Category Archives: Personal

Welcome 2005

At midnight I hope to be no where close to a computer, so I’ll post this now because I’m sure it’s 2005 someplace already. Thank you, everyone, for such a wonderful year and I wish you all the very best for the coming one.

Here are my resolutions for 2005:

  • Build up my piano chops — On some level I always wondered how things would be different if I stuck with piano instead of switching to sax. I’d like to learn a lot more piano.
  • Read more — I got some great books for Christmas and I think more offline reading would be good for me.
  • Release more — I let releases build up too long, I think most things I’m doing would benefit from a shorter development cycle. I also still have a lot of code I still need to clean up and GPL, more for the *Press family perhaps.
  • Write more — I’ve been happy with my code output lately, but my regular writing has suffered and I haven’t composed or arranged any significant music in about two years now.
  • No more mental roadblocks — For any of the above it would be easy to say “it would be easy to do X if I had Z” but this year I’ve learned that Z is just holding me back. Physical or habitual crutches may be more comfortable, but comfort is a terrible thing when you’re trying to push the envelope.

Yearly Tasks

As the year draws to a close, and it has been a wonderful year, I find myself drawn to a few tasks that always seem to catch me around this time:

  • Updating copyright years on sites that don’t use the PHP trick.
  • Archiving old mail and logs to local server.
  • Checking none of the low-traffic stuff broke without me noticing.
  • Backing up.
  • Cleaning out old/dead accounts, consolidating where possible.
  • Putting everything remotely versionable into Subversion (new for me this year).
  • Writing notes to old friends.
  • Organizing music.
  • Making lists (much like this one).

What catches up with you at the end of the year?

Stuff

My things are finally here. Thankfully the movers were pretty good, I’d heard some horror stories from people that had me anxious. The Comcast guy gets here tomorrow, and then I should be able to really settle in at home. Things I missed most: bed/pillows/blankets, camera battery charger, shoes, and vanilla candles.

Houston Press and CNET

(Also known as Announcements Two and Three. See part one.)

Matt Mullenweg may be underage, but he knows how to get into a bar.

That’s the opening line from the Houston Press feature called The Blog Age, subtitled “Matt Mullenweg helps usher in the real information revolution, one Web log at a time.” Modest, eh? It should be on newstands tomorrow so if you’re in Houston pick up a copy. Otherwise read it online.

Though it’s a little embarassing for me in parts, it’s a really good article that covers everything from Open Source to my fellow H-Town bloggers to political blogging at the national conventions. I’ve been talking to Cathy (the author) off and on since August and the strangest thing is how much has changed since we first met in a small coffee shop in Montrose. There are a few points I’d like to expand on or clarify but I’m exhausted from today’s travel right now.

The Other Big News

If you’ve read the article already you’ll notice that it breaks a juicy tidbit that hasn’t been published before: I’ve accepted a job with CNET Networks. That’s the reason I’m moving to San Francisco. There were a lot of ways things could have gone and honestly I wasn’t even planning on leaving Houston originally, but over the course of the past 3-4 months I’ve been talking to CNET and an opportunity came up I just couldn’t pass. As it says in the article part of what they’re paying me for is working on WordPress just like I do now. The rest of my time I’ll be working on various projects, most of them probably so top-secret I can’t breathe a word in advance.

The reason I’m excited about working with CNET is how what I’ll be doing meshes with my thoughts and ideals regarding Open Source, standards, and communities. My principles aren’t changing just because my paycheck is. You can expect the same sort of content here on PhotoMatt.net you’ve seen in the past — namely unfiltered personal thoughts, jabs, and observations not connected with any corporate entity. This is obviously a pretty significant move for both myself and WordPress so I’ll do my best to entertain any questions you may have in the comments.

Announcement Part 1

So I guess now is as good a time as any for the first annoucement I’ve been promising: In a couple of days I’m going to be driving cross-country to San Francisco and settle down there. I was in SF the past few days to find a place and I found something that’s perfect for me. This is a permanent relocation, though I’m sure I’ll be back to Texas often. (As often as I can. I love TX. :)) Loose ends have been tied, phone plan has been changed, life is in order. I’m going to miss my people and family in Houston very dearly, but I’m still incredibly excited about the move.

If you live on the route between Houston and San Francisco drop me a note and maybe we can meet up on my trip.

A Walk

I’ve had a lot of things on my mind lately so earlier tonight I went to the park to clear my thoughts the best way I know how, thinking through everything. It’s one of my favorite places in Houston but I haven’t been in a while because the weather has been pretty warm and I’ve been pretty busy. It’s night and a the wind rustles pleasantly as I stroll to my favorite thinking spot. Someone is there and unsure of what to do I keep walking with no real destination in mind. I come to a spot that just a short while ago was a dry bed of concrete and a mess of construction, but it has become a long reflecting pool with comfortable benches and a relaxing fountain at the end. This new part of the park is a tribute to the Washington Monument. It’s perfect. When life pushes you beyond where you’re comfortable that’s often where you’ll find the most rewarding experience.

Offline

It was not long ago that we measured online time in minutes. You knew exactly how long you had been online in a given period because you were billed for the time you were connected. The first computer game I bought—One Must Fall 2097 by Epic Megagames—was downloaded on a Compuserve account (it was paid for online; ecommerce and delivery in 1994!) and cost about $10 over its price in usage charges. Connection was a luxury.

Now, I have no idea how much time I spend online. It would be easier to tally up hours I’m commuting, sleeping, and (sometimes) eating and subtract that from the number of hours in a day, if I wasn’t scared of the results. I just vaguely remember what it was like to count the online hours instead of the offline ones. I’d like to recapture that magic, and it’s a beatiful night outside.

Sting

I’m in the midst of finals, so there is not a lot of time for extra-curricular writing here. Things have still been busy. Most notably, I am now a member of the Web Standards Project, and you can see where my bio will eventually go. A friend in San Francisco told me the other day that whenever I come up in conversation it’s as “Photo Matt,” partly because no one can remember my last name. This was exciting to hear because it puts me a single word away from one-word celebrities such as Sting, Prince, Common, Madonna, Ludacris, Seal, and Poe. I suppose I’m in the less-exclusive two-word celebrity club with the likes of Snoop Dogg, Puff Daddy (P. Diddy?), Big Boi, and Andre 3000. Right. The reason I think it’s all funny is that the filename of my bio is photomatt.html, breaking the convention of every other bio on the WaSP site. I guess Molly forgot my last name.

Once again, sorry for the unexpected break in posting. As my schedule settles things should return back to normal, whatever that may be. Besides, all the action is on WordPress anyway, which is fast-approaching its version 1.2 release. Version 1.0 was a big deal and made a lot of necessary architectual changes that we really needed to move forward, but I think 1.2 is the one that’s going to make waves. As a welcome side-effect of WordPress’ recent surge in popularity, there has been a lot more activity with volunteers sending in patches and working on documentation, both of which are sincerely appreciated. The official chat channel has been busy too, #wordpress on irc.freenode.net. I currently have two bots running in the channel, wpbot and pressbot. Wpbot is based on the interesting Mozbot package, which has great logging features and a few other nicities, but just wasn’t what I was ultimately looking for. What I really wanted was JiBot, and that’s what pressbot is. It was more involved installation than Mozbot—I had to download and compile Python, SQLite, and a number of Python packages—but it has been totally worth it. I have been doing a number of development-related setups lately, especially on Windows, and I can’t wait until I get a free moment to write about them. My productivity and organazation has improved several-fold as a result of a few pieces of well-connected open-source software.

0wn3d

I’m not sure if I’m one of the “six prominent webloggers” Brad mentions in his post Gmail major security flaw, but when I got a mail from him saying that I was guilty of exactly what he described, I thought it would be a good time to change my secret question and password. I guess he was really anxious to get a Gmail account. He could have asked though, I let Adam poke around mine.

My thoughts on Gmail? It’s really well-done in terms of how the interface works. It’s faster than Thunderbird for common tasks and I could see using it full-time. But I wouldn’t even consider it until they provide a good way to import and export everything. Email is the lifeblood of everything I do, and I’ve been burned too many times to trust it to a third party—even if it’s non-evil Google. When I put my address out there in a previous post I was pleasantly surprised to get emails from a number of people I’d never corresponded with. Unfortunately soon after that the spam started coming in. It’s more than I get on my “real” account, but I can’t expect a beta product to compete with a finely-tuned SpamAssassin installation and 22MB bayesian database.

Speaking of passwords, a few months I switched to using 8+ characters of random junk for everything, and different passwords for everything. You can use the random password generator to get a few of your own. Throw in SSH tunneling, a great VPN through my university, and consistent rotation schedule and I’m feeling pretty secure. (Knock on wood.) I just need a fingerprint scanner.

In other news, the place of residence has been spruced up a bit with surround-sound speakers, a cut-glass-hanging-thingy, and some additional lighting. Pictures forthcoming.

Finally, the mosaic thread currently stands at nearly 669 comments, and soon there will be more comments on that post then there are posts on this site. I don’t generally talk about traffic in public because I think it’s bad taste, but the numbers this month have been intimidating. In terms of bandwidth photomatt.net used a few dozen gigabytes last month, mostly in photos. So far this month the usage stands at 305 gigabytes for this domain alone and I’m at a loss for words, except to say it’s nice to know I have that sort of scalability. I think I’ll go back to posting pictures of my cat.

Update: Final usage for April on photomatt.net was 511 gigabytes.

Have We Met?

Having a blast here at SxSW. I’m trying to keep a SxSW blogroll of people I’m meeting but after just a day I’m far, far behind. If we’ve run into each other use this entry to leave a comment with your name, URI, and where we met, if I haven’t already listed you.

The panels today were pretty decent, though I’m sorry I missed Jeff Veen’s panel, which I heard was excellent. Monday is going to have some great presentations. So far there have been many memorable moments, some of which I’m sure I’ll be hearing about from others for a while. I’m going to do a few more pictures and then it’s to bed for me. They put some really good panels early in the morning and I still have to grab some sleep.

Best Postcard Ever

My friend Becca just returned from the Dominican Republic where she taught English at several local schools and an orphanage for a couple of weeks. I’ve read over her notes from the trip and they sound really interesting, I hope she publishes them somewhere. When she came back she brought a “postcard” that was actually a picture she had taken on this gorgeous beach, “behind El Morro en Monti Cristi.”

1/30/04, Hi Matt! - Rebecca

It says:

1/30/04
Hi Matt!
– Rebecca

What I would give to be on that beach right now!

Back In Town

The ride back from Austin earlier tonight was a delight. The stars were gorgeous, I felt like the only person on the road, and the music was excellent. The trip was enjoyable and a much-needed break. On Saturday I also had the pleasure of having lunch with Jacques Distler. His links may be terribly crufty but his markup is impeccable and most importantly he’s a swell guy. Before I knew what happened we had already talked almost two hours, and the conversation could have continued for many more. If two bloggers meet and no one takes a picture it didn’t happen, so I took the oppurtunity to try out the new phone camera and snapped this:

Jacques Distler

Enjoy it, I paid 25 cents to send that to myself. I need a bluetooth dongle.

We discussed, amoung many things, comment spam and crap-flooding. The conversation foreshadowed the next morning when I was drizzled (“flooded” doesn’t seem appropiate) by a few hundred trackbacks. More on that later though. For now I have decided trackback is a security vulnerability disguised as a poorly-implemented cross-blog communication tool perpetuated only by a MT software monoculture. Trackback is dead, long live pingback.

So I’m 20

This is it. Last year my birthday was loud and surprising, this year it was chill. Both have their attraction.

WordPress Birthday logo

Awww thanks. 🙂 Mad props to Craig for the WordPress header (currently in rotation).

While I’m here I’d also like to wish a happy birthday to Dave, who had a birthday a few days ago and didn’t tell anyone. 😉

Return of the Posting

The hiatus is over.

Peace and blessings manifest with every lesson learned
If your knowledge were your wealth then it would be well earned

The holidays could not have been better, a delightful mix of friends and family that I will remember fondly for years to come. Presents, the least important part of the holidays, were notable this year in quality and thoughtfulness. Thank you. Presence, friends I have not seen in some time have been in town, and the new place has been somewhat of a hub. I consider myself lucky and blessed to be surrounded by such great people.

Just as writing is a habit, not writing is a habit. In my quest for relaxation over the past weeks I have developed this bad habit, and now it’s time to break it.

I have been extremely busy as of late. I always say I’m busy, but now more so. I’m doing my best to catch up before school starts, and software helps, but there are still personal notes to write, 614 photos to optimize and upload, countless emails to respond to, clients to work with, and incidentals like eating and sleeping.

Most importantly, I turn 20 in 5 days.

Happy Birthday Sarah

Before it’s too late, I wanted to wish the wonderful Sarah Michele Williams who plays trumpet a happy 18th birthday.

Birthday Wish

On your Birthday,
Stretch for a sunbeam…
Reach for a star,
Go for a beautiful dream…

Pick out some wishes,
no matter how far,
or how hard to reach
they may seem…

Cherish some hopes
that are dear to your heart…

And as a new year comes in view,

Treasure & keep them,
and know from the start,
that this year,
you can make them come true

I hope your birthday was as special as every day deserves to be for you.