WordCamp Phoenix

Header photo credit: Alan Stark

Have I mentioned recently that I work with WordPress rather a lot? Well I do. I really really do.

Not only are pretty much all of my sites powered by WordPress (either .com or .org), but I am also gainfully employed by Automattic, the folks who run WordPress.com and are the publishers of the insanely-popular twin plugins Jetpack and Akismet as well as several other awesome tools like Simplenote and Cloudup.

More rambling below the jump.

Flexibility is NICE

I don’t mean the bendy kinds. I wouldn’t know what those were if they walked up and punched me in the face.

No, I mean the sort which allow you to do what you need to when you need to do it.

You see, my kid, Mal, was the first kid born in AZ in 2013. I would say that is some sort of PII (personally identifiable information) which should never be shared, but there were news articles written about it. He’s never going to be able to use his birthday as a secure method of password retrieval, that’s for sure! But the other down side is that he’s never going to get very good birthday parties. He’s always going to be out of school and the like. And as a guy with a late December birthday, I feel his pain.

More rambling below the jump.

A Day in the Life of an Automattician

As you (probably) know, I am an Automattician . . . I’m a Happiness Engineer for Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com, VaultPress, Akismet, Cloudup, and a whole host of other amazing products.

Over the coming weeks you are probably going to see a bunch of other employees posting a blow-by-blow of what we do throughout our day. We have a really unique setup; we are completely distributed as a company meaning we all work from home for most of the year (at least one week we all get together for a Grand Meetup, and we also travel to conferences, which you’ll see pictures of throughout this blog).

A couple of notes:

  • I have very long days. I generally work 7am to 6pm, but only from Sunday through Wednesday. This was so that I could take time to site-see more when I was traveling through Europe with my family, but I’ve kept up with it because I really like the schedule.
  • If you get through the entire day you’ll read about a pretty massive mistake I made. With some companies a person could get fired for what I did. Not here. The mistake was made, it was corrected, we fixed how the problem COULD get made, and we moved on. Call it a win.
  • I work in our Community department. Everything is fully public facing. Some queues are just questions asked directly by users (termed “staff answers”), some are questions which are curated by Volunteers (who are AMAZING) and passed on to us when necessary (called “modlook”).

Thus begins the day of Sunday, 5 October 2014:

My son, Malcolm, wakes up and starts screaming his fool head off. My brother-in-law’s band had a concert last night so my wife, Kendra, and I didn’t get to bed until pretty late. Though I usually get up with him on days that I work, she was sweet enough to get up with him today. Faith in the institution of marriage: restored.

Alarm goes off and it’s time to get up for work. I brush my teeth and grab my laptop. Work emails are loading by 7:04.

New emails have been read (there aren’t many since I stayed on top of things for once this weekend) and I start going through the older emails/P2s which I flagged from earlier in my weekend for follow up. This takes a bit longer since we’ve got quite a few things going on these days.

Start catching up on Slack backscroll. This also takes a LONG. WHILE.

Finally able to start in on FRs (Feedback Received, any replies to tickets which we’ve already done). I don’t have any tickets in our older legacy system, Kayako, but I have about a dozen tickets in our newer ticket review program, TQR. We always tackle responses as quickly as possible so that even if our users had to wait a little while to get their first response, they won’t have to wait any longer than necessary to get things fully managed.

Malcolm goes down for his nap. Yay!

Wrote out an entire HG Ticket and write as I was about to submit it, I went to get a final piece of information buried in the user Report Card and answered my own question. Was incredibly relieved that I didn’t waste anyone’s time but my own!

Starting in on new tickets. Modlook and Staff Answers are in the 130s and 90s respectively. Even if the queue wasn’t higher, I’d be doing Modlook as the tickets are frequently older (a user will post a question in the forum and we don’t necessarily find it immediately. Plus tickets continue to get modlooked over the weekend, even on Sundays). Oldest tickets today were originally created well over 2 weeks ago, as an example.

My family has a family-wide breakfast every two weeks on a weekend day. No matter what my wife says, these breakfasts were MY IDEA! 😉 We weren’t able to do it yesterday, and so it’s being held today. Breakfast is ready and I now have 3 toddlers trying to press keys on my laptop. Time for a break for some family time and some delicious brunch! 🙂

Foooood commmaaaa. Back to tickets, energy drink in hand. Please see this recipe for super-amazing biscuits n’ gravy casserole which currently has the other half of my BFF necklace.

Restarting 1/2 of the current soundtrack of my life: Tangled. Can’t handle Cars today.

Tangled is over. Kendra is up from her nap (she hasn’t been feeling well), and they are playing games which supposedly do not distract me. The fact that I’m recording this fact here shows how successful they are. Goal of said game seems to involve a competition to see who can be more OCD in the arrangement of toys according to colour, size, and shape. I don’t know which of the two I should be more worried about.

Modlook is down to 100 and 5 days.

SHIT. I apparently took down the entirety of WordPress.com by setting it to Private when I was trying to set one of my test blogs to private. It was private for 48 minutes. Doing my best not to hyperventalate. .com is already back up and the way this occurred has apparently happened to several others, but it was really nice not being one of them.

Posted to WHTA to let everyone know what happened about setting .com to private, just in case there is any fallout. Thus far there doesn’t seem to be any.

Back to work! Needed a break after . . . all of that . . . Tons of support from everyone, and I feel much less like a great big idiot. 🙂

An early finish today. Mostly because a toddler is currently insisting that it is HIS turn to play with the keyboard instead of me.

So there you have it! A day in the life. And because this is a photography blog first and foremost and always, here is a photo of Automatticians not working TOO hard at our most recent Grand Meetup!

GM - Working Hard.Originally published in MightyPrettyPhotos.com.


Back on the Chain Gang

Or Third Shift.  Whatever.

Yes, yes, you heard correctly, I once again have found myself confined to the lightless realms of third shift.  What did I do to earn myself this punishment, you ask?  Nothing bad!  I swear!

In fact, I guess you could say in a way that I asked for it.  I applied to be a Lead for my department.  While I’ve held that position title before at GD, it was on the floor and was just a stepping stone on the road to being a Supervisor, in this department (where there are no actual Supervisors), it actually fills that role.

SO, I once again find myself in a situation wherein I am responsible for the productivity of others and am answering questions, etc.  It’s interesting, that’s for certain.  It is taking me a bit of time to get used to making decisions for others again (as opposed to only having to be answerable to myself, which was nice).

I will also tell you for free that I’m not adjusting as well to third shift again as I usually do.  At first I thought that it was just that I had spent so little time on First and I had been so burned out that I wasn’t truly RESTED, but now I’m concerned that there may be a health issue or something.  I’m actually manning up and facing my White Coat Syndrome and will be going to the doctor tomorrow morning after work to get some tests run so that I can establish what the hell (if anything) is wrong with me.  Wish me luck.

And that’s pretty much all I’ve got.  Sorry it took so long to write and I do not at all promise to write more frequently, since nobody reads this anyway.


Holy first shift, Batman!

Yealp. That’s right. I, against all my better judgement, am on my final week as a light, darkness inhabiting, caffeine swilling, graveyard shift worker. Starting on Sunday I will be changing shifts from effectively Tuesday through Saturday, Late to Early; to Sunday through Thursday, Early to Mid.

This is not something I’m really cut out for generally, but let’s be honest here . . . it’s time. I’ve been on third shift for well over a year now THIS time around (I’ve even done it before), and while me being on this shift has happily not prevented me from advancing (twice now), I still feel like I’m not exactly under the nose of my bosses. I’m also not learning as much as I know I could be if I was in a busier shift.

Plus there’s the whole “no longer sleeping thing.” Yeah, it’s getting ugly. Just today I considered calling in late just to sleep some more, since I didn’t manage to get to sleep until ENTIRELY too late. This would of course have been bad, because we at least TRY to be responsible adults around here. By we of course I mean the Royal “we” because I have naturally gone THAT insane. Naturally.

At this point I’m just rambling, so I’ll say farewell. Wish me luck on my voyage with that acursed Day Star.


And. I. Am. BACK!

So you may have noticed that I was gone.

Oh. No? Not at all? Not even a little bit? Well that’s somewhat disappointing.

Well I’ve been gone for a while. Trust me on this. The reason? Well, the reasons have in fact been oh so many. One of the main ones is that I had found myself a really truly wonderful girlfriend who I enjoyed spending time with so much that I didn’t really feel like blogging all that much. Plus there’s the fact that her parents seemed to be a little on the overtly curious side in the “we’re going to stalk and/or hire a PI to investigate you” kind of way, and so not only did I not feel like blogging, the more observant among you may have noticed that my old blog was taken down.

But I’m back. Alas this is not because I have reached an accord with said lovely lady’s parents, but instead because she and I have parted company. Those of you who run across this blog are probably already aware of this, but it wasn’t exactly my idea and I’m utterly heartbroken by the fact . . . but to be honest at this point I really should be getting used to it. Just time to put up some walls again, up the cynicism levels once more, and spend some time bitching online!

So LOTS has actually changed in the few months since I wrote, and I can’t really get in to all of it. At least not in the first entry. But suffice to say that I’m alive, I’m still gainfully employed, though erratically scheduled, and I greatly look forward to irritating you all with my Idle Ramblings once again, in a whole new and fresh blog environment (yes, yes, for the record I am once again moving venues. I’m shifting away from LiveJournal, which I’ve not made good use of for years, and have just installed a version of WordPress on my server. Possibly a bit dangerous, but I was getting EVER so irritated with LJ, so we just all have to deal, don’t we?).

Hope you are all well and I look forward to hearing from you soon . . .


So sleepy!

So I finished that training that I was working on. Mostly. I actually ended up having to go home early on Friday ill (thanks a lot, sweetie. The girlie passed on a little post-nasal thing she had. What a giver!). I then turned around and went back in at 8:30 on Saturday night and have worked through the weekend doing 11 hours shifts with one hour lunches. Let me tell you, it is rough. Not like work in the hot sun doing labour kind of rough, but still. And of course the fact that the closest thing I’ve had to a break has been going home early with a head cold doesn’t really help.

That said however, it’s all over now! I’m off of work until technically the 26th of June 19th of June (not so much with the math), though I may come in and do a day of work on the 15th. As I mentioned, I’ll be making my bi-annual pilgrimage to our neighbours to the north(east) for to deliver one Jaguar, visit with the Meggan, and pay truly ridiculous amounts of money to huff and puff around the Colorado Renaissance Festival. This year, a variation on the theme is that my good friend Michael Turney will be coming along and we will be dressing up as Archie and Reggie. Colorado will truly never know what hit them. Especially since we won’t be participants and so we will no longer have to PRETEND to be rich and drunk. We’ll just have to pretend to be rich!

That’s just about me for this one. I’m going to post this before I fall over asleep on my keyboard and I just end up posting a long line of bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb’s

Take care of yourselves (and each other),