Our Lisbon Meetup Begins :)

Since I work for a distributed company, I only get to see my coworkers in person twice a year. Last year my team met up in Durham, and this year it’s Lisbon. Another team is here at the same time, and another team will be coming halfway to the week so I get to see lots of my Automattic buddies. 

There is just something super exciting about knowing that your friends and coworkers are all on planes and trains and busses, heading your way for a week of in-person collaborations, learning and fun.

This picture shows where James and I are hanging out at our co-working office for the week. We are working outdoors as we wait for our teammates to arrive. 

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In Praise of the Google Translate App

IMG_1044If I were inclined to write poetry today (I’m not– the muse is not in the building), I would write an ode to the Google Translate app. As you may or may not know, in my job  I work mostly in mobile app support for the WordPress app. Since 27% of the Internet runs on WordPress, and many users worldwide use the app, I get a lot of issues in languages I don’t understand. Generally a cut-and-paste into a translate tool works wonders, but it gets problematic when someone send in a screenshot of an issue. That’s when this app comes in really handy.

I have the Google Translate App for both Android and iPhone.  When I get a screenshot, I open the app, download the applicable language then select camera in the app, and I get a translation. This has been invaluable in my work habits. And I’ve also found it really handy in travel.

When Chris and I were in Perugia, we hit the amazing National Archaeological Museum with fabulous history, but very little in regards to English translations. No problem. The app totally covered that, and we learned all sorts of stuff about amulets and recoveries from archaeological digs. So cool.

Now that we are spending a month in a new home in a land where we are far from fluent in the native language, we’re finding the app super handy in basic tasks such as grocery shopping. When you want to make a bean stew and aren’t sure which canned bean is which? The app comes to the rescue.

And it totally saved me from accidentally getting lemon tea when I thought I was getting mint.

It doesn’t just do images. I can type a phrase in English and have it translate to another language. I write my sentence, find a store-keeper, and point to the screen. We are all much happier and effective in our communications, I find.

Oatmeal – Aveia?
We don’t have it – Nós não temos isso.
Communication effectively achieved (I’m not thrilled with the result, but now at least I know to not keep scanning shelves fuitlessly).

Yay, app!

Grabbing HTML for an Image and Link for a Text Widget

In my job as a Happiness Engineer for Automattic, I often get asked how to add an image with a link into a widget area. This can be daunting if someone doesn’t know HTML. But that doesn’t have to deter you. There is a sneaky way to get that code, even without HTML knowledge. This is how to do it:

  1. Create a draft post and insert your image.
    a-insert-image
  2. If you want to add a link to the image, click on the image after it’s inserted and click on the paperclip icon to add your link.
    b-paper-clipc-url
  3. Click on the “HMTL” option at the top of your editing page (next to “Visual”)
    d-html
  4. Copy that code. Note that your code will look similar to what I have in the next image, but the words and links will be different – specialized to your own information.
    e-code
  5. Open your Customize tool and go to Widgets.
    f-customizeg-widgets
  6. Add the Text Widget.
    h-text-widget
  7. Paste your code and save.
    i-code-in-widget
  8. And you will see your image in your widget areas (click it to test your link) 🙂
    j-final

2016 WordCamp US

You know I love WordCamps. And this one is a-m-a-z-i-n-g!!!!! Here I am sitting at the registration dest in Philadelphia, trying to catch my breath after 24 hrs of meeting/greeting/dining/drinking/collaborating and learning with fellow WordPress lovers. Best community EVER!!!

I’m keeping this short and sweet because there is still a lot more to do over the next two days, but wanted to check in to say how awesome this is. If you are in the Philadelphia area, come join us 🙂

These pics are a glimpse into the gathering. There were 1,800 super friendly and intelligent WordPress lovers in the room at lunch today, and a lovely jazz band playing. This is a pretty impressive event. #wcus

Why yes. This is my Office Today

Office today. Celebrating unseasonably warm temps by camping. #ilovemyjob

Meeting/Greeting Settling and Planning

It’s so beautiful here in Canada! We had a two-ish-hour bus ride from the airport to Whistler, and I was desperate for sleep (had already been traveling for 11 hrs), but I couldn’t allow myself to nap. The scenery was breath-taking. And the bus driver kept us well-entertained with a history of the area and fun facts about the place we passed.

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But let me back up. I had the smoothest trip one could possibly imagine. I met up with 13 co-workers in Minneapolis and enjoyed the flight with friends.

 

Customs looked a bit daunting, but the lines moved fast. The airport was beautiful, and I enjoyed hearing the background sound of water from the art fountain pictured here as we went through the line.

We reconnected with friends/co-workers we already knew and met some new ones.

Then settled into the hotel. My room is gorgeous and will be a nice respite when I need a break from socialising (as if).

Remember that toothpaste I was worried about? Not an issue. I forgot that the company cares for us so well that they had provided all sorts of things we might need (apparently mint-chocolates are a necessity, because there was a basket of those along with sunblock, toothpaste and other necessities 🙂

We had a lovely Welcome dinner with veggies, cheeses, meats, sushi, dumplings and pasta.

img_1068

Then off to be for me. I was exhausted!!!!

Now I’m off to breakfast and meetings with my team. It’s going to be a busy work day, and I can’t wait.

 

 

Packing and GM Prep

Pride isn’t a super attractive trait. That said, I’m pretty proud of my latest packing feat. It’s always my goal to pack light–usually packing for a week in a single backpack. I went a bit over that this time, but not much. These were the factors I had to incorporate:

Travel for a week in Whistler, Canada. (Passport and paperwork essential.) Temperatures in a high near 70F for half the week, and highs in the mid 40s the other half. Nights in the 30s (and I have to walk to restaurants). And room to bring home extra stuff I accumulate during the week.

Events to pack for:

  • Presenting a flash talk
  • Teaching a short class
  • Attending workshops/classes/meetings
  • Early morning (cold) walks with friends/co-workers.
  • Three hrs mountain biking (rain predicted)
  • An ecology/geology walk
  • A jiujitsu class
  • Two swing dance classes
  • An escape room
  • A party for which we were encouraged to bring neon and sparkly clothing

This took a lot of thought…compounded by the fact that I had to find warmer clothes, which were still in boxes from our move. And I discovered key essentials (such as travel toothpaste) were still safely ensconced at our old house, three hrs away.

But I did it! And I have a bag mostly empty, ready to bring home swag I pick up at the Grand Meetup 🙂

What’s the GM? I work for a distributed company and interact very closely with my co-workers in an online environment, but all 450-ish of us only get to meet face-to-face one time a year. (We have smaller team meetups during the year, but this is the biggie.)

For an entire week we play, bond, pool brain power to make WordPress.com/Jetpack/mobile apps (I wrote this using the WordPress mobile app while I was on the plane yesterday)/etc. better. In short, I get to geek out and collaborate with others like me with no guilt.

It’s exhausting, exhilarating and inspirational. Meeting my co-workers makes me more comfortable working with them online throughout the year, and I love how this team effort helps us help others.

And I’m super happy I got all the traveling stuff in my bag.