52 Books in 52 Weeks, Year 3

What started as a dumb challenge to myself to read 52 books in 52 weeks is now in its THIRD YEAR. Also I somehow turned this into a lightning talk I gave at a conference last year. (See blog posts from 2016 and 2015).


What I did differently this year

For the last two years, the percentage of female authors I read has hovered stubbornly around 30% and last year, I realized that if I’m not conscientious about the books and authors I’m reading, I tend to read mostly books by (white) men. So this year, I made the active choice for at least half the books I read this year to be by women/people of color. The final count ended up being 42 books by women, 20 of those written...

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Year in Review 2016

An incomplete series of lists detailing what I built, wrote, talked about, and read in 2016.


Things Written

52 Books in 52 Weeks, Year 2

BACK AT IT AGAIN WITH THE 52 BOOKS (I’m probably going to regret making this February 2016 meme reference very soon). I read 52 books in 52 weeks for the second year in a row!


What I did differently this year

Unfortunately, I did not stick to as strict a schedule of reading a book a week. There ended up being waves of not reading anything at all and waves of intense reading, like when I read eight books in the last two weeks of December in an effort to finish my first Goodreads Challenge of 52 books in a single calendar year. Because I was taking so many liberal arts and humanities classes to finish out my English minor and distribution requirements for graduation, I decided to include books I read...

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On casual racism

I’m studying in the student center with two people for a plant quiz (I’m referring to my biology class called Plant-People Interactions which I tweet about a lot). One of the topics for this quiz is alcohol - beverages made from fungi to be specific - and that means we cover the plants and processes that result in wine, beer, distilled liquors, etc. When we start reviewing the section on sake, this guy turns to me and says “this is all you!”

Neither me nor my friend initially says anything. I’m honestly just trying to process what I just heard. This guy assumes I’m Japanese and he just assumes that means I know all about sake. A thousand options run through my head. Ignore it, sweep it under the rug, laugh it off, take the higher...

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Connecting gamemakers and playtesters at SNDMakesChi

At SNDMakesChi, Team Printer’s Row designed and prototyped I Want In, a platform that connects gamemakers and playtesters. We tested our initial hypothesis - that playtesters are important but hard to find - by talking to some game developers who responded to our teammate Charlie’s Bat Signal.

team printer's row

Team Printers Row (left to right): Chris Coyier, me, Charlie Hall, Allyson Wakeman

We learned that game developers often test with friends and family or find testers from the same sites and online communities, have a low budget for QA (and in some cases a random volunteer may be better than a hired person for QA), and find it challenging to get quality feedback from testers. We developed two personas: a gamemaker and a playtester.


  • Need specialists...
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All the think pieces I've read about Beyoncé's "Formation" (so far)

I’ve been listening to Beyoncé’s “Formation” on repeat since it dropped last Saturday (if you haven’t listened to it/seen the video 390192 times by now who are you), so naturally I’ve also been devouring every think piece out there about the sheer amazingness of this song (and Beyoncé in general). Then my friend texted me today asking “omg the new beyonce send me all the best essays plz” so here they are:

How we built (and iterated) North by Northwestern’s Year in Media 2015

North by Northwestern’s Year in Media is an annual collaborative and interactive project in which writers reflect on developments in news, tech, sports, politics, entertainment, and pop culture. Since we’ve never really stuck to a single design or workflow, this year was an opportunity to iterate and experiment. Here is how we built NBN’s Year in Media 2015 across timezones and behind firewalls.

Both the 2014 and 2015 Year in Media projects are built using Middleman, which is a static site generator that makes web development really easy (plus it’s the static site generator I’m most familiar with). Last year, I used the Middleman Google Drive gem to make our backend a shared Google spreadsheet, and while it allowed for easier collaboration, it also introduced a lot of confusion in terms of data entry. This...

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Year in Review 2015

An incomplete series of lists detailing what I wrote, built, read, and watched in 2015. I also wrote a more ~real~ reflection of my year on Medium.

Projects Completed:

Things Written:

Medium posts

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console me

My laptop has been a steady companion for the last three years. Sure, the battery has deteriorated since I was a wide-eyed freshman, but it has otherwise never given me any problems. Until today, when the space bar decided that it’d had enough and would press itself to its heart’s content without the slightest provocation. I could barely type a URL in Chrome without the cursor making a mad dash to the right of the screen. I was stuck at the bottom of any website, the cursor still blinking madly as it tried to go beyond the end of the webpage.

Nothing wrong with the key itself, the Apple store guy at our campus bookstore told me. Then he said the four worst words I’ve ever heard besides “We’re out of guac”: “It’s a hardware issue.” This meant separation, and...

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This Audio Hackathon

In today’s blog post, insights from audio creators, projects that tackle problems in audio storytelling, and takeaways from two days of brainstorming and building.

From ThoughtWorks NYC, it’s This American Life: (The Audio Hackathon).

Act One

When I listen to podcasts, I get lost in them. I laugh out loud in the grocery store, shake my head at something the host says, or even nod along in agreement with a particularly resonating segment. It is a profoundly personal experience, listening to a podcast. Though content and structure are absolutely the most important aspects of good audio storytelling, this past weekend I was exposed to a whole range of topics concerning podcast listeners and creators that I hadn’t ever given much thought to.

The overarching themes included audio analytics, distribution, flexibility, audience development, funding, and sharing. Andrew...

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