after getting back to the 'real' world, but as happens so often, the real world got in the way. Now it's late and I'm frustrated by computer eccentricities so maybe what I need is to act on my recent roadsign epiphany.

Flipping through a magazine, I came upon a slightly altered roadsign reading 'DO NOT PASS JOY' in an Audi ad. Later that day, the illustration for a Metropolitan Home article on the
Tate Modern showed a closeup of a street sign related to the construction work, 'CHANGED PRIORITIES AHEAD'. And the culmination on the following day was seeing a sign/graffiti combination of 'STOP WORKING'. Should I buy the Audi? Should I plan for my sabbatical in London rather than Paris? And should I stay there when it ends? Just imagining the possibilities will probably be enough to get me back to my computer with renewed spirit tomorrow morning.

What I really like about

What I really like about a family weekend on Nantucket is spending time cooking. We work in the narrow kitchen, talking over the low counter to others sitting at the dining room table, where there's always another hand ready to help chop. It's not work for me, but an essential part of getting the family together.

Well if I'd seen this

Well if I'd seen this photo before Meg posted it, I might have asked her to keep looking for a photo of me. But it certainly does have a 'momnut' quality to it, doesn't it?

Excuse the technical difficulties. Here's

Excuse the technical difficulties. Here's what I meant to say...

Just like Meg, I started the day with a trip to an island, on the ferry to Nantucket . Seeing all the families with young children on the boat left me reminiscing about our first trips there. It's so different these days being able to read quietly on the boat or even nap, without the constant question answering and entertaining necessary for travel with kids on a 2-hour boat ride. Going to such an old favorite family place, I miss having those kids along.

Well I'm off to Hawaii

Well I'm off to Hawaii for the week, and I leave you all in the competent hands of my mom, Judy. Welcome to Momnut, enjoy your stay!

My "" key is broke

My "" key is broke o my keyboard ad I ca't type without it. Crap.

Heavy development gets under my

Heavy development gets under my skin in the worst, and best, way. When I used to do a lot of database-driven coding, I'd find that my nights were filled with "web-based nightmares" (mathowie's term). I'd dream of these terribly long and complicated SQL statements, filled with JOINS and sub-queries, I'd wrangle huge record sets and endlessly loop through all the data, For, Next, Ubound, ad finitum. Lately though, it's all about parsing XML. Last night I dreamt of giant strings of XML, and I just kept concatenating and concatenating and everything I looked at got wrapped in tags and added to my giant string. I'd spot a chair, <chair>, a table, <table>, on and on and on. It was exhausting. Sign #327 that it's time for a vacation.

My system resources are maxed

My system resources are maxed out.

Dammit, I thought Blogger was

Dammit, I thought Blogger was the world's premier online popularity contest! [via numb.]

It's been fascinating to read

It's been fascinating to read everyone's responses to NewsBlogger, I'm really amazed at how many people are concerned that this is going to lead to wide-spread homogenization of the web. Well sure, if somebody just links to a news article, it will be as lame as when somebody links to any other URL without adding their voice. That's what makes any post interesting: the commentary about the thing the person's chosen to link to. Why is Davenetics great? I get a lot of the same headlines in my Inbox via email from Wired and the Standard, but it's Dave's commentary that adds value. It's why I read his newsletter every day. Same thing with Memo. Lonely links offer little value to me, but when someone wraps that link in personal commentary, and shares thoughts and experiences, it becomes a unique snippet of information that I can't get anyplace else.

Another response that gave me a chuckle was the belief that NewsBlogger is catering to the lazy, and encouraging laziness, within the web community. I'm always surprised by the assumption people make regarding energy expended. Time expended != value or quality. Are the links you dig up from disparate news sources inherently more valuable because you spent two hours locating them? Not if they're from CNN, BBC, or any other widely-available news source, and not if you don't add your commentary to them. Is your trip to the grocery store some how better if you walk there, rather than drive? I don't think so, it's what you create when you return home with the ingredients that matters. There are two parts to this process: getting the information and then doing something with it. There seems to be an assumption that gathering the information is valuable and a good use of time. Why not pour the energy into the other side of the equation? The side on which you add your unique voice to the link you've located?

And of course, one more thing to think about: NewsBlogger isn't for everyone. It's for people that like to write about news. You're not going to see a huge increase in news articles and commentary on megnut now that I'm using NewsBlogger because I don't usually publish that sort of stuff here. But I do use NewsBlogger to publish technology and business-related links to our intranet, and having a tool to do so saves me a lot of time. Am I lazier because of it? Hardly, now I have more time to develop and enhance the web apps I love to build.

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