Officially A City Guy

After nine wonderful years in the Silicon Valley, I recently moved 40 miles north to San Francisco. It’s a move I’ve thought about for many years, but a combination of circumstances finally made it reality.    (JII)

Some initial impressions:    (JIJ)

  • It’s foggy all the time. I’m enough of a Bay Area veteran to know to bring a jacket when visiting San Francisco in the summer, but I had seen enough glorious sunny summer days in the city — even in the Richmond District, where I now live — to decide that reports on the fog were greatly exaggerated. I was wrong. If two weeks is a valid sample size, then yes, it does get mighty foggy here. Makes days like today when the sky clears all the more wonderful.    (JIK)
  • Muni does not constitute legitimate public transportation. It takes an hour for me to get from my apartment in the Outer Richmond across town to SBC Park via Muni. CalTrain from Menlo Park to the ballpark also takes an hour, so there’s literally no gain there. San Francisco badly needs some form of public transportation with more comprehensive coverage than BART, but that doesn’t stop at every freakin’ block like Muni.    (JIL)
  • Of course, part of the city’s charm is sharing a bus ride with its scintillating characters. The other night, a crazy fellow sat across from me and started talking to himself. Usually, this is a sign to keep your eyes averted, which is what I did. Nevertheless, he somehow managed to engage me in a one-sided conversation where he explained that everything he had feared in life had come true, and it didn’t turn out as badly as he thought it would. You go, crazy guy!    (JIM)
  • I can see Sutro Tower from my apartment and thus get great television reception. Well, except for KNTV, the local NBC affiliate, which is based in San Jose. I don’t even get a flicker. I won’t recount the politics that led to KNTV acquiring the NBC affiliation, but I think it’s an absolute travesty that I can’t get a signal in San Francisco. The only way to get this broadcast station is via a paid service — cable or satellite.    (JIN)
  • My neighborhood is replete with tiny delis and markets of every ethnicity imaginable. Makes for great ambling and outstanding eating. I am going to have to befriend a Russian local to help me navigate some of these places.    (JIO)

It’ll take a few months before I fully acclimate to my surroundings, but sitting on my balcony on a day like this, gazing at the Golden Gate Bridge and the city skyline, I can’t help but be giddy about the move.    (JIP)

FLOSS Usability Sprint, Feb 18-20

Blue Oxen Associates and the good folks at Aspiration are organizing a usability sprint for open source software. The sprint will be held at Jeff Shults‘s fantastic new facility in San Francisco, February 18-20. Those who should apply:    (HTW)

  • Developers who want to improve the usability of their Open Source projects.    (HTX)
  • Usability practitioners who want to help improve the usability of Open Source software.    (HTY)

I got the idea from a breakout session at the Advocacy Developer’s Convergence last June. A few months later, I accidentally ran into Zack Rosen on the CalTrain, and our conversation pumped me up about the idea. The next step was to find a partner in this endeavour, and Aspiration was the natural choice.    (HTZ)

This event is going to be very exciting. It will be the first gathering of developers, usability practitioners, and users devoted to improving the usability of Open Source software. It’s going to be high-energy and productive, as all Aspiration workshops are. And, it’s going to have a real and immediate impact on the quality of several applications.    (HU0)

Most importantly (from Blue Oxen‘s point of view), it will showcase outstanding collaborative processes and tools, both face-to-face and online. As always with Blue Oxen projects, the goal is for this kind of event to be replicable by anyone, and the expectation is that this sprint will be the first of many.    (HU1)

Go to the web site if you’re interested in participating. Contact me if you’re interested in sponsoring the event or if you have questions or thoughts.    (HU2)