Workflow: Alfred and DMCA predefs at Automattic

In November 2014, my pal and colleague, Clicky Steve, posted at Transparency Report for Automattic, “Open Sourcing Our DMCA Process“:

[…] we are pleased to announce that today we are open sourcing our DMCA process docs on GitHub – under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license.

[…] there is also a comprehensive set of detailed ‘predefined replies’ that we use when corresponding with both users and complainants in specific situations.

For awhile, I had these saved as Snippets in Alfred, which meant I couldn’t easily share those with my team.

So, I made an Alfred workflow with the DMCA snippets I use most frequently:

screen shot a8c dmca predefs.png

When using the predefined reply To User → Processed Notice, we’re working with two browser tabs because we create a new ticket to the site owner.

After I confirm the notice is valid and process the takedown request, I do the following:

  1. Copy the text of the DMCA notice from the complainant, then press Control–Tab to switch to the new ticket in the other browser tab.
  2. Clicking in the body of the message, I summon Alfred ( ⌘–Spacebar ), enter the keyword dmca.b.proc, then press Enter.

How’d I save time?

  • Since I have the {clipboard} dynamic placeholder (Alfred) inserted where the complainant’s notice needs to be pasted, it saves me the motion of another copy-paste. Estimate: 5 seconds.
  • I don’t have to navigate through our ticket system snippets by trackpad. Estimate: 5 seconds.

Save ten seconds per notice — I’ll take it!

Assuming I don’t have any blockers for uploading the Alfred workflow to Automattic, I’ll work on sharing it in the near future.🙂

Four Years as a Happiness Engineer

Thank you, Automattic, for helping me improve and mature. Four years and counting, and loving it!

I like shifting my work schedule. I started with Tuesday–Saturday, switched to Monday–Friday during my Happiness Hiring rotation, and I’m currently on Sunday–Thursday. Dig it for helping reduce average response times. I’m happy to take advantage of the flexible schedule.

Happiness Hiring invited me for a rotation from mid July to early October 2015. I helped improve their process a bit by adding checklists and updating their internal documentation. Best of all, three of the trials are now my colleagues, and the fourth will start soon. So rad!⭐

For the Grand Meetup, many Automattic musicians organized, rehearsed, and performed a set of several songs during the party on the last night. It was epic. I played bass guitar for the first time in years for a song during the party on the last night.1

Late last year, Matt suggested we get a USB headset with noise-canceling microphone2 if we participate in video or audio chats. It was great timing because I was able to record some solid training screencasts with fantastic audio quality.

Notable

  • 15 “weekly” reviews.
  • Coworked five times with other SoCal Automatticians.
  • Four training sessions for other Happiness Engineers (one trial, three full timers).
  • Published 88 posts in 2015.
  • Comfort processing DMCA notices and trademark complaints have improved.

Travel & Events

  • May 2015: Justitia team meetup in Barcelona, Spain
  • October 2015: Grand Meetup in Park City, Utah (second consecutive year)
  • January 2016: NAMM 2016 in Anaheim, CA — two days in the WordPress booth by WordPress.com

Boo this man

  • I was 56 short of my goal of 144 posts in 2015. Don’t worry, 366 in 2016!
  • I didn’t publish any posts for the WordPress.com Transparency Report.
  • I was short by 37 weekly reviews.

Previously: Two Years as a Happiness Engineer, Three Years as a Happiness Engineer


  1. “The Distance” by Cake. No video at the moment. 
  2. I went with the previous Wirecutter pick (before it was updated), the Microsoft’s LifeChat LX-6000. (Amazon.com affiliate link.) 

366 days of posts

I’m committing to publish one post per day in 2016.1

In my last post, Bryan’s Purge of 2016, I wrote:

One of my goals in 2016 to is reduce my physical and digital belongings.

There are several Lightroom catalogs—along with the corresponding photos—before 2011 on my second generation Drobo (USB 2.0), and the remaining Lightroom catalogs on my current laptop. I’m confident that the natural byproduct of purging will surface photos that I’ll be proud to publish.

I’d also like to be more open sharing what I read, learn, and do. People will either follow my blog, continue coming back for more, share it with others, or let me know how I can do better.

Yes, I’m choosing to ignore the possibility of followers leaving, because ultimately:

I’m…talking about myself, really.🙂

Publishing daily will also subject everyone to my latest quirks, which I’m sure Amy will appreciate.😉

In practice, I think I’ll schedule a block of time every morning to schedule posts.

On The Daily Post, the post The WordPress.com Editor: Five Quick Tips describes calendar-based scheduling. I’ll aim to fill up each month with dark blue circles (scheduled posts) and light gray circles (previously published posts).

For less important (superficial) reasons:

  • I’d like my 2016 WordPress.com annual report for this blog to have more recent posts with the most views for the current year. (In 2015, three posts with the most views were published in 2005, one post was published in 2010, and one post was published in 2015.)
  • It’d be rad to hit or beat the number of views in 2012.

Amy said she’d hold me accountable, but I’d love to hear your ideas for suggested posts to give me momentum! Please send them through my contact form. Thanks!2


  1. In 2015, I published 87 posts, 57 short of my goal of 144
  2. The Daily Post also has a great resource on the Postaday section. I’ve added the badge to my sidebar. 

2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 41,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 15 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Simplenote: Embed Ideas and Tips

I was reading an internal P2 at work1, and saw a note beautifully embedded in a post. I’d like to share some thoughts on doing this.

Add a tag for quicker reference. When I don’t want to search for these by typing.

Tagged “siteEmbed”, place one note on your WordPress.com site to keep an ephemeral realtime status. I have date and time buttons in my custom keyboard when writing in Drafts for iOS, and a snippet in Alfred for a time stamp (keyword: “fts”). Copy to clipboard, paste in Simplenote.

Your team can display the status of their projects or active to-dos on a single page. Each member embeds their published note. Rather than wading thru the text from other members, you’d only see your own items when editing in Simplenote. Tag: “TeamEmbed”. (I just thought of this.)

Another note can be your Logbook, which could be on another page in your team P2. Each member embeds this published note, too. (Tag: “Logbook”.)

Once a week, the completed items from the previous note — active projects and to-dos — get cut and pasted into this note (Logbook) with dated headings. At the end of the year, those get copied permanently, and a new Logbook page/note is created for the new year.

Keep a team status page (working, ticket queue status, AFK, errands, nap, jog, vacation2). Editing your own status in Simplenote on your phone is quicker than editing the P2 page. And, again, you wouldn’t need to edit the status of your other colleagues.

Wow. That all sounds great! 😎


  1. Automattic. We’re looking for Happiness Engineers — join us
  2. I need to test Markdown image support. I could use Cloudup from my iPhone, then share a photo while on vacation or something. Update: Markdown images won’t auto embed within a Simplenote embed. Not a deal breaker for me, it would’ve been fun. 😄 

CSS: 42 characters to hide post author info and byline in Twenty Fifteen

Since I’m the only one posting here, I added the following CSS:

.author-info, span.byline {
display: none;
}

i-am-invincible

You can compare how the author information (single post and byline) is displayed on the Twenty Fifteen demo.

If your blog is on WordPress.com, you’ll need Custom Design, which is a feature of the WordPress.com Premium and WordPress.com Business plans.

Three Years as a Happiness Engineer

Today, I chalk up another great year with Automattic. I’m still stoked to be here!

Summary

Attempts to resuscitate my first Thunderbolt Display failed, so I got another one. I stepped down as squad lead of Terms of Service to offer the opportunity to someone else. In mid July, I took off for a week due to burn out. (It was overdue.) Core Happiness was split into dedicated teams. The ToS squad “morphed” into team Justitia, and our response times are lower because we’ve grown by a few more Happiness Engineers. Our team also started experimenting with project weeks, where I was proud to be the first guinea pig. (It coincided with the series of posts, “A Day in the Life of a Happiness Engineer”.) We’re on our second round, and the idea is catching onto other Happiness teams. I’m into GTD more than before, and I’m still using Things.

Least importantly, I went as long as two months without a haircut.🙂

Travel & Events

  • San Francisco, CA — Terms of Service & Legal Meetup
  • Budapest, Hungary — Write The Docs (conference)1, Happiness Engineer On–boarding Meetup
  • Playa del Carmen, Mexico — Workflow Learnup
  • Playa del Carmen, Mexico — Terms of Service Docs Meetup
  • WordCamp Los Angeles
  • Park City, UT — Grand Meetup
  • San Francisco, CA — UserConf
  • Puerto Rico — Justitia Team Meetup

Looking Forward

I’m interested to see how shifting my work schedule will further reduce response times over the weekend, and how it’ll affect the quality of my free time with Amy. Starting on the 24th, instead of Monday thru Friday, I’ll work from Tuesday thru Saturday. The quieter Slack channels on the weekend should allow me to fully focus on smashing our queues.🙂

I also wrote my goals for 2015 a few weeks ago, which include the following:

  • Increase my comfort with DMCA and trademark notices. For example, I mentioned a fair use analysis the other day. Nailed it.⭐
  • Rotate with Team Cerberus for a couple of weeks to focus on WordPress.com–related questions. (Yay for regular tickets!) It’ll happen in March.
  • Publish 144 posts on my blog in 2015, or average 12 posts per month.2 I’m on track so far.⭐
  • Publish three posts for WordPress.com Transparency Report News.
  • Stick with iterating with Happiness Engineer on–boarding duties, which we call “D’OH” (Developing Our Happiness).

On that note, enjoy this clip of Kevin Nealon’s character in the movie, Happy Gilmore. This might be a stretch, but if you listen to his wacky message, it seems relevant to Happiness Engineers.😉

Previously: Two Years as a Happiness Engineer


  1. I published several posts of notes from Write the Docs EU, which you can find at the handy tag “Write the Docs EU”. 
  2. For reference, I published 80 posts in 2014