Surviving Southern California without a car

Americans are notoriously car-obsessed, and Southern California may be the nation’s best demonstration of this. Public transit is woefully lacking, freeways dominate the landscape, and we really do spend an inordinate amount of time discussing how–or how not–to get from one place to another. SNL was pretty accurate. 😉

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Planning for the post that Matt links to

For most of the time that I’ve had my multisite network and the underlying infrastructure that I’ve written about lately, I’ve been overly focused on performance and scalability.

I say “overly focused” because I average about 50 views a day here on ethitter.com, on a good day. I write about exceedingly technical–or exceedingly uninteresting–topics, so that’s no surprise.

It’s also no surprise that my two most-popular posts are both about Automattic: the first announcing my hiring, the second declaring that Matt will have to fire me to be free of me. Interest in our hiring process and company culture far exceeds that which exists for my blathering.

When Matt retweeted the latter post back in January, my heart paused, then skipped into overdrive. Beyond the excitement of Matt recognizing my post, I immediately feared the embarrassment of my site crashing.

As it turns out, I had nothing to worry about. The pageviews were, while meaningful for this humble site, insignificant as far as the infrastructure was concerned. No resource-usage alerts were triggered, nor did my provider inform me that I’d exceeded my plan’s allotments. Between Redis-based object and page caching, nginx microcaching, and a robust CDN, there was really no cause for concern.
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Theoretical husband

In theory, I’m married. I even have a piece of paper stating this. Nonetheless, my marriage is conceptual more than it is realistic. 

Right after we wed–in September 2015–several company obligations forced us apart. Not long thereafter, Chris became involved with Pressable, ultimately being named interim CEO.

As a result, in six months of marriage, my husband and I have been in the same physical space for no more than 25 says, and that’s probably an exaggeration. It’s a miracle I still recognize him.

Yes–I was, effectively, separated before my marriage even began.

The cognitive burden of a minor annoyance

I’m amazed sometimes at how much a seemingly-small disruption in my day can completely distract me, ending almost all chance that I’ll accomplish anything I’d intended to.

This happened recently with an event that forced me to do something I was planning to do anyway, but just hadn’t gotten around to. It shouldn’t have been that big a deal, because it was something I needed to do anyway. Still, an entire afternoon was lost to thinking about and dealing with this one issue.

That I’m a rampant procrastinator certainly didn’t start me off in a good position. I enjoy doing things on my schedule–in, say four to six weeks, or years. 😉

I’ve no doubt that my reaction is also, in some small part, an effect of my career and employment choices. I’ve worked remotely and set my own schedule, in whole or in part, since 2010, allowing me to plan work around life more than I’d otherwise need to plan life around work. I’m grateful that I could, effectively, waste an afternoon addressing this situation, without also risking my job.

So, reluctantly and at long last, I spent fifteen minutes on the phone dealing with something I’ve talked about for nearly a year.

HomeAway’s policies are such a nightmare, I’ll never use the service again

Last month, my team at Automattic held its first meetup, or in-person gathering. We chose Orlando because, for most of the group, it was warmer than where we live. For irrelevant reasons, we booked a HomeAway listing to host us.

The listing we chose was comprised of several buildings, which in total should’ve provided us the number of bedrooms we required for our group. I communicated with the property manager to clarify how many individual bedrooms we needed, and was provided an aerial photo showing which of the buildings we’d have access to. Leading up to the meetup, all seemed to be in order.

When we arrived at the property, however, we learned that a different building would be substituted for one that had been indicated in the aerial diagram. Were the buildings of comparable quality, this would have been fine, as the alternate was no more than 100 feet from the original. Sadly, the buildings were drastically different, at least judging by the photos available on HomeAway.

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Writing again

I’ve long desired to publish regularly on this site, but outside of a company-wide blogging challenge or the occasional post regarding a presentation I’d delivered, I’d never committed to publishing here regularly. For two reasons, that changed in December.

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Focusing with a single song on repeat

When I first heard of Matt’s practice of listening to a single song on repeat in order to focus, I truly thought he was mad. The idea of listening to the same song over and over again seemed like a modern version of Chinese water torture.

Then I tried it.

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Automattic as long-term employer

July will mark the start of my fourth year with Automattic, a milestone I’ve never before crossed in my professional career1. Generally, after about two years, my interest has waned and I’m better off finding a new employer. It’s different with Automattic.

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  1. Contrary to the popular myth, this isn’t uncommon for my generation: “Enough Already About The Job-Hopping Millennials” from 538.