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.
In June 2016 I joined Automattic the company behind WordPress.com which is fully distributed meaning we all work from home, co-working spaces or wherever we happen to find ourselves. New starters all get a budget to kit out their home offices which also covers buying a desk,… a really nice desk.
I’d wanted a sit / stand desk for ages and thanks to the company was at last able to get one and for me in the UK, options seemed to come down to the Ikea Bekant or the Posturite DeskRite series.
Now, we have loads of Ikea stuff at home but quality is a mixed bag and from my research, the Bekant has problems with its mechanised legs which are prone to failure and when that happens the desk needs dissembling and the legs returning to Ikea. Pretty sub-optimal.
So I went for the DeskRite 300 because of its more solid and modular design and construction, plus easy repairability in the event of component failure. If for example the motor unit failed, it could be easily removed and replaced.
A year of use later it has turned out very well, I switch from sitting to standing three or four times a day, the desk works like a charm and as solid as ever. Recommended!
This year I finally bought myself a radio controlling sailing boat having wanted one for longer than I can remember, I went for a Joysway Dragonforce 65 V.6 an inexpensive RC yacht. I regularly sail a full sized boat and having made plenty of boats and gliders as a kid was especially curious about sailing an RC scaled down version. I hadn’t had RC models of any kind till now.
Having set it up and working, I realised there were a few things I wish I’d known before embarking on building it which prompted this post.
So here’s something that has worked well. We had an old TV that we wanted to give new life to in the form of so called ‘Smart TV’ functionality and went for an external streaming device. There are a few manufacturers producing external devices, Amazon has its Fire TV, Google has Chromecast but there are alternatives too.
Roku stick attached to the HDMI port
After some research, we went for a Roku streaming stick which was cheap, low res (since the TV is low res) and it has a wide variety of streaming channels available such as Netflix, Youtube, Google Play, BBC iPlayer, Wuaki and more. The Roku even has a phone app for an extra control option.
If you want to go this route to upgrade an old TV, consider whether you want ethernet and/or WiFi connectivity, the resolution needed, i.e. does your TV and connection support the high resolution offered by the device? and services offered. Also consider vendor restrictions, e.g. will a Google or Amazon device lock out other vendors. The Roku is neutral in this respect which was appealing.