My life as a literary nobody (an update)

A few months ago I got an email invitation to a big party to be held at a trendy nightclub in New York City to commemorate Salon’s tenth anniversary. This was on account of the articles I’ve written for them over the years (see “stuff John wrote” in the little box on the right), one of which I later found out had been selected as one of the “Best of Salon 2003”. I figured I might get to hobnob with some high-octane literary people, maybe make some connections. You never know what might come of such things. So the big day came a few weeks ago and I drove down to Manhattan for this damn party. Hung around the dark noisy nightclub where I couldn’t see a thing or hear myself think. Didn’t know a soul who was there. I talked to a few people; a few short conversations. I even talked to Joan Walsh, Salon’s editor-in-chief. For about 11.5 seconds, that is, until a literary Somebody came by and Walsh turned away from me (the nobody), and posed with the Somebody for the cameraman with the big tripod that he was lugging all over the place and spazzing into people with. Which I thought was rather rude of her, actually, even though it was a noisy party and that kind of abrupt conversational focus-shift does happen at parties like that. I just stood there like a dork for about 2 minutes waiting to see if Walsh was going to resume the conversation that she left mid-word. Finally I took the hint and mosied along. At least the photographer didn’t offer to take my picture, which is good on account of I still have that bad tooth and I look like crap when I smile. Everybody who was a somebody was dressed in stylish black. I too was wearing a black sweater, but it didn’t count because I was also wearing “cheeno” pants and fake topsider boating shoes that I got at K-Mart in Manahawkin for $14.

It cost me thirty damn dollars to park the car. I missed most a day of work, too, between the going to and the coming from New York. My boss wasn’t too crazy about that. Here’s an account of the only significant connection made.

Inside: some more dead ends and projects that went nowhere.

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Laszlo is Hiring

The company I work for, Laszlo Systems, has an opening for a software engineer to work on our Rich Internet Application (open source) platform.

I’ve been at Laszlo for two years and I like it a lot. Not only that, and call me a crack-head dreamer if you want to (go ahead! call me that!), but I really think Laszlo is going to transform the web. If you’re a hot-shot programmer you might want to check this out.

My boss has the details on the job.

welcome Joshua!

<%image(20050317-josh-gimped.jpg|400|400|Josh)%>We are excited to have a new developer joining us on Croquet at U.Wisconsin. Joshua Gargus is moving to Madison all the way from Atlanta, which is quite a big step for such a young man. And he and has wife had just bought a house in Georgia! Both my boss and I have moved our families cross-country for new jobs, including a period where our wives had stayed at the old house, and we know it’s not easy.

Joshua has already clearly dedicated his work to highly interactive applications on the cutting edge of technology. A haptic controller that lets you physically mold “digital clay,” including the ability to pull the molded surface out as well as merely pushing it in. (Think about it.) A sketchbook that recognizes individual strokes (not bitmaps) on a timeline for playback, annotation, and hardware rendering in various styles. Much of his work has been in Squeak, done at the leading centers for Squeak development. (Croquet is built on top of Squeak.)

I’ve looked at some of Joshua’s code, and I’m excited that we’re getting such a talented developer. Coming up: what we’ll both be working on…