I Now Work at Automattic

I’m happy to report that I’m hanging up my freelance hat and putting on my gainfully-employed hat as a member of the Automattic team, which I’ve already written about more fully if you’re curious about the details. The short version is that I get to help make WordPress.com.

There are too many factors to tease out in a move like this, but one of the significant personal ones for me came down to values: I was dissatisfied with my attempts to find a work-life balance. Even when I wasn’t working, I was thinking about work too much, preventing me from being properly present to those around me. And it wasn’t getting any better.

Employment isn’t going to be a magic bullet, but I’m hopeful that this shift will help me to find a better balance so that I’m actually present to my wife, family, friends, and community when I’m not working. I also look forward to having colleagues, since the freelance life can feel pretty isolated at times. All in all, I’m really excited!

The New mattwie.be

You might notice that things look a little different around here. Since business has picked up at Soma Design, I’ve been writing on this blog less and less. Over the last year I’ve been toying with the idea of a radical redesign to 1) amuse myself and 2) to hopefully prod myself into writing more–while I’ve only published 11 posts since the beginning of 2010, I have 22 draft posts in varying states of completeness. My favourite of the bunch is tentatively titled “Battlestar Galactica, Rationality, and Human Nature”–look for it soon.

I have more to say about the redesign on my Soma Design blog, but the short version is this: it’s all about the writing and not at all about anything else, like my WordPress theme. It’s also a responsive design that should adapt itself to a plethora of devices. It’s also a bit rough around the edges still.

Finally, I’ve now made the switch over to the mattwie.be domain. The old mattwiebe.com URLs will redirect to their counterparts on the new domain.

A New DanWilt.com

Once upon a time (almost a year ago), in a land far, far away (St. Stephen, NB), my friend Dan started talking to me about designing him a new look for his WordPress blog. After many battles with the evil NotEnoughTime and the scourge of BackBurner, we at last prevailed.

If my strange little story hasn’t made you run away screaming yet, go have a peek at the new DanWilt.com. Dan is on a mission to make the world and the church better through creativity and love of God, so we sorted out a look that doesn’t seem to be a blog at all. All brought to you by the fine folks at the design empire of Soma Design.

I Won a MacBook!

Yes, that is correct. I just won a brand new MacBook. CIRA, the registrar responsible for .ca domains is approaching their 1,000,000th registered domain, and decided to hold a promotional contest to celebrate the benefits of using a .ca domain. (I registered Soma Design, my freelance web design company, under the .ca TLD.) You just had to tell them how your “.ca story,” and you would be entered.

I entered on a whim, using the strengths of a Humanities education to write a well-crafted entry extolling the virtues of .ca (which have been many) and promptly forgot all about it. So, yesterday I received a phone call and discovered that I had, in fact, won.

I wandered around in shock for the next few hours, randomly pulling at my hair (it was quite impressive) and not quite believing what has happened. I just faxed in the release forms, and then we’ll see what happens from there…

Procrastination = New Design

You might notice a bit of a new look around here. After I went live with the new Soma Design site, Jaclyn took a look at mattwiebe.com and thought that it looked a wee mite shabby in comparison. Inspiration struck her, perspiration struck me, and behold, a hot new look.

One of the things I’m proudest of in the new design is the implementation of sIFR 3 for the headlines. One of the biggest problems when designing on the web is the distinct lack of fonts, since whatever font we want to use has to be installed on the computer of whoever happens to be viewing the page. sIFR allows you to use Flash to seamlessly replace selected portions of text with whatever font you want. It was a serious headache to implement (Internet Explorer, I’m looking at you) but now we have lovely headlines set in Tallys. (In the unlikely event that someone doesn’t have Flash installed, this will revert to Georgia)

Now, time to do some reading. Let me know if anything’s broken…

Soma Design Goes Live

One of the reasons I haven’t been writing much lately is that I’ve been feverishly getting my new Soma Design site up and running. I was never happy with our old Omada Design Group site, and I’m happy to report that my skills have come a long way.

I’m sure there’s still a few kinks to be worked out, but now that it’s ready, I can get on with believing that I’m a student again.

So, take a look around and tell me what you think. Criticism is more than welcome.