Things Are Looking Up in ’08

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.

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

OS X Leopard has introduced Core Animation, and it may very well be the feature (or the software development theme) that revolutionizes the “embedded” market. The iPhone demonstrates what Windows CE should have been

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

As a bit of a diversion, I wrote my first formal WordPress plugin to add Word Count functionality.

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

If you are either a Mac or a PC user, there is a cute little device for about $150 that will get you started in the world of HDTV.

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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