2010 Highlights

24 Jan 2011

For the eighth year in a row — a milestone I had to double-check to believe — I'm taking a moment to record personal highlights from the previous year.

This was a landmark year for me in many ways. When 2010 began, some friends and I had just announced Analog, and we spent the first few weeks busily responding to an onslaught of attention and more project inquiries than we could possibly have hoped for. To everyone who helped spread the word and make us feel so supported, thank you.


Our plan for Analog was to use client work as a stepping stone toward making our own apps. Having such an experienced team has plenty of advantages, but it also means we have families to support and can't manage the typical startup lifestyle. The allure of our own ideas proved to be too strong, however, and we ultimately decided not to do any client work.

It was around this time that I flew to New Zealand to speak at Webstock. Due to a massive snowstorm that shut down JFK, I sadly missed Kiwi Foo, and my travel time from New York to Wellington wound up being over 48 hours. Travel woes aside, Webstock was a fantastic experience in every way. For anyone interested, a video of my talk is available.

Hot on the heels of Webstock, I spoke at ConFoo in Montréal and South by Southwest in Austin. Just a few months into the year, I felt like I had substantially improved my status as a conference speaker. I was giving better talks at better conferences.

Partly inspired by my collaborative workspace in Brooklyn, Analog's first creation of the year was a collaborative workspace in Bristol. It's located in Stokes Croft and features some gorgeous desks designed by Jon.

I first saw the studio the day the desks were delivered, as I was in Bristol briefly before flying to Amsterdam to give a keynote at DPC, the Dutch PHP Conference. My talk at DPC was a big hit. Thanks so much to everyone who said such nice things, and also to everyone who came. Waking up early the morning after a social event is never easy. If I wasn't giving the keynote, I would probably have slept in. :-) This was my first visit to Amsterdam, and I loved it. Thanks especially to Juliette for letting me borrow her bicycle while I was there. I had a blast riding around and exploring the city with Helgi.

In July, OSCON was back in Portland, and so was I. I've been attending OSCON since it was called OSCON, and I was very glad to see it return to Portland. I made the most of the experience by dining at Mint multiple times. I gave a tutorial about the evolution of web security; the slides are available on SlideShare.

Brooklyn Beta

Most of the next few months were consumed with work on Brooklyn Beta. (And Mapalong, but more on that later.) Brooklyn Beta is a collaboration between Analog and Fictive Kin. (We sometimes refer to ourselves collectively as Anakin. It makes us laugh.) It's hard to point to one source of inspiration for Brooklyn Beta, but Webstock was a big inspiration for me.

Cameron and I really poured our hearts into this. Helped by our amazing colleagues, studiomates, and friends, we compensated for our lack of experience with lots of love and hard work, and we couldn't have been happier with how it all turned out.

In the spirit of Brooklyn Beta, we gave a very early preview of Mapalong at the conference.


Mapalong is an app for remembering your favorite places and telling your story. We started simply, letting people add places to a shared map and add context through titles, descriptions, and tags. Some people added favorite cafes and restaurants in their neighborhood, while others added scenic spots from around the world. Some started recording various places they have lived or important moments in their lives, like where they proposed. It has been a blast watching the world come to life.

I hope to write more about Mapalong soon. If you're interested in trying it out, reserve your username to get in line, and we'll send you an invitation as soon as we can. We've been sending invitations regularly, and you can follow @mapalong for updates.

In December, PHP Advent was back for a fourth year. This kept Sean and I pretty busy, but we were very happy with how it turned out. Thanks to all the authors who wrote such wonderful articles for everyone to read. I think 2010 was our best year yet. Sean wrote more about it after we were finished.

As PHP Advent was winding down, I posted a puzzle to my blog I called the Christmas Conundrum. The day after, I posted a hint, and on Christmas Day, I posted the solution. It was a lot of fun, and I might do it again next year.

What a year. I hope you enjoyed 2010 as much as I did, and I hope 2011 is even better.