Thanks, Six Apart

What it boils down to is that over the years, time and time again, I’ve gotten incredibly friendly and personal service from the crew at Six Apart. I can’t think of a better way to build and maintain customer loyalty than that.

As might have been implied by my last post detailing an evening’s work tweaking templates and installing plugins, I’ve decided to stay with [Movable Type][1] for my weblog. There are a few reasons for this, but it boils down primarily to two things: familiarity and loyalty.

[1]: http://www.sixapart.com/movabletype/ “Movable Type”

This isn’t at all a slight against [WordPress][2] (which I was actively poking at), [Expression Engine][3], or any other weblogging system, for that matter. I’m actually quite impressed with WordPress, and if I were starting a project from the ground up, I’d definitely include it in the list of strong contenders to run the back end. For this site, though, I decided that it was better to stick with what I knew and spend some time tweaking things than to jump ship entirely.

[2]: http://www.wordpress.org/ “WordPress”
[3]: http://www.pmachine.com/expressionengine/ “Expression Engine”

Right now I have a little over three years worth of experience with Movable Type (I switched over to MT from a similar but far simpler package called [NewsPro][4] on [Dec. 21, 2001][5]). While I certainly wouldn’t rate myself terribly high in the pantheon of expert MT users out there, after this much time fiddling and tweaking, I don’t think I’m any slouch, either. While I’m sure I _could_ learn the ins and outs of a new system easily enough, in this case I’d rather use and build upon the knowledge I have rather than starting over from scratch.

[4]: http://www.elektrik-sheep.com/newspro/ “NewsPro”
[5]: http://www.michaelhanscom.com/eclecticism/2001/12/new_blog_softwa.html “Eclecticism: New blog software – MovableType”

Besides, in the time I’ve been using MT, the software itself has worked quite well for me. My battles over the past weeks have been with the comment spammers and their abuse of the limited resources of my server, not MT. Moving to another system might have worked temporarily, but it would only be a matter of time (and likely not very much time, at that) before the attacks started hitting that system — and I’m still not convinced that a PHP solution is the best choice for my webserver. Better for me to make a few concessions (disabling comments after 30 days, for instance) than put my server through the effort of serving up an entirely dynamically-generated website.

There’s one more big reason why I wanted to stay with MT, though — and that’s [Six Apart][6].

[6]: http://www.sixapart.com/ “Six Apart”

As I mentioned above, I started using MT back in its version 1.something days, back when there was no Six Apart, just [Ben][7] and [Mena][8] in their apartment. Back then, I was one of many people occasionally popping up on the [Movable Type Support Forums][9], and as often as not, it would be either Ben or Mena personally answering the pleas for help when one stumbling block or another was found. It’s things like that that add a more personal touch to software — and one of the reasons I’m fond of shareware programs like [NetNewsWire][10], [ecto][11], or many other programs where the developers are still personally involved with their user base — there’s the feeling of a real, breathing person behind the software, rather than a faceless corporation.

[7]: http://ben.stupidfool.org/ “Stupidfool.org”
[8]: http://www.sixapart.com/about/corner/ “Mena’s Corner”
[9]: http://www.movabletype.org/support/ “movabletype.org: Community Forum”
[10]: http://ranchero.com/netnewswire/ “Ranchero Software: NetNewsWire”
[11]: http://ecto.kung-foo.tv/ “ecto blog”

Obviously, as Six Apart has grown, Ben and Mena aren’t always as personally involved with their user base as they used to be. However, in my experience, Six Apart has yet to lose that personal, “real person” feeling, and that’s in no small part due to the excellent people they’ve been hiring, many of whom have been loyal users of MT for longer than I have.

When I [got Slashdotted][12] after news of my departure from Microsoft broke across the ‘net, I was using Six Apart’s [TypePad][13] service. As it turns out, I had the unenviable position of being their first Slashdotting, and those next few days became something of an experience (for both myself and Six Apart, I believe) in how to handle such an event. I’d already spent much of the day waging a losing battle with my inbox as comments, TrackBack pings, and e-mail missives deluged me, when suddenly iChat popped up with a friendly hello from Mena herself. I was a bit taken aback — it’s not every day I get an IM from the President of a software company, after all — but again, it’s things like that that impress me. Rather than assigning my case to one of the tech support crew, she and I spent the next few minutes working out ways for me to tweak the code on my pages to ease the load on the TypePad servers.

[12]: http://www.michaelhanscom.com/eclecticism/2003/10/yikes_1.html “Eclecticism: Yikes!”
[13]: http://www.typepad.com/ “TypePad”

A few weeks ago, I realized that due to my own absentmindedness, I’d accidentally paid for a year of TypePad that I wasn’t going to be using, as I’d moved back onto my own server. It was a little frustrating, but I had noone to blame but myself, and said as much when I [grumbled about it here][14]. Imagine my surprise, then, when I got an e-mail from [Brad Choate][15], who’d come across my post, pointed it out to someone at Six Apart, and had made arrangements with Brenna to refund me that yearly fee. I hadn’t asked for this, and there was absolutely no reason for Six Apart to do this for me — but they decided that it would be a nice thing to do.

[14]: http://www.michaelhanscom.com/eclecticism/2005/01/i_hate_it_when.html “Eclecticism: I hate it when I’m stupid”
[15]: http://bradchoate.com/ “Brad Choate”

Then, just a few days ago, [Anil Dash][16] noticed that with my battles against the spammers I’d started looking at WordPress, and he sent me a friendly little note asking if there was anything they could do to help me with my MT installation. I let him know that my limitations weren’t with MT, but with my webserver (and was barely able to keep from mentioning how nice it would be to find an Xserve PowerMac Mac mini on my doorstep one day — it wouldn’t have been at all serious, but I don’t know if Anil stops by my page often enough to catch my sense of humor), and thanked him for his note. Again, this is the kind of thing that impresses me — sure, on the one hand, he’s “just another blogger”, but he’s also the Vice President of the [Six Apart Professional Network][17].

[16]: http://www.dashes.com/anil/ “Anil Dash”
[17]: http://www.sixapart.com/pronet/ “Six Apart Professional Network”

What it boils down to is that over the years, time and time again, I’ve gotten incredibly friendly and personal service from the crew at Six Apart. I can’t think of a better way to build and maintain customer loyalty than that.

So, to Ben, Mena, Brad, Brenna, Anil, and all the rest of the crew at Six Apart — thanks, folks. Keep on rockin’. :)

rel=“nofollow” : Massive weblog anti-spam initiative

Six Apart has announced in co-operation with Google, Yahoo, MSN Search and other blog vendors a massive joint anti-spam initiative based on the HTML link type rel=’nofollow’.

Wow. [Straight from Jay Allen][1]:

[1]: http://www.jayallen.org/comment_spam/2005/01/massive_weblog_antispam_initiative_relnofollow “MT-Blacklist/Comment Spam Clearinghouse: Massive weblog anti-spam initiative: rel=’nofollow'”

> [Six Apart][2] has [announced][3] in co-operation with [Google][4], [Yahoo][5], [MSN Search][6] and other blog vendors a **massive** joint anti-spam initiative based on the HTML link type `rel=”nofollow”`.
>
> The initiative is based upon the idea of taking away the value of user-submitted links in determining search rankings. By placing `rel=”nofollow”` into the hyperlink tags of user-submitted feedback, search engines will ignore those links for the purposes of ranking (e.g. PageRank) and will not follow them when spidering a site.
>
> […]
>
> It is important to note that while the links will no longer count for PageRank (and other search engines’ algorithms), the content of user-submitted data will still be indexed along with the rest of the contents of the page. Forget all of those silly ideas of hiding your comments from the GoogleBot. Heck, the comments in most blogs are more interesting that the posts themselves. Why would you want to do that to the web?
>
> Now, the astute will point out that because links in comments/TrackBacks are ignored by the search bots, the PageRank of bloggers all around the blooog-o-sphere will suffer because hundreds of thousands of comments linking back to their own sites will no longer count in the rankings. And that is most likely true. But that inflated PageRank, which was a problem created by the search engines themselves, is the rotting flesh that the maggots sought out in the first place. If you ask me, I say fair trade.
>
> In the end, of course, this isn’t the end of weblog spam. But because it completely takes away the incentive for the type of spamming we’re seeing today in the weblog world, you will probably see steady decline as many spammers find greener pastures elsewhere. That decline combined with better tools should help to make this a non-issue in the future. Every little step counts, some count more than others, and history will be the judge of all.

[2]: http://www.sixapart.com/ “Six Apart”
[3]: http://www.sixapart.com/log/2005/01/support_for_nof.shtml “Support for nofollow”
[4]: http://www.google.com/googleblog/2005/01/preventing-comment-spam.html “Preventing comment spam”
[5]: http://www.ysearchblog.com/archives/000069.html “A Defense Against Comment Spam”
[6]: http://blogs.msdn.com/msnsearch/archive/2005/01/18/nofollow_tags.aspx “msnsearch’s WebLog: Working Together Against Blog Spam”

Very cool. Also very similar to a [technique I was using][7] a couple years back, though that was geared to blocking off areas of the site to ignore rather than affecting individual links. Either way, though, it’s a big step forward. I’m especially heartened to see the list of competing companies and weblogging systems that are participating in this.

[7]: http://www.michaelhanscom.com/eclecticism/2004/08/untrusted_conte.html “Untrusted content, nofollow, etc.”

If only I had a bit more under my belt

As much as I enjoy being something of a ‘jack-of-all-trades’ in my computer experience — lots of experience across a wide range of fields — the downside is a lack of comprehensive knowledge in nearly any field.

Anil’s post about [moving from New York to the Bay area][1] for [Six Apart][2] prompted me to go take a curious look at the [Six Apart jobs listings][3].

[1]: http://www.dashes.com/anil/2004/05/19/moving_forward “Moving Forward”
[2]: http://www.sixapart.com/ “Six Apart”
[3]: http://www.sixapart.com/jobs/ “Jobs at Six Apart”

As much as I enjoy being something of a “jack-of-all-trades” in my computer experience — lots of experience across a wide range of fields — the downside is a lack of comprehensive knowledge in nearly any field. It’s a shame, too, because I think I’m about 80% qualified for a job at Six Apart.

> **Web Designer/Developer**
>
> **Terms:** Salaried Employee with benefits (Medical, Vision, Dental and Vacation)
> **Hours:** Full Time
> **Onsite:** Yes, required. (San Mateo, CA)
> **Reports to:** Lead Designer
>
> **Description:**
> Six Apart (http://www.sixapart.com/), the company behind the Movable Type and TypePad weblogging systems/services, is growing and we’re looking for a Web Designer/Developer with a combination of strong HTML and CSS abilities and graphic design skills. You will be asked to design and implement elements into existing web applications and websites while maintaining existing UI branding.
>
> The ideal candidate will be hardworking, with a willingness to learn and understands the importance of user experience and brand consistency.
>
> An online portfolio of work is required for consideration.

Whoops, there’s one problem — I don’t exactly have an online portfolio. Only two of my current four stylesheets are mine (and one is really _no_ stylesheet), and my only other “live” design work is the remnants of an old design on my [DJ Wüdi propaganda page][4] and a circa-1995 frames-based site for [Gig’s Music Theatre][5] left online as a memorial.

[4]: http://www.djwudi.com/ “djwudi.com”
[5]: http://www.michaelhanscom.com/gigs/ “Gig’s Music Theatre”

> **What You’ll Be Doing:**
>
> * Design and implement elements into existing web applications and websites while maintaining existing UI branding
> * Work with other members of the Six Apart team to develop solutions to a variety of design-related projects
> * Work with the Six Apart team to help evolve Six Apart’s weblogging products based on user experience and market demands

I think I’m good on all of those. I don’t have any “official” design experience, really, but it’s something I’ve tinkered with from time to time in everything from my websites to a few custom [FileMaker Pro][6] databases at my old print shop in Anchorage to redesigning an internal Xerox/Microsoft website for the MSCopy printshop (which, unfortunately, had its plug pulled by the Powers That Be when they decided to move to a .NET based solution rather than a Java based solution), and I’ve generally received good remarks on how things end up being put together.

[6]: http://www.filemaker.com/ “FileMaker”

> **Requirements:**
>
> * Strong knowledge of basic design principles: page layout, typography, color theory as it applies to the web

Two out of three I think I’m okay on: page layout (dating back to my days as Layout Editor for my High School yearbook) and typography (again, no real training, but I think I’ve got a decent feel for it — though at the same time, I’m sure I could learn a lot). Color theory, though…as is evidenced by my last few site designs, [to paraphrase Henry Ford][7], I’ll do any color you like, so long as it’s grey. ;)

[7]: http://www.hfmgv.org/exhibits/showroom/1908/model.t.html “The Model T”

> * Expert-level experience in coding HTML and CSS is required

Hmm. I’d rate myself as extremely good, possibly even approaching expert with my HTML skills. CSS, though, I’m still very much learning, and it would be foolish for me to try to pass myself off as an expert.

> * Mastery and understanding of Web standards a requirement
> * Proven design skills for developing web interfaces with a focus on user experience

The first one, I can pretty confidently say I’m solid on. The design skills…as I mentioned above, I’m untrained, but have generally received compliments.

> * Thorough knowledge of Photoshop, Illustrator, Powerpoint

I’ve been dabbling in [Photoshop][8] for years, but that’s it. [Illustrator][9] I can muddle my way through simple stuff, but bezier curves have always confused me. [PowerPoint][10] I had to fight with when I was working at MSCopy, and was never very fond of it. With all three, though, I’m pretty confident that I could dramatically increase my skill level if I was using them on a regular basis — I just wouldn’t be coming in with the highest level of expertise.

[8]: http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshop/main.html “Adobe Photoshop”
[9]: http://www.adobe.com/products/illustrator/ “Adobe Illustrator”
[10]: http://office.microsoft.com/home/office.aspx?assetid=FX01085797 “PowerPoint 2003 Home Page”

> * Excellent organizational and communication skills, works well with a team
> * Independent problem solving skills; flexibility to meet tight deadlines
> * The ideal candidate will possess excellent attention to detail and a positive attitude and strong interpersonal skills

I have _no_ doubts about my abilities here. Over a decade of customer service in high-volume, quick-turnaround print shops requires all of those points, and I’ve always gotten consistently good remarks during my personnel reviews. At least there’s something I can be confident about! ;)

> **Desired Skills:**
>
> * Experience in JavaScript and DHTML a plus
> * Knowledge of Flash is a plus
> * Working knowledge of CVS a plus
> * Familiarity with weblogs a plus

Ouch. Of those four, the only one I can rightfully claim is the last one. The first three — sorry, but those are just _not_ in my skill set. As with my comments above regarding Photoshop, Illustrator, and PowerPoint, I’m fairly confident that given the opportunity, I could come up to speed fairly quickly, but I’d definitely be coming in on the ground level, if that.

> **Contact Information:**
>
> Please apply with cover letter (plain text) and résumé to jobs@sixapart.com.
>
> Please include a resume and link to online portfolio and/or recent work. If providing list of sites that you have worked on, you must include an explanation about your role on that project. Online portfolios are preferred.
>
> Please also include salary requirements.

Much as I’d love to apply, I’m afraid that my limitations — which I try to be aware of and realistic about, without exaggerating them to the point of talking myself out of good opportunities — are enough of a hindrance that I’d easily fall by the wayside to other, more experienced applicants.

A shame, too. While I was also swept up in the recent licensing controversy, I’ve been using either [MovableType][11] or [TypePad][12] for two and a half years now (since [Dec. 21st, 2003][13], in fact), have no intentions of leaving TypePad anytime soon, and have generally liked what I’ve seen of the folks at Six Apart. Heck, they even put up with me triggering TypePad’s first Slashdotting! From everything I’ve seen, the chance to work with the Six Apart crew could be quite enjoyable, certainly a lot more so than my current job, and quite possibly well worth uprooting myself and moving down the West Coast a bit to the Bay area.

[11]: http://www.movabletype.org/ “Movable Type”
[12]: http://www.typepad.com/ “TypePad”
[13]: http://www.michaelhanscom.com/eclecticism/2001/12/new_blog_softwa.html “New blog software – MovableType”

Ah, well. For now, I suppose I’ll just keep tinkering around, and see if I can’t increase the sphere of my “jack-of-all-trades” knowledge to include some more of the skills listed above that I’m lacking. Maybe they’ll still be hiring in a year or so…

TypePad IDs are TypeKey IDs!

Apparently, anyone who uses TypePad to run their weblog auto-magically has a TypeKey login. Has this information been made public yet?

Has this information been made public yet?

[Mark Pilgrim][1]’s [b-links][2] [pointed to][3] [this post][4] that uses [Six Apart][5]’s new [TypeKey][6] comment registration system. Even before reading the post itself, I noticed the “sign in” link for TypeKey, and since I’m [curious about how it is going to function][7], I figured I’d see if I could set up an account.

[1]: http://diveintomark.org/ “dive into mark”
[2]: http://diveintomark.org/archives/blinks/ “dive into mark b-links”
[3]: http://diveintomark.org/archives/blinks/2004/04/#b3667 “dive into mark b-links: movable type 3.0b1 first thoughts”
[4]: http://idly.org/2004/04/21/mt_30b1_first_thoughts “idly.org: MT 3.0b1 First Thoughts”
[5]: http://www.sixapart.com/ “Six Apart”
[6]: https://www.typekey.com/ “TypeKey”
[7]: http://www.michaelhanscom.com/eclecticism/2004/03/adding_to_the_t.html “Adding to the TypeKey fray”

I hit the sign in link, and then went to the [registration page][8]. When I put in my usual login name, though, I was told that that ID was already in use. Since I hadn’t signed up for TypeKey previously, this came as something as a surprise to me.

[8]: https://www.typekey.com/t/typekey/register “Register”

Suddenly curious, I went back to the sign in page and tried logging in using my [TypePad][9] login — and what do you know, it worked! Nifty — apparently, anyone who uses TypePad to run their weblog auto-magically has a TypeKey login.

[9]: https://www.typepad.com/ “TypePad”

(Moments later…) Aha — apparently I wasn’t the first person to discover this: [Michel Vuijlsteke][10] pointed this out [in the comment thread][11]. Damn, and here I thought I was getting a scoop….

[10]: http://blog.zog.org/ “Michel Vuijlsteke’s weblog”
[11]: http://idly.org/2004/04/21/mt_30b1_first_thoughts#comment-2024 “Apparently everyone on TypePad…”

(A few more moments later…) Argh — [David Ely beat me to it too][12]. ;)

[12]: http://www.davextreme.com/davextreme/2004/04/typekey_is_live.html “TypeKey is Live for TypePad Users”

One downside I’m seeing right away: when I leave a TypeKey-authenticated comment, my name shows as “djwudi” rather than as “Michael Hanscom”, and I can’t seem to find a way to change that. Hmmmm….

So now the question becomes, when do TypePad users get to start playing with TypeKey on our weblogs?

TypePad gets PCMag Editor's Choice

Congratulations to Six Apart for TypePad’s getting an Editor’s Choice nod from PC Mag in their roundup of blogging tools.

pcm_logo_sm_pceditor.gifCongratulations to [Six Apart][1] for [TypePad][2]’s getting an Editor’s Choice nod from PC Mag in their [roundup of blogging tools][3]. A double-whammy, too, as MovableType is the only standalone (non-hosted) weblog tool reviewed in the round up, and gets five stars.

[1]: http://www.sixapart.com/ “Six Apart”

[2]: http://www.typepad.com/ “TypePad”

[3]: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,4149,1403731,00.asp “Blog Tools”

(via [Everything TypePad!][4])

[4]: http://www.typepad.com/resources/2003/12/editors_choice.html “Editor’s Choice”

Fifteen minutes of fame

Another major followup post, answering questions about my experiences over the past couple days — Slashdotting and all!

#1 and #2 on Blogdex!Wow. The past day has been absolutely incredible — naïve as it may seem, I really didn’t expect all of this response to come from my little adventure.

While I had to give up on linking back to every site that linked to my post simply because there were too many of them to keep track of, some of the biggest so far have been MetaFilter, The Register, and Slashdot. Crazy. I’ve also had interviews today with both MSNBC (ironic, no?) and the Seattle P-I — I’ll post links to those articles when they become available.

Seattle PI Front Page, 10/30/03Update: The article in the Seattle P-I is now online (and it’s on the front page of the print edition — yikes!).

Update 2: The MSNBC article is also online.

Following up on some of the many comments that have been left on my site and others where this has been mentioned:

Yes — I made a mistake

This has been pointed out many times, sometimes more politely than others. My posting of a photo taken at the Microsoft campus was (most likely) a breach of contract. The only reason I qualify that with “most likely” is that, due to my particular employment situation (a temp worker contracted to a vendor who had an account at Microsoft), I never went through any Microsoft-specific orientation or “rules and regulations” session, so I can’t say for certain that there is a “no cameras” clause as a condition of working at or for Microsoft.

No cameras?

Now, even without knowing about a “no cameras” clause, common sense does come into play here. Had I been foolish enough to take pictures inside any of Microsoft’s buildings, of the buildings themselves, of the offices of any of the employees, or anything similar, than I would fully expect to be terminated. As I mentioned in my Of blogging and unemployment post, I thought that the picture was taken in such a way that it would not cause any issues, revealing only an unmarked truck with some computers, and a small section of loading dock that could be nearly any loading dock on any building across America.

In fact, it may very well be that the picture itself is not what caused Microsoft to decide that I was no longer welcome on their campus. Again, as I mentioned in the ‘Of blogging and unemployment’ post, it appears that it was the combination of the picture with the information about what building I was at when I took the picture that prompted them to make the decision that they did.

NDAs (Non-Disclosure Agreements)

Many people have posited that my ultimate downfall was a breach of an NDA. This may or may not be the case. Again, because of the circumstances of my position at Microsoft, I never signed a Microsoft-specific NDA — however, this does not mean that I was not bound by an NDA. I would not be at all surprised if there were some form of NDA clause as part of the contract between Microsoft and their vendors. Now, I’m not sure if my post, the picture, or the combination of the two would constitute a breach of any NDA clause that I may have been bound to. I didn’t think so when I made the post, however given recent events, that may very well have been where I was wrong.

Who’s to blame?

In the end — me. I really don’t blame Microsoft for their actions. By my best guess, they saw me as breaking the rules — whether those rules were a “no cameras” clause, an NDA, or something entirely different — and decided that rather than give me a second chance and run the risk of me doing something similar in the future, it would be better to just cut me loose before I could do any more damage.

I can (and would) swear up and down that I would never divulge any internal Microsoft information. Heck, during my tenure at the printshop, I saw a lot of information that would have gotten me fired faster than this did if I’d been so foolish as to publish it. As “evil” as Microsoft may be popularly perceived, I don’t think it’s any secret that they have many incredibly intelligent people working for them, who come up with some truly astounding ideas. I’ve seen advertising campaigns in their preplanning stages weeks before they hit the press, I’ve seen internal documentation on programs that are still in development, and I’ve seen ideas and technologies that I would love to have available on my Mac at home. None of those have ever been mentioned here in my weblog, and even now, this is the most I intend to say about them.

However — while I may not have seen my post as violating Microsoft’s security standards, someone there did. Because of that, they may feel that it’s not worth the risk of continuing to allow me access to proprietary information that I could, in theory, leak to the world.

I may not like the way that they handled this. While I didn’t plan for my post to generate the amount of attention that it’s received, it has, and now Microsoft is facing a certain amount of bad press because of that. It may have been far better for them (on a PR level) to reprimand me and have me take the post down. However, I cannot fault them for making the decision that they did, however much I wish that that they had made a different decision.

I goofed. I regret it, but the damage is done. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. ;)

Future employment

I’ve seen a lot of comments suggesting that I apply to Apple — even some stating that Apple should just give me a job. As amusing as this idea is, I have to say that even I find it entirely unrealistic.

First off, as some have pointed out, my post could be seen as indicating that I have a propensity for disclosing internal company information. That’s not likely to put me very high on the list of prospective candidates for any business, let alone one run as tightly as Apple.

More importantly, though, is the simple fact that as my resumé shows, I’m woefully under-qualified for many computer-based positions. I don’t have a college degree. I don’t have any sort of computer certification. Aside from the past eight months, I haven’t even held a position that was primarily computer based. Instead, I’ve spent ten years working in the quick-print industry, running high-end digital copiers.

This isn’t to say that I’m a computer illiterate, of course. I’ve been a fairly typical “computer geek” for most of my life. I have experience with a wide range of systems, starting with CP/M on an Osborne 1, a few different flavors of *nix, DOS and Windows based PCs, and my primary focus, Apple Macintosh computers. I like learning about how all of the bits and pieces work, and how they work together. I’ve been fascinated with HTML for years — my first website went up in 1995, and I’ve been “blogging” in one form or another since 1998 or 1999, though I only have archives dating back to November of 2000 — and while I may not be much of a designer, if I may toot my own horn for just a moment, I think that my HTML code is damn good. I’ve spent a little time mucking around with Perl, Java, and Javascript, not enough to be a programmer (by any stretch of the imagination), but enough that I can take a look at the code and at least get a general feel for what it’s doing.

All of this, though, is self-taught. And self-taught doesn’t really get you jack, for the most part, especially when it doesn’t show on your resumé. My biggest regret with all of this is that, as my position for the past eight months has been working in a prepress environment, getting digital files print ready, I was finally getting some resumé experience that could show that I really did know something about computers. Now, however, I’ve lost that position, and I’ll just have to hope that if I’m lucky, those eight months might be enough for someone to give me a chance again at some point.

In the end, it all comes down to hitting the streets, throwing my resumé around town, and seeing what comes up — and hoping that when an interviewer googles my name, all this brouhaha doesn’t scare them off!

Rent (or “Wow — you all rock.”)

While I’m sure after reading the article at The Register that many people will find this hard to believe, I originally only mentioned financial matters because I had had enough people inquire that it was easier to do it in a single post than e-mail everyone. I’ve never expected donations in the past, and I wasn’t expecting donations this time.

Quite honestly, I’m floored.

An incredible number of people have tossed a few dollars my way, and I really don’t know how to thank you all. It’s enough to ensure that my rent for the month is taken care of without having to hit my emergency stash, and just a little over (which will go for good cheap eats — like Top Ramen, the bachelor’s/college student’s/first-time-apartment-dweller’s food of choice!). Many, many thanks, karma points, and mojo out to all of you. You rock.

Surviving Slashdotting (or, “Commercial time!”)

Lastly, but definitely not least, I’ve had quite a few people inquire about the weblog itself — specifically, who hosts it, and how it’s managed to stand up to the abuse of a Slashdotting as well as it has.

My site is hosted by TypePad, from the same good people that produce MovableType. I used MovableType for quite a few years on a personal server running out of my apartment (thank goodness I’m not using that setup now — my poor lil’ G3 webserver would be in puddles on the floor by now!), moved to TypePad when I got the invitation to be part of their public beta test — and have stuck with it since.

As I’m a confessed HTML geek, I find TypePad’s pro level perfect for me. They take care of all the niggling little details of server management, and I still have full control over all the HTML code produced by the system. I can be as picky (ahem…anal) as I want about the code that my site produces, and I do what I can to ensure that the pages are as clean as possible — minimal graphics, standards compliant code that’s easy to read if someone should dive into the source, CSS for presentation, and all the rest of the current buzzword goodies.

I can’t recommend TypePad enough — or MovableType, if you prefer to handle the server end of things yourself. I’m also very grateful to them for handling my Slashdotting (their first, apparently!) with such aplomb. As far as I know, there were very few glitches over the course of the day.

Conclusion

So what have I learned from all of this? Well, firstly, and most importantly — keep my big fat mouth shut! ;)

Some people have made comments along the lines of, “this is why I blog anonymously.” I have to say, that I don’t honestly think that that’s necessarily a perfect solution. Given the well-known power of Google, it’s very easy for me to believe that many anonymous blogs are — or at least could be — far less anonymous than their authors might believe. A comment here, a phrase there, a certain choice of words, and suddenly, someone’s put the pieces together (“They said that their birthday was on or around this date, they got together with this group of friends here, they took a trip to Disneyland here…”) and they are suddenly “outed”.

I made the conscious choice a few months back not to blog anonymously. Prompted by a post by Anil Dash, I decided that given the All-Seeing Eye of Google, I would rather do what I could to “own” my own name. I stopped using my prior online pseudonym of ‘djwudi’, began using my given name of Michael Hanscom whenever leaving comments on sites, and registered the www.michaelhanscom.com domain name. To me, the ability to have some amount of control in ensuring that information that is connected to my name is actually connected to me is worth the risk of situations like what I just went through.

Basically, it all boils down to making sure that you know just what your employer would or would not be comfortable with you mentioning on your weblog — and if there’s any doubt, don’t mention it. I didn’t, and it got me canned. You shouldn’t let the same thing happen to you.

Thanks much for all the attention, comments, and food for thought over the past few days. It’s been a bit overwhelming, but one hell of a ride.

Ben and Mena on CNN

Congratulations to Ben and Mena (the mad geniuses behind MovableType and TypePad) on their CNN appearance! Very cool.

Congratulations to [Ben][1] and [Mena][2] (the mad geniuses behind [MovableType][3] and [TypePad][4]) on their [CNN appearance][5]! Very cool.

[1]: http://btrott.typepad.com/typepad/2003/10/watch_me_look_s.html “Ben’s Blog: Watch me look stiff and angry!”

[2]: http://mena.typepad.com/ “Not a Dollarshort”

[3]: http://www.movabletype.org/ “MovableType”

[4]: http://www.typepad.com/ “TypePad”

[5]: http://www.sixapart.com/log/2003/10/appearance_on_h.shtml “Appearance on Headline News”

The point to all this? No point at all, really. Just kind of cool knowing that I’ve been doing my small part to help the Trotts take over the world almost since the beginning. Not quite from the very beginning, but pretty durn close.

On October 2, 2001, Ben and Mena Trott [gave an interview][1] regarding their newly announced weblogging program, [MovableType][2].

[1]: http://writetheweb.com/Members/gilest/old/115 “Introducing Movable Type”

[2]: http://www.movabletype.org/ “MovableType”

On October 8, 2001, MovableType v1.00 was [released to the public][3].

[3]: http://www.movabletype.org/docs/mtchanges.html#1.00%20(2001.10.08) “MT v1.00”

On December 21, 2001, I [started using MovableType][4] for my weblog. This would have been [v1.31][5] at the time.

[4]: http://www.djwudi.com/longletter/archives/2001/12/21/new_blog_software_movabletype.php “New blog software – MovableType”

[5]: http://www.movabletype.org/docs/mtchanges.html#1.31%20(2001.12.13) “MT v1.31”

On April 23, 2003, TypePad was [announced][6] and the [TypePad site went live][7] with some teaser info on the new service.

[6]: http://www.sixapart.com/log/2003/04/six_apart_miles.shtml “Six Apart Milestones”

[7]: http://www.typepad.com/news/2003/04/site_launch.html “Site Launch”

On June 24, 2003, TypePad [beta testing was announced][8]. I, along with many other people, applied for a spot in the next round of testing.

[8]: http://www.typepad.com/news/2003/06/typepad_updates.html “Beta testing has begun”

On July 7, 2003, I was notified that I had a [new toy to play with][9]. ;)

[9]: http://www.djwudi.com/longletter/archives/2003/07/07/typepad_beta_testing.php “TypePad beta testing!”

The point to all this? No point at all, really. Just kind of cool knowing that I’ve been doing my small part to help the Trotts take over the world _almost_ since the beginning. Not quite from the very beginning, but pretty durn close.

The Trotts take over the world

Now, my only question — which Trott is Pinky, and which Trott is Brain?

Wow — [lots of big announcements][1] from Ben and Mena Trott, creators of [MovableType][2]! New partners, [new employees][3], and first word of [TypePad][4], a new weblog hosting service centered around MovableType. Details are still coming together, but it all looks quite interesting.

[1]: http://www.sixapart.com/log/2003/04/six_apart_miles.shtml “Six Apart Milestones”
[2]: http://www.movabletype.org/ “MovableType”
[3]: http://www.dashes.com/anil/index.php?archives/005934.php “I work for Six Apart”
[4]: http://www.typepad.com/ “TypePad”

Now, my only question — which Trott is Pinky, and which Trott is Brain? ;)