Irrational Exuberance

You may have heard that Apple released a new version of the iPod this week. How could you avoid it? They made the cover of Newsweek, in an election year, the week before the Democratic National Convention. Does anyone else question the relative importance of the iPod in the current news environment? I mean, I love my iPod and there’s no way I’d give it up, but cover of Newsweek? Probably not.

Irrational exuberance over new iPod @ Apple Store

I was walking from my hotel to work Wednesday and passed San Francisco’s Apple Store. The UPS truck was unloading a stack of boxes at the back door. Store emloyees, clad in their Bondi-blue t-shirts, were rabidly tearing into a box. A woman pulled out what I surmise to be the new iPod box (also Bondi blue), held it in the air, jumping up and down, practically giggling.

date:2004-07-23 11:57:39
category:culture, geek, my life

My Week in SF

Today is my last day in the office here at CC. Tomorrow I fly to Portland where I’ll be attending OSCON next week. Garrett will be meeting me in Portland, which will be nice.

My week in San Francisco has been amazing. The CC team is everything you want in a group of co-workers: interesting, smart people, engaged in what they’re doing, but not too up tight to laugh at themselves. It’s been great getting to know them personally, and I feel even more excited about working for CC now than I did when I arrived, if that’s possible.

As you may have heard, CC is now sharing office space with OSAF, the folks developing Chandler. I attended the Chandler BOF session at PyCon this spring, and heard Mitch Kapor talk about what they envision Chandler being and doing. Actually, more impressive than hearing Mitch talk at the BOF was watching him listen to the gathered developers. He was more than willing to listen to suggestions, criticisms and complaints about Chandler and OSAF and seemed genuinely interested in partnering with the open source and Python communities. The rest of his team is just as good, and it was fun getting to meet them.

I’ll be posting more about my future projects, along with some pictures of our amazing office space, once I wrap up my visit.

date:2004-07-23 11:47:19
category:my life

1,095 down

Friday night Garrett and I celebrated our 3rd anniversary. We’ve now been together, “Nathan and Garrett”, “Garrett and Nathan”, “Us”, for 1,095 days. I guess I wanted to take a moment to just acknowledge what the past three years has been like for me.

From the start my relationship with Garrett has been different from past relationships. I didn’t go into it thinking of a long term committment: he was getting ready to move to Mississippi for a year-long internship, and I had just started a new job. I thought I had the world on a string: I had a job I liked, a red sports car, and a fabulous apartment in downtown Fort Wayne. I thought it would be a summer fling, something to occupy my attention until school started again. What I didn’t know it in the beginning is that Garrett could be the missing piece in that equation. Actually, Garrett was the missing piece in my life: the stuff I thought made me “successful” was, well, just stuff.

I should have known it would be different with Garrett: the first time he spent the night, I told him “you know, I’ve always wanted to be a writer.” I had never confessed that to anyone before. I had never expressed doubts that my “calling”, my passion, was programming and computing. I wish I could say that my ability to confess that to Garrett signaled a new dawn of honesty and intimacy for me, but that came much later.

More than anything else, the thing that strikes me about Garrett is his unwavering belief in me and us. Over the past year, as I’ve struggled with the questions of “what should I do with my life?” and “why am I here, in this place?” he’s been a continual support. He’s encouraged me to seek help where I needed it, expressed confidence in my ability when I doubted it, and somehow always known what I need to hear. When I get bogged down with a need to find the “right” answer to a question, Garrett’s there to remind me that there may not be a “right” answer.

Has our relationship been without trial or confrontation? Of course not. But I’m so grateful that we’ve both valued what we have enough to sit down, talk it out, work it out. And today, I feel like Garrett is my true soul-mate, my partner in crime, my co-conspirator in life. We’re not there yet, but the intimacy we’re building, the language of shared experience, is worth anything I’ve had to sacrifice. And what I’ve found out about myself, well, that’s been worth the pain, soul-searching and introspection. Thank you, Garrett; I love you.

date:2004-07-18 21:06:41
category:my life

Physically Meeting? That’s So 1998

I’m in San Francisco for the next week. I arrived around noon, and spent the afternoon wandering around the city. It’s been about 18 months since I was here last, but it always seems like I fall back into the rythym of the city. True, I’m still anxious about new places and a little agoraphobic when it comes to places I’m unfamiliar with, but in San Francisco the anxiety and nervousness is a familiar, almost comforting part off the background noise.

I’m here to meet the Creative Commons staff, and get plugged in to the organization. It’s a little daunting, actually. The entire interview, negotiation and contract process was done via e-mail, and prior to July 1 I had only spoken to Mike once, when I started contracting for ccTag. I’m a little intimidated, but mostly I’m incredibly excited. So far this job has been a great experience, and it’ll be cool to finally put faces with the names and voices I’ve been interacting with in conference calls over the past couple of weeks.

I’m here in San Francisco through Saturday, at which point I’m heading up to Portland for a little mini-vacation. Of course, what would vacation be without work? 😉 I’ll be attending OSCON along with two days of tutorials. It’s interesting how life’s events are so interconnected: two years ago I attended OSCON in San Diego. I was just over a year into my job at Canterbury, had found open source religion, but wasn’t really plugged into the ideas. I heard Lessig speak, and that marked the start of my fascination with Creative Commons. Now, two years later, I’m spending a week at the CC offices before heading to OSCON again.

date:2004-07-18 20:45:44
category:my life

Two Weeks In, No Looking Back

Yesterday marked the two week point since I started working semi-full-time at Creative Commons. I went into the job with lots of trepidation: what would working from home be like, would I be able to stay focused, and, finally, would doing CC stuff remain as exciting for me once it was actually a job. I’m happy to report that “so far, so good.”

Work has always been a social experience for me: I’m happiest when I can combine work with friends and when I can bounce ideas off of peers. Discussion breeds understanding for me, so working from home was a little scary in that respect. Considering that I’ve never actually met any of them, the CC crew has been amazingly welcoming, available and great to work with.

Which leads me to my final thought regarding the new job: does it seem a little strange to anyone else that I, someone who in the past has allowed inertia to rule my life and only made decisions after obsessing about the “absolute right” choice, sought out, negotiated and accepted a job, all via e-mail. When I mentioned the possibility of the CC job to my brother-in-law, he asked when I’d be flying out for an interview. Meeting in person? Please, that’s so 20th century.

date:2004-07-16 06:39:49
category:my life

ccTag updated

I’ve updated ccTag, the graphical interface for tagging audio files with Creative Commons licenses. Ironically, the updates are all command-line: 0.5.5 includes a new tool, ccl, which takes an audio file and verifies the license embedded in it. Try it out, and look for the feature to get a graphical interface in the next release.

date:2004-07-13 20:33:04
category:development, projects

ccV 1.5.0 Available

If anyone wants to hack on the validator source code, I’ve just released a new distribution, reflecting the changes now in place at The primary improvement in this release is support for RDF specified with a <link> tag. The release is available here.

date:2004-07-12 14:36:54

The Road to 1.0

Now that I’m actually getting paid to work on mozCC, we’re starting to discuss what’s necessary to call it 1.0. Generally, I think that there’s three things a 1.0 should represent (I say “should”, not “does”; we’re talking best practice here):

  • stability: a 1.0 shouldn’t crash, cause corruption or otherwise seriously break things
  • polish: a 1.0 should look complete, and look like the UI has actually received some lovin’
  • longevity: more on that in a moment.

I think we’re well on the way to mozCC 1.0. The 0.8.1 release addressed issues with both stability and polish, and began to address longevity.

So what do I mean by longevity? I don’t mean to imply that a 1.0 is a stopping point for development, or that every feature has to be fleshed out and complete to be a successful 1.0. What I mean is that 1.0 should be a platform for users to trust and depend on. The recent release of 0.8.0 is indication that we’re not quite there with mozCC. For 0.8.0, I unfortunately reorganized the code in a way that I viewed as necessary, but which required me to recommend that users first uninstall previous versions before upgrading. This sort of extraneous requirement exposes more of the underlying mechanics than users should need to know about. They shouldn’t care that the code was reorganized: they should only need to care that performance and functionality improved. A few days after releasing 0.8.1, I have a few bug reports, but none relating to the upgrade process. This leads me to believe that we’re making progress on the longevity front.

So what needs to happen before 1.0? Here’s the short list:

* support the remaining methods of embedding RDF in HTML, as specified here * make the details UI Mac OS X friendly; it currently doesn’t look quite like it belongs * make sure linked RDF is working correctly; Wikipedia is the most visible test case for this * resolve outstanding lock-up issues; these are few and far between, but I do have two reported with 0.8.1

At this point, there’s only one thing we’re pushing out to post-1.0, and that’s support for RDF embedded in SVG, and viewed with the Adobe viewer (we already support RDF+SVG with native Mozilla SVG support).

If you have any suggestions, or think I missed something, “open a bug” or contact me.

date:2004-07-12 13:54:04
category:mozCC Now Available

I’m pleased to announce that ccValidator now has a new home. is the new home for the Creative Commons RDF validator. will continue to host development efforts, and I’ll continue to post announcements regarding ccV improvements and service here. Thanks to the Creative Commons for hosting this service going forward.

date:2004-07-12 13:35:43