Off travelling again, 2016 edition

The Automattic Grand Meetup starts tomorrow so I’m in Cork Airport waiting for my flight to London.

The weird thing about timezones means I leave here in the morning and get to Vancouver in the morning. And it’s still the same day. That also means I need to stay awake so much longer. 

“Today” is going to be a long day. Zzzz.

Ten Years at Automattic

Working

I still remember the day in 2005 when Matt asked me to come work for him. I still remember the exact spot I was standing where I took that call. It was only a couple of metres from where I sit typing this now.

Ten years, time has flown. I work for an absolutely amazing company with great people. It’s hard to believe there’s well over three hundred people there now. Remember when you needed an invite? It’s a far cry from WordPress.com today.

I wish I could provide an insightful comment on the challenges and rewards of working remotely but it’s late and I just wanted to get this post out there to mark the day. If you want to experience the remote work lifestyle for yourself, come work with us!

Hold your breath

Life here in Colorado at 9,600ft is much the same as at sea level except for one major difference. The air is noticeably thinner at this altitude and takes some getting used to.

Thankfully we’re not here to train for the Olympics or do anything strenuous like that. Lying in bed is difficult enough! I tried reading last night and became breathless just because I was looking down at my book. Rolling on my side helped, but it’s scary when you can’t catch your breath. It feels like someone holding a bag over my head.

There’s an oxygen bar in a local town, and cans of oxygen can be purchased at the local store. Hopefully no more frights.

No previews of what we’re working on right now, but you’ll see the fruits of our labour soon enough!

IMG_3682

For photos see the Automattic Group on Flickr and/or my Colorado Set.

PS. Check out the WordPress MU plugin contest winners. Well done to everyone involved. 🙂

Gravatar enabled WordCamp Badges

Andy has the very exciting news that Gravatar icons will be printed on attendee’s WordCamp San Francisco badges this year!

gravatar badge

On supporting websites, Gravatars have become a de-facto identity for comment threads and discussions so to carry through the identity to the conference floor is just a logical conclusion.

There is one caveat. Gravatars can now be up to 512×512 pixels. The bigger they are, the better they’ll print. If your Gravatar is a measly 32×32 pixels it’s going to look like a dirty smudge next to the shiny badges of the big boys. Andy has created a handy form for checking if your image is the right size. If not, please upload a new Gravatar before August 14th!

I won’t be at WordCamp this year but after seeing the line up of speakers I’m looking forward to seeing the blog coverage afterwards.

PS. Andy has a new post showing how to create those badges with the help of a PDF library.

WordPress Stickers and Badges

WordPress Stickers and Badges

This was a nice surprise. While enjoying a lovely meal in the Castle Hotel in Blarney a courier rang me with a package. I wasn’t expecting anything but luckily he was close by and I met him in front of the local Garda station. Brimming with excitement I ripped open the package sending stickers and badges flying everywhere. Some landed in my burger, a few badges in my wife’s quiche and the baby grabbed a sticker or two before they fell on the ground.

No, I’m joking, but I did get a jiffy bag with a nice portrait of (most of) Automattic in Arizona and quite a few badges and stickers.

Before you ask, I’m not sending anyone any. I’ve already promised stickers to one person who’s been waiting a few months, and John probably thinks he’ll get his badges and stickers this year but I wouldn’t hold my breath if I was him. Sorry!
On the other hand, if I meet you on the street, I may have a supply of badges and stickers in my camera bag so don’t be afraid to ask. I will of course have badges and stickers to give out at the Doneraile photowalk next month. If you’re around the area, feel free to join us exploring and photographing Doneraile Park!

Will Prologue bring the Twitters back?

I bumped into Tom Raftery in Cork Airport on my way to Arizona. As luck would have it, we were both on the same flight to London, although he was going to Munich for a conference.
Unfortunately we weren’t sitting near each other on the plane but in the airport he said he spends more time in Twitter than reading blogs. That came as a surprise to me, but I’m sure it’s happening to many other busy people too.

That’s one reason I’m excited about Prologue, the new Twitter-like theme for WordPress. Automattic is already using it internally as a private discussion tool and for a group of disparate people spread all over the globe it’s a really useful tool to find out at a glance what each of us is up to.

Tom lives and breathes social media all day long. I’ll have to ping him on Twitter to read this and get some feedback from him!

I’m already thinking it might be an easy way to introduce blogging, social media and networking and Twitter to some of my non-blogging friends who slave away in offices all day long. Set up a private blog on WordPress.com, activate the Prologue Theme and invite them all on as contributors. They probably use RSS aware browsers too so keeping up to date on what’s happening should be a simple task.

Prologue is a perfect fit for WordPress MU too. You’ve already got many users who probably chat on your support forums. Let’s get our thinking caps on and create some sort of group blogs so people can converse right within the blogging environment!

Interested? Download the theme and play with it. It’s GPLed. Also, keep an eye on Joseph and Matt who will be updating the theme.

Finally, Matt describes Prologue really well:

Prologue was designed for something different—easily setting up and sharing a dialogue within a fixed group. It puts aside the standard “behind the scenes” method of blogging and makes the act of posting part of the experience. It creates a kind of archived and searchable conversation, like an IM window that’s archived, taggable, and accessible from any web browser.