Things Are Looking Up in ’08

Guess who has a new job!

And in many ways I could say “Guess who has a new life!!” My life right now is so dramatically different than it had been both one and two years ago. Two years ago I was screwing up the courage to pack it all in with regard to my life in Los Angeles and to make back to New York City. My career path [as a computer freelance consultant] was completely stalled, my love-life was nonexistent, and I was generally not a happy person.

One thing I did enjoy: I was blogging a lot, including articles about my political views on the world. Being a freelancer, I was able to create and live by whatever image I wanted. My decision to move back to New York and to try to find a “corporate job” meant, for practical issues, that I would have to prune (one might even say “neuter”) my blog. Why? Because let’s face it: the first thing a (responsible) HR department does is to Google a job applicant. And with my livelihood at stake, I wasn’t about to take the risk of being considered a job candidate who lacked discretion.

For many personal reasons, I didn’t write about the last two years here in New York, nor am I likely to go into it publicly. But I will tell you this: I have seen some of the brightest and some of the darkest hours of my life. The job search was an endless, soul sucking, ego-degrading toil that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. I spent about a year and a half searching for a job. Then when I finally settled on a pay-so-low-it-didn’t-cover-the-mortgage job this last February, it turned into the worst employment experience of my life. Long story short, after they missed paying my second paycheck (and after getting in a shouting match with my evil superior) I walked out, and mystically my Dream Job appeared out of nowhere!

The abbreviated summary: I now work for Accenture, and specifically I work for the Accenture Marketing Sciences division, for the Digital Optimization group which consists mostly of a newly acquired company called “Memetrics”. My job is as an “integration engineer” which is really stimulating and exciting, and I even get to wear my “Statistician’s” hat every now and then!

The other great thing in my life is my boyfriend/partner Bill. This is the first long, solid relationship of my life, and it is incredibly enriching. (That also mean all the spare time I used to spend doing things like… er… blogging has dwindled away to something approaching zero.) I’m going to let that personal part of my life remain private, but I will encourage anyone to visit his website (which he maintains daily, and which I helped build and design) at http://www.scroggiestudio.com/.

Well, that’s about it for the recap. I don’t know how much blogging I’m going to do in the near future. I might write about the website design work I’m going to do for Bill’s website. It uses iWeb and Apple’s MobileMe right now, but I want to maybe integrate WordPress and direct hosting, strategic marketing, etc. Developing his site has really been a wonderful case-study for me in all these things. (And an important one—his livelihood depends on it!)

Apple Leopard and the iPhone… Random Thoughts

Up until a week ago I couldn’t say much about OS X (specifically the new 10.5 Leopard release) or the iPhone (which I broke down and bought two months ago). The reason I couldn’t talk about Leopard was that I’m an ADC (Apple Developer Connection) member and I’ve been play-testing 10.5 for months, and I was bound by a non-disclosure agreement.

Well, Leopard has been released so the NDA doesn’t apply (much). I mention the iPhone because my iPhone thoughts are related to OS X Leopard. Let me explain…
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Facelift

As you may have noticed, this site has gotten a much-needed (interim) face-lift. The old Wulan theme was nice in its simplicity, but it was ultimately broken.

I spend a couple hours this morning browsing through the big ol’ WordPress Theme Viewer to see if I could find something that would serve my purpose, and I’ve got to say I’m amazed at the amount of sloppy work out there! I went through almost 800 themes looking for something that had (a) Clean Design and (b) Complete Functionality.
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Sunday Afternoon Hacking

I was writing a blog post earlier today and I suddenly found myself wishing that I could enhance my WordPress blog to give a word count in my blog entries. A cursory examination of the available plugins revealed a stark lack of any good plugins. (There were a couple peoples’ blogs where they said “I just wrote this plugin” but there wasn’t even a stupid link to download anything.)

So as a bit of a diversion, I wrote my first formal WordPress plugin to add this functionality. (And if you notice either on my main page or the single-entry view page, there’s a Word Count now showing!)

I even went a bit further and explored “internationalization” and figured out how to nationalize the plugin so it could display that “Word Count” label in French or Spanish. (The two languages I know well enough to translate. Maybe I’ll look up my Russian later.) And being the geek that I am, I’ve got to say it was incredible fun spending a few hours on my weekend to toy around and put this together. I love being a geek!

I’ve setup a static software page for my MTW Word Count Plugin.

No Reason Not to try OTA Digital Television

I’ve written in the past about the wonders of (free) OTA (Over-the-air) digital television. It’s an oversimplification to call this HDTV, because there are many digital signals that broadcast specifically non-high-def or “standard definition” digital television.

For a quick refresher about the wonders of digital OTA television (also called ATSC) here are some of the neat features:
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