Software, Entrepreneurs, and Mental Health

Drunken Blog is running an interview with Wil Shipley, founder of The Omni Group and more recently Delicious Monster. While not exactly ground-breaking, Wil does have some interesting insights into starting software shops, and reasons to develop for Mac OS X. Most interesting to me was the revelation that Wil [STRIKEOUT:suffers from] deals with chronic depression and agorophobia. Huh, I thought, that sounds familiar. I really liked his description of depressive episodes, though:

Depression is a sucky thing to deal with because it doesn’t have much to do with how you’re doing in life. I feel ungrateful every time I get sad, because in general my life really isn’t too hard. I can say to myself, “Look, you’ve proven that you don’t produce enough seratonin, you don’t have to feel guilty for the tricks your brain is playing on you,” but I still feel like a spoiled child.

Yeah, that’s about it — sometimes the psuedo-guilt is almost as bad as the “30 wet blankets”. Almost.

date:2005-07-22 10:32:28
category:geek, my life

That’s Mr. Champion To You!

So Wednesday night the previously unthinkable happened. My volleyball team, the aptly named “One Hit Wonders” won our league championship. That’s right, not only did we go from bottom-of-the-rankings suck to number-two-in-rankings and champions, we did it with class. Not like those bitches we beat (twice, ‘natch) who felt the need to kick sand at us while returning the ball. Very classy.

There were other highlights, course. I managed to hit Stephanie squarely in the ass not once but twice while trying to return a serve. The song Rock Lobster was played during our final game, so of course I did the lobster dance between serves. And Andy nearly went apoplectic during the first game of the night while we were goofing around trying to get our act together. I think his exact quote during time out was “OK, are you guys done? Are you done fucking around?” Yes, sir (giggle, giggle).

Oh, and someone apparently forgot to tell the team we beat for the championship (the sand kickers) that we play in the rec league! So we cheer and high-five after every point, because every point is a miracle in and of itself. Don’t hate us because we’re naturally incompetent and just happened to rise to the occasion of beating your asses. It’s just not lady-like.

date:2005-07-22 10:10:29
category:my life

wpLicense Update

So about that “really, really works” comment — maybe only one “really” was in order. Anyway, wpLicense 0.5.1 is available. This corrects a bug which caused the selected license to mysteriously disappear when you edit other options. Very confusing, as you might imagine. So go, upgrade like the wind!

date:2005-07-21 13:21:49

wpLicense Updated — And it really, really works

wpLicense 0.5 is out. The relatively large increase in version number (up 3/10ths as opposed to my usual 1/10th of a version) reflects the large number of changes as well as the amount of testing that went into this version.

In the bug-fix category:

  • Unbeknownst to me, my web host uses PHP 5 by default, so I happily used PHP 5-specific features such as SimpleXML without knowing it. Unfortunately, lots of people still use PHP 4, so some refactoring was in order. This release supports PHP 4 (> 4.3 for sure, possibly older although I won’t guarantee it).
  • I had also used libcurl in the previous version, which while it existed in PHP 4 wasn’t always turned on. We’re using a little more braindead way of calling the webservice now that should work with non-libcurl-enabled installations of PHP.
  • Finally, we fixed a rather annoying bug that caused Attribution licenses to be issues as 2.0, even though 2.5 is the current version. Feh.

The new “Include license badge” option in wpLicense.

This release also adds a new configuration option: “Include license badge in default footer”. If you use the default WordPress theme (or probably 90% of the other themes out there that call wpfooter(); ), checking this saves you the hassle of manually editting your template. The template functions are still available for manipulating and displaying the license information in other ways, this just seemed like a logical addition to make life easier.

All this combined with some (but not lots, mind you) UI-lovin’ means that anyone using an old version (yes, both of you) should go ahead and upgrade.

date:2005-07-12 10:08:27

Recurring Problems

I wrote a post last December about what I consider the mixed blessing of my work with CC: that while I love what I’m doing, I hate that I do it by myself. Apparently much like sex, working for free culture is best shared with another person or five.

Earlier this year I started working at Old Crown, a local micro-roaster/coffee shop. It’s been cool, but I’m starting to feel like I’ve taken it as far as it will go. I was reading feeds yesterday when I noticed that Jon Hicks mirrored some of my feelings ; that is, a desire to do independent work in a populated environment. He found space, and observes his productivity is up. That definitely fits with my experiences working from the CC San Francisco offices.

So what’s wrong with Old Crown? Nothing, really. But my needs have changed. When I started spending lots of time there with my laptop, it was enough to just see people and eavesdrop on the occasional conversation. But now I want to talk about my work, ideas for software, and how it’s going to change the world. And as kind as Patrick, the Master Roaster, is to listen when he sits down at my table to write up order sheets, courteous nods and “oh, that’s interesting” can only go so far.

The question becomes what I’m going to do about it. The options, after 5 minutes thought:

  • look for an existing office with a desk to rent, cheap
  • look for someone else in a semi-creative-ish industry, and go in together to rent some office space
  • actually work up my idea for a space-for-independent-creative-types business; sort of like the Innovation Center, but with more emphasis on cross-pollination and less emphasis on incubation
  • suck it up
  • up my meds

We’ll see which one actually pans out.

date:2005-07-08 13:10:55
category:my life

I Repeat: Word is Not an HTML Editor

Gay Pride in Fort Wayne has been something of an oxymoron since it’s inception. It’s not bad, but it usually consists of a day of vendors, and occasional dunk tank, and local karaoke “champions” crooning from the “stage”. The vendors are either gay-owned (cool) or gay-pandering (not), and we even get the occasional protestor. Add to the mix the fact the committee has been historically obsessed with scheduling against Chicago Pride or other larger events, and you have an idea why 30 minutes is about all it takes to fully take in our civic, homosexual Pride.

So this year Pride is moving to Headwaters Park East, the largest park in urban Fort Wayne and the site of the other, more established “-fests”: GermanFest, GreekFest, RibFest, etc. The positive side effect (in addition to greater visibility) is the fact we’re no longer scheduling opposite Chicago Pride. So I was interested in finding out more about the wonderful, expanded schedule so I surfed over to the Fort Wayne Pride website.

I was confronted with what can only be described as a crap-pile of images. “Huh, there seems to be a schedule here,” I thought, “maybe I can figure it out.” And then I started noticing inconsistencies: is 12:15 on Saturday “Between the Rooms” or “Lawn Chair Rodeo” ? So I looked at the source, and there it was:

<meta name=Generator content=”Microsoft Word 11”>“

So my general message is:

People! Word isn’t an HTML editor! Ever!

And now a word for the “community” :

We’re fags, we’re supposed to look good — this does not look good! Get it together, people!

In case anyone thinks that I should volunteer to help rather than bitching, there’s a bit of backstory: My friend John was the first webmaster for, and did an amazing job. When he decided he’d had enough infighting and endless meetings, he asked if I’d be interested in taking it over. I was, and told the committee as much. Of course, the contact was a gentleman who I went out with once and never called again, so he wasn’t interested in my assistance. The funny thing is, I couldn’t even remember his name (and can’t now); apparently I’m irresistable (although one wonders if he was so interested, what was wrong with his phone that week, but never mind…).

That is all, I’m done bitching. And I will go to Pride, and I will check the website for the schedule again, because I do want it to succeed.

date:2005-07-08 10:03:17
category:my life

Sandra D.! Say it ain’t So!

SCOTUS Blog has the report ; Sandra Day O’Conner is resigning. So I don’t necessarily agree with her on every case (hmm… Grokster), but she did defend the right of blue-blooded homos everywhere to take it up the ass, so she’s coo’ in my book. More importantly, though, I worry about a moderate, swing-vote being replaced by a far-right conservative. Say it with me: Bork.

date:2005-07-01 10:09:33