Cool Seattle Thing No. 3429: Dev Workshop for Transit Data

Too bad I found out about this after the fact…  Apparently King County Metro recently hosted a Developer Workshop for transit data.  Apparently they’re looking for more people to write innovative transit-related applications like the super cool One Bus Away, which I use every morning and evening on my Android phone.

Having spent years riding Port Authority buses and light rail in Pittsburgh, I still find it astonishing that an event like this can happen at all.  I mean, transit authority officials (including the KC Metro general manager!) hosting a workshop where they encourage third parties to take their data and play with it?

O brave new world that has such county officials in it!

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Bellevue, WA: Just like back home, only not really.

In moving to Seattle Laura and I put a lot of effort into finding a great place to live.   We wanted a place that was suitable for living with a small child and an active dog — I.e. a house with a yard, in an area with good schools, but with a short commute to my office in downtown Seattle.  Luckily, we were spared the choice of buying vs. renting, because sale prices for single family homes in much of the Seattle area are preposterously high, but rents are still (barely) within reach for us.   We also had the advantage of some time to shop around thanks to a month of temporary housing in my Amazon.com relocation package.  We ended up in Bellevue, WA.  More about it below the jump… Read the rest of this entry »

Yinz take care

I haven’t been blogging lately, because all my spare energy has been devoted first to job hunting, then getting ready to move, and now moving. I’ve accepted a position the transaction risk management group at Amazon.com, working on automated fraud detection systems. So Laura, Maggie, and I are re-diasporizing to Seattle.

I’m not going to go into a lot of detail of my job search, except to say that from the beginning we were willing to relocate to find the right job. When I was in Austin looking for a job, we had already decided that we’d go wherever the work was. That hasn’t changed. That said, I did apply for several positions in Pittsburgh. The median response was radio silence. Fairly late in the process I did get a response from one well-known tech company. At that point I already had the Amazon offer and the position they were trying to fill was not quite the right fit for me.

Although we’re sad about leaving family and friends here (again) we’re super excited about both Seattle and Amazon. Laura has already had one job interview there, too.

The move is really two big changes for me: leaving academia, which would require a whole blog post on its own, and leaving Pittsburgh, about which my feelings are actually not all that mixed. As the kids used to say when I was in high school: it’s been real; it’s been fun; but it hasn’t been real fun. In the two years since moving back here from Austin, I’ve had a strong feeling of “how you gonna keep ’em down on the farm after they’ve seen paree?” Leaving for the second time, I definitely don’t fit the stereotype of the Pittsburgh diasporan who would move back if only I could find a job. But frankly, I think that stereotype is mostly a local myth. I have met many diasporans who are happy where they are, and none who long to be back.

As for me, Seattle is the city I’ve spent the most time in, after Pittsburgh and Austin, and I’m excited to be going there. I know it’s no utiopia: it has a high cost of living, and there’s the Seattle Freeze to worry about. On the other hand, it’s a beautiful wired city full of geeks and book lovers. What’s not to love?

Update: This post has gotten a tiny bit of traction in the blogosphere.  I’ve posted some more thoughts here.