Monthly Archives: January 2007

Size isn’t everything

Stephen O’Grady’ed the inaugural post of the new blog, and his comment was “biggest community wins”. It’s true that the size of a community matters, but it’s not as simple as absolute size. Communities need to reach a point where they become resilient and self sustaining.

That means you need people, and you need enough of them so that there can be an reasonable distribution of work – if one or two people are doing all the work and there are lots of bug/feature requests, then that’s not a reasonable distribution of work. I’ve heard this called ‘scalable’ but it’s not necessarily the case the communities need to scale to accommodate lots and lots of users, but it does need to support its user base well, and the key to that is to share the work.

Another way of measuring the reasonable sharing of work is to look at the “hit by a bus” number – the number of people that would need to be hit by a bus/truck/etc in order to make a substantial impact on the sustainability of the community. If this number is “1” or if there are multiple “1”‘s, then that would be another indicator that the community hasn’t become self-sustaining.

Communities (like marriages, I suppose) that can’t fight well, can’t stay together. So another indicator of a healthy community is the ability to have and resolve conflicts. This is especially important, but often left un-stated as an important quality. It is important for communities to have diversity of opinion and approach, and if they do, conflicts will inevitably follow.

Also related to conflict resolution is the ability of a community do deal with difficult people – Ben and Fitz have a great talk on this [PDF], and it also contains some good content on what makes a healthy community.

So these are just a few of the other factors that influence the quality of a development community.

2006 – A photographic review

Following in Ryan’s footsteps (although not his skill), here are some important moments/photos from 2006.


Street Parade

Bainbridge Island had it’s first Chinese New Year’s celebration, and I spent a rainy afternoon with the festivities. I’ll be doing this again this year.

What's wrong with this picture?

This photo of (part of) the Mac Geek contingent at Microsoft’s Search Champs event is my most view photo on Flickr.



Flower portrait season started early

Northern Voice

This shot happened accidentally on the way back from lunch during Northern Voice 2006. It was a reach out and grab you photo moment for me.



The flower portraits come easily to me, and I enjoy them. For the first time in my life, I actually appreciate flowers.


A portrait of chives in our front yard, a great memory of a warm spring afternoon with the family.

Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market is a beautiful place – we were there for a tourist visit with my brother who came to visit from the East Coast. There was some very good eating that night.


2006 was also the year of Strobist. The little that I know about flash photography, I’ve learned from David’s great blog. I still have a lot more to learn, and a bunch more practicing to get consistent, but I’ve definitely made the transition from “natural light only, I hate flash” to “I know that this could look great if I can light it right”.


Gnomedex 6.0: Day 1

We spent the beginning of June at Gnomedex 6.0, where Chris and Ponzi asked me to do some shots for them. It was a great learning experience for me.

Bainbridge Ballet 2006 Recital Dress Rehearsal

Also in June, Abigail had her annual dance recital. That isn’t her above, it’s one of the older students. I still remember this shot. There was a lighted window frame being projected onto the floor, and dancers were cycling through that patch of light. I remember scrambling to try to get one good shot…


OSCON 2006

July is OSCON month, and the camera went with me, as usual. The picture above won the OSCON photo contest — a great honor for me. This shot was also one of the few shots where I actually asked someone if I could take their picture before I did it.

Strobist Boot Camp Assignment #2 - Background

Also in July, one of my Strobist Boot Camp Assignment shots caught David Hobby’s eye. My friend Paul and I had a great time doing a bunch of these shots in his painting studio.


In August, we discovered the band Late Tuesday at the Bainbridge Island waterfront park concert series. Sadly for us, this is their last year playing together.


Abigail caught a snail, and we subjected it to the photographic treatment.


ApacheCon 2006: Sun unBOF/Party

In October I went to Austin for ApacheCon. Austin was a great location for ApacheCon, with plenty of evening activities. I spent more time shooting evening activities than I did actual conference sessions.



Yep, snow in November. On Bainbridge Island, no less. I hope our weather is better in 2007…


Chris & Ponzi's Wedding - Preparations

The biggest event in an action packed December was Chris and Ponzi’s wedding. Julie and the girls were in the wedding, and I was shooting all over. It was all the benefits of shooting a wedding, and none of the scary responsibility. It was Chris and Ponzi’s day for sure, but being at a wedding always makes me think back to mine, so it shouldn’t be any surprise that this is my favorite.

Ok, that’s all the year in review or year to come type stuff you’ll be getting from me. I promise to resume technology blogging in short order.

Happy New Year!

If you are reading the RSS feeds, you may not have noticed that I’ve done a revamp of the blog. Starting with 2007, I’m switching over to the WordPress blogging system. The contents of my old blog can be reached via Existing permalinks to the old content should continue to work. If they don’t that’s a bug and I’d appreciate a comment or an e-mail. Expect there to be falling plaster and such for the next few days while I get things sorted out. I’m going to redirect existing RSS feeds for quite some time, so the move should be invisible to most RSS subscribers as well. The one thing which looks to be a problem is per-category RSS feeds, but the only people really using those are, which will just have to be broken for now.

So why the switch? For the past few years, around New Year’s I’ve pondered switching my blog to a blogging package that has a larger community. I originally got involved with PyBlosxom because I was really interested in learning more about blogging specifications, and I wanted a project to force me to play with Python. While it’s been fun to hack on a blogging package, I’ve reached the point where I want to simplify some things in my life in order to open up some time. Also, the comment spam situation has gotten ridiculous, and I wanted some better tools for working against spammers. So for now, what I really want is to move my blog onto a community owned blogging system (as opposed to a commercial or hosted system). That’s not to say that PyBlosxom is not a community owned blogging system, and indeed the community there seems to be broadening out a little bit. But there’s a huge difference between the size of the PyBlosxom community and the size of the WordPress community, and that’s what won me over in the end.