Archive for the 'programming' Category

Random pictures I found on my phone

Sometimes I load the pictures off my phone. Well, at least I have now done so once.


Meryl and Abby on the bus

Nepali restaurant

Callie demonstrates the proper technique for eating cheetos

Jon explains the “Suck Threshold” between “Boring” and “Innovative Shit”

hello world!

According to Abby today is blog de-lurking day, a.k.a. a time to reveal yourself as a reader of someone’s blog by posting a comment. In my case, I suppose it makes an excuse to stop lurking on my own blog and catch you all up (faithful readers) on what I’ve been up to since Sept. 4.


  • After a few more false cooking starts, I eventually gathered the equipment I needed and started to feel more settled in to my new apartment:

    View Larger Map
  • I welcomed and started getting to know the new bunch of 8 volunteers at the Mennonite Voluntary Service house. They are a fun group and I’ve enjoyed hanging out with them once or week (sometimes more!) for bible study and watching The Office.
  • I took the train down to Oregon for a weekend, to visit ONE/Northwest‘s Portland office as well as James, Darla, Levi, and Bethany in Salem…great to see each of you! Unfortunately I lost my camera on this trip, so the photos included here are thanks to friends…
  • I spent 3 days at a ONE/Northwest staff retreat on a lake not too far away. This was a wonderful time of getting to know my colleagues better and improving our shared vision of how our organization can be most effective at helping address the climate crisis (at least, when I wasn’t getting distracted by a certain server crisis). And I got to introduce the staff to Cowtris during our no-talent night.

    the web team works to avert a crisis???

    not cold

  • I hosted a homemade ice cream party in honor of my 23rd birthday, which was a great success with some 30 guests who struggled to navigate the tight confines of this apartment.


  • I had the privilege to attend the 2008 Plone Conference in Washington, D.C. (Plone is an open source content management system used for building websites; I use it extensively at work and have enjoyed getting involved in contributing to the community that develops the software, as I described in the new Plone section of this blog). In addition to spending plenty of time doing geeky things like giving a talk on debugging Plone, I had some awesome Ethiopian food and spent some great times with Kyle and Christy (helping them decorate their apartment, watching nature documentaries, and trying to figure out how to get to the other side of the railroad tracks) as well as Don, Rosanna, Sharada, Eric, and Alberto (playing games and giving lessons in proper Facebook ettiquette).

    Plone Conference 2008


  • I made my infamous appearance as the bear market at the MVS Halloween party.


Whoops, it’s past my bedtime and I still have 2 months to go…guess there will have to be another installment sometime soon.

on the Plone Strategic Planning Summit

One month ago I had the privilege of participating in the Plone Strategic Planning Summit, at the Google headquarters in Mountain View, CA. (Plone is the content management software which we use at ONE/Northwest for setting up websites, and it is an open source project involving volunteer developers from around the world.) There’s plenty I could say about how well organized and how much fun this community is, but instead I’ll just point you at the Google Open Source blog entry about the PSPS if you want to know more.

The important part is this picture. Look how much fun we are having being geeks!

on Being a Programmer

Jonathan Wise’s essay on what he does as a programmer resonated with me. To whet your appetite:

A software developer must be part writer and poet, part salesperson and public speaker, part artist and designer, and always equal parts logic and empathy.

Code poets of the world unite!

on Mennonite Programming

Seeing as I share my office with another Mennonite programmer, we thought that we should have the following on our door:


(So far I’ve managed to fend off Andrew’s repeated suggestions that we accompany Menno with a portrait of Floyd Landis.)

You know it’s a productive day when…

…when your desktop looks like this:

on the Whereabouts of Mennonites

Inspired by my recent Anabaptist History tour of Europe and by the biannual convention of the Mennonite Church USA at San Jose (though I wasn’t able to attend), I’ve been working recently on creating this map of Mennonite congregations in North America.

Each congregation is represented by a colored bubble. The size of the bubble corresponds to the membership reported by the congregation, and the bubble’s color represents the year in which the congregation was founded. (Congregations from the same city are grouped together at low zoom levels.) The map uses the Google maps API so you can zoom and pan the map just like at

Menno Map Disclaimers

  • The data regarding MC USA congregations represented in this map should be up to date with the official MC USA directory. The data for other congregations, such as those in Canada, are more likely to be out of date. If your congregation is missing, or its info is no longer correct, please feel free to e-mail me the new info.
  • This map is not designed for navigational purposes. The addresses of these congregations were converted to latitude and longitude positions using an automated geocoding tool from Yahoo. I have not checked the results for accuracy, so your mileage (literally) may vary.

Without further ado:

Continue reading ‘on the Whereabouts of Mennonites’

on Summer

The fact that I name each one of these ‘on ______’ tends to encourage thoughtful introspection, which in turn makes me never get around to blogging. But it’s about time that I make sure you all know about my summer.

I’ve been working since I got back from Europe a couple weeks ago, and am thoroughly enjoying both of my two jobs. I’m continuing about two-thirds time at where I have been working for a few years; there I work on software development for the Caravel content management system, an open-source project. My second job is for The Red Post, a digital signage company recently started by Eric Kanagy. There I make Linux do its thing on the computerized screens we sell, and I’ll also be helping get a web-based application for managing said screens off the ground. I’ve been reminded of how much I like programming when it’s a project that involves experimentation to find the best (most efficient, elegant, and user-friendly) way of doing things. Of course, when your boss buys a MacBook Pro for you to use for the summer, it doesn’t hurt. (!)

I didn’t show up for the summer to work though. There are a great many awesome people in Goshen for this summer, and I’ve also been enjoying lazy evenings playing cards or just sitting and chatting. Hopefully I will get in some camping and/or biking trips as well. Come September I’m (now for sure–I have the plane ticket) heading to Seattle to begin a year-long position with ONE/Northwest through Mennonite Voluntary Service. (Excitement! But, it does provide an extra incentive to get the most out of Goshen this summer.)

This past weekend was full of excitement. Aside from the requisite playing with the Macbook (and forcing myself to learn to type Dvorak), two of my best friends from high school got married yesterday (shout out to Becca and Aaron!). I was one of the groomsmen, and it was a really wonderful service with both happy and poignant moments–more traditional than mine* will be, but it suited them well. There is one element that I highly recommend to anybody: the Chief makes a particularly good spot for the wedding party to kill time in between leaving the ceremony and arriving at the reception. Then today was spent helping Uncle Rich and Aunt Judy move into their new house on the millrace. (It’s the one with the gazebo on the water!)

*hypothetical at this point, I hope you realize