I do the strangest things when I’m bored on holidays

I had a pretty good Christmas break this year; I always try to stay away from computers when I’m on holiday and for the last three weeks, I’ve succeeded (most of the time).  Funnily enough it’s on these breaks that I sometimes decide to get on said computer and join activities that I’ve been considering but trying to avoid.

Two years ago (or close enough to it), I sat down with my mum’s iBook while everyone else was watching TV and finally started this blog.

I absolutely refused to go near MySpace which meant there was nothing to do last year, but today I finally cracked and joined FaceBook (I hope that’s my profile link).  Unfortunately my mum’s iBook broke yesterday, so I had to borrow my flatmate’s laptop.  I’m still sitting in front of the TV tho 😉

Seniority

The day has finally arrived, I’ve updated my email signature and blog info page… I am now officially a Senior Software Engineer 😀

I’ve been aiming to achieve this for at least a year, and I never would’ve made it without the help of Brett, our Engineering manager.  He’s been a source of great help and guidance as I prove my abilities and I’m very thankful for his support along with the rest of the team.  Thanks guys 🙂

Apologies for the unannounced blog vacation

I didn’t plan to go a month between posts.  It was already creeping up to week or two between each brain dump which is slower than I’d like, but sometimes blogging just isn’t very high on my list of things to do.

At the start of August I fell sick.  I look after myself enough that I don’t tend to catch the yearly colds – only on rare occasions have I needed a day off work.  This flu however has been going around Brisbane and knocking everybody flat; it took me 5 days to recover.  Two of those were on a weekend so I only had 3 days off work, which is lucky because we’ve been quite busy.

That brings me to the reason I haven’t posted in the 3 or so weeks since then; work has been a bit crazy and I’m either too tired or just too lazy to make the effort.  I think we’re getting it under control, which will hopefully inspire some more posts.

So why did I pick today to return?  Stay tuned – some recent news has inspired me to get off my arse and start posting again.  I’m back, baby.

My link blog has arrived

One of the features I’ve really been looking forward to in the new version of FeedDemon is Synchronised News Bins, which can be turned into link blogs.  So now that I’m running the beta, I’ve created Andy’s Link Blog 😀

I add to it pretty regularly, like most bloggers there is a ton of stuff that I could post to my main blog but isn’t really important enough to warrant spamming you with it.  Having run this for a week already, I have posts in there dating back 3 weeks and it’s a mix of amusement, tech news and game news.  I hope you enjoy it 🙂

A nice relaxing week away

I spent the last week up in Northern Queensland.  It’s a lovely little area known as the Tablelands where I did most of my growing up.  Here’s a google map of the hotel building we booked out for the weekend 😀

I was there to participate in my Grandma’s 80th Birthday celebrations, and this time I have no excuse for slacking off on my photo sorting because other members of the family want a copy.  I really like Vista’s new photo tools so expect to see those posted before too long.

While I was away, the Ephox engineers started this nice looking blog called The Happy Pages (I’m the third photo in the header) – I hope it takes off because it would provide a window into the great team atmosphere we have and why we all love working here so much.

The other interesting news was published this morning; an article on Wikis in the Sydney Morning Herald that includes a couple of snippets from Damien.  I hope we get some attention from the community out of this, it gets a little boring when 90% of the posts that mention Ephox are from Ephox employees.

I don’t care about the numbers

Via Nick I just finished reading the top 5 ways to lose RSS subscribers. I’m guilty of the first two, and have plans to break the fourth once I get around to sorting my photos.

But I don’t blog for you, I blog for me. This is why I made my tagline “me, my opinions and I”. The stuff I write here is my personal outlet, not content written specifically to keep my readers subscribed. If you stay subscribed and enjoy what I have to say, then that’s great and I love you for it. But if you get sick of my off-topic posts and unsubscribe, I don’t actually care. If I do happen to post something down the track that interests you then it will appear on your radar eventually, just like I did when you first subscribed.

And that, right there, explains my mentality. With the rise of blog search I feel that my RSS subscription level is insignificant. If I make an interesting post, then someone will find it. And if they don’t find it from a blog search, they’ll find it as a link from someone who did. All of my other posts aren’t worth the time of most people – but that’s why I’ll always have a core group of subscribers, isn’t it 😉

I actually liken my thinking to Dave Slusher’s reason for podcasting. He podcasts for himself, not to build an audience or for money. And every time I hear him talk about his readers, I know he has the same appreciation for people who stick around that I do. It means you care about me, not just what I have to say.

Five things

Sigh, I guess it’s my turn for this. Thanks Jon, it’s nice to hear the FeedDemon support team knows about me but I didn’t really expect this 😛

I’m going to cheat a bit though – a couple of these are quite well-known by my friends, just not my online friends. To make up for it, I’ll include 6 😉

  1. I have a small vertical scar on my forehead, in between my eyebrows. Somewhere around my 8th birthday, I went to a pool with my friend. There were large rocks, I was chasing him on those rocks (playing tag or something, I can’t remember) and slipped. 2 stiches later, the doctor told me the scar would fade by the time I was 16… I’m now 25 😛
    (bonus fact: those are the only stiches I’ve ever had. No broken bones, no other major incidents).
  2. I’m prone to stuttering. I’ve lived with it long enough that I’ve learned to manage it; you’d never know most of the time but it is the reason I sometimes speak way too fast. It gets really bad when I’m nervous and occasionally when I’m tired.
  3. I play games. A lot. I’ve been keeping that off this blog, but it leads to long periods of nothing to post because all I’ve been doing is playing games. Maybe I’ll just start posting about it 🙂
  4. I was born in a tiny town called Waikari on the south island of New Zealand (map). My Dad is a Kiwi, he grew up on the Walter Peak farm near Queenstown which is now a tourist destination. I believe his parents were living in Waikari at the time which is why I was born there.
  5. By the time I was 1 year old, I had visited enough countries to say I’d been halfway around the world. We were living in Malaysia when I was born, and my Dad wanted me to be a Kiwi so my parents went on a big holiday and timed it so I would be born when they got to New Zealand.
  6. I was awarded student of the year in 1993, which for me was the final year of Primary school (Year 7).

Finding 5 people to tag was a bit tough, since only 4 other people at Ephox are blogging and most other people I subscribe to have already been tagged.

So… tags go out to Damien, Andrew, Doug, and AJ. For my fifth, I picked someone completely out of left field who I only know through a couple of conversations on a TV forum. Hi Karen 😀

Ephox is closed next week so some of these won’t appear until next year – lucky I’m on holiday for the first week of Jan, I don’t know if the other Ephox bloggers will appreciate me tagging them 😉

The world of Ephox

Ephox has just gone live with a blog aggregation tool that we’re calling Planet Ephox. So far we have our three senior engineers, CEO and the official company blogs. It’s a great place to get some insight into the minds at work here or if you just want a single feed for all things Ephox.

It’s a little strange having my posts on the corporate website, although it isn’t yet linked from the main pages it will be eventually. Unfortunately I now have an overwhelming urge to make sure I only post clean & safe work-related things, cutting out the personal stuff.

Hopefully it passes because we want this to be an open communication channel – that will be hard if I start mentally filtering my posts. First and foremost this is a blog for my family and friends, I hope to keep it that way. If I happen to post something that is of interest to Ephox clients, well that’s just a bonus 🙂

Oh and I’ll leave it as an exercise for the reader to figure out who’s who on the list of people 😛

time to pick a domain

WordPress.com updated their dashboard tonight, and while looking at recent posts on the wordpress.com blog I noticed they’ve introduced domain redirecting for $10/year. They offer registration too but they retain a little too much control over it (admittedly something they want to work on).

Ever since my friends and workmates found out about my blog they’ve been telling me I should’ve set it up on my own domain; well now I can, and this blog is still small enough that I don’t need to worry about losing people. All of my readers that I know about are smart enough to either use an RSS reader that supports redirects or know how to update the one they’re using.

The problem I’m facing now is… what domain do I pick? This is one of the reasons I didn’t set up a domain earlier – I can’t think of a good one. All of the decent spyder.blah domains are taken, and although spyder.vg is available I’m not entirely sold on buying a country-specific domain name from somewhere I don’t live. I only mention it because personally I would associate a .vg domain more with videogames than the British Virgin Islands.

Any suggestions? I’m leaning towards a domain along the lines of <something>spyder.net – it’s the <something> I can’t come up with.

Perhaps something related to what I do, or a play on words such as funnelwebspyder.net (which I’m considering but sounds a little too evil / deadly for my liking). Domains like aussiespyder.net and kiwispyder.net are available but that’s not really what I’m looking for.

A place to start

It’s been something like 4 or 5 years since I learned about blogging and thought about starting one. There have been an insane number of times when I’ve wanted a blog to post about or comment on an event that has happened.

Hell it’s been a month since I found out that “spyder” was available on wordpress.com. The lack of a domain name involving my online nickname was probably my primary reason for not doing this earlier 😉

The rest of it was, I think, being unsure of what the hell to post. I’ve been reading blogs all this time and have seen everything from diaries, to life stories, to stupid spam link blogs.

I’m still not really sure what this blog will be, but as I sit here at 1am on christmas morning, in front of the TV with my mum and sister (yay for mums wireless iBook! :D) I just want to start something.

It’s not so much a new years resolution, as just finally breaking through something that I’ve planned to do for ages. I have a tendancy to ramble, but… well I’ll save that story for some other time before this post ends up leading into my life story! hehehe