3 posts about culture

Why I moved to San Francisco

Dec 2 2007

"Move to San Francisco" seems to be the advice that I've been giving to pretty much all of the geek + activisty folks that I know. There have been really great conferences like An Event Apart and CompostModern, green socialite stuff and Green Fest, a great cycling scene, gorgeous coastline, sustainable agriculture galore, municipal freaking composting, local beer/coffee/chocolate/veggies/everything, the legendary queer scene, the legendary political art scene, an awesome, active AIGA chapter, killer public transport, a hilarious mix of psychedelic and high-tech history... It's all been even more incredible than I'd hoped. This city is just completely alive and thriving with all kinds of brilliant geeky people doing Good Things. ... You should come, really.

I got here sometime in the summer for a new job doing design/programming/research at this fantastic little UX shop. It was completely serendipitous how I got the job, but that's a better story told in a bar than a blog. I've got a little studio off of 24th Street in the Mission, which is about as wonderful as city living can be, if you ask me.

Best of all, when I moved I got rid of my damned phone and car, two of my least favorite things in the world. :)

For the last month I've been working intensely on a complete rewrite of a research tool called Ethnio. Ethnio is intended to make online user experience research cheaper and easier, and I'm pretty damn happy with the progress that we've made. I'll post a link as soon as we're out of private beta.

I've been spending most of my day's working with a few geniuses at Pivotal Labs down on Market Street (including rails expert josh susser.) I love being around people that are much smarter than I am; it makes learning impossible to avoid. And this happens positively all the time in SF. Seriously, I'm in a Valencia street coffeshop now and I could probably ask the guy sitting next to me for help with the code I'm working on.

I'll be posting some more technical things here soon from my Ruby on Rails adventures, as well as some of the incredible graphic design stuff that I've been stumbling onto lately. I'm hoping to get back into blogging more now that things have calmed down with the move and with the beta release of Ethnio. But regardless, really, you should do yourself a favor and figure out how to uproot yourself for California. Come by get a beer and a burrito sometime, won't you?

Tux is dead-ish

Jan 5 2007

I think that Tux Magazine started a couple of years ago.

For a number of reasons--not all financial--the model we had built for TUX was not sustainable. At this point, a group of us who were involved in TUX are tossing some ideas around. Where it will go we are not sure but let me assure you that enough of us feel TUX needs to exist that we will try our best to come up with, as they say, "Plan B".
Their goal was to server the "new Linux user," with glossy color articles about installing the latest KDE, understanding the differences between the various distros, and getting your new printer to work with Ubuntu.

It was an interesting niche that seemed really promising. (Several other Liunx magazines exist, but are written more for the hardcore geeks.)

Alas, just before their 21st issue, they have just announced that they are closing down.

I wonder what this means for the state of the Open Source OS in 2007?

Great Podcast: Jonathan Schwartz - The Participation Age

Jan 25 2006

I love this podcast (and I adore the entire IT Conversations series). Here's a link and a blurb.

IT Conversations: Jonathan Schwartz - The Participation Age

The free and open source software movement is moving, rapidly. The open sourcing of Solaris has added lent enormous weight to this community based development culture. The community behind free and open source software is changing the landscape of software development and moving the value away from traditional delivery of a piece of software. What is making such communities very successful? What obstacles do they face? And what should we all be doing to ensure continued success? Jonathan Schwartz, President and COO, Sun Microsystems answers these questions and more in his keynote address at the OSB. Mr.Schwartz, one of the most high profile corporate bloggers around, goes back in time to show how standardization and access to communication has resulted in enormous all round economic growth. Starting with the standardization of canals and railroads dimensions to a standard voltage and plug form for electricity distribution he explains how industries have created new opportunities and moved on to deliver value in non-traditional ways. He talks about how Thomas A. Edison, the inventor of the light bulb and holder of a few hundred patents, failed in trying to protect his Intellectual Property by trying to trash rivals and draws parallels to more recent efforts of companies which try to protect their IP and hypocritically participate in community development. You wouldn't expect Mr. Schwartz to defend FOSS in anything but the strongest terms and he delivers in a manner which will gladden the hearts of this increasingly visible community.