Four Little Numbers

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My colleague Joen Asmussen writing about the process of shaping the new default theme for WordPress 3.6 (that happens to be powering this blog now):

Designing Twenty Thirteen has been a pretty remarkable experience, mainly because I got to work with such an amazing community. There’s nothing to temper a theme into shape like hundreds of people submitting patches. It’s as much a privilege as it is a learning experience and the design has changed so much since my initial mockups, all for the better. Here’s how it all started.

Joen and the WordPress community have outdone themselves with this one. I find myself saying it every year, but I don’t see how I’ll switch away from this one.

https://twitter.com/RyanMarkel/status/326350768443633664 Two things about this: It was totally

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Two things about this:

  1. It was totally awesome and in the dream I was a total badass. Saved the day.
  2. It’s possible that I may have some repressed feelings about that job.

Automattic Sign Time-lapse

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My main man Warren set up a GoPro outside the new Automattic office space in San Francisco as the new sign was placed on the building.

I’m already trying to concoct a reason for me to be in San Francisco so I can see the place and enjoy the new digs. I always enjoyed going to SF and just working from our “home away from home” on Pier 38. The new place looks great and I can’t wait to be there.

Office Space

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I got a bit tired of my workspace a few weeks ago and decided to do something about it. I never really liked having my back to the door (having read Dune, of course), and didn’t think the space was very helpful though it was nice and bright.

Office v.1:

Office v.2:

The biggest change I like is that I got rid of the chair mat I was using that kept shattering every six months and bought a small area rug that’s pinned under the desk and protects the carpet.

I have a couple of Lack shelves for the wall that is now behind my desk but I’m dragging my feet on installing them. I think maybe that’s Office 2.5.

The Automattic Creed

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Matt shared on his blog the Automattic Creed, which is how my colleagues and I live and breathe on a daily basis:

I will never stop learning. I won’t just work on things that are assigned to me. I know there’s no such thing as a status quo. I will build our business sustainably through passionate and loyal customers. I will never pass up an opportunity to help out a colleague, and I’ll remember the days before I knew everything. I am more motivated by impact than money, and I know that Open Source is one of the most powerful ideas of our generation. I will communicate as much as possible, because it’s the oxygen of a distributed company. I am in a marathon, not a sprint, and no matter how far away the goal is, the only way to get there is by putting one foot in front of another every day. Given time, there is no problem that’s insurmountable.

Working for with Automattic has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life and certainly the best job I’ve ever had. I love what I do and the impact I have in making the experience of WordPress.com users and visitors better each day.

If you’re reading this and think this sounds interesting, maybe you should consider applying.

Keeping Things Moving

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As an Automattician, I spend the vast majority of my time working from home. This has its advantages and disadvantages, like anything else, but I didn’t think of my physical activity (or lack thereof) in quite the right way until I saw this tweet from my colleague Beau:

For reasons that I plan to write about soon, I have been taking a long-overdue look at my habits throughout the day in an effort to improve them and their effects on my overall health. It’s no secret that it’s not a great thing for you to be sitting down all day long.

I know this because the best shape I’ve been in for the last 10 years or so was when I was working retail at Circuit City. Being on your feet for 10 hours at a stretch and walking a store floor will do that to you. Once I shifted to a desk job, I quickly ballooned to over 300 pounds until I hit a high of around 325 in the last couple of years.

(I have since dropped a good amount of weight but that will need to wait for that other post I was talking about.)

What I have been using for about the last year or so to keep myself from getting leg cramps is a little utility called AntiRSI. It sits in your dock (and with the newest version, can sit in your menu bar instead) and has a configurable set of controls for taking breaks.

The options are pretty straightforward:

I don’t use it for the micro breaks as I don’t have any issues with strain (yet) and they were interrupting my flow a bit. Instead, I use it to force myself to take an eight-minute break every 50 minutes (so about every hour). When the 50 minutes of work are up, this appears and won’t go away unless I dismiss it, which I try very hard not to do:

When that appears, I do exactly what it says. The important part is that I stand up when prompted for a work break and walk around a bit. I check on how the kids are doing in school, take a biobreak, refill my water, or any one of a number of things, but (a) don’t work and (2) stay standing and moving as much as possible. Sometimes I will set an eight minute timer on my iPhone and take a walk outside. I walk past the desk every so often to see if the break is up, and when it is I sit back down and get to it.

Now I read tonight that I might not be getting up enough. And it’s possible that using a standing desk (which I have considered) is getting up too much. This is of course only one source of information on this, and you can always find a study or paper that agrees with you, but:

Sit to do computer work. Sit using a height-adjustable, downward titling keyboard tray for the best work posture, then every 20 minutes stand for 2 minutes AND MOVE. The absolute time isn’t critical but about every 20-30 minutes take a posture break and move for a couple of minutes.  Simply standing is insufficient. Movement is important to get blood circulation through the muscles. Research shows that you don’t need to do vigorous exercise (e.g. jumping jacks) to get the benefits, just walking around is sufficient. So build in a pattern of creating greater movement variety in the workplace (e.g. walk to a printer, water fountain, stand for a meeting, take the stairs, walk around the floor, park a bit further away from the building each day).

You can read the original text here.

So maybe I will give 30 minute intervals with smaller breaks a shot and see how it goes for a while. I’m thinking 5 minutes’ break every 30 minutes or so.

Do you have a method that works for you? Something you do to stay active throughout the day? I would love to hear about it.

Automattiversary

Yummy, delicious cake. WordPress cake.
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Today marks the first anniversary of my joining Automattic full-time. It’s been one year of working alongside those who Matt calls “the best people in the world.” (You can read my thoughts on that first day here.) It’s amazing to me that it’s been that long—it feels like just yesterday I was going through training and learning the basics of how to work behind-the-scenes on WordPress.com. I suppose time really does fly when you are having fun.

In the last year, I have travelled to the same location as and met my fellow Automatticians five times: once to San Francisco upon first starting, once to Austin for SXSW, a second time to SF for WordCamp San Francisco, once to Lisbon, Portugal to meet with my fellow Happiness Engineers, and once to Seaside, Florida for my first company-wide meetup. I’ve replied to support requests from WordPress.com users over 18,000 times. I’ve worked daily with a team of people dedicated to making the blogging experience of millions better—people I call colleagues and friends.

I love what I do, I love the way we work, and I love the people I get to share the experience with. It’s my belief that none of us could do this thing without the rest of us. I’m part of a team and a family and I hope to be working as part of that team for a long time to come. We work hard, we take what we do seriously, yet we also know how to have fun and enjoy the ride.

I may brag about it a bit too much, but I count myself as fortunate to have the opportunity to get paid for doing something I love to do.

To celebrate the occasion, Amanda made me this completely awesome cake, which I know was pictured above, but I love it so much I want to post the full picture again here:

I know it’s somewhat conceited, but I think this is one of the finest cakes my wife has yet made, and it made me feel pretty special. She’s been supportive of this venture of mine the whole way, from the first day I talked about applying, through my working two jobs while I learned the Automattic ropes, to today, and I couldn’t do what I do without her. Thanks, wife of mine!

Here’s to the next year.