January, 2006


15
Jan 06

Japan Blogging with iWeb

I’m in Tokyo, slowly adjusting to the time difference and starting to think about how much I’d like a proper coffee.

Anyway, I’m using this trip as a good reason to try out the iWeb stuff from Apple — you can check it out:

http://web.mac.com/johnolilly/iWeb/Japan%20Trip/Home.html


13
Jan 06

Another Run Around the Sun

With credit for the title to Ben Taylor, I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while now — it’s been brewing back there in my brain since about July, if you can believe it. It’s about what an incredibly good year 2005 was for me (and my family, I trust), and a few reflections that I’ve got as I turn 35 (last week).

Now: I’m in a slightly wacky emotional state just now. I sent Kathy & Sam to San Antonio this morning as I got on a plane to Tokyo — so that’s a mixture of emotions that include a little melancholy, anticipation, curiosity, excitement and just a touch of loneliness and uncertainty. (Will it be just like Lost in Translation??) Add to that mix that I just read through an old standby speech of Guy Kawasaki that is both incredibly sappy and pretty close to right on the mark. (You should take 5 minutes and read it! Even if it means not reading all the junk that I’m putting up today.)

Here’s the punch line: 2005 was the best year I’ve ever had. Nikhyl has a little 3 piece lens that he looks at his life through: Family & Friends, Health, and Work. It leaves out the critical College Sports category, but let’s set that one aside for the moment.

On every category life is just great. Family & friends should be obvious — I was very lucky (and supported by Kathy) to spend the first 6 months of the year not working, taking time off. I connected with a whole ton of people that I hadn’t been spending nearly enough time with. Sam came in July and is such a joy that I can’t really find the words to appropriately describe how I feel. Kathy & I are as close as we’ve ever been, I think, in spite of the massive sleep deprivation (because of it?? :-). I learned a lot about how strong & graceful & capable Kathy is in 2005. Stuff that I knew, pretty much, but so clear so many times during the year.

Got to see a lot of our folks (Sam’s grandparents!) and our grandparents and aunts & uncles and brothers and sisters and nephews and nieces during the year, in various pregnancy and eventually Sam-related events. Our folks were all incredible in supporting us and loving Sam — we’re lucky to have such support. Spent a lot of time with Beth’s family, of course — I can’t believe how big Andrew & Katie & Emily are — and how good they are to Sam & how much they love him. Andrew’s soccer games were great fun to go to — I’m excited for the Spring season. Beth and Scott were awesomely supportive as well, during everything. Got to see Dave’s family at Christmas — he and Sue are doing great with Evan & Grace — both awesome kids and also terrific with Sam. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins — it’s just been a year full of very good visits.

On the health side, I figured out how to get my body under control a little bit — lost 40 pounds between December and April — and now weigh a little less than I did in high school. Am absolutely fitter than I’ve ever been and I’m starting to understand more about my body and how what I do affects it. We’ll see how this plane trip to Tokyo treats my back, but it’s better than it has been in a long time. Again, of course, Kathy was critical — first with the whole sugar-momma thing where she worked and I pretty much spent my time working on the yard, going to the gym, and playing Warcraft. She really helped me focus in on getting to where I wanted to get to, even during a time of her life when odd things were happening to her body during the first half of the year (we call them “Sam”).

And work is totally great. I feel like by joining Mozilla I jumped right into the center of the Internet. My job is exciting, challenging, thought-provoking, frustrating, unpredictable, and, basically fun. I do miss Reactivity — working with those folks was a special privilege — I miss seeing them every day. (Well, seeing them like every 10th day or so, which is about how often I was in the office. Man, that was a lot of travel.) I’m advising a few startups, too, and generally doing the sorts of technology startup work and networking that I do. While I just felt tired when I left Reactivity, now I’ve got lots and lots of ideas (some good, some bad) and am excited to think about them.

I think to those three categories, I’ll add a fourth: public life. I was appointed to the Board of Trustees of the Sunnyvale Library in June, for a 4 year (!) term, by the City Council. It’s a small entry into public and community life, but an important one for me, with an impact on something I care a lot about.

But more than that laundry list, here’s the thing — in Guy’s aforementioned speech, he says “Pursue joy, not happiness” — and I’ll tell you that I have more moments of joy these days than ever. The only other time in my life I can really compare it to is about 15 years ago — I was an undergrad at Stanford and in the springtime I’d often get finished with classes (or skip them — sorry Mom) and then wander over to Sunken Diamond with Bryan or Al to watch a baseball game and have a Lemon Slushee. Or even just an inning or two. I remember thinking about how great that was — what a carefree, easy time it was — and how I was lucky to notice and understand what a special time it was while I was still experiencing it. I feel that way now. Lots of moments of joy. Some obvious, some subtle. Some happy, carefree joy, some deep & profound.

Anyway, I warned you that I was in an emotive state. 🙂

I hope we all have a 2006 that is full of joyful moments.


13
Jan 06

My Mac

My Mac crapped out last week — backlight died, which made it a little tricky to use. I was without it for about 6 days while Apple repaired it, but that’s sort of beside the point — during the time it was away I used a PC in the office. And I have to say that it really helped me understand that I really like OS X. I like using it, I like looking at it.

Now, it’s not perfect (window layering model is not good; UI when you’re using multiple large monitors is not good), but it’s a good, powerful, mostly human-centered experience. That’s awesome.

I’m a slightly unusual case in that I use both my OS X machine and my Windows desktop at home every single day — I like going back and forth. I think there are many things that Windows does better. I think that a lot of the innovative stuff comes out first on Windows. I like Quicken on Windows a lot better. I think Windows menuing works better for large & multiple monitors. (Mac UI nerds (I am one, of course) will start yelling at me about Fitt’s Law, but should stop, because it’s bogus and doesn’t hold for screens the size that we have today (or for mouse targets that are over on the other screen of your multiple monitor setup).) Having said that, I think most of the disruptive innovations are happening not on Windows or the Mac, but on the Web.

Another thing that I’m trying to sort out: Apple really understands how people want to use computers & technology, but in funny ways, they don’t really get the Web. (Everyone can start yelling at me about this, too.) .mac is sort of close to the mark. Photocasting is kind of there. But photocasting, while it nominally uses RSS, won’t really work in the browser. As compelling as iLife and .mac are (and they are super compelling), they’re not really in the spirit of the web.

So here’s the thing: I’m not religious about it, but lately I just like using my Mac more. I’m very glad that I have a PC, also, and plan to have the dual setup for good, more or less.


13
Jan 06

Sigh.

I’m at the San Jose Airport, waiting for my flight to Narita — I’ll be in Tokyo all week. Just saw Kathy & Sam onto a different airport, going the opposite direction — to San Antonio, to visit with Kathy’s folks. It was hard to watch them go — it’s only a week, of course, but the first time I’ve been away from either of them when they go to bed or get up in the morning since, well, since July 13th, at least. 🙂

Which brings up another point: Sam is 6 months old today! What a great kid. He’s started doing full-tongue raspberries now, and he cracks us up.

And another: Kathy was incredible this morning — taking care of everything related to getting her & Sam from here to there. I’m a lucky guy, as usual, for countless reasons.

Anyway, I miss them both already.

Lots of posts coming this week, I think — want to write something about 2005, will write a lot about Tokyo, have some iWeb/Apple/tech posting to do, too.

Already looking forward to all of us coming home again.


11
Jan 06

Holy cow. iLife is amazing

Here’s a site that I put together in literally under 10 minutes with Apple’s new iLife software.

Doesn’t do *everything* you want, but is wholly amazing, and looks great, of course. Wonder how extensible is it. Will look into that. Planning to use it to put together a mini-site for my trip to Japan this coming week.

Of course, I’m using Ecto to publish this note to Typepad, and we still like VideoEgg a lot, but this is an amazing step forward.