It’s been another busy few months… We’ve been sort of social butterflies on the weekends, and when we’re not being sociable, we’re taking care of something related to our new home in Madison Valley. Most of the time I’m working fairly late, and while I’m still motivated to cook, I haven’t had the energy to set up photographs or write much.
We had to run off to a birthday party today, and I wanted to make a little something to bring along, but needed it to travel reasonably well.
The solution? Matcha eclairs.
It starts with a fairly standard pate a choux recipe (half milk/half water and a little extra egg white being notable adjustments).
I made a little white chocolate ganache with a tiny bit of rum and a little more matcha than I usually use, which I chilled and then whipped up before piping. When that was done, I took a little more white chocolate and matcha and tempered it in a makeshift double boiler for the topping. The temper wasn’t quite right as it didn’t stay shiny, but the chocolate tasted good. The matcha-heavy ganache was bitter enough to balance the sugar in the Callebaut white chocolate but was not too over the top; Hiromi and I liked the ama-nigai taste.
The extra egg white seemed to help the eclairs maintain a slightly crisp texture even after refrigeration and a 40 minute drive.
So I've been buried in things and mostly devoid of energy for a few months... sorry about that.
Life hasn't been all work... Hiromi and I made a little trip to DC a couple months ago to see a friend of hers, who cheers for the Washington Redskins. I came back just a few days later so that I could avoid taking extended vacation from work, and Hiromi stayed with her friend a few days longer. Unfortunately, at roughly the same time Hiromi was boarding the plane back to Seattle, I learned that my job at Zillow faced foreclosure, along with the jobs of about 35% of my colleagues. (The press release noted a 25% reduction, but that excluded a number of agency temporaries).
The economy is ugly, but apparently people with my background are still in strong demand. Phone calls started coming in the day the layoffs were announced, and I had my first offer about a week and a half later. My ambition was actually to switch to a more web development focused role, instead of remaining a Software Design Engineer in Test. But the manager for most promising lead for that went on vacation just as I started making progress on interviews, and I didn't quite feel comfortable waiting on that.
I ended up choosing between a Microsoft contract at a convenient location, and a contract-to-hire role at a luxury travel company. I chose the travel company because it seemed like a more interesting opportunity, though some of the details made me nervous... On the bright side, one of my ex-Zillow peers made the same decision, after struggling with some of the same things as me, so I was pleased to see a familiar face again.
The financial pain of the transition was pretty substantial, but I should be ok in a few months. Fortunately, Hiromi also found work as of today, so things should be smoother by March or so.
We've had the lofty ambition of moving to a nicer place since, well, before Hiromi even arrived. We've been torn between buying something minimalist with a tiny down payment from my now completely brutalized stock portfolio, and renting something a bit better than what we're in now.
After some disappointing tours of places all over the city, we were about ready to shelve our plans until sometime next year. Last week, Hiromi spotted a rental that looked like a potential fit on Hotpads.com, and we booked a showing Saturday morning. It turned out to be pretty close to what we were looking for, so, after five years in a cramped apartment meant to be a one-year experiment in extreme frugality during the early stages of my business, we're finally getting a little more space...
Our new home is a pretty, well-appointed side-by-side duplex in one of my favorite parts of Seattle, just a few blocks south of a cluster of nifty Madison Park restaurants. The kitchen has a really nice open layout, a nifty gas range, and somewhat luxurious fixtures, and will no longer isolate me from my guests when we're hosting dinner parties... There's also enough space to keep my YuzuMura.com stuff out of the way of the rest of my life.
Of course, the timing of our move isn't exactly the most convenient possible time... we'll be juggling an attempt to visit family in Idaho Falls for the holidays with packing too much stuff, loading and unloading a truck, and, well, work...
The post is a review of a program called Slife that is teaching me a lot about my workflow. I’ll be writing more about how I am using it here in the next few weeks, so please make your way over to MacSparky to read the review.
If you are visiting by means of MacSparky. Thanks for dropping by. As a Mac lover, I think you will find plenty to tickle your fancy here. Visit the Series page to get a taste of some of what I’ve been writing about. I would especially recommend the Capture Everything series, which has been the most popular series to date.
Thanks to David, for the chance to do the guest post. And thanks to all readers, from Creativityist and MacSparky alike, who make this project so much fun.
So we officially announced CS4 today. Mostly this is just an unveiling of the suite configurations, the branding, and some marketing stuff. But we’re also starting to talk more in-depth about features and one of the big themes in this release is making developers and designers more productive together. You’re going to see that as you start playing with the CS4 tools and when you start getting to look at Flex Builder “Gumbo” (and the SDK), AIR 1.5, and Flash Player 10.
The biggest thing is FXG. We have FXG support in Photoshop, Illustrator, and Fireworks so you can take that artwork you’ve spent time on in the design tools and bring it into your Flex applications. It’s a full XML-based representation that will make the artwork easy for designers to create and developers to work with (in addition to saving on file size).
We’re also looking at helping developers be more expressive. Things like Pixel Bender help blur the lines between developer and designers. Developers can work with designers to code up great filters that can be used in Photoshop, After Effects and Flash. It’s going to make design across all mediums come alive in very interesting ways.
So CS4 is a big release for developers. I would argue it’s the first CS release to truly integrate everything Adobe and Macromedia did because it’s started to incorporate the developer side of Macromedia. There’s also some interesting new stuff in there that should expand Adobe’s footprint on the tech world, so I’m excited to see how that’s received.
Mike and I are leaving tomorrow on a mini tour of Asia and we’ll be showing off a bunch of very cool stuff that you’ll be able to get your hands on before too long. We’re going to be talking about Flex 4, Flash Player 10, Adobe AIR 1.5, Thermo, and all of the cool stuff that goes along with that including FXG, Flex Builder 4, and Pixel Bender. So there’s a ton of stuff to cover. If you’re interested, we’re hitting Tokyo, Seoul, Taipei, and Hong Kong in that order (check out my Dopplr planned trips for more info).
If you’re in any of those cities, please come join us!
The Artist’s Way Collective begins week 4 today. This week focuses on Recovering a Sense of Integrity.
For those who are participating with us, you can share your thoughts in the comments below. (If you aren’t participating, feel free to share your reactions too.) If you are using your blog to process your experiences, please leave us a link.
Only three hours ago, give or take, TUAW posted about Espresso. Being developed by MacRabbit, the makers of said CSSEdit, Espresso looks to take nipping and tucking to a whole new level. In their own words: “we looked at the needs of modern web developers and streamlined their workflow into one focused app.” I like the sound of that so much, I’m almost willing to forgive this audacious claim: “Soon, Espresso will deliver something better than a caffeine boost.”
See you soon Espresso. And sooner if you let me be a tester!
Creating content is life giving. Managing all of it? Well, that’s kind of like wading into the river Styx.
With new files added every day, my documents folder gets a little stuffy. I know I’m not the only one; last spring, I wrote a post about how I organize my documents using Leap and Hazel. It has been one of my most popular posts.
In that post, I mentioned in passing what has become a most useful trick. I have a current documents smart folder. It’s for my hipster files…the ones that are connected to the projects I have going right now.
Using Leap, I tag files as current if they are connected to any projects that are in progress. Leap uses the “Spotlight comments” field in the file info to tag these files. You don’t have to use Leap to do this, by the way…but the other ways I have seen involve wading a little further into Styx.
Once you have labeled a few files, you can create a smart folder to get to them quickly. Open finder, and select “New Smart Folder” from the File menu:
Once that window is open, click the little plus sign in the top right hand corner. Choose the Spotlight comment field in the first window, contains in the second, and then type “current” in the third:
Now, save your smart folder. I put mine in the documents folder…its a good way to mock the less cool files that are crowding their way in there. I also dragged mine to my dock — it’s one of the only items that gets a permanent home there. When it’s time to pick up where I left off on something, the files I need are only two clicks, and about five seconds, away.
Go make one now. It’s what the cool kids are doing.
This happened yesterday morning while I was on an airplane, but it’s still great to see. We’ve released an updated beta of Adobe AIR for Linux. This includes 1.1 functionality and the encrypted local store, so for those of you having to retype your password into applications on Linux, that should go away. If you have any questions or issues, leave a comment, or better yet, drop by the forums.
I’ve been doing some big thinking (read: way above my pay grade) about Adobe’s role in the open web, why we don’t seem to get much credit, and how we can genuinely move the whole web ecosystem forward while keeping our developer community and our shareholders happy. And right now we do a lot. There’s the open screen project which should become a lot more interesting as we get to those “next major releases” of Flash Player and Adobe AIR out there without any licensing restrictions or royalties required. We’ve encouraged and fostered the standardization of PDF which worked out well for the web community as well as Adobe shareholders through a broadening and “platformization” of PDF. And just today I read some nice kudos from Creative Commons about Adobe’s creation and support of keeping XMP open (XMP is a way to store metadata in various rich media formats).
Adobe is a huge company with a great design community, a great developer community, and a great footprint on the web. We have a ton of intellectual property that we’ve been open with because it helps move our own agenda forward but also helps innovation across a wide swath of technology including rich media, documents, and the web. Adobe has a long history of striking a good balance by continuing to make money off of open standards and specifications that we free and that others have created. Adobe makes money off of tools, servers, and services. We increase revenue by increasing the number of people using our stuff which allows us to be open with a lot of our biggest assets. And while a lot of that has focused recently on the developer side of the house, examples like XMP show that it really does come from every part of the company. Including the parts that make most of the money.
Hopefully we’ll see more of this next year and beyond because I think Adobe has a unique niche in the web ecosystem as it sits today. We’ve got lots of technology and a business model that encourages more openness.