I was at Isilon for eight years. In some sense, that was three years too long; I stayed because the handcuffs were golden and the work had long become routine. Isilon had grown explosively; I was now third-longest veteran, and was still writing web apps for new extensions to the Isilon product line. I wasn't writing C anymore; the job of writing Python libraries had been farmed out to others. I was comfortable. I was lazy.

Then 2008 happened. The market fell apart. The tech world collapsed. The world seized up in economic shock. Isilon was bought by EMC and a lot of people got laid off. They gave me a bucket of money and... that was it. Like millions of other people, I was out of work.

I'd been in a hothouse environment for eight years. Isilon had been fairly open-source unfriendly; they took a lot of stuff in, but discouraged employees from contributing to open source projects, mostly due to paranoia about copyrights and poaching. I'd been working with Webware and Prototype. The world had moved on to Django and jQuery. I needed to follow them.

I hacked and played and discussed on this blog how I'd dived head-first into Django and taught myself a few nifty things. I also discussed a little side-project about using Python to write transpilers. This combination caught someone's attention: he asked me if I could write a Django app that would take in a single