Antenna House

Inasmuch as I like their products, I like their people, and they have strengths in XSL-FO, CSS, and EPUB, I’m pleased to join Antenna House as Senior Architect, XML Division.

I am still based in Ireland, and I am still available for consulting, but now it’s as part of my work with Antenna House. In fact, we already have a couple of projects lined up, including prospective work from a company that wasn’t with Mentea.

This blog remains (and, who knows, might even become active), and the resources at http://www.mentea.net/resources.html remain available, but going forward, I am representing Antenna House.

Mentea training supplies

Inasmuch as people may come to a training session without either a pen or something to write on and there’s always slides and exercises to distribute, there’s now limited-edition Mentea pens, notebooks, and USB drives:

Mentea training supplies

And to reduce the impact of what is essentially a vanity project, the pen body and the USB drive casing are biodegradable plastic, and the notebook covers and sheets are recycled board and paper.

Whither Mentea?

Inasmuch as the last twelve months of on-site contracting has been more remunerative than any twelve month period of my usual mix of mostly-off-site consulting and on-site training, it’s time to consider what’s next for Mentea and what I’ll be doing come September: will I be a consultant, a contractor, or (gasp) even an employee?

I have enjoyed the work and the company of my co-workers, but there’s a few points to note:

  • Going “across the water” to England to work may be almost an Irish tradition, yet it has shown the undesirability of living away from home for extended periods
  • Since I’ve not known what I’ll be doing after the contract ends, I’ve kept doing work for some of my consulting clients at nights and weekends, but that hasn’t always got them results as quickly as they would like and, frankly, it made a very poor lifestyle choice
  • There’s been little time left for side projects (or, you may have noticed, for blog posts), yet I have many side projects related to XML, XSLT, and XSL-FO and would have more if I had the time – I don’t aspire to it, but I was interested to see that the .net awards has elevated side projects to being an award category of their own
  • As a contractor rather than an employee, I don’t get sick leave or holiday pay, so catching a cold can (and did) cost me money, but I’m able once the contract ends to have a long break visiting family on the other side of the world and then going to Balisage
  • As a contractor, I’ve also had the freedom to go to XML Prague and to the MultilingualWeb workshop in Rome without having to fret about departmental training budgets, how the events align with corporate goals, or using precious holiday days and my own money (though in a sense it was) if I did out of my own pocket, though I did miss the W3C “eBooks and I18n” workshop last week in Tokyo because of pressures of work, so to be a contractor isn’t to be a completely free agent, and if I was still or again a member of an active W3C WG, then multiple face-to-face meetings a year would strain my finances more than they would a large corporation’s

So what am I looking for?  Firstly, a good, long break before I address the question for real after Balisage in August. Secondly, to be based back in Ireland, at least most of the time. Beyond that, it’s undecided.  I’m not running away from consulting nor running towards either employment or more contracting. Consulting has been good to me, and been good for me since I can use a wide range of skills with different clients, but the difficulty has always been getting the right amount of work to arrive at just the right intervals so that I’m neither swamped nor starved for work.

XML Prague 2011 a success

Inasmuch as the EPUB: Chapter and Verse talk went down well and, for many people, the Saturday evening libations at The Strahov Monastic Brevery went down even better, I judge XML Prague 2011 to be a success for me (and for my co-author, Mark Howe) and for Mentea and also a success in its own right.

Several people made approving comments about the talk, which was good (some even commented on last year’s talk, which, since this showed they still remembered it, was even better).   The best comment about this year’s though is probably @Innovimax‘s tweet:

Tony is a real 21th century XML Monk! He sponsored the Beer Station at #xmlprague and works on nicely printing bibles. #consideringJoining

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Mentea logo

Inasmuch as it’s now decided, after much deliberation and some seeking of the wisdom of a small crowd, here’s the new Mentea logo shown against light and dark backgrounds:

Mentea logo against light and dark backgrounds