Making a move to Half Off Depot

I'm happy to announce that I'll be joining Half Off Depot, LLC as Lead Software Architect on June 27th. Half Off Depot is a growing, promising startup here in Atlanta. As you might gather from the name, they're in the daily deals space, sort of along the lines of Groupon and LivingSocial. As of this writing, they have been focusing on the Atlanta, Georgia and Knoxville, Tennessee markets.

I'll be focusing on a number of areas, both server-side and in the mobile app arena, in addition to helping build the technology team.

This was not an simple decision. I've been in a Senior Software Development Engineer role at Yahoo! since April 2010. During the first decade of my career, I spent over four years at both Community Connect Inc. (now Interactive One) and Schematic, Inc. (now Possible Worldwide), both in senior-level roles. It's not my style to leave a position after just over a year; I'm much more of a long-term kind of guy. However, as I got deeper into Schematic, I took on much more technical leadership where I was leading projects and directly managing developers, but haven't done a lot of that at Yahoo! yet. I'll be able to tap back into that wider range of my skills at Half Off Depot.

My transition to Yahoo! was really about focusing on my passion: architecture and development. Yahoo! has afforded me some incredible opportunities, especially when it came to exposing me to more technologies outside of the PHP and open source tools I've worked with over the past decade.

Specifically, I've spent a lot of time with Objective-C, Apple frameworks such as UIKit and AppKit, Hadoop, some Microsoft Mediaroom, and even client-side technologies. Yahoo! has really helped me expand my skill set and grow as a developer. I've worked with some incredibly talented, experienced developers. It's been an amazing ride. I'm going to miss it!

But, startup life came calling, and it was time to answer. I could not be more excited to join the Half Off Depot team, and I wish my Yahoo! colleagues the best of luck. If you ever get the chance to work at Yahoo!, take it!

This is going to be an incredible journey -- I can't wait to get started. Stay tuned! You'll be hearing more from me in the weeks and months ahead, especially as I begin to focus more on PHP, the web, and native mobile application development.

Goodbye Schematic, hello Yahoo!

After four and a half years, I will be leaving Schematic for Yahoo!. My first day with Yahoo! will be April 5th, where I'll be working from their Atlanta office. I'm not at liberty to tell you what I'll actually be working on, though...sorry! I look forward to joining the ranks of former Schemers Robert Swarthout and Paul Amsbary, and fellow PHP community members such as Derek Gathright and Sara Golemon.

I'm sad to make this move as I've seen Schematic grow from ~120 people up to near 400. We've added offices around the globe and entire business units. I've had the opportunity to work with some incredibly talented developers, technology leaders, project managers, and account managers. I've worked on some amazing projects with some of the most appreciative, cutting-edge clients you could ever ask for.

Before joining Schematic, I worked for Community Connect Inc. (now Interactive One) for almost five years, building and maintaining functionality across various social networking sites, such as BlackPlanet.com, AsianAve.com, and MiGente.com. I enjoyed this product-centric environment where any developer could take ownership of a product, then watch it grow and flourish over time. These opportunities are a bit more rare in the agency world, where you're generally building, delivering, then moving on to the next big effort.

I'm very excited to get back into a product-focused environment. I'll have the opportunity to sharpen my skills with client-side technologies, along with other languages and platforms. I'm very much looking forward to focusing 100% of my time on architecture and development as I might have gotten a little rusty over the past year or two.

So, thanks, Schematic! It's been fun, but it's time for me to perfect my Yahoo! yodel. Best of luck to you!

iPhone/Mobile Camp Atlanta 2009

This weekend, I attended iPhone/Mobile Camp Atlanta at the King Plow Arts Center. It was great to meet some new, non-PHP-specific faces in the southern iPhone and mobile communities. The crowd seemed to be quite tech-heavy, rather than business-heavy. As such, I learned some new things such as how to handle analytics on the iPhone (use Flurry), how to reduce latency when using Core Audio, and some new-to-me information on parsing XML on the iPhone.

I also dusted off my talk, “Rickroll To Go With WURFL, PHP, and Other Open Source Tools”, trimmed it down for a 30-minute timeslot, and presented it as "WURFL, Device Identification, and Mobile Media".

My talk seemed to go great because, hey, what talk with a little Rickrolling and Ice Ice Baby isn't going to be a hit, right? It was tough to keep it to that smaller timeslot, but it seemed to work well. I was followed by everyone's favorite Microsoft evangelist, Glen Gordon, who was speaking on all things Microsoft.

I definitely walked away with a continued motivation to actually produce a useful Cocoa and/or iPhone app sometime this year, so I'd better hop to it. It's the ideation part that's tough for me, though. And all of the graphic design can be a bit demotivating, too, but there are creative ways to handle that.

Anyways, it was a great event! Hopefully they'll conduct one again next year! Special thanks to Jonathan Freeman of Widgetpress (and all involved) for organizing the event!

Speaking at Atlanta PHP, 3/6/2008!

For you Atlantans that may read my blog, I'll be speaking at this week's Atlanta PHP meetup. Specifically, I'll be presenting on "Robust Batch Processing with PHP," which I'm also slated to present at php|tek 2008 in May.

Also, special thanks to all Atlanta PHP attendees for allowing me to use them as my guinea pigs before taking new talks out to conferences. You regulars know that I've done this with other talks in the past. You're a very gracious, brave bunch, so thanks, everyone! :)

See you all there!

Our new dog, Abby

I've been trying to focus on PHP- and tech-related posts lately, but I wanted to take a second to post on our new dog, Abby!

She's a 7.5 week old Beagle, born on 11/7/2007. We've got to get adjusted to housetraining her now and all that fun stuff, along with having another living, breathing thing in the house (other than a plant!). See below for the obligatory bytes (ha!):

 

Click here for photos

And click here for a YouTube video of her

“The Vent”: Atlanta to Brooklyn

In Atlanta's daily paper, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, there is a section called "The Vent." The Vent is basically made up of maybe a dozen or so small rants and raves from locals, hence the "vent" name. I was reading through the August 3rd paper and came across this piece in "The Vent:"

"I have been banished to living in Brooklyn, and I am craving Chick-fil-A, sweet tea, hot humid steamy weather and even Spaghetti Junction. When I am released from this prison, I will be looking for a new employer and I will never, ever leave the ATL again!"

So, there you have it. An Atlanta local made the move to Brooklyn and regrets it...mightly timely if you ask me. :)

P.S.: Polishing up my Who's Online with Memcached post soon!

First post from Atlanta!

Well, we made it to Atlanta! We closed on the house this morning and are now living in it! Granted, we don't have any chairs, but we've bought bedroom, office, and eat-in-kitchen furniture, along with barstools for the island in the kitchen. So, things are coming together! Our collective savings account is growing a little smaller each day, but that's a small price to pay for being homeowners. :)

More to come shortly! I've also setup apple2peach.com to blog on the NYC-to-ATL transition. I'll find the time to get that site going soon. Stay tuned!

Last post from NYC!

Well, the time has come...we're finally moving to Georgia! After over a year of thinking and planning, the house is just about done; we're closing on Friday the 20th! Special thanks to everyone in New York that's been so special to me (and us!) over the years. Friends, family, co-workers and all...we're sad to leave, but it's exciting to take on a slower-paced, arguably more "normal" life...and our sweet new house!

We'll be back from time to time, so we're not gone forever! See you soon, New York...

See more house pictures below:

House progress photos here