CSS ruby on rails savannah uplaya

Come Work With ME!

We’re hiring! We’ve got a ton of work to do on an awesome new product and I need help!

What am I looking for? Someone who “gets” working in a startup. You’ve got to understand the pressure involved and time required to launch something and the crazy stupid optimism to believe it will succeed (even if it doesn’t). You’ll be smart, creative and willing to do the right thing even if it seems a little daft at the time.

So, here’s what we’re looking for:

And the best part? We’re right in downtown Savannah above Leopold’s Ice Cream and close to everything happening around the heart of Savannah. We’re fun to work with and are working with some amazing technology. If you’re interested, check out the postings and apply (please)!


I Got a C!

Our CEO came in today and wanted to see me in his office. Now, this doesn’t happen all that often, so I was a little surprised. But, it was good news! Since I’ve been at Music Intelligence Solutions, I’ve been referred to as everything from “Lead Engineer”, to “Lead Technical Architect” to, in rare cases, “CTO”, depending on who I or David (the CEO) was talking to.

Thankfully, all of that title confusion is over, as I’m now officially the CTO of the company!\
I never thought I’d be CTO of anything. The thought never entered my mind until a few years ago when AOL’s CTO left and I e-mailed the COO and asked if he would be replaced. I thought to myself, “Hey, I could be CTO. Wait a minute, I really could be CTO.” And that’s where it started. I had a new goal – be good enough at what I do to some day be CTO of the company. At the time, the goal was to be CTO of AOL, but I’m now glad that didn’t happen. I’m the CTO of the right company at the right time, and it feels pretty damned good.

My job isn’t going to change at all. I’m still lots of other things at the moment – sysadmin, developer, manager, project manager, product manager in a couple cases, etc. But, it’s still a big step to be the CTO of any company, especially one with the potential we have at MIS.

Enough celebrating – I have to get back to work!

geekery linux open source savannah

Murray Wilson Is Awesome

My pal Murray Wilson does great things – he and AWOL take kids the system doesn’t want and teaches them to take apart, clean and refurbish computers the system doesn’t want – computers that would otherwise go to the landfill.

They then put linux on them and put them out into the community with families that need them. He’s one my absolute favorite people in Savannah (nay, the world) and I’m proud to know him.

The computers will, of course, end up in the landfill eventually, but the “Goon Squad” gives them easily another 2-5 years of life, and the kids learn useful and marketable skills. It’s a win-win, and an amazing program and Murray and AWOL built from the ground up.

If you can spare it, AWOL can always use some help. Every little bit helps, and every kid they help is one that’s not in the juvenile justice system or out on the street by themselves.

Murray is awesome in the best sense of the word.

Brian Max savannah

Little Boys and Little Dogs

My friend Brad invited us to his awesome Derby Day party – and we had a great time. The boys got to play with his 10 week old puppy, Rocky. As you can see, they loved every minute of it.

Brian gets mauled

Max gets mauled

And here are the rest of the pics of the boys being boys. Enjoy!


Building Whuffie – My Slides from Geekend 2009

Max and I had a great time at Geekend, and I had a blast presenting some thoughts on building reputation systems. It was fun partly because I don’t have all the answers yet and there’s a lot way to go before I actually have a system I’m happy with. But, it was great to hear good questions from the audience and consider new stuff.


We Were on Morning Edition!

We were on Morning Edition today! You can read the transcript or listen to the story on the site. It’s very exciting, and the story’s great too. I think the artist they interviewed has a pretty typical reaction when people first hear about what we do. The comments on the article, too, are fairly typical.\
A lot of people think it’s the “death of art” or “homogenizing the music industry”, what we do. I think that’s silly. There’s so much music out there, and the labels do a horrible job of picking the good stuff. We’re trying to fix the system, not replace the whole thing or remove “art”. We’re trying to bring the music that the labels will never showcase out from the “masses” of mediocre stuff out there. Ours is just one approach, but I think it scales and is less prone to gaming than crowdsourcing or the current label approach of blind hit or miss picks by a very small group of kingmakers. If you really look at how “hits” get made today, it’s pretty disgusting. Art in popular radio is already dead. We’re trying to bring the art back by showcasing the things that should be played, not regurgitating the same old stuff the labels will to be hits with their gigantic marketing budgets.

family savannah

Celebrating the 4th on the 3rd

Brian smiling at the baseball game

I took the end of last week off to hang out with the kids and relax a little. We had a great time going to the beach, playing video games, grilling things, going to the playground(s) and taking the boys to their first minor league baseball game.\
The Savannah Sand Gnats put on a pretty darn good fireworks show. We let the boys stay up impossibly late, filled them up with cherry lime-ade, sprite, french fries and hot dogs and tried to explain the finer points of the national past time (they know the ins and outs of the Star Wars story, but not the art of the sacrifice fly. It’s all my fault).\
There are ~~two~~ three sets over on flickr – at the playground, us at the game, and the fireworks show.\


There’s Still Time to Vote!

Refresh Savannah’s first meeting is in a few weeks, but there’s still time to vote on what I should present on!!\

development savannah

Building a Tribe in Savannah

Since we moved to Savannah, I’ve been trying to find the time to start up a Refresh group here (you know, like RefreshDC). Well, I took a little time out at work today, and here we are: Refresh Savannah!\
It’s very minimalist right now, and I still need to pick a date that will work and a venue, but it’s a start. And a start is good enough for now.\
If you’re a web person (developer, designer, project manager, whatever), you live in or near Savannah and you’re looking for peers to hang out with and learn from… please get involved. It’ll be very informal and should be a lot of fun (and only happens once a month).

daily tedium uplaya

How I Use Evernote

I mentioned on twitter the other day that I love Evernote and use it to keep my daily to-do list and keep track of what I work on. A couple people said I should write a blog post about it. Since I’m just waiting for my Tylenol PM to kick in, I figured… why not.

If you’ve never heard of it, Evernote is a note-taking app that is accessible from anywhere. They have desktop applications for OS X, Windows and the iPhone and a really nice web interface too. I clip things I’m reading to it all the time to either save for later or because I know I’m going to want to send it to people and might not be able to find it again. I put quotes in it I want to save, put URLs to things, and even jot notes down on the iPhone if I come up with an idea while I’m out. It’s fine for that, but I didn’t become a heavy user of it until I started keeping track of my to-do list. I’d tried implementing GTD (Getting Things Done) several times before, but it never stuck, until now.

Evernote has the idea of notebooks and notes. I have notebooks called Stuff – for everything not work-related that’s not a to-do list, Journal – for all my daily to-do lists, and Work – for work stuff I want to remember.

Here’s how I use it for keeping track of my daily to-do list:

  • I have the desktop application open all the time. It’s never closed unless I’m rebooting, so my to-do list is only ever a couple keystrokes away.
  • Either at night before I leave work, or first thing in the morning, I create a new note in my Journal notebook with the date as the title.
  • Then, I just start creating a list of to-do items I want to get done that day. They’re usually always work-related, but sometimes they’re not (lthis week, one was: “Call doctor about the whole not-being-able-to-breathe thing” – and I did… check!).
  • Then, as I go through the day, I’ll either just check them off if they’re simple, or add details about exactly what I did and approximately how long it took. The details are the important thing, since I can now remember the steps I went through to do something and have much better recall when I need them again.

This sounds really anal, I know, but it’s really helped me concentrate on my productivity, and how much time I spend doing things other than the stuff I really need to get done that day. I also remember more of what I do during the day just by writing it down.\
The to-do items in Evernote are still a little buggy. For example, until recently, you could only add them in the desktop application and you couldn’t mark them complete in the web if iPhone apps. I just checked and you can’t mark them done in the web interface… oh well, nothing’s perfect (and it’s still in beta).

There are some great web apps out there that are all about to-do lists, and I’ve tried most of them (I got the farthest with Remember The Milk). I think Evernote is sticking because I use it for more than just the to-do list, and I can get to it wherever I am.