Thursday, April 1, 2010

Google News

On February 19th, I amicably parted ways with IBM Research, where I had spent over 6 years fiercely manning a very small tiller on a very large ship.

For the 4 weeks following, I joyfully hacked on Ben Fry’s and Casey Reas’s Processing project. I spent a couple of those weeks trying to stabilize the tooling around their nascent support for the Android mobile platform, and then dove into some of the guts of the language itself, adding support for most of Java 5’s new features. Finally, I fixed all open bugs around the “auto formatter”, which is supposed to neaten up your rat’s nest of code, but had been mangling and eating it under certain circumstances. It was an exhilarating month, which tells you exactly how much of a geek I am. To be paid for it was almost unbearably wonderful.

I spent a lot of time with my family, and a lot of time at various public libraries. Thank you Lincoln and Arlington, for your beautiful libraries, your kind librarians, and your free WiFi.

This past Monday, March 29th, I showed up at 5 Cambridge Center for my first day as a Noogler, which is what new Google employees are officially called. I’m proud to say that I’ve joined the team behind the amazing Google books.

Right now, I’ve got my lips to the fire hose. There’s no good way for me to express to you how complex Google’s engineering culture is, having its own succinct and expressive jargon, a custom tool set, and a Jovian scale. As I learn to crawl, my contributions there will be unglamorous—incremental improvements to this or that web page on a mobile device; a widget or two. But I hope, over time, to make some significant mark, and to be able to tell you about it with pride. But first I’ve got to learn C++, the language in which it’s “harder [to shoot yourself in the foot], but when you do, it blows your whole leg off.”

Wordle will continue to be freely available. I have no plans to change anything about it (although I have been experimenting with some new palettes during those few free minutes between making school lunches and collapsing in bed).


Ned Batchelder said...

Congratulations! (unless the date of this post is significant, in which case it's a very dry April Fool's joke...)

Jonathan Feinberg said...

I hadn't considered the date! No, it's not a joke.

paolability said...

Very well done. What an adventure!

Re: C++, my first programming job out of uni was C and I said at the time that it was like programming with machete.

Re: colour palettes, yes, on my Wordle wish list is for generated colour palettes with the background colour fixed.

In the mean time, I am using the (my) Colour Selector tools for creating palettes.

The Blend colour tool shows stages of one colour mixed with another and Make swatches shows steps along the colour wheel.

Finally, you can see a chosen colour as it appears within a dozen palettes when standard colour scheme rules are applied.

Let me know if you'd like any of the algorithms to add to Wordle[tm].


mmahaffie said...

This seems like a fine time to thank you again for Wordle and to wish you well as you get up to speed at Google. You seem a great fit for that place and I expect to be thanking you again at some point for some other new tool that I wasn't aware that I needed.

Jorge said...


Congrats for your new post at the frontier, we look forward to see your Feinbergator in a couple of years.

All the best,


George Edwards said...

As a Wordle addict I will be forever grateful for your talent.
As a huge Google user, I am looking forward to your next bit of brilliance.

Best wishes for a long, successful and happy journey.


Nikitangel said...

I'm happy to see new palettes, but very disappointed to see "Wordy" palette disappear. It matched perfectly with the Microsoft Office "Office" color scheme and I (and colleagues) used it frequently. Any chance you could restore it? Thanks!

Unknown said...

Very very impressive. Wish i understood alittle of what it is you do..but u do it well. Love the wordle. it helps me as a social worker in school with my HS students, especially some of the autistic kids i have.
The wordle is a great instrument to use with them and the colors come out pretty for them to see.!
I dont understand what the new one will be (not too computer literate as u see, but i had the google android for 5 days .(.Fix the FONT..too tiny for anyone over 14yrs old to see), but i got more familiar with the google apps in a tech training session. Wordle my favorite! (and shopping one) thank you