Birds in Napa

Last week I attended the VIP workshop in Napa and this time took a camera with some zoom to get some pictures of the local wildlife.

I saw some hummingbirds up close last year and was hoping to get better shots this year. I only saw one hummingbird briefly this year but nevertheless saw a variety of species I hadn’t seen before.

Western Bluebird. This pair lived outside my room and I got to know the male’s routine, he didn’t mind me getting up close at all.

European Starling an invasive species. I caught these two having an intimate moment.

Great Egret

Great Egret presumably hunting small reptiles or insects.

California Scrub Jay sadly not great pictures, these birds have beautiful blue wings. Members of the crow family.

Red Winged Blackbird

A Red Winged Blackbird looking away from us.

European House Sparrow

The humble European House Sparrow


Finally, a hummingbird. Most likely a Black Chinned Hummingbird.



First Sail of 2018

At last I got out in my RS Vareo again today, the first sail of 2018. 🙂 Relatively light wind, good surfing conditions, good fun beating upwind through the waves and I got the kite up a good few times.


I was glad to have got out early before the wind started dropping. It’s really striking just how much strength and endurance I’ve lost in the two months I haven’t been out, time to get going again.

Coming in as the others were going out.

I’ve been getting my sailing kicks with very small boats the last weeks which is also fun.


How to do VoIP Internet Telephony at Home

When we moved to the UK from Germany in 2013 we quickly discovered BT’s high and fiddly telephone call pricing structure which soon got me thinking about how to bypass as much of their service as I could. Cheap calls and simpler pricing was a must.

Setting up a SIP phone to do VoIP (voice over IP) seemed like a good solution to reduce call costs and also make adding further landline numbers cheap and easy, SIP being part of the VoIP family of technologies. Read more about SIP vs VoIP here.

Continue reading “How to do VoIP Internet Telephony at Home”

A Year at VIP – 2017

In June 2016 I joined the VIP team at Automattic the company behind, Jetpack, Woocommerce and other products.

Automattic is a fully distributed company where we all work from wherever we choose, and apart from the Grand Meetup where the whole company meets, we also gather at smaller meetups throughout the year.

Meetups are an important part of Automattic culture and they are a mix of work and social gatherings, getting to know each other is a key part of making distributed working work.

In addition to the team meetups, this year I flew to Brazil to visit a client, took part in a conference in Napa and did a training course in Amsterdam. The world feels a lot smaller now as I look back over the year and in 2017 I’ve met many great people from all over the world.


A VIP meetup in Barcelona. This was an excellent kickoff for the year, we had some great workshops with a highlight being a session with our systems chief Barry.

Continue reading “A Year at VIP – 2017”