I’ve been going retina-happy. It’ll be tricky to do the main graphics of this site (might just be easier to do a new design) but if you visit any of the photos on ma.tt on a retina display you should get double-resolution images, it really shines on photos like this one from South Africa, this one from Napa Valley, or this one from Ethiopia.
I got an inkling to check my archives today, because I faintly remember started blogging in the summer, lo and behold today the 16th is my tenth anniversary of blogging on this site. Hooray!
From Friendster to Flickr to Facebook I’ve always been active on other sites, what we now call social media, but as my interest in those has waxed and waned I’ve always come back to my home on the web, powered by Open Source software on a domain I own. This is definitely the longest sustained activity I’ve done, and I don’t see any reason why I wouldn’t continue the rest of my life, however long or short that may be.
A little of my personal history with blogging: the first blog I remember reading was Zeldman.com, who also introduced me to building websites as a craft rather than an output of a program. His site was personal (and still is) but mixed in technology with a flair and often linked to the other strong voices on the web of its day, like Anil Dash and Jason Kottke. (Both still blogging today.) Everyone seemed to be using software called Movable Type, so I fired that up on matt.mullenweg.com and began haphazardly publishing. (I might dig up those entries and import them here at some point, though it would be really embarrassing.)
I’m in New Orleans for a few days and, long story short, although I pre-ordered the New iPad it’s arriving to an address I won’t be at for a while, so since I was up early this morning thought I’d go to the nearest Apple store in Metairie and see if I could pick one up, or at least be part of the excitement that always accompanies Apple launch mornings.
The store had opened at 8, but I arrived at about 8:55, and the scene was not at all what I expected. There was a crowd outside the Apple store, but it was of blue-shirt employees, I walked up and said I was there for a 64GB white AT&T iPad, the fellow handed me a card, and 5 minutes later I was checked out. No line, no waits, no anything! Here’s a picture of the front of the store, at 9:20am.
The woman who checked me out said there had been a bit of a line that morning at 8, but just about 20-30 people and she thought that most people didn’t know they were opening at 8 that morning instead of the normal 10.
I walked back outside and grabbed a water bottle from the big pallet they had of them (for the expected line) and a Verizon employee accosted me to show ask if I had gotten AT&T or Verizon. When I replied “AT&T” he said “oh man!” and showed me the speed tests he was getting on his iPad 2 tethered via wifi to a Droid device he had, an impressive 20mbps down. “Think how fast it’d be going direct to an iPad.” (I agree, but I already have a Verizon Nexus device, a T-Mobile Blackberry, a Sprint iPhone, so I wanted to complete the quartet with another carrier and ensure I could have coverage anywhere.) I decided to celebrate with some beignets across the food court from Cafe Du Monde:
So why the lack of a line? Perhaps it was mix up about store opening time, as they suggested. Maybe New Orleans is a Samsung town. Perhaps Apple just did a better job with the pre-orders arriving on launch day, so people didn’t feel the need to go to the store. Maybe people weren’t as excited as I was about the new launch. All in all, it doesn’t matter to me. The screen is gorgeous, it’s restoring now from iCloud backup, and I’m pleased as punch to have one on launch day and I’ll probably spend far too much time today staring at the amazingly high resolution. If you were waiting because you thought the stores might be crazy today, maybe head to them half an hour after open time and skip the queues.
I attended an interesting high school called the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, or HSPVA for short. More than computers my main passion when I joined was the saxophone, particularly jazz, and that’s what I studied for 4 years alongside many talented friends who would later become professional musicians.
As a result of this interest, almost from the beginning of this website (then photomatt.net) I had a section of my site for jazz quotes. It’s actually remained frozen in that old design for four years or more, and it was one of my resolutions for 2011 to relaunch it.
Well, with minutes to spare, I’m happy to share with you guys the new Jazz-Quotes.com.
There is a lot of work left to do on it to turn it into the more of a community-driven site that I envision, but there’s no reason the few hundred people a day that come to my site looking for jazz quotes shouldn’t get to enjoy them in this fresh new design on a dedicated domain. (Powered by WordPress, natch.)
Happy new year, everybody! I think 2012 is going to be an amazing year. Now to put another log on the fire.
Earlier today this blog passed 10 million pageviews since the WP.com Stats plugin started tracking it in May 2007. I would like to take this opportunity to express a special thanks to each of my readers, old and new, especially those that take their time to leave comments. Over the years this blog has begotten numerous features such as clean permalinks, galleries, and asides that have driven core WP development, and I hope that it can continue to serve as a testbed and playground for what WordPress can do.
As you can tell, it is very inspired by the pop art of Roy Lichtenstein, an idea that came to me while visiting the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington D.C. last year, and again at SFMOMA in November. The idea was beautifully executed by designer Nicolò Volpato (who has now done 3 of the past 4 designs for Ma.tt) and coded up by Otto.
The header is a lot smaller, the graphics should load much faster since they’re simpler, and there have also been a few tweaks throughout the site to make it feel a bit speedier. Instead of image hacks like I’ve used in my past few designs I’m now using Typekit for pretty much everything, which feels nice.
Today a short piece “10 blogs to make you think” I wrote for CNN.com was published. I’m pretty excited about this and I also hope it drives a new audience to the blogs I mentioned, though to be fair if you’re not fascinated by how technology is changing society my picks might not be interesting. It’s a short piece in a “top ten” format, but I put a lot of thought into curating the picks.
I started blogging because I love writing. While the nature of Automattic is such that I’m writing all day long to communicate with my colleagues but writing for communication is different from the state of mind you’re in when you sit down to tell a story or change someone’s perspective. (Though perhaps it shouldn’t be.)
I started blogging for writing, I kept blogging for comments. It turns out what I love isn’t the act of writing itself, which has never come easy to me, but the conversation that happens afterward. Collectively in tech we become infatuated with each new medium be it blogs, widgets, social networks, micro-blogs, but in the end it always comes back to people talking to each other and eventually the novelty of the format fades.
As a final note when I write now I go into the WordPress editor because I know the auto-save will make sure my text is always safe, it produces clean and simple HTML, and I lean on After the Deadline. (Which now helps you rock the diaeresis New Yorker-style.)