Open source peer-to-peer transportation systems

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I’m building a list of reactions to my Paris visit, touching on cultural differences in the world of email, open source, the fascinating things that various folks have done with Thunderbird in France, imperialism, and other topics, but I wanted to make sure to show this picture. There’s a transportation strike in Paris this week (great timing on my part, as usual), which makes getting around a bit harder than usual, although I tend to walk around as much as is reasonable anyway given how nice it is to do so in Paris.

Today though, I was running late for an appointment, so I hopped on one of these puppies:

These slightly frumpy 3-gear city bikes are some of the 20,000 “Velib” that a company has placed in 1000 different locations throughout Paris in exchange for advertising rights. The system is optimized for using bikes as a quick and easy way to move around short distances. With a subscription (ranging from 1 euro for a day to 29 euros for a year), trips of 1/2 hour or less are free, with costs climbing for longer rentals, thereby ensuring that people don’t hog the bikes. Apart from reports of some people using padlocks to “reserve” the bikes in anticipation of the strike, it seems to work great. The stations I see tend to have at least some bikes in them (this one was full, which is actually a problem if you’re trying to return a bike). On Wednesday there were 159,000 trips recorded .

It was a fun bike ride. In addition to the simple pleasure of zipping past cars through sunny Paris streets, there’s something about riding a “Velib” for the first time which reminds me of using open source software for the first time. A joyful personal experience based on a structured shared asset, with positive environmental consequences.

ActiveState rocks on

Unavoidably, my taking on a new job at Mozilla means that I’ll be leaving my old one behind. After eight years, that’s something that begs commenting, especially if to those who’ve known me primarily through my various roles at ActiveState.

ActiveState has been a tremendous home for me for many years. Throughout my tenure I’ve grown tremendously as an engineer, a manager, an “open source guy”, and hopefully as a friend and colleague. It’s going to take some adjustment to not be an Activator.

At the same time, I think my leaving ActiveState is the right thing to do, not just for me, but for ActiveState as well. ActiveState is in better shape now than it’s been in years, with a strong CEO who knows how to nurture his team, a supportive board, a solid core business providing support for dynamic languages to people and companies worldwide, an exciting adventure for our collective child, Komodo, and some intriguing possibilities in the hyper-growth arena of social networking platforms. ActiveState is poised to do great things, they’ll do so just fine without me around on a daily basis. My leaving will allow the organization to evolve, and I’m confident it will be for the better. The best bit is that I’ll have a great ongoing role as an advisor, so I’ll still get to talk to my friends and participate in the most fun discussions. I’ll stay based in Vancouver, which will make it quite a bit simpler.

It’s a testament to the depth of relationships I’ve formed at ActiveState that everyone‘s reaction when hearing of the reasons for my leaving was the same: “Congratulations.” They understood that “the mozilla mail thing” is a unique gig. Thanks, all, for everything.

I’m sure I’ll blog about ActiveState news periodically, as projects like OpenKomodo evolve.

A big project just started…

Long time no blog.

Big personal news recently is we just bought a tiny bit of land on Gambier Island (right about here), which is currently fit for nothing, but hopefully with some work can become a camping spot, then maybe a place we can park a camper, and some day build something. The island is quite wild, with little development yet, and our lot is 5 minutes to the dock, from where we can see lots of water, Cypress mountain, etc.

It feels like we just embarked on a very big project. Oh well.

Step one will be clearing part of the land enough to be able to set up a tent.

Step two: If anyone knows of a cheap old camper (would love an airstream) in the neighborhood, let me know…


Back from a trip to Berkeley, San Francisco (in part for Web 2.0, which was, as many have remarked, full of suits) and Paris, for my brother’s two weddings. As much as I have fond memories of my own weddings, it’s nice to not have to worry about anything and just be able to enjoy things. It was also nice to have our first kid-free multi-day vacation in over 8 years (well, since there were kids to be kid-free from).

Now we’re back, it’s raining, the teachers are on strike, but at least the car repairs were more minimal than expected.

Next planned trip: two days in Ottawa at the end of the month. I’ve never been outside the airport — I hope I get to see at least a bit of the city while I’m there, but it’s doubtful (full two days of meetings, I think).


Went to see the parade of santa claus’es downtown today. It was a traffic mess, but the kids liked it, as is obvious in the pictures above (Sylvia was on my shoulders and Hugo on Emily’s — I like the twistable frame of the Nikon Coolpix 950 for this sort of situation).