2014 Update


Wow. Time is absolutely flying by! Earlier this year, I thought to myself that I should try to post at least once a month, so that months didn't slip by without a post like they did in years previous. The result is that I ended up not posting at all in 2014. Of course! I used to do this every day! Now it seems I can never get around to it. I mean, four posts ago, I wrote how I had just started working at Amazon, and now I'm going to celebrate my one-year anniversary this week. That's not good. Time for an update.

First, I absolutely love my job - it's been non-stop since I joined and that's a good thing. If you haven't noticed, Amazon has launched a new product of one type or another pretty much every couple of weeks since I joined. Many products - like the Fire TV and Fire Phone - I played a small role in prior to launch. (The HTML5 demo in the SDK of Fire Phone's JavaScript head tracking API is my doing, for example.) Even the stuff I had no involvement in at all has been fun as well - coming into work to find out we just launched unlimited music or something like Amazon Dash (the GUI-less product ordering device for Fresh) is great. "Wow, we were working on that? Cool!" Just tons of constant innovation all around. It's great, and it feels really fun to be a part of it.

In fact, joining Amazon has been the complete opposite of joining Nokia. I tell this story quite a bit in person because the difference couldn't be more stark. In fall of 2008, I interviewed with the CTO group at Nokia, got hired and joined the CTO and his team at the Nokia Research office in Palo Alto. It was about 18 months after the iPhone had been announced, and a little over a year since it had launched. I had been a mega-fan of Nokia for years and couldn't wait to get to see behind the curtain to see what was coming! This is the company who produced a web tablet in 2005, and had been doing smartphones years before that. But instead of a bold new product that really competed with the best handheld ever created, there was just a re-hash of the existing Symbian lineup and the general attitude towards the iPhone was one of general smugness and doubt. "Those Americans..." I mean, you couldn't use an iPhone touch screen in winter with your gloves on, what use was it? Within just a couple months of me joining, the American CTO who hired me was gone because of corporate infighting, and that was it. The next four years was just a slide downhill until I got laid off along with 10,000 other Nokians, before their general implosion and sale last year. Why I stayed for so long, I have no idea. Probably because it was easy. Joining Amazon has been the opposite of that. Constant, incessant product launches and innovation. Not only did I not expect half the products and features launched over the past year, I couldn't even have guessed at many of them. It hasn't been easy, but it's been very, very exciting and makes going to work a lot of fun.

The cool thing is all the work I'm doing with HTML5 - it's integrated into all of our devices as a first class app platform and it's my job to play with it, help our platform developers work on it and then promote it to everyone else. I've been a web developer for so long, I'd probably do that just for the hell of it. Being someone who's job it is to promote HTML5 for a device manufacturer is really cool. Amazon isn't Samsung by any stretch, but there are *a lot* of Kindle devices out there. I went up to San Francisco for a W3C meeting earlier this year mostly just to see it, and got to sit at a conference table with Sir Tim Berners Lee and explain how the Amazon HTML5 platform worked. That was *awesome*. (This seems to be a pretty normal thing for a lot of people, but the fact that I didn't squee like a 11 year old girl and ask him to sign my forehead with a permanent marker can only be attributed to sheer willpower.)

So yeah. That's work. The rest of life is trundling along as well. My "munchkin" is now in 7th grade... those of you reading this blog for the past decade or so, will be as surprised as I am. How?? That leaves me with ~6 years to figure out how to pay for college. (If Wall Street would stop screwing with AMZN stock every three months, I would totally appreciate it.)

I would like to start getting into the habit again of posting regularly. (I think I write that every few posts, no?) Twitter is fun, and I've been using that daily forever, but it's so less satisfying than a good blog post. And honestly, using Twitter too much is just useless. No one sees most of your posts and you end up writing like an idiot to fit everything into 140 characters. (It's been long enough that they should expand that, no? So ridiculous). I've had some thoughts just recently that I think would be good posts, so I'm going to definitely do those soon. I also need to do an update to my Android Browsers post from a couple years ago - it still gets a decent amount of traction, and things have changed considerably for the better. (I use Opera every day now, for example, on my Fire HDX 8.9" tablet). Stuff like that. Not posting is just laziness, really. It doesn't take much time, it's great to look back at the posts later, and for the past decade it's been the source of most of my contacts, friends and all my jobs.

So. Here's to 2014 - so far, so good! Time to start posting again.


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