News from Habari

Interview with Michael C. Harris


Welcome to the first Habari PMC interview. today we're talking to the newest member of the Habari Project Management Committee, (jokingly known as the "Cabal"). Michael C. Harris, better known as michaeltwofish in the #habari IRC channel.

<Morydd> Let's get started. So, we'll start with the basics. If we were to meet you in the street, what would you prefer to be called?
<michaeltwofish> I prefer Michael in the real world
<Morydd> Michael it is. Where do you call home? Is that where you live now?
<michaeltwofish> I've lived in Melbourne, Australia, for the past 18 years, apart from extended travel, so this is the closest thing to home for me. I grew up in the bush, which I love in a lot of ways, but I've never felt it was really home. I'm generally more of a city person.
<Morydd> How old are you?
<michaeltwofish> I'm in my mid-30s. Aging rapidly.
<Morydd> And what do you do to pay the bills?
<michaeltwofish> A variety of things. At the moment I've taken 18 months off real work to complete my PhD (information retrieval related), and thankfully I've got an APA (Australian government scholarship). Aside from that, a bit of coding and design with my partner through our company, twofishcreative. To tell you the truth, my partner pays the bills at the moment ...
<michaeltwofish> My last proper job was as an academic at RMIT University. Most of my time was taken up working on a project delivering a computer science degree and diploma program to universities in Africa.
<Morydd> Sounds very cool.
<Morydd> Now, for the Habari related questions. How long have you been working on Habari?
<michaeltwofish> I first came across Habari in September 2007, when I ended up on Chris J. Davis' blog, reading about Habari's AtomPub implementation. I'd been mucking around with other open source AtomPub server implementations, and felt like my voice was too small to get noticed amongst all the big wigs. When I started hanging around in #habari I was made to feel so welcome that I really wanted to contribute, so I started writing code and porting themes.
<Morydd> What do you see as your role in the PMC?
<michaeltwofish> Now that's an interesting question!
<michaeltwofish> It was only a few days ago I was invited to join the PMC, so I'm sure my role will evolve over time, but I see myself as a generalist, and I'll stick my nose into many parts of the project. My coding is good enough (though nowhere near the awesome skills of some of the other folks involved) that I can write plugins and themes, and contribute a bit to core, as well as help to evaluate different approaches to blogging issues. I like to try to look at the overall project as it grows and see what needs to be done to keep things on track, bringing up issues that need to be discussed, trying to get events happening, setting out policy where it's needed, marketing the software. There are a couple of other people who are doing great generalist roles, like yourself and Michael Bishop, but it's an important role, and you need all the help you can get! I also see myself as a bridge between the technical and non-technical users.
<michaeltwofish> Maybe you should have asked me that before the invitation, so you could reconsider if you didn't like my answer :)
<Morydd> What's your favorite actual feature?
<michaeltwofish> As an author, it's way Habari gets out of the way and lets you write, the simplicity of the publish page. The media silos are a great extension to that, letting me really simply manage the media in my posts - something I haven't taken enough advantage of yet, but I'm definitely using more imagery in my posts. From a developer's point of view, it's the codebase itself. It's so well organised, well written, with heaps of comments.
<Morydd> And now, to put you on the spot: What's your least favorite thing?

michaeltwofish thinks

<Morydd> It is alpha software, so there's lots to choose from.
<michaeltwofish> Maybe I'm in a honeymoon period. I see the things that are wrong with Habari as opportunities for improvement. That sounds a bit wanky.

michaeltwofish still thinks

<Morydd> Understandable. We'll conclude with some favorites. Favorite food, color, music, movie, book?
<michaeltwofish> Favourite things are hard all round :) My favourite food changes often, but at the moment, it's probably the Vietnamese noodle soup at Hung in Preston. I could do one right now.
<michaeltwofish> As long time readers of the mailing lists will know, I'm colour blind, so colour is a bit of an odd topic for me. I like blue, which I can see unambiguously :)
<michaeltwofish> I love lots of music. I think my favourite album at the moment is Chris Wilson's Live at the Continental. Chris is probably best known as a blues man, plays a mean blues harp, and has a very Australian flavour.
<michaeltwofish> But I'm also enjoying music I don't know very well, like Interpol, The Chameleons, The National, that I've been put onto by hooking up with some other Habari folk on last.fm (thanks Andy C and miklb!)
<michaeltwofish> For movie I'll pluck a couple of Coen brothers' films out of a long list, The Big Lebowski or Barton Fink
<michaeltwofish> And the last book I really loved was The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
<michaeltwofish> The list would be different next week though :)
<Morydd> I'm the same way.
<Morydd> It was good talking to you and I think that people will enjoy this look into who the newest member of the PMC really is. Thanks!