Monthly Archives: April 2008

Goodbye, Bunker Hill…Hello, Market Street

It’s official: we’re now moved out of the old offices at Bunker Hill Lane and have now taken up quarters right downtown at 95 S. Market Street #500, San Jose, CA 95113. (Note the way I slipped in the address update: subtle, huh?).

Anyway, the move went as well as can be expected when some two dozen computers, 50,000 comics, and countless boxes containing everything from network switches to voodoo dolls are involved. Big thanks go to everyone who helped out—as well as all our customers for bearing with us through the relocation.

As it stands now, we’re largely operational again, although (as usual) we’re having some drama with the phones. For now, the best way to reach us is by email or, if you have a technical question that isn’t too pressing, post to the forums. It’ll likely be a few days before everyone has their desks unpacked and start getting caught up on everything. That said, we’re still anticipating pushing out an update this week for ComicBase.

Initial impressions on the new place: I like it–a lot! Let me count a few of the ways…

1) Location. It’s about five miles from my house, which means I get an hour of my life back each day just in commuting time. Or, if I want, there’s actually a way to bike back and forth. Doing so involves going through a pretty crazy bike path that runs alongside highway 87, but at least it saves gas and gives me a chance to get some exercise.

2) Location. Downtown San Jose is getting cooler all the time, and we’re right in the heart of it. At our old place (on the outskirts of Santa Clara, in an office park), the best you could do for lunch without driving was a Togos up the road. From where I am now, I’m within walking distance of dozens of great restaurants, hot dog stands, take out places, and a nice park to have lunch in. There’s also a concert series in summertime in the park across the street, as well as the famous Christmas in the Park displays come wintertime. Oh! And we’re two blocks from both The Tech Museum and from Adobe’s headquarters.

3) Private Offices. I made a terrific mistake last time I chose offices when I went for “open plan” and didn’t ask the landlord to build in at least one private office. As programming guru Joel Spolsky warned so long ago: programmers need offices. It’s not for status—it’s simply that when you’re programming, it takes way too much time to mentally “load up” the program and get down to work—and all that can be shattered in an instant by the sort of interruptions that go on constantly in a cubicle environment. I’d actually gotten to the point at the last office that I was intentionally coming in late and saving my important work until everyone had gone home just so I could have uninterrupted time. Now, I have the option of just closing my door. I admit, I’ll probably miss out on a lot of good office banter this way, but I’ll also be a lot less stressed out about getting my work done.

4) Friendly Neighbors. Carolyn has a great blog entry on this one that made me laugh out loud. I’ve also probably had more friendly chats with neighbors in the building in the past four days than I did with all our neighbors in the old building in two years. I still don’t know what two of the companies on my old floor actually did… So far at this location, I’ve discovered a music magazine publisher, a nightlife magazine publisher, an internet firm, and met the folks at the law firm next door who (gasp!) are not only incredibly nice, but actually like comics. (They also were kind enough to receive a couple of our desks for us while we were out schlepping stuff from the old offices. Thanks, guys!).

5) Faster Internet. For years, we’ve been champing at the bit for a faster internet pipe, but there was simply no way to get one at the old location without laying out ruinous amounts of money (and we were being quoted low to mid four-digits per month for colocation as well). Thanks to the better connectivity downtown, we’ve already got more than twice the bandwidth as we used to for just a little more than we’d paid previously, and there’s the possibility to scale it higher as business demands. All this means that not only is our site faster, but we can do more with it as well (as the folks checking out the development builds of Atlas found out in the d3 release last week).

Moving Update: Bright Paint, Higher Bandwidth

I’ve been mum on the whole moving thing for a couple of weeks while we waited for the owner of the building to come back from a foreign trip and… well, actually sign the lease. That accomplished, we had just 11 days to organize an office move, including our office machines, telecom, servers, and a small army of toy robots.

This past weekend was spent stripping an ungodly amount of wallpaper off the new offices, scrubbing gallons and gallons of wallpaper paste off walls (delightful!), and priming, prepping, and painting all the offices in a variety of colors. It was a long, long weekend for all involved, but we got it done. Big props to editor extraordinaire Shiaw-Ling (who turned out to be a pretty darn good painter!) as well as my own folks, who actually spent their entire vacation—on purpose!—helping out.

The end result? The sedate former law office now looks like the home of a hip Swedish design firm—or maybe a new exhibit wing for the Tech Museum. Either way, it’s going to be a lot of fun to come into work there.

Another really good thing about the new location: we’re mere blocks from the origination point of Covad’s wireless T1 service in San Jose, allowing us to double the bandwidth of the Atomic Avenue and ComicBase sites without breaking the bank (as would have been the case with bonded T1s). I’ve just run some initial speed tests at the location, and it looks encouraging indeed. To tell the truth, I’m getting as excited as a kid before Christmas just thinking about what we could do with that extra speed.

Moving day is Monday the 28th, and both ComicBase and Atomic Avenue will be down for some period while we move gear to the new location. Wish us luck!

Moving Day Approaches…

We’ve signed a lease at a new office, but just as we were shopping for desks and furniture, I got a call from my realtor to let me know that the owner of the property had just left for an overseas trip and will be unreachable for two weeks. As such, we can’t really start the preparations to move in yet.

Argh. More on this later assuming we manage to actually conclude the lease signing (on both sides!) without any further drama…