This sentence constitutes the only acknowledgment in this post of how long it's been been since I posted last. I've been here all along, in read-only mode; I have missed no post here from a friend in the last two years, though I rarely reply. (The same cannot be said of Facebook or Twitter. If you've said something there, assume I missed it unless I replied or it was sent directly to me.)
A quick update on a few fronts:
- I'm working at Amazon now, in the same broad department as my good friend darthparadox.
Condolences and Amazon horror-stories are unnecessary; I'm conflicted enough about the choice, but I'm currently convinced that the part of the company I'm at (broadly, the part of the company that builds tools the rest of the company uses) is as minimally dysfunctional as one can get in my field. Concerns that I am hastening the death of the independent retail bookstore will be met with the pragmatic response that my previous two employers were (1) a major enabler of junk-mail, and (2) Microsoft. I don't exactly get moral high-ground in my line of work.
(Which is to say, I have enough self-doubt without well-meaning people adding to it.)
On the positive side, I am happier there than I've been in my working situation in years - possibly the happiest I've been since the project I actually cared about at MS was reorged out of existence - which is manifesting itself as a huge gain in energy to use outside of work on my personal projects.
- The biggest of those outside projects is Mural, a next-generation MU* codebase. If you've seen me lately, you've probably heard me talking about this - I've been working on the design for years, but in recent months I've found a small enough codeable increment to actually build the thing.
Mural can currently take connections from users, and connect on their behalf to existing MU* servers, storing a history of what it received and displaying it on demand to them. So, it can buffer people on unstable connections by using its own more-stable connection to remain online for them, and let them request what they missed when they lose their connection to the server. I'll be deploying the server to co-located hosting as soon as I finish ironing out some crashing bugs and handling for exceptional situations. If you're interested in testing it in this increment, let me know.
- I've also started a small company with three of my close friends (one so close that I married her!), so we can group together to design and sell games. We'll hopefully have something to show eventually, but for now we simply exist as a business entity. It's been a tremendous amount of work to get started - but I hope we'll be able to use it to get more of our creations out into the world. And from there, who knows? I'd like to be able to create paths for more of my friends who create things to support themselves with their creations, and maybe this can be a first step for that.
- Next weekend, I'll be taking a ridiculous road trip, participating in the third Game of my life, as my team attends the World Henchmen Organization job fair in a 23-foot Dodge Sprinter that's been customized as a touring van for musicians. (I cannot make this up.) It's going to be a surreal experience; The Game is the eXtreme Sport of puzzling, with 36-plus hour events, huge distances, and high stress. I'm looking forward to going through it with the biggest group of friends I've ever taken along, and we vie for the best place we can manage in a race where it's a respectable feat just to finish. I'm really, really excited.
- Finally (and showing off just how out-of-date this blog has been), I turned thirty at the end of 2010, in a celebration with a huge crowd of my friends. It was exhausting and fun and wonderful, and the kitchen in my house still has a label on the stove proudly declaring the room as ThirtyCon Hospitality. I feel like if I'm living the sort of life where I can say that, I'm doing things more or less right for me.