Blankbaby Zen

I interviewed the Wiggles

The Wiggles. Kids go crazy for them, and until recently I had very little idea who the heck they were. That all changed last week when I sat down to interview them for my day job (yes, I was in the same room with them even though it might not look that way in the video).


They were nice guys, and I enjoyed chatting with them.

When I joined Comcast I wasn't expecting to interview anyone, but it turns out I quite enjoy it (I'll leave it up to you whether or not I'm any good at it!). Here's a link to the YouTube video if you're reading this in a newsreader or something.


A week of videos

I've been pretty quiet on the blogging front (well, at least here, I've been blogging like a mad man for the day job!) because I was writing my second book (OMG! I know! I'll have more to say about this in the coming days).

However, the first draft of my book is done so I have a little more time for random crap (huzzah!). I was thinking about what I could do and I remembered I have roughly 14,000 video capable cameras in my possession so why not create a video a day for a little while?

The first video is embedded here, and I'm asking you to suggest some ideas for future videos. Come on, you know you have some great ideas!


New glasses... kind of

Me wearing said glasses

I mentioned that I was in the market from some sunglasses and the kind folks at Shuron mailed me four pairs of frames so I could try them on my fat face and see if I liked them. Above you can see me modeling a pair (the lenses are just clear plastic). I'm going to put in an order for a pair with tinted lenses so I can use these as sunglasses. It'll be nifty, don't you think?


I have no glasses and yet I must see

No glasses ScottThe lens in my frames were pretty scratched up, and since I just started a new job I thought I would take my benefits for a spin and get some new lens (not new frames though, since I totally heart my frames).

Off I went to Eye Candy which has a god awful Web site, but a lovely staff. Since I only have one pair of frames I called ahead and asked how long they would need to keep them to install the new lens. They said it would take a day, which didn't seem too shabby to me. Off I went to get my eyes examined (which always freaks me out because they put things far too close to your eyes for my liking), and take a look at their sunglasses (my future is pretty bright after all).

I was pursuing the sunglasses with fully dilated pupils when the guy behind the counter came over to help me. He looked at my old glasses and said, "So you like the retro look, huh?" Since I do, in fact, like the retro look (though in a non-ironic fashion) I nodded and commented that all their frames were pretty modern looking. I did, however, try on a couple of pairs but it seems I'm an ocular Goldilocks: the frames were either too big or too small.

I wasn't worried, though, since I have frames that I are totally my bffs. Once my eye exam was done (OK, sidebar here: Whenever I am looking through one of those machines with the different lens in it and the eye doc flips one and says, 'Better or worse?' I always feel like they know the RIGHT answer... and they are just testing me to make sure I'm not pretending to need glasses. Am I the only one who thinks this?) I returned to the clerk and said, "So, I guess I'll be back to tomorrow to get my glasses!" To which he replied, "Your insurance requires that we send all frames to their lab so they can make the lens. They'll be ready in a week."

rendering.jpgWhat was I to do? I needed new lens, and I had gotten this far... so I left the store without my glasses and immediately walked onto a girder that was swinging from a nearby crane. How I survived that hilarious walk through that construction site I'll never know.

I should have my glasses back tomorrow though, which is a good thing since I've been hunching over all week so I can actually read stuff on my computer screen. My back is killing me!

Also, I'm thinking about buying these sunglasses. What say you, gentle reader? To the right you can see a very badly done rendering of what I might look like wearing said glasses. Pretty sexy, huh?


Life is good, everyone just overreacts

yellow.jpg.jpg

I'm sure everyone knows about PostSecret (if you don't here is the quick rundown: you send an anonymous postcard to this address and every Sunday the best secretes are posted on PostSecret). This week's entry starts with the postcard above which I think pretty much sums up life.

If you enjoy PostSecret you should check out FMyLife, which is kind of like Twitter for embarrassing stories.


Comcast Voices: my new gig

ComcastVoices.jpg When I was a kid I wanted nothing more than to be a scientist. I blame that on a healthy dose of Star Trek and Quantum Leap (plus a liberal dusting of popular science books). I went off to Lehigh with the intention of majoring in physics and then going to getting a PhD and then doing some hard science.

My dream was crushed in calculus class. Math always came easily to me, but I found calculus to be completely alien. I couldn't wrap my mind around it (though looking back at it, I'm pretty sure I was just too darned lazy to do the required work) and so I did what any red blooded college student would do: I gave up.

It was clear that the hard sciences weren't for me, and that meant I needed a new major. There were two lead contenders: Classical Studies (i.e. Ancient History) or English. Since I always enjoyed reading and writing (and I was fluent in English at the time; Latin was all Greek to me) I figured I would opt for English (though I ended up taking enough Ancient History classes to minor in Classics, but I didn't fill out the paperwork for the minor, so that isn't on my academic record). That turned out to be a great decision, even though for the last ten years or so it looked like writing would always be a sideline to my 'real' job (i.e. being an IT geek).

Over the last few years I've been lucky enough write about lots of stuff and get paid for it (first at TUAW, then at Macworld and MacUser, and then I wrote a book, which I still think is super cool), and as I was doing all that writing there was a voice in the back of my mind that kept saying, "gee, wouldn't it be fun if I did this full-time?"

I'm no John Gruber or Jason Kottke, so I knew that making a living off of Blankbaby would be difficult at best (the market of people who are intensely interested in what I am doing at any given point just isn't large enough to monetize... plus whenever I hear anyone use the word 'monetize' I want to punch them in the throat). Freelancing seemed like something that might work, but all my friends who are indies (mostly working over at Indy Hall) seem to be working all the time (on what I have no idea). Plus a large amount of your time as an indie is spent making sure your clients pay you. I hate paper work, and talking to people isn't really my forte so being a freelancer just doesn't appeal to me (though I would like to work from home and not wear pants).

My business cardAs you all know (if you're been paying attention) I am now a happy Comcast employee. When I wrote that post (has it already been 4 months? I've been telling people I've been at Comcast for a little over 2 months! I'm bad with dates) I wasn't at liberty to give out the URL for the blog I was working on. Now that it is public knowledge I can present to you Comcast Voices.

Yep, Comcast Voices is Comcast's corporate blog and I spend my days managing it, thinking about what we should post on it, and generally making a nuisance of myself. Check it out and let me know what you think (I hope you don't think it sucks... well, it sucks as little as any corporate blog can realistically not suck)!

It is pretty funny that while I was in college I wanted nothing to do with computers. I hand wrote all my term papers until my professors, one by one, refused to grade them unless I started typing them up (no one, including me, could read my handwriting). I didn't own a computer until a year after I graduated college, and now I spend most of my time (and make all of my money) on computers, thinking about them, and writing about them.

What a world.


Elevator update

Yesterday I spewed bile all over people pushing the button for an elevator whilst on the ground floor when someone else is obviosly waiting for an elevator (I'm sure you recall).

Today I saw a man standing in front of a bank of elevators, which I was approaching. He was just standing there, so I assumed he was waiting for an elevator, until I saw one come and go (I was several yards from the elevators when this happened) and the dude didn't get on. I walked up and noticed the call button hadn't been pressed, but the guy was still standing there. I pressed the button (against my normal rules) and got onto the elevator when it arrived. The dude remained standing in front of the elevators making no movement towards the elevator.

I blame this dude for skulking about in front of elevators and ruining it for the rest of us.


Elevators still piss me off

Almost nine years ago I first wrote about my problems with people and elevators. Since then I've moved into an apartment on the 20th floor of a building and I work in the tallest building in Philadelphia, so I ride in an elevator several times a day. This means that several times a day I am befuddled by people's behavoir when it comes to elevators. If I'm standing on the ground floor of a building, in front of the elevators, it is a safe bet that I want to ride said elevators up to a higher floor. Since I am not brain dead I am aware of the finer points of calling an elevator:

  1. Push the button
  2. There is no step two!

Why is it, then, that people look at me when I am obviously waiting for the elevator and proceed to push the button once more. Do they think that perhaps I didn't push the button hard enough? Or maybe I just enjoy watching people get into elevators!

All I know for sure is that in nine years I'll be writing about the same darned thing.


A Chestnut Hill Afternoon

Isn't great when your hobbies and your professional life line up? I'm a fan of taking random pieces of video with tiny video cameras, and it just so happens that for my day job I needed to figure out how to use a tiny video camera (specifically the Sony Handycam HDR-TG1) for some future stuff we have in the works.

Since I was out and about today I thought it would be fun to take some video to see how the camera works. This is the result. You can watch it in HD here.


I'm on Peachpit TV

scottpeachpittv.jpgThe publisher of my book (Building a WordPress Blog People Want to Read), Peachpit Press, asked me to make an appearance at their Macworld booth last month. Being the amicable fellow that I am I agree (though I did very little in the way of prep, as is my wont).

Not only did I thrill and delight a small crowd in the booth, those geniuses at Peachpit were recording the whole thing and are turning it into a series of podcasts (I assume it is a series, but it might just be this one). Point your peepers at How To Configure the Dashboard in WordPress 2.7. I made Marisa watch it and she learned 2 things about the Dashboard (and she has been using WordPress for 4 years!).

Check out the podcast here and let me know what you think. If people like it I might be inspired to create some WordPress screencasts of my own!

When I watched the podcast I thought I did I pretty good job, but for some reason I thought I came over as really angry during the intro (before I start talking):

angryscott.jpg

That's Cliff Colby I'm standing next to, the editor of my book and the reason my book came about. I think he is a great guy and he in no way angers me. Not sure why I look like I'm ready to punch the next person that walks up to me, but I must have been in 'the zone' mentally preparing myself for the hordes of people that were going to hound me for an autograph during my presentation.


Want a copy of my book?

Lots of copies of my bookIf you're been paying attention you know that I am real live published author of a book called Building a WordPress Blog People Want to Read, which is all about WordPress (shocking, I know). The book is getting some good reviews on Amazon, and it seems to be selling well. However, since this is my first time writing a tech book I'm interested in a little more feedback.

One of the little known facts about writing a book for PeachPit Press is that they send you 25 copies of your book to do with what you will. I'm keeping the first one the sent me (which I like to think is the first copy ever printed though somehow I doubt that is true) and I've given out a bunch of copies to friends and family (at least those who are interested enough in the book, but not so interested that they would buy a copy themselves), and I still have 16 copies of the book taking up space in my office. While these books are sitting on a shelf in my office they aren't helping anyone learn about WordPress, so I thought I would give them away.

Here's the deal: the first 16 people to comment on this post get a copy of my book. I'll email you for your address and then I'll send you a copy of the book at no cost to you. All I ask in return (nothing is free, people) is that you share with me your thoughts about the book. You can do this in a number of ways:

  • Blogging about it on your blog
  • Twittering about it
  • Sending me an email with your thoughts
  • Leaving a review on Amazon or some other online bookseller

The goal is twofold: get some people talking about my book and find out what people think of it. Everybody wins!

Get to leaving those comments, people!

Update: Woah! Who knew so many people would want a copy of my book? I do believe I'm out of copies for the moment. Sorry, folks!


Some of 2008 in pictures

I give you 2008 in pictures (an idea I have totally stolen from Jacqui and Clint).

January 2008

I drank a Mexican Pepsi (Love it!)

I got impatient

I went to Macworld 2008 and saw MacBook Airs on a string.

People flocked to them

February 2008

I turned 31.

IMG_7740.JPG

My TV (and me) moved into Marisa's apartment.

Our new media center

May 2008

Becky and Eric got married (and not much happened in March or April).

Becky cuts a rug

We retreated to a lovely cabin in the woods, with neighbors across the river who really liked classic rock.

The cabin is pretty

July 2008

I visited my Mom and we went to Mount Vernon.

Profile

August 2008

I got a Kodak Zi6 (which I like more than my Flip Mino HD, no matter what certain tech pundits will have you believe).

The Box

September 2008

I had my first article published in a real, live magazine.

Look mom, I'm in a magazine

Off to Las Vegas for VMworld (and it'll probably be my last VMworld ever!).

I heart VMworld

Marisa and I went to Hoover Dam whilst in Las Vegas.

Up shot

And then we got all fancy and spent the weekend at the Ritz Carlton at Lake Las Vegas (it was really quite nice, and it has turned Marisa into a hotel snob).

Ritz-Carlton glass

November 2008

I got a Flip Mino HD and made a silly movie with it.

I saw my book in print for the first time (and it looked awesome).

Building a WordPress blog people want to read

My mom visited for Thanksgiving, met some of Marisa's family, and met with Marisa in her role as my girlfriend for the first time.

Mom is suspicious

We went to City Hall and looked cute.

Aww, ain't we cute?

December 2008

I got engaged to Marisa.

Engagement ring(s) on hand

Spent Christmas with my mom and bro, as is McNulty tradition (and no one fought!).

Merry Christmas, Flickr peeps!


Farewell, Wharton. Hello, Comcast.

comcastic.jpgI'm coming up on my 6 year anniversary as a Wharton employee (and a Philadelphian to boot), and what better way to celebrate than by quitting?

That's right, today was my last day as a staff member of Wharton Computing where I have learned many things, met lots of great people, and realized that I'm not really interested in following the traditional IT career path of slowly moving further and further from actual technology.

As I was realizing this an exciting opportunity arose. I got an email from Frank (a man I trust) asking me if he could pass along my name to some Comcast folks. It seems they were in the market for someone to run their corporate blog, and Frank thought I would be a good fit. I wasn't looking for a job, but I am never opposed to entertaining options. I gave Frank the go ahead and he sent along my contact info to Comcast. Soon thereafter I was called in for a round of interviews.

I'm a hoppy bunnyI honestly didn't think they would be interested in me given my decidedly non-corporate persona (and Internet presence), but they asked me in for another round of interviews (always a good sign). The second round of interviews found me meeting with a number of people working in the Communications department. After a few hours the interviews were over, and I was impressed with the level of passion and realism that the Comcast folks had about their company. Plus I didn't think I came off as too much of an idiot, which I find to be helpful in such situations.

Soon I heard back from Comcast that they were interested in having me join their team (after I passed a routine drug test, which was the first time I had ever taken a drug test... but that's a post for another day). I had a major career choice to make (though if you read the title of this post you already know what I decided. Stupid spoilers). I've been working in the University setting for nearly a decade (gosh, I feel old) and I've never worked for a company as large as Comcast so I was a little nervous about potential culture shock.

On the other hand, Comcast wanted to pay me to manage the day to day aspects of their corporate blog which is pretty darned close to my dream job. How could I say no?

Tomorrow is my first day as a Senior Manager of Digital Media (that'll look impressive on a business card) at Comcast. I'm excited, terrified, and befuddled all at once (which I take to mean I made the right decision).

I don't generally post much about my work here on Blankbaby, and I imagine that trend won't change too radically. I will post a link to the corporate blog once it launches, and I'll be posting pictures and things from the gigantic Comcast Building (in which my office will be located) from time to time (just as I did from Wharton).

Thanks to everyone I worked with at Wharton. Wharton really was a great experience in my life, and I would recommend working there to anyone.

Speaking of which, if you're interested in my old job go to Penn's Job Site and search for Reference number 081226054. You'll be working with a good group of people on some pretty cool projects.

Here's to the future (is anyone else scared?).

See, I'm totally a pseudo-Mac celeb

joyoftechscott.jpgOnce and awhile I try to explain to friends and family that I am kinda sorta pseudo famous in very particular situations (namely Macworld). I usually end up sounding like an idiot, but now I have proof!

The good folks at The Joy of Tech included yours truly on this year's Macworld Expo Celebrity checklist. Some might say that they were just running out of ideas, I like to think that I am just so darned handsome that they couldn't resist including me.