Phillip Pearson - web + electronics notes

tech notes and web hackery from a new zealander who was vaguely useful on the web back in 2002 (see: python community server, the blogging ecosystem, the new zealand coffee review, the internet topic exchange).


2009 - 2010

Well. I've resurrected my old blogging tool and blog data from my last laptop, so, prompted by Ben Ward's 2009 retrospective, here goes the first post of the new year. 2009's been... interesting. This time last year, I was interviewing with Ning, after Yahoo! closed the Brickhouse team/project/experiment that I'd been part of for just over a year, since late 2007. Brickhouse (and Fire Eagle, the project I spent most of my time working on there) was an incredible environment, where I met some very cool people and made a couple of close friends. I'm glad I had the chance to be part of it.

So, Ning offered me the job, and my priorities abruptly switched from trying to extend my Yahoo! contract to trying to wrap up and hand over Friends On Fire, the Fire Eagle Facebook app that I'd been working on, before taking off for the year's first trip over the Pacific, to meet my new coworkers and learn about the software I'd be working on, in late January. That all worked out well, and I had a great time in Palo Alto.

I returned home, had a crazy week trying to be productive on this codebase I'd barely scraped the surface of at the same time, after which my appendix gave up the ghost, putting me in hospital for the next three weeks, then off work for another three!

The rest of the year has been a bit of a blur. I've travelled a lot: Wellington, Auckland, Adelaide, San Francisco, Munich and London, plus a couple of smaller trips inside Canterbury: Peel Forest, Loburn, Hanmer Springs, Arthur's Pass. Reconnected with a bunch of old friends, and made many new ones. Spent a lot of time at the Christchurch Creative Space and with the people who hang out there. Visited almost all of my family living outside Christchurch; in five different cities: my brother, two cousins, an aunt, and an uncle and his family!

At some point in August, I mentioned to my boss that I'd just booked flights for a visit to San Francisco, and was planning to drop by once every few months, and she asked "well, how about moving here instead?". I slept on it, and took her up on the offer the next day. The process of getting a working visa was surprisingly smooth, and in November I found myself the proud holder of a passport with a US H1B visa sticker, and a whole set of new things to do to tidy up my life in New Zealand for easy transport (or storage).

Another notable thing to mention is that I picked up an old hobby: DJing. I dragged my turntables, mixer, stereo and records down to the Creative Space every week for a little while, then took the whole rig out to the Melting Man outdoor dance party, where I met the Mystiq Catalysts, who introduced me to drum & bass and the Serato line of digital DJ equipment. Since then, I've played several times at their Thursday night jam sessions, and have started running my own dance music club night, "Midweek Mix", on Wednesday nights at Foam, the same club. I suppose you could call it my first DJ residency? Now, with the move date getting closer, I've been spending the last few weeks trying to digitize as many of my 12" vinyl records so I can take the music with me and DJ in America without having to carry the (rather heavy) physical media. It appears that the type of music I used to DJ (or "spin", which seems to be what people in SF call it) from 1999-2002, trance and progressive trance, has fallen out of favour at home but still has a bit of a following in SF, so it'll be interesting to see how things go when I make it over.

So, now, all the Christmas and New Year celebrations are over, and it's back to work! 2009's been a transition year for me -- between one stage of my life that ended with the hospital stay, and another, that'll start when I arrive in California -- and the best year I've had in a long while. I'm excited to see what 2010 will bring ...

Some more 2009 retrospectives from friends: Laurie, Greg, Soo, Marc.

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