Automattic, Christmas, CNC, Maker, Woodworking, X-Carve

An Automattic Bowl

For part of the gift I sent through the Secret Santa exchange at work this year, I decided to make a bowl with the Automattic company logo inlaid in the bottom.  I’ve never made a bowl or done an inlay before, so this was definitely a wise decision that would not backfire.

I started by using my X-Carve to carve out a deep recess in some walnut to receive the inlay.  The plan at this point was to have the inlay visible on both the outside and inside bottoms of the bowl, so I carved it about an inch and a half deep to give me plenty of room for error. (<– Foreshadowing.)

I cut the inlaid pieces out of some maple, since it would have a natural contrast with the dark walnut.

I glued the maple in, flattened the surface, and cut the walnut to a roughly circular blank on the bandsaw.

I mounted the blank on the lathe and carved the outside profile of the bowl. Because I made the blank by gluing two pieces of walnut together (top to bottom), I added three decorative grooves: one on the seam to hide it, and one on either side for good measure. The grain lined up well enough that it’s hard to tell that it’s not one solid piece.

The lathe chuck I was originally going to use would have tightened around the tenon.(In the photo above, the tenon is the protruding portion on the right side that contains the inlay.)  Unfortunately, it broke, and the chuck I ended up using (shown below) needed a recess to expand into, so I cut all of the tenon off (and then some). Because of this change, there wasn’t enough of the inlay left to have it visible on both the inside and outside of the bowl.

I hollowed out the inside of the bowl, being careful not to go too deep.

After finishing the bowl with Watco Danish oil, I let it cure, and then I mailed it off to my unsuspecting coworker along with some treats to fill it.  If he doesn’t like corporate wooden dishware, I hope he at least likes American candy.

Automattic, Programming

The Plight of the Self-Taught Programmer

At each company-wide Automattic meetup, every employee is required to give a flash talk on a topic of his or her choosing. At our meetup last September, I gave a short overview of some of the programming terms I don’t pronounce correctly in my head, since I initially learned them on my own and took a guess at their pronunciation. Here are the slides from that fateful day.

The Plight of the Self-Taught Programmer: Chris Finke

a.k.a. Is it pronounced GIF or GIF?

GIF: A picture of a JIF peanut butter jar.

I say “GIF”, but apparently lots of other people pronounce it “GIF”.


Get it?

SQL: My Sequel 2. This time, it's personal.

I learned it as Ess-Cue-Ell and was very confused the first time someone asked me if I had worked with my sequel. “My sequel to what?”

/etc or Etsy?

Still not sure about this one. Thankfully, I never have to say it out loud.

C#: C Sharp or C Pound?

I remember reading a newsgroup post where someone was ridiculed for calling it “C Pound.” That someone was not me, but it could have been.

GUI: A hand covered in something gooey.

Gee-You-Eye is not as fun as the correct gooey pronunciation.

Apple's Operating System: Mackossex.

My college roommate was a diehard Apple fan and especially loved their operating system, “Mackossex” (Mac OS X).

XPI: Zippy.

Firefox extensions use a file format called XPI, pronounced “zippy”, not “ex-pee-eye.”

LaTeX is not the same as latex.

For years, I thought that LaTeX was spoken the same as latex until I heard a professor mention that he had used “layteck” to typeset his papers. In my senior year of college. Dodged a bullet there.

Egill: Not a chance.

I have a coworker from Iceland named Egill. It’s not “Ee-gill”, “egg-ill”, or “Ay-gill”. It doesn’t even have an L-sound if you say it properly, and I’ve been informed that because I’m not from Iceland, I probably can’t physically pronounce it.

Finke = Fing-key. Rhymes with inky. And slinky.

As a public service, here’s a pronunciation guide to my name.

Automattic, Blogging, Life, WordPress

Work with me here.

In 2012, we committed and deployed changes to, on average, every 26 minutes. Why so long between deploys? Because we don’t have enough people working here! Help change that by coming to work with us. We’re looking to hire around 60 people this year; if my math is correct, that’s a lot!

Do you like the Internet? Working from home (or coffee shops or co-working spaces or libraries or your friend’s house or a grassy area with Wi-Fi access)? Making a difference for millions of users? Being part of a profitable company? Retina displays? Work with us.

Do any of these places sound like interesting locations for week-long team meetups? Hawaii, New Zealand, Mexico, Spain, New York City, Miami, San Francisco, Iceland, Boston, Las Vegas, San Diego, Italy, Berlin, Amsterdam, Montreal, Portugal, New Orleans, Chicago, Winnipeg, or Montevideo, Uruguay? Work with us. (And that’s just a selection of 2012 meetup locations.)

Are you a backend developer? Work with us. Mobile developer? Work with us. Customer service and support? Work with us. Designer? Work with us. Front-end developer? Work with us. Wordsmith? Work with us. Sysadmin? Work with us.

Do you dislike cubicles? Dress codes? Commuting? Working 9-5? Work with us.

Working at Automattic is the best job I’ve ever had, and I’ve even worked at AOL, so you know that it must be good. Won’t you come work with me and treat yourself to the best job you’ve ever had?

AOL, Automattic, Blogging

Tturn, Tturn, Tturn

As Pete Seeger and King Solomon wrote, “To everything there is a season: A time to be born, a time to die; a time to plant, a time to start a new job at a new company.”

In that spirit, I’ve left AOL in order to join the team at Automattic. Not everyone has heard of Automattic, but almost everyone has heard of their flagship service,

At Automattic, I’m a part of the Theme Team: a group of very attractive people with highly specialized skills in the realm of “Making your blog look good.” That’s a daunting task when you’re trying to cater to millions and millions of bloggers (and millions and millions and millions more readers), but I’m enjoying the challenge.