Thursday, March 31, 2005

The Big News...

I've been putting off posting about this here, because there were a number of people I wanted to tell in person, rather than having them read about significant news like this on my blog. But I've told a bunch of people over the past few days, and I hit the point today at work where the rumormill had gone into overdrive and a number of people I hadn't told came up to me to say that they had heard I was leaving $DAYJOB.

Yes, it's true, after approximately 4 years here I've decided to take a position as a software engineer at Ask Jeeves, working on their newly acquired Bloglines product in Los Gatos, CA.

This is, in no uncertain terms, a huge change for me. I've moving from the financial industry to something far less well defined, from the east coast to the west coast, and from a reasonably large team to a team that (at the time they interviewed me anyway) consists of a grand total of two engineers. Of course by the time I show up on my first day of work (April 25th, for the curious) I'm sure they'll have picked up a few more sets of hands, but it's still small compared to my current team (anywhere from 5 to 50 people, depending on how you count it).

It's important to note that I don't have any problem with my current job, it's interesting and satisfying and there are fantastic people there and I've learned more than I could have ever thought possible, but this is just too good an opportunity, and it's time to move on to other things.

I'm incredibly excited about this whole thing, and terrified at the same time. I'm sure I'll have more news on both topics as this whole process moves forward, but for now, I'll just leave it at that.

If you're one of the people I should have told in person, but that I didn't get around to, I'm sorry, but there are just too many people and I've been a little distracted lately, for obvious reasons ;-)

Friday, March 25, 2005

Portable Fun

So I ran across the new Sony PSP at Best Buy today, and decided to pick one up.

First impression: The hardware rocks, and there are a number of cool games.

The screen on this thing is incredibly impressive, it's just beautiful, and the sound (with headphones anyway) is great, although the built in speaker is a bit sub-par.

As for games, I picked up Lumines, a tetris-esque type thing with beautiful graphics and addictive gameplay and Wipeout Pure, a futuristic racer that really seems to take advantage of the hardware. Both are a lot of fun, and I forsee a lot of wasted time in my future as a result. The games really feel like you're playing a PS2 game on a handheld, and just blows away anything I've seen from any other handheld system. I mean I love the Nintendo games, but technologically speaking it just isn't even close to the same thing, they're just in totally different leagues.

The bundled copy of Spider Man 2 is pretty sweet. The screen works just as well for movies as it does for games, as you'd expect, and I can totally see myself using it for them on long plane rides. I suppose there's a reasonable chance it'll catch on for people with long train rides as well, although I'm having trouble picturing myself buying all that many movies for it. I hope it'll be possible to rent them though, that would be handy.

Now I just need to sucker a friend into picking up another one so we can try out the WiFi networking...

Friday, March 11, 2005


So this week I got a letter from RPI. This was kind of surprising, as I don't usually get letters from RPI (largely because they still think I live at my parents house), but when I opened it up I was happy to see that it was my original institutional promisory note for one of my student loans, which has now been paid in full.

I actually paid this off a couple of weeks ago, on a whim, since I noticed that the actual amount left was down to something like $1000, so I decided to just get it out of the way now rather than stretching the process out over the next year or so.

It's interesting how good it feels to not have that particular loan hanging over my head, and I'm having to exercise some self-restraint to avoid going out and paying off my other student loan.

Ironically, the remaining student loan has a lower interest rate than, for example, my car loan, so it actually makes sense to avoid paying it off as long as possible. That said, I have zero problem having a car loan hanging over my head, as that seems like a fairly normal thing to have, but having 13 grand left on a student loan continues to bother me for some reason.

It's almost as if until I finish paying it off I won't really be done with school or something. It's totally irrational, but it keeps bugging me just the same. Strange.

Tuesday, March 8, 2005

Speaking At OSCON Again

It looks like I'm going to be speaking at OSCON again this year, as I just got the notification that my proposal for a talk on "Backwards Compatibility in Open Source Projects" has been accepted.

No word on my other two proposals, but honestly this is the one I was most interested in talking about, so I'm pretty psyched that it was accepted.

As usual it seems like an interesting cast of characters will be presenting, and I'm already looking forward to the trip. It should be one hell of a good time.

Sunday, March 6, 2005

Fun with Perl6

So I spent a fair amount of time this weekend playing around with Pugs, the recently founded project to build a Perl6 interpreter in Haskell. I've been keeping an eye on it for a while now, a process which is made considerably easier due to the fact that Autrijus, the primary author, is fanatical about keeping his development journal up to date with recent events.

The project seems to be pregressing at an exceptionally rapid pace. People are working on it pretty much 24/7, and I continue to be impressed with the speed at which new features are being added. I submitted new tests for the %hash.kv function on friday and interpolation of arrays in strings on saturday, and in both cases the functionality had been implemented by the next day.

Less than 24 hours turn around time, from test to implementation, that's damn hard to beat.

Now let's see if my weird problem with the interaction between := and the CALLER package gets fixed in the same amount of time ;-)

Wednesday, March 2, 2005

Lucene4c Dev List

Thanks to the help of the ASF Infrastructure team, Lucene4c now has a mailing list in addition to its Subversion repository.

If you're interested in what's going on please feel free to subscribe here. I'm actively recruiting more developers, and I just posted a status update and list of bite sized tasks to the list. Once we get JIRA set up I'll move the todo list there, but for now the mailing list will just have to do.

UPDATE: oh, and for those who were curious about what the status actually is and what tasks are currently out there but that aren't on the list, the archives appear to be working now, so here's a link to the message in question.