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    Blog entries for July, 2009

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    Twitter (and mirroring it to Facebook) seem to be replacing this blog. I like what Valerie Aurora writes on her home page:

    For those of you born after 1980, a "homepage" is an ancient form of social presence on the web which has been superceded by more structured social networks like MySpace and Facebook. One of the main problems with a homepage was that it is easy to forget to update it. My current homepage is mostly an archive of the past and a collection of pointers to my current active Internet presence. Hope you enjoyed your history lesson!


    Because impending parenthood and working for a startup aren't enough stress for one year, we've decided to relocate. (This has been the plan for several years, but stuff kept coming up. It seemed a bit now-or-never at this point.)

    If you've seen the movie Away We Go, we did a trip like that in 2007 and again this year. The movie is about two people exactly our age, traveling around deciding where to live while expecting a kid. (Aside: the main characters in the movie made sense to me, but critics described them as unbelievable personalities. It seems movie critics don't know a lot of extreme introvert couples. Maybe we should get out more.)

    Last year I got a lot out of a book called Who's Your City, which is a kind of flip side to The World is Flat. Who's Your City sounds like a "decide where to live" book but in fact it's about economic geography; Richard Florida argues that cities are essential to knowledge work, and that economic growth in recent decades has been due to knowledge work in regional centers (finance in New York, tech in Silicon Valley, sales in Chicago, etc.) ... the geographic clustering allows people to network, jump jobs, launch startups, exchange ideas, and in general get things moving. This book claims the world is becoming less flat, with a widening economic and cultural gap between urban knowledge workers and everyone else. You can understand a lot about people's gut reactions for or against Barack Obama from this one.

    Relevance to our move: economically, it's near-insane for software developers in the US to live outside Silicon Valley, with a very short list of second-tier options (Boston, Boulder, RDU, Austin, maybe a couple others). And I love startup-type work environments, groups of smart people, and all that tech industry goodness. Amy's nursing specialty creates a similar situation; it's only found in large hospitals.

    Aside from work, though, these places don't match us very well. (Work is not the only factor.)

    It turns out that litl's parent company has a (small) office in Asheville, NC, a city on our short list for many years - it's near family, pretty, not too large, not too boring, affordable, lots of outdoor stuff to do. We enjoyed North Carolina when we lived in Chapel Hill.

    The downside of Asheville is that it's not a tech industry kind of place. That's the risky (insane?) bit of the move, but I'm hopeful it will work out. Oddly enough, in practice it's almost more convenient to Boston than where we live now ... instead of being two hours from litl's Boston office, I can be five or fifteen minutes from the office in Asheville, complete with a fancy video link to the team in Boston and London. Going into the Boston office two days in a row was already 8 total hours of commuting, flying to Boston for a two-day trip isn't notably worse.

    This will continue our North-South ping-pong, for me Georgia, Chicago, Chapel Hill, Boston, Asheville. Amy was there too except for the Georgia part.

    Long story not short, we'll be in Asheville in a few weeks, but I'll still be in Boston often for work. And we'll see how it goes.