Evite social networking

I dunno if it’s just me, but I’m creeped out by Evite’s turn towards social networking. I don’t actually want to know more about people who get invited to the same parties as me! That seems like a relationship that’s not close enough to be useful, but just too close for anonymous comfort. And given that I don’t actually know these people, do I want to see their photos staring out at me every time I use Evite? And do I want to know what their favorite restaurants are? And their birthdays? I have no option about displaying this info either — Evite is shoving social networking down my throat whether I want it or not.

It’s probably worse because I largely use Evite for businessy things now — like 106 Miles events (oh, be sure to subscribe to the 106 Miles Atom feed!). It is rather impressive how many people will join a lot of social networks though.

Server layout

99% of the time I am totally a booster of Open Source. I love Open Source, I want to marry Open Source, I go around singing that there are “no people like Open Source people, they give away code until they turn blue!!!”, etc. The other 1% of the time, you can find me steadily and fluently cursing Open Source as I struggle to shut down 5 web/DB/pubsub servers in 30 minutes — each of them with Apache in a different place and with different directory structures and sometimes different binary names.

I dunno why people think it’s so clever to put out custom Apache builds, but in my opinion it’s nothing but a huge timesuck to use anyone else’s build. I always build Apache and PHP from source myself, using the exact layout (/usr/local) advocated in the PHP manual. I’m not saying it’s intrinsically better, I’m saying I can’t waste time switching around on a per-server basis — and I don’t think they’re better either. After you’ve had to run a webdev stack on so many different operating systems, you just want consistency so you don’t have to think about it any more.

The inevitability of overcommitment

Every year, I toy with making a New Year’s resolution to stop biting off more than I can chew. I have this fantasy that somehow I’ll find a way to have a simpler, less stressful life where I never feel that constant sense of being behind in everything.

But this year, instead of making totally empty promises to stop overcommitting, I’m experimenting with the idea of trying to find the perfect amount of overcommitment. Like clearly you don’t want to be so stressed out that you can’t get anything done because you’re running from one project to the next trying to figure out which one delivers the biggest guilt charge. I’ve definitely been in that headspace where I was simply incapacitated by looming obligations (helloooooo, graduate school!). On the other hand… do I really want the stress-free life? I’ll sleep when I’m dead, you know? There’s way too much interesting stuff to do right now.

Purely by accident I discovered a decent way to figure out if I’ve got the right level of anxiety working. Once a month or so, I write down like 4 or 5 goals — and then I don’t look at them for awhile. Then I get all stressed and guilted out like usual. After some time has passed, I run across the goals in my notebook and realize I actually accomplished most of them — and a bunch of other stuff too. The knowledge of this helps keep me from panicking next time I take on too many tasks.

Tech biz roundup

So I’m starting a little networking group for entrepreneurial engineers here in Silicon Valley! It’s called 106 Miles after the line from The Blues Brothers. It’s sort of an opportunity to ask all the things you wanted to know about starting a software business, but didn’t know who to ask — plus beer and pizza! If you’d like to attend our first meeting next week, get in touch.

Did you know that Caterina Fake has an amazing blog about the tech business? It’s called Bizwerk, and it’s a treasure trove of tasty nuggets. Where does she find the time???!!? Caterina is someone whose insights into product and marketing I really respect, so I definitely want to know what she’s reading and thinking about.

And finally, I’m going to be on Tantek’s decentralized social networking panel at SXSW this March. I think I’m the Designated Hater. 🙂 I’m looking forward to seeing the famous bats of Austin, and perhaps getting a bat-shaped refrigerator magnet, and eating BBQ till I burst.