Sabbatical after five years at Automattic

On my five-year Automattic anniversary (February 3rd, 2017), I started my three-month paid sabbatical. (Such a rad benefit!)

It was strange not signing into work. Some preparation and unforeseen events kept me preoccupied, but overall, it was quite enjoyable.

Many thanks to Automattic for the opportunity, and all my teammates for handling things!

Now, I’ll share some notes and highlights because midnight (PST) is soon. 😊

Mind map

Months before it started, I created a mind map with MindNode of all the things I might want to do. I reviewed it from time to time, and it was easy to add new ideas.

I knew I wouldn’t get to it all, but at least I had no excuse to be bored.

Jury duty

I spent about four days in jury selection. While I was being questioned, I told the attorney I was a Happiness Engineer. I…was dismissed. 😆

Move

On the second day of jury duty, I got a phone call from our landlord. They had to move back into their house, which meant we had to be gone in two months.

Amy found a place fairly quickly (not far from where we were), so we didn’t need those two months, and the move went smoothly. Mad props to her!

KonMari Method

Since we were moving, and we had a few weeks, I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo, then reduced my stuff by a lot. I have more to do, but ridding myself of clothes I no longer wear or like (for example) made the move much easier.

To Be Continued

A bit more to come about my sabbatical over the coming days. Stay tuned!

Round Health – Medicine reminders and tracking

I’ve been using the free Round Health app for awhile. It’s useful for prescriptions, supplements, or medicine that’s taken as needed (like Ibuprofen, cold, or flu medicine). I don’t need a dedicated pill container, and appreciate the refill reminder.

Replaced my iPhone 6 battery, part two

UPS (via Next Day Air) delivered the two sets of adhesive strips from iFixit. I’m glad it arrived in the morning. ☀️🛬

Before I started my second attempt, I read the instructions and watched the videos again. 🍿

Read: Part one

iFixit included three words on their box: “You got this.”

They were right. I worked in silence for less than an hour, all went well, and the battery now feels secure. 🔋

I also swapped the Pentalobe screws with Phillips screws from the included Liberation Kit (available with their iPhone 6 Replacement Battery Fix Kit).

I’m sort of ignoring the amount spent for a few reasons. 💸

  • Privacy. I didn’t want to leave my device with a third party for several hours/days.
  • I didn’t have a working backup iPhone to hold me over.
  • I’m saving money by not upgrading to a newer iPhone, especially since my current one is fine.
  • I can be confident to do the same for Amy’s iPhone 6…when she’s ready. 💪🏾
  • Maybe I can do this — and replace the cracked screen (Amy did it) — on my previous iPhone 5s.
  • Fun. I haven’t tinkered like this since I built PCs years ago. See image of Grandpa Simpson yelling at cloud. I’m…not going to link to it. I think you know it. 😉

Questions? 🤓

Anti-Jet Lag Calculator

On the day of your flight, you fast for 12-16 hours before breakfast time in your destination. […] Stick to the plan, avoid snacks (no more than a tiny handful of nuts, if you must), and you’ll be golden.

I found this while going through notes with the blog tag in Simplenote. Interesting concept. Maybe I’ll try it for my next team meetup.

Source: Take Control of Your Body’s Clock With the Anti-Jet Lag Calculator

Replaced my iPhone 6 battery, part one

The good

I disassembled, replaced the battery, and reassembled my iPhone. The instructions from iFixit were solid.

My phone powered up, I don’t see display issues, and Touch ID still works. Feels quicker, too. 💥

CPU benchmarks

These two benchmarks — from Geekbench 4 — correspond to the old and new batteries, respectively. Higher is better.

  • Single-core went from 816 to 1547. Increase (↑) of 89.583%.
  • Multi-core went from 1329 to 2643. Increase (↑) of 98.871%.

With my iPhone not in Low Power Mode when I ran the test, is the large discrepancy due to:

  • The old battery level being at 4%, and
  • The new battery level at around 40%?

I’m…not sure. The battery charge needed to be very low1 before I dug into my iPhone.

With the new battery level at 7%, I ran another CPU benchmark.

The result? Single- and multi-core benchmarks were 1548 and 2674, respectively, which means it wasn’t a fluke. 🙌🏽

Have you seen a comparison posted elsewhere? Let me know in the comments!

The bad

With the new battery, I applied the adhesive on the wrong side, and I initially didn’t order an extra set. 🤦🏾‍♂️

The ugly

To be safe, I ordered two sets of iPhone 6/6s/7 battery adhesive strips with the most expensive shipping. The estimated arrival date is Friday.

Until then, I need to handle my phone with extra care. I definitely won’t carry my phone in my pocket. 😱

Reason: With the bit of extra space not yet taken by adhesive, I need to prevent damage to the internal bits.

The silver lining

I work from home, and don’t need to venture out over the next couple of days. I can still use Authenticator for two-factor authentication.2

Ultimately, Friday isn’t that far off. I’ll do my best to keep that in mind. 😬

Update — Read part two!

 

 


  1. For safety, the instructions state the battery level needs to discharged below 25%. “A charged lithium-ion battery can catch fire and/or explode if accidentally punctured.” 😱 
  2. Yes, I have backup codes. 

My birthday of 2017

I’m a year older, and I had a mellow, enjoyable birthday.

I booked a 60-minute session1 for an isolation tank at Just Float. In each room, they now include a foam ring to support your head2, which helped me relax for almost the whole time.

Afterwards, I met Amy in the waiting room, then we walked to Conrad’s for brunch.

Back at home, I took a short nap, watched Pulp Fiction3, and played Super Mario Kart against Amy.

Amy also cooked an early dinner for us. I think it’s called a Spicy Buddha Bowl. 😋

For dessert, we went to Fosselman’s Ice Cream (also my first time). I went with a mocha almond fudge shake. It was tasty!

Our last stop was at Sprouts for some groceries, before requesting a Lyft driver to take us home.

Thanks for the nice time, Amy! ❤️


  1. Thanks to Nico for letting me get started early! He gave me about ten more minutes in the room because I arrived early, and was one of the first sessions of the day. 
  2. Last year, I went to Just Float for my first time. They didn’t have a foam ring, and my neck was sore. I also had to treat the water in my ears. Overall, I still enjoyed the experience. 
  3. It’s expiring on Netflix. I’ve seen it before.