I like Netflix – I pay a fixed amount per month and can watch as many rented movies / TV shows as a I want (subject to having a fixed number at any one time, and transportation time lags.)
I like Apple TV – instant gratification whenever I decide I want to watch something.
What I really want though is the combination of these two things. On-demand access to any HD content for a fixed monthly subscription (even if there’s some kind of limitation to make sure I don’t try and watch 10 movies a day.) Mr Jobs – make this happen.
I have a mac at work and a mac at home now. How to keep these in sync? Simple – Spanning Sync using Google Calendar as the shared central point. It’s not free, but it ‘just works’ (ok, Leopard had some iSync bugs in the early versions, but everything seems ok again now.) I really like how I can edit a calendar entry on my work machine and know it will eventually get synced to my iPhone when I sync that at home.
I actually talked about doing this kind of thing almost 5 years ago to the day – looking at that list of requirements its nice that it pretty much all works now. 2 things that are missing – I’d like my iPhone to sync automatically with my home iMac over bluetooth, and also it’s still too much effort to sync different calendaring systems (e.g. personal with Google Calendar, work with Exchange) together.
I actually like Google Calendar a lot, it’s fun that it implements those sharing features I talked about 5 years ago. I also think it has a better user interface than the iCal app on the Mac – I tend to find I enter brief details in iCal and then fill in the details on Google Calendar.
Yes, I know .Mac is supposed to do all this too, but it was horribly broken when I tried to use it 3 months ago or so, and it doesn’t have something nearly as useful as Google Calendar as the web accessable / sharable part of the solution.
Since I got to New York 2 years ago (is it 2 years already? Yikes) I’ve been managing to get to a lot more gigs than I ever used to do in the UK. Last year I went to 10 or so shows, including my personal highlight of the year of seeing The Police at the Virgin Festival (a special ‘between album’ show by Franz Ferdinand at the intimate Bowery Ballroom was a close second.)
This year is kicking off similarly as concert season gets up and running.
The first show of the year was Super Furry Animals (SFA) at the Bowery Ballroom, a quick 5 minute walk from my apartment. I’ve never been a fan enough to buy any of their CDs but I heard they were a decent live act. The show was definitely worth going to, the one disappointing part was the crowd who had pretty much halved in size by the time the band played ‘The Man Don’t Give a Fuck’ (pretty much the only song I know from hearing the band in other people’s college rooms in 1996(ish) .)
A week ago I saw Beth Orton on her first live tour for a couple of years. I remember first hearing Beth Orton on a Glastonbury show on the BBC in the summer of 96. Her first album, Trailer Park, came out later than year and has been a regular in my listening ever since, but I’ve never seen her perform. These days she’s dropped the electronica leanings she had back then (partly from her work with William Orbit and The Chemical Brothers) and her style is a very pleasing folk / indie crossover. Her live voice was a lot better than I thought it might be, she had a fun stage presence and I definitely hope to see her again in a few years time.
Finally for now I saw Hot Chip last night at the newly refurbished and renamed Music Hall of Williamsburg. Hot Chip’s ‘The Warning’ was the driving-force of the UK’s electro renaissance of a year or 2 ago. I liked it, but wasn’t overwhelmed, but this was another band I wanted to see because of the promise of their live act. Again, no disappointments here – they were energetic, unpretentious, producing a very tight show full of opportunities for the crowd to stretch their dancing legs. I think that seeing these guys in a couple of years with a little more experience under their belt at a bigger venue would be a fantastic experience.
All 3 of these venues are relatively small and it was nice to be able to get reasonably close to the artists at all of them. The Hiro Ballroom probably wins ‘best gig venue I’ve ever been to’ though – the sound was fabulous (especially for an acoustic show like Beth’s was) and the interior was lovely too, more than making up for the strange practice of keeping the crowd waiting outside for ages and only letting people in in small groups.
I already have several more shows lined up – the highlight of the summer so far is looking like the triple bill of REM, Modest Mouse and The National at Madison Square Garden, but it’s the unexpected surprises that I’m really looking forward to.
I’ve been on my current team a year now, and things are coming along very nicely. We’ve got a great bunch of people, the agile / XP practice is moving along nicely (lots of pairing, big whiteboard walls, TDD, automated acceptance testing, etc.), and we moved the desktop development environment to fully-specced MacBook Pros with 30″ external screens. Oh, and the pool table is still here so we’ve been honing our skills on that too.
The business has also got more exciting since the update I gave year ago. The NYSE merged with Euronext, and the team here is working closely with teams in Europe and Asia, as well as obviously working with our external customers too. We’ve also purchased Wombat – these guys have some great technology and I’m looking forward to our engineering groups working closely together.
We’re growing, and growing quickly! As such we’re looking for some more great developers to join the team. The most number of open positions are for our Senior Java Engineer position – this is a server-side java role. If you’ve got at least 4 or 5 years development experience and have very strong Java fundamentals skills (including concurrency / multi-threading) this would be most interesting to you.
Furthermore we’re looking for a small team to take ownership of the UI parts of our application. This is going to consist mostly of a re-write and adding new features, and the technologies would be largely up to you (assuming that they can run on a JVM on the server-side.)
The specifics of these are 2 roles are available below:
We’re also looking for product managers / business analysts, ideally with agile experience.
If you’re interested in finding out any more about these roles please email me – I look forward to hearing from you!