Two years

Wow, my two year anniversary at Automattic just passed, and I didn’t even notice, someone had to point it out to me. It’s been an amazing ride so far, and I hope it doesn’t end anytime soon.

I’ve had the opportunity to work alongside¬†some of the smartest people in the industry from all across the globe.¬†It’s both comforting and rewarding to think back on my time, about things I’ve worked on have had an impact on the WordPress community and the web in general, and that the people I’ve crossed paths with have benefited from that interaction- at least that’s my hope. Unless they were a spammer, then all bets are off.. ūüôā

So I guess it’s true what they say, time really does fly when you’re having fun.

Spamming for profit

I never wanted to spam the Internet. Google made me do it.
This is what I told myself back then.
If spamming is so wrong, I wondered, how come it always works so well?

A long read, but a good read. Jeff Deutsch explains how starting in 2009 he was able to work only a few hours daily and still rake in a $50,000 a month in profit, by becoming a professional spammer.

It’s a pretty interesting perspective piece, since I spend my days and nights on the other side of the fence working on Akismet, which combats spam on millions upon millions of sites, including all of WordPress.com.

So, without further ado: Confessions of a Google spammer

Akismette has arrived – (cc/ @nickhamze, @danhauk)

Peyton fancies herself a designer. She’s told me on more than one occasion that I need to bring her to an Automattic meetup so that she can share the infinite wealth of knowledge and skills that she’s developed over the last twelve years with our¬†design teams. And she’s very adamant about it. Seriously.

Around July of last year, she decided that the Akisbot (the mascot for the Akismet team) looked lonely and needed a companion. So, she came up with this concept:

akismette-rough-design

Our amazing Akismet ED&STT (emergency design and swag triage team), which consists of Dan Hauk and Nick Hamze, were able to immediately crank out this into a top-notch graphic worthy of being turned into shirts and stickers:

akismette-design

Today,¬†the “original designer” and “Nick’s¬†boss” as she proclaims (and mind you,¬†only twelve) received a pretty¬†awesome package in the mail. Needless to say, she was pretty excited!

Got to admit, I am too, well done everyone! ¬†And now I have a new sticker for the laptop! ūüôā

IMG_5640

As an aside, Peyton also mentioned that Akismette was taller than Akisbot; expressed some concerns about that relationship. Mind blown.

@danhauk, the piano bar star

While the Akismet team was in Florida on our meetup, we had the good fortune to stumble on a pretty good piano bar in the resort, Rum Runners. On our last team outing there, Dan (our Design Czar and karaoke enthusiast) impressed us all and wooed the crowd with a live performance:

And of course the obligatory photo of the two stars after the performance:

IMG_5582
OHIO!

Akismet team descends on the firing range

This morning, the Akismet team headed out for a some time on the range. The firing range that is. We spent several hours shooting different types of weapons: handguns, revolvers, long guns, and even a World War II Era sniper rifle. Among my favorites were the .45, the PS90 (which was amazing) and the AK-47. My hands down favorite was the Scar MK 17 which was just badass. When you fire a round from that thing, people take notice. All in all, we had such a good time, and as it turns out, most of the Akismet team is a pretty damn good shot.

“Elation is a WIFI Building”

The Akismet team is staying at the¬†Sandestin¬†Golf and Beach Resort¬†in sunny Destin Florida for our January “Get the hell out of the cold” meetup (which, by the way, isn’t quite living up to the name). This sign was tacked up on the ground floor of the resort we’ve decided to call home for a week:

IMG_5439

The internet¬†is always very important when selecting a venue for our retreats, without a rock solid connection there’s not much we can do in the way of projects and regular work. The “Elation” building does indeed have wireless internet access, provided by Cox, so I decided to run some tests in the dead of night (and off season) to see how they compared to my trusty Verizon MiFi on LTE. The results were a little surprising.

Results from the Cox (Elation provided) internet access:

4050220047-cox

And the results from my Verizon MiFi access point on their cellular LTE data network:

4050222036-verizon-mifi-lte

Verizon wins this round, doubling both upload and download speeds over Cox. Not that 14/3 is bad, but I can only imagine the slowdowns during the busy seasons. Obviously LTE is going to be more expensive in the long run, but I found it odd that a wired transit provider would be slower than a cellular service.

Don’t get me wrong though, back home I use Cox and they’re as reliable as can be, with 100Mbps download speeds and 30Mbps upload. They’re the fastest available in my area, and I’ve had virtually no issues with them at all.

Swag is contagious: Akismet badges :)

Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 9.15.54 PMA¬†play on the NYPD detective badges, and a little on the pricey side for small scale swag (we’re not really a large¬†team) – but I’m seriously considering looking into this. We just broke a record of 500 Million spam comments caught in a single day, perhaps I’ll commission and¬†send these out to the team when we hit a Billion daily. Shouldn’t be too long at the rate we’re going. Side note: TSA will¬†love seeing these in¬†carry on luggage.