Back home

Finally back home after my two weeks in North America. Both Toronto and Mountain View included fun and disappointment. Traveling to these places is generally awesome but somehow I always manage to generate some form of drama for myself, and really living out of hotels and restaurants gets old pretty fast. I’m not much of a cook but I am looking forward to sitting down with a homemade meal this evening, well maybe tomorrow with the jetlag.

Right now I’m feeling even worse than normal for jetlag. I’m following my normal routine, I went to sleep at 6pm yesterday and got up at 2am today. Normally this sees me about right and I can slowly shift myself by a few hours a day till I get onto UK time somewhere around Wednesday. Right now though I am feeling shattered. I have a suspicion that even if I don’t fall asleep during the Grand Prix I’ll end up passing out shortly afterwards. This probably means I will be even more cranky than normal this week, sorry about that.

I guess it’s not much of a secret that I am planning on moving to either Toronto or Mountain View, but even after visiting both I am having real trouble figuring out which. Both have great people there and seem to be in good areas. I like Toronto because even though it is a city it does not feel very cramped and getting around seems easy. I like Mountain View because it isn’t a city at all, yet San Francisco is right there if I need one.

More personal

I guess I’ve always disliked the idea of putting my personal thoughts onto my blog. I figure that no-one really cares much about what I’m thinking.

Despite this I’m going to start to post some more personal stuff here. I’ve come to realise that I am frequently bored and just looking for something to say. I usually just fire off a random email to one of my close friends, mostly not really saying anything just general rambling. I think I’ll make their lives easier by just posting here instead, then if they want to get back to me they can, or not without me being too bothered by it.

You can use the personal category link below to see just the personal stuff and get a feed for it.

Less technical

I’m going to be starting to post some more personal posts to my blog. Chances are these are not going to be very interesting to the average reader of planet so I’ve also tinkered with the categories so they won’t get syndicated there.

This means a couple of things. Firstly if you are actually interested in the posts then you’ll have to subscribe to the personal category on my blog. Secondly (and I’m guessing this affects no-one) the urls of the categories on my blog have changed a little so if you had direct feeds to them you’ll have to update.

Ruminations on a fortnight

It’s been a hectic couple of weeks for me and I wanted to touch on a few of the highs and lows before I forget them all.

It started with flights to get me to Toronto (for those of you that don’t know I live and work out of the UK). I was speaking at the Toronto Developer Day as well as attending a Firefox team work week (two things that conflicted more than I would have liked unfortunately). I normally manage to find direct flights but this time I had to connect through Amsterdam which wasn’t too bad, even if they seem even more mad for security than Heathrow. Incidentally terminal 4 at Heathrow is miles nicer than 3 where I normally come from, even if the 6 police officers armed with automatic weapons was a little disconcerting.

The Developer Day seemed to be a success and I hope all the attendees got something out of it. I’d encourage those that didn’t to let us know where we went wrong of course, not point in us running these things if they don’t give you anything. I think the people at my session found it useful, though I suspect I really need to work on my presentation style for such things. I feel kinda bad though that I’m not more confident about speaking and so could have taken some of the massive workload that Mark Finkle took on off his shoulders.

The rest of the week was spent with the rest of the Firefox team either figuring out concrete plans for the immediate future or working on those plans, interspersed with pizza, barbecue and poutine (Who’d have thought that Canadians would mash together some of the quick takeaway foods I used to get here and serve it in a restaurant!).

Next stop was Mountain View, via Detroit this time. I have to say that Detroit is a really nice airport to change at, even if it does mean that you’re probably flying Northwest if you do so.

I had a weekend to kill so on the Saturday a friend took me to a Renaissance Faire. I thought it might be a bit too geeky even for my tastes at first but it turned out to be a lot of fun, not sure you’d ever get me dressing up to attend like many do though. Fairly fun to watch Americans celebrating a history they never had.

Sunday I headed to the Winchester mystery house. I probably wasn’t in a good mood for it to be honest, jet lag had hit me and then the tour guide was a stereotypical over the top American tour guide trying to make every little oddity out to be spooky. Still it was an interesting place to walk around and the gardens were quite spectacular.

Tuesday I headed into San Francisco proper and went to meet up with the guys at Songbird. One of the things I really want to do is avoid writing the add-ons manager for just Firefox so it was good to chat with them about what they would like to see and how important they find the future plans that we’ve already toyed with.

That evening I had a great meal with some new friends at a German restaurant (yes I had to go to California in order to eat at a German place for the first time). I also got to experience the fun of driving out of the city back to MV at eight in the morning. I think I’ll be avoiding that in the future.

Thursday it was fun to attend one of the monthly labs meetups. Pretty cool to see plans for what is coming both in experimental stuff and in Firefox itself. I think it’d be really useful to stream these events so more people can get an insight in what is coming and why. Too often we can land things in the nightlies seemingly without any discussion when in actual fact a lot of thought does go into pretty much everything.

Finally Friday morning was painful. I maybe took people too seriously when they advised me on how long it would take to get to the airport and to check in, and then I added some for safety leaving me getting up at 5am and then ending up waiting at the gate for an hour and a half.

Seriously, why are so many people carrying on multple bags rather than checking them. I suppose I understand the risk of lost luggage but it is getting really annoying when I have to stick my single carry-on bag under my feet, decreasing the already sparse space there, because the overhead lockers are filled with trolley cases.

Northwest has to be one of the worst airlines I have flown. Poor food, very little movie selection, no tv episodes available at all. Thank god I have taken to putting movies onto my iPod so I always have something decent to watch.

Now I’m sat in a hotel room trying to stay awake for a bit longer. After I get back to Heathrow, after some 20 odd hours travelling (and I can never sleep on planes) it seems to be a good idea for me to sleep before taking the final 3 hour drive back home. But I also need to start the shift back to UK time. I shall probably be waking myself at around 3am for a leisurely drive back to Wales and then slowly shifting myself a couple of hours a day for the rest of this week.

Toronto Developer Day

In case you hadn’t heard Mozilla are running a developer day in a week or so’s time in Toronto. The first day is aimed at giving a good overview of the Mozilla platform and what technologies it offers. The second day will be a more hands on workshop where you can try your hand at extensions, applications and testing with friendly experienced people around to lend a hand when you hit problems. It isn’t far off now so get yourself signed up if you’re coming.

I’m in the midst of trying to put together what I’ll be talking about so if you have anything you particularly want to hear then make a suggestion.