Startup Weekend

So I signed up for Startup Weekend in Seattle next month.  I had tried to sign up for the November event but I procrastinated and it ended up being sold out. I have to say, I’m really excited about it!  I am a little nervous though – I’ve met some local startup programmers, the type of guys that I imagine will be at this event, and they were just out-of-this-world smart. I consider myself intelligent, and I have extensive knowledge in many areas, but these guys are ridiculously smart with regard to building large scalable dynamic Web 2.0-type websites quickly using RoR, Django or similar.

It’s going to be interesting to see where I “fit in” – I’ve always considered myself a programmer, but I may be more valuable to my team in other areas if there are 1 or 2 really top-notch framework developers on my team (and if that’s what we end up coding in). I’m good with CodeIgniter, but that seems to be unpopular with the Seattle startup community (though very popular elsewhere) so we’ll see.

Anyway, I think it’s going to be a great experience and I’m looking forward to being immersed in a sea of smart geeks for a weekend working on neat things!

Consulting and startups

After my dad passed away, I was very fortunate to be able to take some time off and figure out what’s important to me and how I want to move forward with my life.  During this period, I moved back to Seattle from San Diego, re-established very close ties to my family, and evaluated what I wanted to do with my time.

Lately, I’ve been getting up to speed on the latest techniques and technologies.  For example, I had worked with WordPress before writing backend plugins and hacking things  up as needed, but I knew it was important that I learn how to do things the right way using filters and actions. I’ve also spent quite a bit of time learning JavaScript/Ajax, jQuery and CSS. Those technologies really started to blossom when I was getting less hands-on as a COO-type, and I feel like it was very important for me to be up-to-speed on them.

I’m learning to love rapid deployment cycle.  I’ve always been an old-school guy, writing code in vi over an SSH session (which I still do of course!). But I like using Komodo to develop code locally, especially with MVC frameworks!  I use both SVN and Git to manage projects which allows me to develop on my MacBookPro remotely, my home Windows machine, or the unix command line on my servers sometimes.  And especially love using branches to fold updates into my main trunks – truly handy for updating things like WordPress and CodeIgniter.

I’m doing all of these things because I find myself wanting to get back into consulting – it’s what I love and it’s what I’m good at. It took some time away from it for me to realize it, but isn’t that how things always seem to work?

And I’ve got my eye on the startup community here in Seattle. I won’t lie – I absolutely love being around REALLY smartest people. I love the energy and excitment coming from the local startups here, and I’m curious to see where I fit in.

I’m in the process of developing a consulting website, and I’ll certainly be promoting it when it’s presentable.

Facebook and Twitter “bookmarks”

There is one feature that I wish both Facebook and Twitter would implement, and that’s some sort of “bookmark” that is accessible across all devices.  I can’t tell you how many times you’re reading both services on your desktop, and then after a period of time you login on a mobile device (phone, tablet, laptop) and you only want to see where you left off on the desktop, or visa versa.

It’s trivially easy to implement a button that would record the current position in your Facebook or Twitter feed, which would allow you to pick up at that point on another device at a later point so you don’t have to scroll back through to find where you left off.

With the THOUSANDS of engineers at Facebook, you’d think someone would be able to figure this out.  What are they doing over there?!

Learning the Genesis framework

I’ve worked with the backend of WordPress before, writing plugins and such but often times just “hacking the guts” and forcing WordPress to do what I want, instead of doing it the “right” way, which is what I’m trying to do now.  But now I’m focused on how to do things like creating custom page templates instead of modifying existing templates, load external CSS properly, etc.

And I’ve never been much of a front end guy (i.e. UI/UX, graphics, layout, etc) so I never really bothered to learn CSS – I’ve still always done things in HTML3 with tables and <font> settings which, to be honest with you, is embarrassing.  Actually, I could read CSS but I didn’t have much experience in implementing it myself.  However, in learning JavaScript and jQuery, I’m obviously forced to get up-to-speed rather quickly on CSS.

So really this project is about learning CSS, learning the right way to do things in WordPress, and learning the Genesis framework – all quite a bit to handle at once.  I’m not sure if it’s easier to know how to do things in WordPress and learning how to do them in Genesis, or if it’s best to just learn how to do it in Genesis and not understand how it’s done (or if it’s even possible) in WordPress.

Frankly, it’s pretty easy though.. I want to implement a feature – I have an idea what I need to do, a quick Google search points me in the right direction and it turns out to be trivially simple!

This is the start of a new day

I’ve been wanting to start a personal blog since forever, and I just could never get the motivation to start.  Well, today’s the day!

One of the things that I stressed about was, what am I going to write?  What do I have to say?  Why should anyone even care?  Should I focus on one topic or theme?  I have friends who write specifically about things (the food they eat, the tech industry, etc) and I could never come up with just one thing I wanted to focus on, so this blog is going to jump around a lot.  I’ll cover some photography, thoughts on politics and the economy, the tech industry, maybe some hardware/software reviews, working out (which I plan to start again soon, and document!), thoughts on starting to consult again, getting more involved in the startup scene, potentially developing my own startup, and discussing Seattle, San Diego, and points beyond.  Whew!

So hopefully someone will be interested in reading about this stuff, but even if they don’t, I will still enjoy the clarity of putting my thoughts down.