On a boat – and starting new things.

Well, it’s a ferry.  Does that count?

My new commute plan takes me from Oakland to South San Francisco by boat, across the bay on the ferry, with a short bike ride on either side.  Given that this is still day 2 of taking the ferry, I’ve still got that warm glow of disbelief that I get to watch the sunrise and sunset from a boat.  Too cool.

Anyhow the important thing is why I’m doing this, which should obviously be because I have a new job.  After three and a half years with Fabric Genomics, it was time to move on.  I left all of my work there in good hands, and the projects I wanted to finish were all wrapped up… and now I’ve got an opportunity to do some real bioinformatics, and not just engineering.  That’s a huge draw for me, really.  I miss doing algorithm design and working with the data, which is pretty much the part of bioinformatics that drew me to the field in the first place.  It’s nice to know that I can do kick-ass engineering, but it’s hard to see myself doing it much longer.

Anyhow, I’m very excited about my new job at Tenaya Therapeutics, and super thrilled to be working with a really awesome group of people.  Unlike many pharmaceutical companies, they’re thinking about their data right from the start.  That may seem obvious, but it honestly wasn’t – I’ve spoken to a lot of companies that had grown to 300+ people, with tons of research programs, and were just now thinking that they should hire someone who understands large scale data.  At that point, it’s way way way too late.  No matter how fast you’ll run, one bioinformatician will never be able to keep up with 60+ scientists generating data.

At any rate, I’d love to say more about what I’m doing, but that’s a conversation I’ll have to start up.  As I’ve learned over the years, surprises aren’t good.for anyone, unless it’s a birthday.

Stay tuned for more.

Biking in Oakland

I am slowly feeling like I have more to write, but today, I have a rant.  What the heck is up with Oakland cyclists?

Perhaps I’m just used to Vancouver cyclists, but I’ve never seen a group of people with less regard for the rules of the road.  I always thought drivers who complain about cyclists were just being whiney jerks…  but after 1 week of biking in Oakland, I’m starting to complain about cyclists.

Oddly enough, I think I’m the only cyclist who actually waits for lights to turn green before crossing intersections.  (Though I did go through a red light the other day, when I misunderstood a signal… mea culpa.)  I’m definitely the only cyclist in the city that signals before turning or changing lanes – and probably the only cyclist that isn’t aggressively swerving in and out of traffic!  (I think I’ve seen one other person, but she was going really slow and holding up a line of cars instead.)

Clearly, the insanity is not constrained to cyclists, however.  My wife was yelled at, inexplicably, for coming to a complete stop at a 4-way stop, because apparently that meant she was giving up her right of way.  It was hard to tell, really, as the woman who was yelling tried to cut us off, scream out her window at us, and ignore her own stop sign at the same time.  Oakland is clearly a culture in flux, and I have much to learn, yet, about how to stay safe on the road!