WordCamp Philly

Yesterday I had the honor of speaking at WordCamp Philly. What an amazing event in an incredible community.

The whole place was alive and there was so much learning happening around every corner.

My presentation was WordPress for Non-profits: For when your Operations Manager is also your Webmaster. Here are the slides from that presentation:

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Scripting for Linkinus (IRC Client)

At work we use IRC to communicate. It’s an old technology, but it’s really awesome. I’ve come to think of IRC as my home base. It’s the place where I chat with my colleagues across the globe and get to enjoy their company. With distributed work, it’s the best way to feel connected with people.

Because it’s my home base, I’ve always wanted to make it mine. I’ve made a few tweaks here and there, but I realized quickly that the only way to truly customize it is to write a script.

A friend of mine at work loves burritos. Every Friday (I suppose, out of companionship,) we have what’s called Burrito Friday. That means that no matter where you are in the world, you eat a Burrito of some kind. I personally don’t have too many options for Burritos in Philly, so I’ve decided that Burrito Friday is a state of mind. That means that anything that I eat on Friday is a Burrito. My friend hates that.

He hates it so much that I just can’t stop giving him a hard time about it.

What’s the point of giving someone a hard time if you have to do it manually? So I wrote a script1 to do it for me. Now all that I have to do is type /burrito in Linkinus to give him a hard time.

To use this yourself, open up your AppleScript Editor and create a new document with the code below. Save the file as burrito.scpt to /Users/USERNAME/Library/Application Support/Linkinus 2/Scripts

-- --------------------------------------
-- Burrito Friday
-- by Alx Block
-- Version 1.0
-- Description: Automatically insert sentances claming that anything is a Burrito
-- Usage: /burrito
-- Output: [burrito]
-- -------------------------------------

on linkinuscmd()
	set burrito_list to {"Everything is a beautiful Burrito", "My desk is a Burrito", "This pencil right here is a Burrito", "Today is Friday, so that means that your mom is a Burrito", "My MacBook Pro is a Burrito", "Only at Automattic can anything be a Burrito", "I'll admit that my trackpad is a Burrito", "This monitor right here is a Burrito", "The Bagel that I had this morning was a Burrito", "This baby monitor right here is a Burrito", "The salad that I'm eating is a Burrito", "This coffee is a Burrito", "I got you a Burrito", "I'm sorry, but you've never had a real Burrito", "I was eating an egg and all that I could think about was that it's a Burrito", "My kid. A Burrito!", "The sun is out, so it's a Burrito", "Have you ever had a frozen Burrito?", "There's no such thing as a Burrito. Only ZUUUUULL", "Burrito? Where we're going, we don't need Burritos", "My motorcylce is like a fancy Burrito", "I'm wearing a Burrito costume", "You're a real Burrito", "I hear that all of the Northeast is a Burrito", "Have you ever even had a real Burrito?", "This muffin is a Burrito", "Twitter is a Burrito", "Once a Burrito, always a Burrito", "My dog ate my Burrito", "I think IRC is also a Burrito"}
	set the list_count to the count of burrito_list
	set pick to random number from 1 to list_count
	set result to item pick of burrito_list as string
	
	return result
end linkinuscmd

The beautiful thing about this is that it’s super-simple. This is such a basic script, but it allows me to customize my home base in a way that’s meaningful to me. I’m excited to try more things and see what I can come up with next.


  1. The script that I’m using is actually a bit different because it mentions my friend by name. You can simply edit the code to add in the Nick of the person that you want to annoy the pants off of in front of each sentence. 
automattic-logo

One year with Automattic

It’s hard not to be passionate about the work that I do. We’re making the web a better place by giving the world a voice. We’re pioneers in an ever-changing world. It’s a marathon and I’m just so proud to be on the team.

One year ago today I started a new adventure and haven’t looked back. I’m forever changed by the decision to move towards happiness. The truth is that the years working on my own were tough. I had a ton of fun and learned more than I ever thought possible, but there was a tipping point. For the last year of being a business owner, I spent more time running my business than I did doing the actual work. I love doing the work.

Working with Automattic fixes this for me. I feel like I own something; like I make a difference. I get to work as hard as I like to work and I don’t have to worry about how the insurance is going to get paid. At Automattic we’re trusted to be ourselves. We’re trusted to be the best. To be thoughtful, passionate, hard-working, quick on our feet, and to learn all that we can. We’re empowered to do what we think is right. We’re human. We’re making a difference.

I work with some of the most talented people in the world. I’m inspired every day to be better at what I do and I’m completely humbled by the company that I keep.

I’ve found my home. This is my element.

Every day working with WordPress.com users is like opening a present. It’s true that it isn’t work if you love what you do. I get paid to do the hobby that I’m most passionate about and I get to do it in style.

It would be an understatement to say that I’m looking forward to what the future brings. I’m beyond excited about where we’re going and how we’re getting there. I’m ecstatic to be a part of it. Thank you, Automattic, for putting your faith in me and allowing me to put my faith in you. We make a good team. :)

bike

Help name my bike!

I never had the desire to name my motorcycle. Mostly, I think it just felt odd to give a vehicle a name. But now that it has come back to me, my mind has changed. This bike deserves a name. It deserves a great name.

So I turn to you, Internet. Help me name my bike!

This poll will be open for exactly one week. I’ll add suggestions in so that they can be voted on. The winning name takes the cake.

My bike

Alx: 1, Bad Guys: 0

Almost exactly a year ago, my motorcycle was stolen. It was locked up to my stoop. The lock was cut and it was gone.

This happened the day before I embarked on a new life adventure, and I didn’t really have time to feel all of the emotions that I wanted to feel. It was a shock, for sure, but sometimes it’s better to accept your lot than to dwell on it for too long.

In many ways I accepted my fate. I remember standing on the steps, mouth agape, staring at the spot where my bike had been and thinking to myself that there was nothing that I could do. At that moment I knew that I would never see it again. I was wrong.

I called the cops, like any good Philly boy, knowing very well that the dance that we would do involved filing a police report that would make it’s way to a cabinet without a second glance. I didn’t have comprehensive insurance, so the loss was a loss. I wasn’t going to get a payout for it, which meant the money that I had spent was just gone.

About three months after it happened I wished for my bike back. In my mind, the thieves had had enough time with it, and it was time for my bike to come home. Over the year there were many moments where I hoped that it would return, but after a while I was totally numb to it.

On February 6, 2014 a letter showed up in the mail. The letter explained that my bike was found in Deptford, NJ on October 16, 2013 and that I should come and claim it. (What?!)

So I did:

It was a live stop by a New Jersey officer that brought my bike home. They caught the dude and it kind of feels like a miracle.

Recovering a stolen vehicle is a costly endeavor. The amount that I will pay out to restore the bike, plus the cost of the impound is only slightly less than what I paid for it. But instead of buying a new bike for the same amount, I’m getting my bike. The miracle bike. The bike that came home.

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I’ve moved to WordPress.com

So this is my first post on WordPress.com. It feels a little odd to admit that although I’ve been a WordPress user for at least 7 years, I’ve never tried my hand at using WordPress.com.

The move here isn’t surprising to me. I’ve been supporting WordPress.com users for the better part of a year, and have been thinking for a while that I should give it a try. Curiously, it isn’t my proximity to the system that spurred the change, rather, it was because WordPress.com rocks and I felt like I was being left out of the cool kids club.

So this begins the grand experiment to use WordPress.com as a user for the first time. I’m hoping that it really helps me to empathize and connect to our users in a way that I haven’t previously done.

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I yelled at my daughter. . . because she’s two.

It can happen to anyone; the feeling of being overwhelmed with work or technology or responsibility. All of us are prone to it, given the right circumstances. Sometimes it just sneaks up on us without warning and sometimes it builds up over time. Regardless of how you land there, it’s your duty to deal with your emotions in a way that doesn’t hurt those around you.

Last night I yelled at my daughter. I yelled at her because she’s two.

After a long day of staring at a screen I came home to daddy duty. My wife was headed out for the evening and my lot was to feed and bathe and snuggle the kiddos before putting them to bed for the night. This isn’t a rare thing, but for some reason, last night it felt insurmountable. Even the thought of rowdiness gave me stress. Dinner was rough, getting their PJs on was rougher, and bed time was a nightmare. And I lost it. I snapped.

After 2 hours of trying to get the little one to just lay down in bed, I let her have it. I threatened a time out. I walked out of the room. I raised my voice to a totally innocent two-year-old because I was overwhelmed.

Being a parent doesn’t mean that you have to be perfect. Raising your voice happens. Discipline is important. But it’s also important to recognize when you’re at your wits end; if it’s their fault or yours. Last night it was my fault.

I don’t ever plan on being the perfect father. I think that having parents that mess up is an important part of childhood and an important part of becoming a well-rounded adult. I also think that it’s important to be honest with yourself when you do cross the line and appreciate that being overwhelmed happens.

Given the opportunity for a do-over, though, I wouldn’t accept it, because this was an important lesson for me. I’ve recognizing that my wee one didn’t deserve what I dished out. She still loves me (she’s sitting on my lap at the moment playing with my hair and trying to type this for me.) She doesn’t remember my raised voice. She’s as happy as can be.

All of this is to say that it’s important to think about your actions. It’s important to feel their repercussions and to grow yourself in their wake. Try not to yell at your kids for being kids. If it happens, think about why and try and learn from it.