Jun 28, 2007


It's been an amazing six days: I started with FOO Camp, flew back to Chicago, moved into our new office, and had the grand opening for the office, and just now collapsed into a heap. It was quite an awesome ride:

FOO Camp was, of course, fantastic--I went to some great sessions, saw old friends, had many hallway chats with new folks, and gave my own talk on why consensus-based "open development" is so important to open source. Oh, and of course, I played werewolf until the wee hours of the morning every night. I think I slept a total of about seven hours all weekend because I just didn't want to miss anything.

Our new office in Chicago is great--we've now got twice the space, and that includes a dedicated engineering area, which I'm excited to share with the folks from Feedburner (and I've never seen so many Noogler balloons in one place!). And to top it all off, I've got an 8' tall x 30' wide whiteboard wall right by my desk. Oh yeah.

We rounded off the hubbub with the "official" grand opening of our engineering office in Chicago which included a riff on the Taste of Chicago with our "Taste of Google" lunch and, of course, Chicago Google t-shirts for everyone. I'll try and scrounge up some pictures when I get a chance, but for now, it's time to get back to catching up on my sleep.

Jun 22, 2007

Change is Good

Even though I've typed exclusively on a Maltron keyboard for almost ten years, I'm about to change to a different keyboard. While the curved "bowls" of keys on the Maltron are quite comfortable, and I've gotten very used to the "Malt" key layout, I'm in the process of switching to a Kinesis Advantage USB keyboard using the Dvorak key layout. Here are the pros and cons as I see them:

Maltron Pros

  • Comfortable keyboard layout
  • I type about 85-110wpm on it
  • I have three of them (2 PS/2 and 1 ADB)
  • Like an old friend
  • Weird design freaks people out
  • QWERTY and Malt key layouts

Maltron Cons

  • Keyboard has weird bugs--certain key combinations flip CAPS LOCK on, keys repeat or get stuck on occasion
  • Keyboards don't feel very sturdy
  • New Maltrons (USB) have different physical key layout, which means if I buy one new one, I need to buy three new ones as I can't deal with slightly different layouts. The physical layout has already changed once in the past. :-(
  • $500 price tag
  • I really need to buy at least two new ones

Kinesis Pros

  • Even more comfortable key layout
  • Slightly less weird design still freaks people out
  • Does Dvorak and QWERTY
  • Well made
  • USB Native
  • Lack of keypad makes it easy to mount a touchpad in the middle of the keyboard
  • $300 price tag (still, ouch)
  • If I learn Dvorak on the Kinesis, I can probably pick up Dvorak on a flat keyboard pretty easily
  • If I learn Dvorak on the Kinesis and a flat keyboard, I don't have to drag my huge keyboard with me on road trips
  • Got one at the office
  • Only need to buy one

Kinesis Cons

  • I can only type 32wpm on it so far
  • I don't have three of them
  • Not wired into my brain for emacs keybindings

So I'm switching to the Kinesis soon and my goal is to do it by July 19th (my next road trip that I'll need to do a fair bit of typing on). When I switched to the Maltron so many years ago, I taped a layout of the keyboard to the top of my monitor and spent an hour a day for two weeks typing in correspondence to get the hang of the keyboard. After that I switched to Maltron at home for two weeks, went on vacation for a week, then switched to Maltron at the office. It was a pretty painful transition with several extremely frustrating days when I was only typing on the Maltron.

So in the interest of avoiding a ton of pain and suffering by just switching cold turkey to the Kinesis, I'm spending 15 minutes a day with Ten Thumbs (which I bought many years ago) until I get my speed up to 50wpm on the Kinesis, which seems likely to take me another three weeks or so. I'm hoping that by the time I get to 50wpm, the cost of switching won't be quite so high as I'll at least be somewhat familiar with the keyboard.

So here's hoping... now if only there were a way that I could get Ten Thumbs to test me on my emacs keybindings...

Jun 6, 2007

If you use Gmail and Firefox, this could change your life...

[This is for people who are keyboard shortcut junkies. If you like to mouse around, you might want to skip it]

It's a five-step process:

These scripts were written by the amazing Mihai Parparita. Thanks Mihai!

Jun 1, 2007