Radio Silence, Redux

I am in the process of moving my (very) occasional blog from a relatively obscure CMS (Anchor1) to Jekyll, which involves pulling out all the old content from Anchor and into text files. It means I’m re-reading a lot of old stuff, and occasionally there is a piece that seems just old, like it was from a different world.

Radio Silence is exactly this kind of piece. It brings back a sense of the floating world that was Facebook until about 15 November 2016. The encapsulating moment was a one-on-one with my manager at the time. Protect and Care (PAC) were still in the “Famous Women of STEM” section of MPK20 (Zone 3)2, and Pete and I would frequently do our one-on-ones as a walk on the roof. It was a perfect Bay Area day; in the way that only California can be, I’m not sure it really mattered what time of year it was.

We had just gotten our smoothies at Straw, and we were discussing the issues with the new Facebook ferry service from Sausalito down to the Menlo Park campus. He turned to me, and said, “You know. None of this is real. Enjoy it while you can.” It wasn’t just wonderful. It was amazing.

Everything seemed so much simpler and easier, even if I was forever in need of more reducers for Hipal Hive queries (and Presto couldn’t do much of anything yet.) What’s most difficult in looking back at it, was that it seemed we were doing exactly what was needed. We really didn’t understand what was happening on our platform3.

But, I am still here, six and half years later. The honeymoon is definitely over, but I do see some hints of the re-kindling of my affections.

  1. There were always one or two things that didn’t quite work right for me with Anchor, a particular pain was getting images to work as I expected it. I was also bothered by the relatively slow pace of updates. I also really wanted a system where the content was in a format that was “easy,” and that would be raw text files in Markdown. For me, the best option was Jekyll. 

  2. More critically, PAC still existed. 

  3. And, in weird ways, we still don’t, but I don’t think it’s in the same way as critics and press lay it out. But I won’t write about that until after I leave.