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New Year

Started: 2009-01-14 17:42:47

Submitted: 2009-01-14 18:17:25

Visibility: World-readable

2008 ended much the same way it began: with me sitting in my living room watching Futurama with a few friends. What came between was 366 days of action-packed adventure: Two layoffs, one startup, as much camping, hiking, and climbing as most of the rest of my life combined, and six months of pregnancy. That's to say nothing of the wild gyrations of the stock market, trillions of dollars of bailout money, and a historic presidential election.

In January, the rumors of Solekai's demise became manifest when my employer trimmed first support staff and then me. (Solekai went on to shrink to a small handful of people, get spun off from the mothership, and merge with a competitor. It still occupies its premium Class A office space in downtown Boulder, only with an entirely new staff.) I was able to line up a job at my first real startup, Morphlix; I took a weekend off and started immediately on writing set-top box software for a video rental service that never got off the ground. (Morphlix isn't quite dead yet either.) In five months at Morphlix, I hacked together a dozen demos of various descriptions, built a user interface, copied video back and forth between portable hard drives, decoded I2C bus traffic with an oscilloscope, spent quality time studying MPEG-2 bitstreams, wrote an MPEG-4 container decoder, and figured out the difference between the various H.264 encapsulation schemes. (Compare that to the five months I've spent at Qualcomm, which have been considerably more prosaic.)

Morphlix ran out of money in May and started paying me in stock. I turned my attention to the rapidly-melting snow covering the mountains I saw every day driving to work down the Diagonal. I spent twenty nights camping (most of them backpacking) and hiked hundreds of miles, most of them tracked via GPS. I consumed countless energy bars of all descriptions and numerous liters of Gatorade. Kiesa and I undertook a four-day, twenty-four-mile loop in Indian Peaks Wilderness; in any normal year this would have been the crowning achievement of my summer but in 2008 it was merely first among equals. I climbed more fourteeners than I had in my life prior to 2008 and climbed my first Cascade stratovolcano.

I timed my job search to give me most of the month of July off before starting at Qualcomm in August. (In the process of my job search I had my first real opportunity to turn down a live job offer.) I slowly adapted to the realities of working for a massive international corporation: stability and benefits are great, but it's hard not to feel like a tiny cog in a very big machine on occasion. I still don't understand the release process, and I doubt I'll even be fully happy with the builds.

In December, I successfully carpeted my basement and bought a new HDTV, doing my part to keep the economy going and absorbing nearly every spare moment.

In 2008, I also started videoing the Boulder Linux User's Group meetings. My workflow needs a bit of work; talks take anywhere from two months to nine months to show up on the Internet.

In July, Kiesa returned a positive pregnancy test, fulfilling our plan to fork "sometime next year". (We can nail down the hour and precise location of conception, but we'll spare the gory details.) I saw the tiny embryo on the ultrasound display at week seven, watched video of the twelve-week-old fetus gyrating wildly, and saw the blob that the ultrasound tech assured us were boy parts on week twenty. This meant we could assign our fetus our first boy's name, Calvin, officially after the obscure twentieth century president Coolidge. It's hard to wrap up the excitement and trepidation I feel into a neat package but it's clear my life is about to change in ways I can't begin to imagine.

Here's to 2009.