Jeff Barr's Blog

Things I Like..

Yes, I Am Still Alive!

I haven’t had the time to do a real post for quite some time. Here’s what’s been happening:

  • Daughter Tina graduated from Eastlake High after spending her senior year in the Running Start program at Bellevue College. She’ll be entering the University of Maryland in the fall and plans to study Journalism.

  • Son Stephen graduated from the University of Washington with degrees and honors in Applied Math and Economics. He drove cross-country at the beginning of July and is now in the Finance Ph.D program at the University of Rochester.

  • After taking an intensive (5 credit) course in Portuguese at the UW, son Andy departed for Brazil in early July with plans to visit a number of cities. He’s been having a great time and will return in mid-August, just in time to help out at Gnomedex and then return to the UW, where he’s studying Math, Physics, and Astronomy.

  • My wife Carmen has been forging ahead with her real estate career. Despite a tough market, people are still buying and selling and she’s staying busy.

  • Our other daughters (Bianca and Grace) spent a week in York, Pennsylvania with my mom and her husband before catching up with Carmen and Tina in Maryland.

  • I spent the early part of July working with my Amazon colleagues to get ready for the Amazon Career Fair in Second Life. I did some of the building and planning, but the majority of my time was spent putting together a great statistics package using LSL, PHP, and Amazon SimpleDB. We had a great turnout and are already making plans to run another fair later this year. As a result of some contacts I made at the fair, I have been invited to speak at the SLCC (Second Life Community Convention) next month.

  • Also on the Second Life side, I will be participating in the ThinkBalm Immersive Internet Professional Networking Event on the 4th of August. Sam and Erica Driver have done some really good work in the 3D immersive internet space, including some very readable and informative reports.

  • I am hard at work on a programming book, to be published this fall by SitePoint. Early this year I was asked to be a secondary author, with responsibility for writing the PHP code samples. This seemed pretty easy and I was eager to get started. After the primary author had a change of heart, the publisher asked me if I would take on the whole project. I got permission (and a generous time allocation) from Amazon and I’ve been writing since mid-May. I am now about 65% of the way through the first draft of “Build Your Own Cloud Computing Application Using Amazon’s EC2.” Writing is hard, but enjoyable (coding is a lot easier) and I suspect that this won’t be my last book.

  • I am looking forward to a busy fall, with a trip to Hong Kong in mid-September to speak at SIBOS, with another stop or two (ideas are welcome) in the Far East as a possibility.

  • We’ve got some maintenance and renovation underway on our home. Last week, Ryan and his crew from Red Ox Roofing replaced our dingy old cedar shakes with fresh and durable composites. They did a great job, showing up early, working late, and leaving everything clean. Trevor Bean of [Bean Construction])( is renovating our guest bathroom, starting from the bare walls.

I think that covers the highlights!