Hello Again

It’s been a couple of years since I wrote here and a lot has happened since my last post. I’ve mostly been writing on Medium, where I worked for a short time in 2019. I’m also active on Mastodon. I’m not sure how often I’ll be posting here.

A short summary of the last few years:

I left Line2 in 2017 when our engineering manager left and it seemed like there wasn’t much more to do there. The company was acquired about a year later.

Later in 2017 I got pretty sick and was out of commission for a few months.

I then worked for several startups over the next few years which went through major layoffs. My most recent company, which made educational software, laid off 50% of the staff only a few months after I joined.

Still alive

It’s been over a year since my last blog post and a lot has happened since then. I can’t promise that I’ll start blogging more regularly, but I’ll try to post more than once a year.

Since my last post:

* I left Klip last June because I was getting tired of the commute, which was over 3 hours a day. Working with Alain Rossmann and the rest of the team there was one of the best experiences of my life. Unfortunately they weren’t able to get a big enough audience to monetize, so they shut down at the beginning of this year.

* For a few months I worked at a startup that was building a new social network, but I soon realized it wasn’t what I wanted. Although they’re great people, it wasn’t a service I actually wanted to use and I started to hate seeing the same tired memes and corny quotes posted repeatedly by our users. I also found the commute to a really bad part of SOMA even more unpleasant that commuting to Palo Alto.

* Since December I’ve been working at Line2. I’m really excited about working on an Apple Watch app, which we recently released.

* Cody died suddenly of an unknown infection in early March. He’s been immortalized in Cole Garage’s pet mural.

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A whole new city

As long as I’ve lived in San Francisco and for all the years I’ve been visiting here, I’ve spent most of my time downtown and around the eastern part of the city. My last apartment was in SOMA, which was very convenient when I worked in that area. I could easily walk to most places downtown and I especially enjoyed walking to Chinatown.

Although it was very conveniently located, SOMA is not a very nice place to live. The traffic is pretty bad, especially when there’s a game at AT&T Park and the streets aren’t very pedestrian friendly. The rents are among the highest in the city, and it’s one of the filthiest neighborhoods.

I recently moved to Cole Valley, a neighborhood near Golden Gate Park & Haight-Ashbury. Until a few months ago, I was unfamiliar with the western neighborhoods, but as soon as I saw this place I fell in love with it. Instead of heavy traffic, garbage, and characterless high-rises, there are tree-lined streets and beautiful Victorian homes. This is the San Francisco I love, and it feels like a completely different city.

I can no longer walk to Chinatown, but I can walk to Golden Gate Park & Haight-Ashbury, and it’s only a 15 minute train ride from Downtown.

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Catching up

I missed the energy & excitement of working at a startup, so I left Fuzebox in May and I’m now working at Klip. It’s a small company but we have a great team led by a member of the original Mac team. 

Goodbye Bionic Panda

Bionic Panda Games ran out of money. I’m really sorry to see it happen & I’m going to miss everyone. They were one of the best teams I’ve ever worked with, and I learned a lot from them. Unlike some other companies, rather than laying everyone off right away, the CEO & CTO kept the office open as long as they could and worked really hard to make sure everyone found a new job.

We spent our last weeks at Bionic Panda making a game just for fun, which we had no intention of releasing: “Angry Zombie Poker Farm Pets”.

I’m now at Fuzebox, working on both Mac & iOS products. The environment is very different than Bionic Panda and I’m really excited about their product and looking forward to new challenges.

San Francisco

It’s been two months since my last blog post and a lot has happened. I’m now living in San Francisco and working for Bionic Panda Games. I’ve spent the last two months getting settled in my new apartment, working at my new job, and exploring the city. I also released a new Mac application called Detective (more in another post coming soon).

I love San Francisco. My favorite thing about the city is the rich history and mix of old and new. I love seeing buildings from the early 1900s next to modern structures.

Living here has inspired me to take many more photos. I enjoy just walking around the city with my camera. I’ve been experimenting with using only a prime lens instead of the 18-200mm zoom lens for my walks. I found that I prefer the 35mm f/1.8 to the 50mm as a general purpose lens. I’ll probably continue to use that lens for my next photo walk.

Unfortunately Midnight hasn’t adjusted well to my new home. He spends most of the time hiding and has been refusing to eat. As a result he got very sick and has been at the vet for several days. Cody, on the other hand, seems happy here.

Here’s one of my favorite shots from one of my photo walks.

Spreading tree

A New Chapter

I’m finally moving to San Francisco. I have a new job there which starts in less than 2 weeks, and I found a great apartment while I was there for Macworld|iWorld Expo last week. I wanted to do this for a long time, but I had a hard time overcoming my inertia. My POD arrives tomorrow and I’m flying to San Francisco to stay on Monday Feb. 6.

Much as I love San Francisco & dislike Florida, I’m going to miss my good friends here. My condo is a very close-knit community and we’re like family here. We all look out for each other. I doubt if it’ll be like that where I’m moving, especially since it’s a rental community. On the other hand, I really look forward to being part of San Francisco’s exciting tech startup community, which doesn’t exist in Florida.

In other news, I’m getting ready to release a new application for Notion called Detective, which shows your new Twitter followers and unfollows in the menu bar. We’re still waiting for the final artwork, so I might not be able to submit it before I move.

WWDC Wrap-up

I haven’t had a chance to write any blog posts last week while I was at WWDC, but I had a great time and learned a lot. This may have been the most important WWDC in recent years.

While last year’s WWDC focused primarily on iOS, this year’s conference was about equally split between iOS 5 and Mac OS X Lion. Both systems share some major enhancements including iCloud storage and Objective C runtime improvements that make memory management easier and a lot faster. I can’t write about much of what I saw, since everything except the keynote is under NDA. I will say that I’m running iOS 5 on my iPad and Lion on my MacBook Air and I’m very happy with both and find them stable enough for regular use. I haven’t installed iOS 5 on my iPhone, though.

On Sunday I went on the annual bus Pilgrimage to Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino. As always, the only thing we were able to see was the Apple company store. I took advantage of it to pick up a USB Ethernet adapter for my MacBook Air, since large downloads aren’t allowed over wireless connections during WWDC. I was pleasantly surprised by how fast the MacBook Air USB adapter is and how it just works without any fuss, unlike USB ethernet adapters I’ve used in the past.

1 Infinite Loop

WWDC isn’t all work. There are also a few fun events, starting with Tuesday night’s Apple Design Awards and Stump The Experts. One highlight of the conference is always the Thursday night WWDC Bash. Since the Bash moved from Apple’s campus in previous years to Yerba Buena Garden across from Moscone Center, Apple has been getting major bands to perform at the Bash. In previous years they had Ozomotli, Barenaked Ladies, Cake, and OK Go. This year they got Michael Franti & Spearhead for a great show.

The conference ended at noon on Friday, so I took advantage of the rest of the day to enjoy San Francisco. I walked from Moscone to the Ferry Building & took lots of pictures, which you can see here. I only brought my Canon G12, since I didn’t feel like lugging the D90. I’m very happy with the results, both for still photos & videos.