Chuq Von Rospach is a Silicon Valley veteran doing Technical Community Management and amateur photographer with a strong interest in birds, wildlife and landscapes. My goal is to explore the Western states and working to tell you the stories of the special places I've found. You can find out more on the About Page.
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Monthly Archives: September 2006
Today is my last day as an Apple employee. I’ve been trying to track down and say “thanks” to as many of the folks I’ve gotten to know over the years as I can, but seeing everyone is simply impossible, so I bet the list’s indulgence for a bit.
As the time arrives for me to start the next leg of this journey, I felt it
necessary to say thank you to some of the people here that made this place so special.
I arrived to a copy of Odyssey and a T-shirt. Now, almost 18 years later, I leave having
spent almost half my life on this planet at Apple. It’s not often you have the chance
to change the world and make it better; Apple is a company that has found a way to do
that many times. To watch it happen, to be part of the process, is a privilege and a joy.
I’m proud of the work that I’ve done over the years to help make Apple the kind of
company that could change the world.
From one round peg to another, all I can say is — thank you. Thank you for the
opportunity to make a difference, and thank you most of all for being part of something
that has made me a much better and stronger person for being a part of it.
My path and Apple’s diverge, but only slightly. Apple will likely not even notice
the loss; I carry with me a love and respect for the company and its purpose, and most
important, I carry with me the memories and the people and the friendships that
made this a special place for me.It’s amazing to look back and realize how few years
separate the MacPlus and the MacPro, from the Newton to the Nano, from
MacDraw to Aperture and iTunes.
Thank you for making this place the kind of place you want to give a damn about, and
be a part of. Be true to your purpose, but more important, be true to yourself. Never
forget that it’s not about the tech or the toys or the geek words, but about the people; the
people both inside Apple and around us.
Maybe we have to be crazy.
How else can we stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art?
Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written?
Please keep in touch!
Chuq Von Rospach
(as of 3PM, it will be no longer my fault….)
I decided to take in today’s keynote in Caffe Macs, on campus, since today’s the last one I’ll see as part of Apple.
Some keynotes are important, some less so. It seemed, today, that the entire campus was electric leading up to the event. People showed up early, people showed up in large numbers — it was crowded and full of anticipation. Even Apple employees seemed to feel this was something special about to happen.
Then steve arrives, and it goes quiet.
New iPod: nice evolutionary upgrade. Some of the new features are very nice — the gapless encoding especially, but the search functions were a nice tweak. the games — most of them are really retro, but retro is hot, and I’m amused when I see bejeweled hauled out as the prime game again; of course, it’s the ONE game I put on my Treo….
New Nanos. Really nice upgrades all around, especially the $149 price point for the new capacity. and colors. god, do I go for 4gig’s in blue, or 8 in black? choices, choices…
and the new shuffle. I fully expected the shuffle’s to be sent to Buffalo and the style retired; at $149 for the low end Nano, is there still a price point for them?
Well — yes. it’s one to give heartburn to other manufacturers, especially a place like sanDisk. Beyond that, it wasn’t just doubling capacity, it was a complete redo of the exterior. I gotta say, the new, femto-sized device is just, well, cute. Very well done, and at the price, hard to beat for what you get.
iTunes 7: I really like the new looks. been playing with it a bit, and it’s nice.
I’ve found one bug I need to report. I have a smart playlist, named “never played”. It is, (duh), songs who’s play count < 1. I then have a 2nd smart playlist, “nano never played”, which uses a selector of the playlist “never played”, and a selection out of it by random of size N megabytes (where N is adjusted based on what else is on the nano to fill it up). That way, I have a place to get my hands on stuff that’s been in my library so I can go through it. Once I catch up (about 400 songs to go, mostly my swing CDs I encoded), I’l replace it with something based on least-recently played, or smallest play_count.
Anyway, under iTunes 7, this playlist is flagged as being dependent on a missing playlist. the Nano is filled out properly, it’s purely cosmetic, but it surprised me. Evidently because the original is based on a playlist that isn’t copied to the nano (“never played”), itunes is confusing itself. anyway, for folks who do similar things, be aware, and it’s not you.
One neat new feature (that some of us have been clamoring for for a long time): skip_count and last_time_skipped. new fields that track if you’re skipping past a song. So you now have a way to create a smart playlist based on your pushing “next” when a song starts playing, so you can hen exclude those songs from other playlists… VERY nice.
Movies: about waht I expected. the ugprade of resolution is very nice. Only thing I find missing: iTunes 7 will upgrade my album art, but any video I downloaded in the old, smaller format, there seems no way to update it to the new, larger size. ohwell. there should be, folks.
new machine syncing is nice. means I’ll be able to sync my nano to my other macs, and use them and leave the nano in the car most of the time.
Will I buy new nano’s? buying an 80 gig for laurie while I have the discount. My nano is what I need, so I’m going back and forth on upgrading.Access to games would be fun. so would be the ability to use it as a photo wallet for my tripes, but that’s a minor one. Right now, I jus buy more compactflash (whenever i go out, I carry about 1000 images worth of memory these days. that’s enough)
It’s real late, been a long day. I’ll talk about iTV tomorrow. (well, later today). now, gotta crash. but: iTV changes a lot of things. I’m impressed as hell. and when it was announced for Janaury I turned to someone I was with and said “well, our FCC didn’t come thtough in time, did it?” — and he just rolled his eyes. In anyy even, I’m already on the hook for two….
and it really changes, and messes up the fight for the living room for other companies. obut more on taht later…
So, it’s finally the last week. As of friday, I’m officially a pumpkin.
I went out to lunch with a close friend today at work, who’s also been somewhat of a mentor, and a sanity check; we spent the time talking over the years (he’s a ten year Apple, in two stints). we had a nice, long talk about Apple, and what’s happening moving forward.
He also asked me if I had any regrets, to which I said no. I”m now really looking forward to whatever’s next.
tomorrow is my last dance with the Reality Distortion Field as an employee; I’ve decided I’ll probably catch the broadcast at Caffe Macs instead of my building, just to see it in a larger audience, and to soak in being on campus. maybe see some folks I’ve known over the years.
then I’ll spend the afternoon, probably the evening, making stuff look easy, one last time.
On the “rest of reality” front, I have a phone interview with a new company wednesday, and got called out of the blue by someone about another place, and there are a couple of others in “pre-phone-screen” mode. all of the old opportunities are still in play, also, so stuff continues to bubble.
Last week, the vacation week, went well. nothing really out of the unexpected broke, and that makes me feel better about stuff. I’d originally planned to work on the house a bit; that, of course, was a silly though. What I really needed was as break, so I spent two days out on the coast (one at Fitzgerald, one at Pescadero), and then up at the SF Zoo for the first time in years, and then a day just sort of wandering the salt marshes out by Alviso. 800 pictures later, I have some work pending in Aperture, and some interesting blogging material.
And over the weekend, the “I feel like writing” switch flicked back on (as people reading this blog probably noticed); that’s nice, an indication that I’ve stopped being so tired. And yes, bunches of stuff in various draft forms now…
But, you know? when I said no regrets, I lied. I do have regrets about this.
First, I regret never having a job where I worked and lived on the Apple Campus. I always was off in an outlier building for some reason. It would hvae been nice to be a bit closer to the social scene at times.
Second, one of the things I wanted to do when I came to Apple was — learn to program the Macintosh. Here I am, 20 years later, and I’m still a Unix programmer. Which, actually, is not such a bad thing in Mac land any more, but — I still haven’t touched xcode, much less done any significant coding for the mac. Maybe some day. (maybe not).
I never got to shake Fred Anderson’s hand. I did get to thank him for his role in saving Apple.
And I won’t get the chance to shake Steve’s hand, for that, and for changing our world more than I think even we hard core Mac Geeks realize.
for 17+ years of duty here at Apple, that’s a rather short list of regrets. And that — I don’t regret.
here’s hoping that whatever gets announced tomorrow, it puts a notch in my wallet before friday…
We are now clearly on the downhill side. Her eyes were a shade of gray between onyx and miscalculation, and the unicorn has arrived.
Friday was my last “normal” day at Mama Apple, if normal ever applies to the last few weeks. It’s been this unending stream of discussions and meetings, of trying to identify and document, hand off, lecture about, fix, or script it into submission. I’m a couple of projects short of where I want to be; both of the things I wanted to get done (but won’t) are rollouts, though, that I wanted to take care of before I left; instead, the code is in someone else’s capable hands to do the rollout. That’s not bad, all things considered.
I have a few small things left to do, another 100 lines of Perl to script a few minor things, a couple of short docs. the bug database has been handed over, and the issue database is empty (whew). tuesday, the new support team crawls behind the steering wheel, and then it’s their turn.
All in all, we ended up with over 60 hours of taped lecture, with generally 4-8 people in lecture at any time. it’s all been put up on servers, too (I’ve asked for copies for the blog; somehow, I doubt I’ll get them…). I spent some time with one of the people at Apple that I’ve worked with on a number of projects and who’s been a bit of a mentor to me on the marketing side the last couple of years, and the first question he asked me was “exactly how many people are they replacing you with?”
which is a weird question I’ll defer to later (or never), since things I’m doing are being dispersed all over various groups in IS&T, more in the classic IS setup. If you replace 1 person with 10 people each giving 1/16th of their time, that adds up to…
nothing worth thinking about, actually. I haven’t taken a photo in almost six weeks, and it’s been a few long weeks of mostly grinding away to make sure that when Pumpkin Day comes it’s a non-issue. I’ve been meaning to do more blogging and writing, but there just hasn’t been a huge amount of spare energy left (and there’s that copy of Civ IV on the mini….). After friday, when I finally let it go, I found myself both a bit stressed (“it’s really coming to an end”) and exhausted (“what do you mean, I snored through the first four innings? again?”), and I spent most of my waking moments saturday napping, or fighting the urge to nap. gah. I hate that, although a nap does wonders. Makes me feel old when I do it, for some reason. I finally hit the point today where I had to get out of the house and off the computer, so I grabbed the gear and ran out to Radio road, where it was way too windy for the birds to cooperate, unless you like taking pictures of huddled bundles of feathers. I did spend some time looking for the elegant tern, and thanks to a couple there with a much better scope than my binoculars, we got pretty good looks at a lump that looked suspiciously like the elegant. It would have been even nicer if it’d actually pulled its head out (from under it’s wing, perv!) just once, but beggars can’t be choosers. Still, the journey is the reward, and just getting out of the house was great.
This next week is vacation time for me — or more correctly, on-call-on-vacation. My job is to touch nothing, do nothing, handle nothing, be nothing, unless someone else needs help and brings me in to consult. The idea is to “go black” and see if we missed anything in the lectures and training. I am sincerely hoping for a few days of absolute quiet — and expecting some really funky, weird thing that has only happened twice before in the project that scares the crap out of everyone and takes me 3 minutes to fix…
Then one more week in the office, doing follow-ups with the dev team and ops teams to see what we need to talk more on, and then — the cell phone gets powered off, the laptop and computer gets packed, and Laurie and I go into exile, somewhere off the islet of Langerhans.
More interviews this week; a second round that I thought went pretty well. In our group, the 2nd round interviews are the “meet the director sniff test”; this one was three+ hours of fascinating technical interrogation. All very friendly, very intense, very impressive. Left me exhausted but encouraged, so we’ll see. It gave me a bunch of thoughts on skills maintenance and enhancement I want to talk about, but it’ll have to wait until I have a little more time AND energy together.
Oh, one other thing was decided this week — I”m definitely leaving Apple. The one group I’d been talking to about maybe staying on board and I hashed it out, and we all agreed that we really wanted it to happen, but the timing sucked. It’s just a bad time to try to make something like this happen (we’re late in fiscal Q4 at Apple, which of course means everyone’s budget and headcount are spent and committed and hired, and nothing’s going to spring free until October when the new fiscal year kicks in. If it kicks in then….)
I keep cycling between “you’re leaving a place you’ve been for almost 20 years for — um, what again?” and the whole fear of the unknown thing, and a growing anticipation of making a fresh start and moving off in new directions.
Sometimes, you have to reach out and grab the chance, before it gives up on you forever. I’ve only been unemployed for about six weeks since the age of 12, so not having a job in hand is a bit scary — but I also realize that I’ve let my job define who I am too much, this is a perfect time for me to put that back in better balance, and that wasn’t going to happen at Apple. So it’s a bit scary, but it’s good-scary. mostly. The coffee is brewing down at the Cafe. Lagniappe.