The 300 Club. Chickens.

March 11, 2007

Hot damn, 300 is a good movie. It’s a beautifully shot, with great action, and true to the book. I think the most remarkable part about the movie is how much it feels like a glossy, high quality, graphic novel. The cinematography, color, contrast, action sequences, costumes, actors, everything — wonderful.

I also checked out “The Natural History of the Chicken,” a PBS documentary about chickens and their owners. It was recommended by my barber, a chicken owner, and it didn’t disappoint. Check it out if you’re looking for something light hearted, feathery, and a little off beat.

Liftoff

March 8, 2007

White-knuckle startup times are back again. We’ve received full clearance to launch Chatter Mill, and none to soon: today, we’re unveiling at the New Communication Forum in Las Vegas. I’m pretty excited about it, but I’m a little biased. We have some sparse “glossy” marketing material up on our website, but I’d be happy to talk with anyone who’s interested in how anonymous communication can make a big difference in corporate culture. Hey, we’ll even give you a demo. Just ask.

Onwards!

The New Communication Forum is going to be interesting — the keynote is by David Weinberger, co-author of the Cluetrain Manifesto. The schedule is chock full of podcasting, social media, blogging, and all sorts of other good stuff.

Things are getting under way. We’re all sitting together in a room, with representatives from some of the biggest companies in the world, who are keen to learn about these sorts of things, and that gives me a lot of hope.

Chihuahua

February 11, 2007

Something very strange is happening.

People are coming to my blog after searching for “chihuahua” on Google.  Hundreds of them.  Every day.  And yet, until now, I have no chihuahua oriented content.

Odd.

Zenit 11

February 11, 2007

Zenit 11Ahh, a new acquisition — a friend gave me this Zenit 11 in perfect condition. Sure, you can find them on eBay for $20 … but this one has history! It was presented to my friend by a “high ranking” KGB official while he was doing business in the USSR, about a week before the collapse of the Soviet Union. It seems to be in perfect working condition — I’ll wander around Munich today and find out.

In other news, we’ll be back in the United States on Monday!

Out of The Office

January 29, 2007

Just a quick note — I’ll be in Germany from January 31st through February 12th.  It’s a working trip, so I’ll be available to respond to e-mails and whatnot; otherwise, please excuse my tardiness in responding to your inquiries.  Thanks!

Caboose Obscura

January 21, 2007

Justin and I hit the industrial sections of town today, to take photos with his new pinhole camera. Armed with sheet film of dubious quality, we scrambled around train yards and industrial districts looking for odd and interesting things to shoot.

One of the treasures we located was an abandoned caboose. Old, graffiti’d, and worn … but still reasonably clean, with no trash or bad odors. I had the impression someone was looking after it, although we didn’t find anything that wasn’t supposed to be there: just a wood stove, a couple of folding desks, and a vinyl upholstered bed.  Sparse, but cozy.

I love finding these sorts of things. Neglected pieces of history that aren’t useful or relevant today, so they’re thrown out or abandoned … and rediscovered in unexpected ways.

It’s been a good weekend.

Coding for Human Behavior

January 14, 2007

Here’s something that has me thinking: the ACM code of ethics for software engineers.

I think the ACM has done a good job capturing the elements that define maturity and professional behavior in the software industry. It clearly spells out that getting the best results means interacting well with people who have different capabilities, interests, and goals than ourselves. This is a pretty fundamental principal which, unfortunately, isn’t taught in many schools, or demonstrated in high tech businesses.

The ACM code makes a lot of sense when you read it. It’s explicit about a lot of things we should consider implicit — and I guess that’s the point. If it were easy to “be a good person,” that’s all we’d have to write about it.

It’s difficult to behave 100% ethically in high pressure, unfamiliar, or otherwise challenging situations — but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive for it. Becoming a better developer doesn’t just mean learning the latest design patterns and languages — it also means building healthy communication with the other people we intract with: clients, customers, sales people, managers, administrative assistants, executives, and everyone else we deal with on a professional basis. That doesn’t mean inviting them over for marathon Wii sessions on the weekend; it means devoting a few spare cycles to thinking about others, and doing our best to build something together — becoming a better person.

2006 was a heck of a year for me. Getting married, leaving a friend’s business, starting another business, hiring and firing, renovating the house, supporting my wife’s decision to become an independent consultant, and coordinating critical technical services for several startups — a lot of high pressure, unfamiliar, and otherwise challenging situations. These are the sorts of things that make a guy think hard about things like ethics and professionalism.

So, here’s to 2007: growing, learning, and becoming a better person.

Cheers!

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