Thursday, March 26, 2009

Because I've Got Issues ...

I have to hand it to the guys over at Atlassian, JIRA is a pretty killer app (although I know now that Love is the REAL Killer App:) ).

I've worked with JIRA for, well, a really long time. I've always worked in companies where you needed to wear many hats, and I'm one of those developers that doesn't get snobby when I'm asked to step outside of my comfy Java home and help out the IT folks. So it's usually me that gets those prize winning projects like migrating forums, internationalizing wikis, or looking for new software to streamline our internal processes. I've spun JIRA around the dance floor several times, XSLT'ing crazy aggregate reports from XML backup formats, writing plugins to support externalizing JIRA data, customizing schemes, changing workflows. Every time, the same epiphany gets me - JIRA just works, exactly how you would think it should.

While some who are not so in the know might think, "Gretchen, you simpleton, it's a series of instructions to a processor, of course that's how it works". But those of us who bend software over and around daily know that few apps are actually written with quality, exceptional exception handling and in an intuitive manner that doesn't require years of higher learning and great tolerance for pain to adopt. (This is a very familiar concept particularly for those who use a certain unreasonable operating system).

This time, we need to move Mondrian's tracker issues from their original home on Sourceforge over to JIRA, which is our tool of choice for managing work and issues at Pentaho. With an assist from my other favorite killer app, Kettle, it has been a dreamy couple of days putting together the pieces to get Mondrian's issues to their new home. OK, maybe not dreamy, but certainly pain free.

Kudos, my Atlassian friends. You Aussies got it going on.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Where have you been??

When I say "you", of course I mean me! I silently fell off the radar about 7-8 months ago, and am now finally re-emerging. Well, let me tell you what I've been doing in my "off" time:

  • First, let me introduce you to Jack David, my new baby boy. Doug and I were blessed with this little guy August 15th, 2008. He is the primary cause for my hiatus. I have been loving every minute of being home with my peanuts (Anthony, 13, Bella, 3 and baby Jack)! Alas, the lure of olap cubes, ETL and bug squashing safaris was just too compelling to resist, and it's time to return to the business world.
  • I also joined the board of directors as secretary of the Brevard Rescue Mission, a faith based ministry that provides whole-life transition resources for near-homeless moms and their kids. My dear friend Stacia Glavas is the founder, and I have been privileged to be able to handle her communications, marketing and administrative needs in between diaper changes.
  • I have been dabbling in a bit of graphic design and found that while I have no natural talent, the Adobe suite allows me to appear semi-talented in creating fun and compelling designs. I have since designed the web site for rescue mission mentioned above, as well as the logo for my daughter's new preschool, several business cards and stationery for friends, and my latest, most daring adventure: skinning a mySpace page for my photographer and friend, Yvette Gioia! Where WILL my curiosities take me?????
  • I also have managed to talk a friend of mine into letting me "borrow" his home renovation crew to renovate the entire exterior of our 25 year old home. That's right, I've decided that I also have some sort of qualifications as a contractor. Or possibly just a penchant for frustration and pain, we'll soon see!
As you can see, when Doug and I decided that it would be a good idea for me "take some time off" to adjust and organize our growing family, well, I may have misread the "time off" instructions :) I have thoroughly enjoyed my very full, engaged foray into being a stay-at-home mom. I actually just this month officially earned my soccer mom title, as Bella joined the local soccer team. I never knew there was a position for grass-pickers in soccer, but sure enough, my daughter has the exalted title!

While I will miss much of the freedom that comes from being my own manager, I miss my career more. So expect to hear from me soon, as I mull over my next career adventure! And of course, immerse myself back into the Pentaho Nation!

Kindest regards!