Annual Update

As world renowned philosopher David Bowie once posited, “Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes”.

We’re Back in Arizona

It’s been a year now… I must have blogged this, have I not? *sigh* Ending (hopefully) what was a 5-year run of moving about the country, we landed back in Arizona (Phoenix) in June of 2010. We were living in San Ramon, which is an absolutely beautiful area with no shortage of things to do with the family… but it was expensive. Ridiculously expensive. I had started freelancing, and it looked like I might actually make a living at it… so it was time for my wife and I to make a “grown up” choice. Since I was now working out of the house, we could live anywhere. On one hand, we loved the area we were in… but as a single-income family of 5, it was a challenge. On the other hand, we both have friends and family in AZ, and it’s quite inexpensive. We preferred San Ramon to Phoenix, but in the end, did what we think was the right thing. A year later, we still miss the Bay Area, but we’ve been enjoying our time here, and it looks like we’ll stick around for a while.

Had a Job, Left a Job, Freelanced, Got a Job

In October of 2009, I left a full time position to become a full time freelancer. Through a combination of luck and having good friends in the community, I was able to keep myself busy and keep paychecks coming in.

One of the contracts, which ended up being my main contract, was for a company called World Singles, a company that specializes in niche dating sites. I had no idea when I applied, but they already had a number of other contractors working on the site, including Sean Corfield, Peter Bell, and Mark Drew. Hardly intimidating at all, right?

In time, both Peter and Mark moved on to other projects and opportunities. Sean, however, signed on full time in late 2010 as Lead Developer. In January of this year, I signed on full time as Senior Web Applications Developer. The development team right now consists of me and Sean. As somebody on Facebook pointed out, for me, that’s like being the Sorcerer’s Apprentice. And it really is (except I don’t have to wear the hat). I’ve been learning more than I previously thought my brain was capable of absorbing. And there’s so much more still to come.

We’re doing a lot of very interesting work at World Singles, which is what motivated me to get blogging again. And the motivation to get blogging again led me to…

A New Blog

It looks like the old blog, but this past weekend I migrated from BlogCFC to WordPress. The decision to make the move was less about any issues that I had with BlogCFC, and more about wanting to expose myself to new technologies. I think that over the past few years, I haven’t pushed myself nearly as hard as I needed to in that respect. If I needed to get something done, I generally got it done in CFML. Nothing against CFML… but as the saying goes, “When all you have is a hammer…”.

I do have to say that WordPress is a pretty nice platform. There are plugins for just about everything, which makes setting up the blog pretty easy. I’ve had to dip down into the PHP a couple of times so far… which is fine, as that was pretty much the point of this exercise.

Migrating my BlogCFC entries/comments to WordPress wasn’t as bad as it could have been. Thanks to Brian Panulla for maintaining BlogCFC2WP, which did the brunt of the heavy lifting. I had a good amount of manual cleanup to do myself, but that was mostly because I chose to clean up some URLs, categories, etc. On that note… there are still some things that need attention. Expect to see some broken links and funky CSS here and there for the foreseeable future. It’s OK. We’ll just go ahead and call this a beta. Maybe even make it invite-only.

If you were previously subscribed to comment threads on a particular post… I’m afraid you aren’t any longer. If you were previously subscribed to this blog… I’m afraid you aren’t any longer. There isn’t much I can do about the former. For the latter, there is a plugin for blog subscriptions, but I’ve not implemented that. If there’s a huge clamor and uproar for it (and it’s gotta be huge… a medium sized uproar just won’t do), I’ll set up the plugin.

I Don’t do Windows (Anymore)

The last notable change is that prior to migrating the blog, I decided to migrate my VPS from Windows to Linux (CentOS, to be specific). I haven’t used Windows at home or work for a few years now, but have had it as my VPS OS mostly out of familiarity. But having become more comfortable with *nix from spending time in the Terminal on OS X, and playing with Ubuntu on a cheap netbook I recently picked up, I thought I could make the transition.

So far, so good… but boy managing a CentOS VPS over SSH is quite different from playing around with Ubuntu on a cheap netbook. So if you hit this blog and end up redirect to www.nfl.com or something equally unexpected, that’s probably me trying to figure something out. So far I’ve figured out that you can avoid all sorts of permissions issues by just chmod‘ing everything to 777.

Kidding about that last part. Maybe.