thursday Thursday Bram

All articles by thursday

 

A Few Nomination Suggestions for the Shadid Award for Ethics in Journalism

Last year marked a moment in American journalism that we may not be able to turn back from: we allowed propaganda to overwhelm our election process, diluting our shared ability to take action based on the news we receive. Throughout that process, though, there were journalists sharing articles, videos, and other media in ethical and...
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Glitter, Radical Protests, and Tee Ball on the South Lawn.

Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals The whole book is a useful read, albeit a bit dated — it was published by a professional organizer in 1971. But Alinsky’s rules remain widely applicable: Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have. Never go outside the expertise of your people. Whenever...
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Download My In-House Style Guide Template to Use However You Want

I’m excited to share the template I use for creating in-house style guides, as a reward for The Responsible Communication Style Guide Kickstarter reaching $10,000 in backing. Want to really improve your company’s communications? Back the Kickstarter today! TL;DR: Here’s the link to download my in-house style guide template: the style guide as a .docx! Keep...
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Good Things from Other People — September 12

Portland’s Community Podcast Studio There’s an Airstream trailer here in Portland that’s been retrofitted as a podcast studio. Stream PDX has only just launched, but it has the potential to help a lot of folks record audio who wouldn’t have been able to otherwise. Rachel Nabors’ Intro to the Web Animations API If you still...
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The Responsible Communication Style Guide: A Kickstarter and an Explanation

TL;DR I’m working on The Responsible Communication Style Guide with Recompiler Media. This project is something I’ve been thinking about for years and I wanted to write up how I got to this place. Our Kickstarter is here — backing at the $15 level is the fastest way to get a copy of The Responsible...
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Good Things From Other People — June 9

The Healthcare Essay You Need to Read Sarah Kliff’s essay for Vox on how patients’ free labor is crucial to our healthcare system echoes conversations I’ve had — but Sarah made the whole discussion a lot clearer. Support AlterConf In order to maintain the current pace of AlterConfs, Ashe Dryden needs to raise $100,000. I...
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PyCon, by the Zines

I spent last week at PyCon NA (in Portland this year — how convenient!). I made a zine to hand out explaining the Python community in Portland, along with suggesting some events for out-of-towners. Here’s a PDF you can download if you want to check it out. Even better, I wasn’t the only zine maker...
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Good Things From Other People — May 27

A Couple of Cool Circuits Star Simpson’s crowdfunding campaign for Circuit Classics is already funded, but you should considr backing it if you’re interested in learning more about electronics. The Circuit Classics kits each teach a different electronics concept. The Internet Doesn’t Run on Black Magic Want to know what’s really going on when you...
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What Writing Fiction Will Teach You About Writing Documentation

I gave this talk at Write the Docs this morning and wanted to share my slides. They’re embedded below, but you can grab a PDF here and a link to a Google Drive version with my notes here....
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Good Things From Other People — May 19

A Sublime Sublime Theme If you use Sublime Text, check out this elegant theme: Fairyfloss. The theme comes from Amy Wibowo, the publisher of BubbleSort Zines. Her approach to technology makes me feel like a kid in a candy factory! Gendered Names in AI Rose Eveleth wrote a look at the name of the new AI...
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Good Things From Other People — May 12

The Edie Windsor Coding Scholarship Fund Lesbians Who Tech is raising money to provide scholarships for LGBTQ women who want to attend a code schoolscholarships for LGBTQ women who want to attend a code school. Given how hard it is to access financial aid to attend code schools, these sorts of scholarships are crucial! A...
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Good Things From Other People — May 5

A Conference with a Dash of Volunteering Affect Conf covers the “work and design behind social change” and is reinforcing that commitment by including volunteer hours as a part of the conference schedule. Both the talks and the opportunity to see inside some local Portland non-profits are well worth the cost of admission. (Full disclosure:...
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Good Things from Other People — April 22

Probably the Best Video Synth App of All Time Jason Grlicky has been working on Lumen for years, creating a software video synthesizers with an enjoyable number of buttons and knobs. I’ve seen a couple of pieces created using Lumen already and there’s a level of artistry that I never expected — and you can...
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Susan Sontag Nailed It

Found this postcard at the Letterpress Fair this weekend. It’s made by Dead Feminists and I agree with the sentiment whole-heartedly....
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Good Things from Other People

Since I haven’t been so great about writing up my own escapades of late, I figured I’d start writing about some of the great things other people are doing so that I can get back in the blogging habit. So here are five things you should take a look at. There’s no particular order beyond...
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The PyDX Post-Mortem

Because I'm the sort of person that takes pics: #PyDX pic.twitter.com/VbbKFY80s0 — social interaction (@brianwisti) October 10, 2015 We spent over a year planning PyDX. From my perspective, the result was worth every bit of stress. I’ve been thinking about what I want to say about the conference now that it’s over. I’ve stopped and...
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A Preview of the Conference I’ve Been Planning for the Last Year

I’ve been working on PyDX for over a year. So have my phenomenal co-organizers, Rachel Kelly, Georgia Reh, Melissa Chavez, and Christopher Swenson. This weekend — October 10th and 11th — all of that hard work is going to pay off. PyDX, by the way, is a community conference for Python programmers in the Pacific...
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Seriously, How is Spec Work Still a Thing?

Speculative work is a bad bet, both from the point of view of a creative and from that of an entrepreneur. Asking people to do free work (or doing that work yourself) is rarely the most effective way to move a project forward — and yet I keep seeing calls for spec work. I would...
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One Weekend, One App

Over the weekend, my husband and I put together FriendshipAPI.com. He did all the coding, while I wrote copy, designed a logo, and did a little bit of marketing. Christopher wrote up the technical side of launching an app in one weekend, so I figured a rundown of how I spent my time would be...
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My Template for Technical Resumes

Offline, I spend a lot of time helping friends with their resumes. I’ve even given a couple of workshops about technical resumes. This is the template I use in helping someone get started in creating a technical resume: You can also access the document here. You may notice a lot of comments in this particular...
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A Brief Review of PyCon 2015, Based Entirely on Swag

Last week, I flew up to Montreal for PyCon. I’m now home, without any new international incidents to add to my record. It was my first PyCon, but it won’t be my last. If Python (or open source development in general) is your thing, all of the talks from this weekend appear to already be...
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Investors Always Want to Be The Coolest Kids in the Room

Investing in an amazing startup is like buying the hot new gadget that’s just come on the market. Just being able to lay down your cash, either for an investment or a gadget is a good social signal, telling the rest of the herd that you’re cool. But sometimes you get the iPod and sometimes...
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Berkshire Hathaway’s Annual Report Remains Well Worth Reading

The 2014 Annual Report from Berkshire Hathaway came out recently. I always look forward to reading Warren Buffett’s letter to shareholders, but I found this year’s report especially worth reading. 2015 is the fiftieth anniversary of Buffett Partnership Ltd. taking control Berkshire Hathaway (then a faltering textile manufacturer). The textile manufacturing part of the business...
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The Writer’s Bundle Returns; Act Fast!

The Writer’s Bundle is back — for the next three days. I’m a fan of this bundle and you may remember me promoting it in the past. There’s always books or courses in here that I love or want for myself. Here’s a quick rundown of this year’s bundle: Kindle Launch Plan: $1,400 in 30...
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IFTTT’s Do Apps Are Pretty Cool

IFTTT released a new set of apps that have kept me pretty entertained lately as I’ve worked on figuring out just how to use them. The apps are: Do Button Do Camera Do Note All three are available for iOS and for Android. Each app allows you to set up a certain action that happens...
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Accounting for Ripple Effects

I get emotional about accounting. That’s probably a personal problem — some sort of deep-seated issue dating far back in my history as an entrepreneur. But the more time I spend thinking about accounting in general, and tax returns in specific, the more emotional I get. The accounting industry is having a very good year...
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A New Use for Hemingway: Ghostwriting

I’ve been finding Hemingway surprisingly useful when working on ghost-writing projects lately. It’s a useful sort of a writing hack to get some quick insights when you’re trying to mimic someone else’s writing style. Of course, Hemingway is fundamentally intended to help writers sound more like the man himself. But it does that by highlighting...
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How To Level Up

Stagnation is a very real threat, especially when you do creative work every day. Clients are only ever interested in what you can already do and repeats of what you have already done. (While I can’t speak from experience, I assume the same is true of employers.) Doing just what is expected of you is...
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Why Freelancers Should Embrace Dwolla

Payment processing is something of a pet peeve for me. Getting paid through a site like PayPal is very convenient, but I have to give up 2.9 percent of my income (plus an added 30 cent fee) on every transaction. Consider what that means I’m paying: Income Payment to PayPal $100 $3.12 $1,000 $29.30 $10,000...
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HabitRPG is My New Favorite Productivity Tool

A few friends convinced me to join HabitRPG a few weeks ago. Since then, I’ve become an enthusiastic convert! The idea behind HabitRPG is that we can treat our to-do lists like a game. We can get points for knocking items off the list, level up, and even help friends defeat bigger monsters. HabitRPG offers...
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HTML is the New Latin

Latin is a strange language. No one speaks it as their first language and few people speak it regularly outside of Vatican City. Yet many schools still offer Latin classes and most of us know a few words (even if we aren’t always aware that we do). We still use Latin roots for forming new...
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Review: Happiness of Pursuit

Chris Guillebeau’s third book, “The Happiness of Pursuit” is a perfect fit with the themes of his previous books. The logical progression of Guillebeau’s books makes perfect sense: In “The Art of Non-Conformity“, Guillebeau laid out a vision of how readers can choose a more personal path. The book offers insights for deciding what your...
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Community-Run Conferences: The Most Bang for Your Conference Buck

I recently had the pleasure of attending Open Source Bridge and noticed several factors that made it an incredibly useful and enjoyable conference to attend. Open Source Bridge is an annual conference that takes place in Portland, Oregon (just like OSCON). It covers a variety of topics related to open source software, also similarly to...
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Using Time Tracking Tools Effectively

One of my current projects is to more effectively track my time. While I keep decent track of the time I spend on clients’ projects, I’m not so good about watching my own time. After all, there’s less of a financial incentive at play. The question of that financial incentive is part of the problem,...
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Why Automating Your Scheduling Is Such A Big Win

I would pay big bucks if I got an extra day a week to work. I always have more to do than I can actually squeeze in and I’m sure I’m not the only one. But while I can’t actually add more hours into my day, I have found that automating my schedule both saves...
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The Value Of A Crap Job

When talking to entrepreneurs, it seems like everyone has a ‘crap job’ story: the tale of the a job so bad that it forced the person telling it to decide how to get out of a situation she absolutely hated. I have held a few crap jobs over the years. They all had their own...
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A Bug With A Logo?

We all know that we need to take our online security seriously, but we rarely do anything to improve our own situations. Even when we hear about data breaches, the odds that we’ll go and change passwords are relatively slim. We might get occasional emails and updates from the sites we log into about our...
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Is There A Tech Bubble?

Economic bubbles are fascinating, provided you don’t have your own money tied up in a given market. There tends to be an element of true ridiculousness about most of these bubbles: during the first ‘official’ economic bubble, people were willing to pay up to ten times as much as they made in a year for...
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You Need A Network That Promotes Your Stuff On Social Networks

Especially among new bloggers just starting out online, deciding just how much time to invest in networking on social media is tough. There’s no one true way to build up a great network for yourself; heck, there isn’t even a clear picture of what great connections might look at. Some people point to in-depth conversations...
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How to Stay Connected with the People You Want to Work With

I’ve been at a lot of networking events lately and I’ve met some incredibly awesome people. I keep a list of people who I want to work with in the future and I’ve definitely added some names to that list. But I do keep running into a problem: how do I stay in touch with...
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You Are Here: New Maps You Should Have on Your Radar

Maps tell us a lot about our world; the maps from You Are Here more so than most. It’s a project from the Social Computing Group at the MIT Media Lab which publishes a new map every day. For Portland, the site has so far shared maps of bicycle crashes, coffee shops, and street greenery....
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Advocacy Journalism: How Passion Will Drive the News You Read

Brand journalism is firmly established; the thought that any major company wouldn’t set aside a portion of its marketing budget to create its own publications was outdated even before the internet changed everything. John Deere developed The Furrow in 1895 to share news and stories that would interest the company’s core customers and other companies...
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When Travel Throws You For A Loop

Travel is fun, but travel is also trouble — even if you are dedicated to a set personal schedule, trains and planes only run at certain times. Stepping outside your usual patterns also increases the chances that something can go wrong, whether that’s a cancelled flight or a lost bag. But we like traveling. We...
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The Value Of Routine

Building routines into your day is rarely an easy process. I’ve gone out of my way to structure my life so that following my routine is the easiest option; I walk to my office because I picked a location that is a pain in the posterior to find parking around, for example. It’s worth going...
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How Obamacare Shows the Employment System isn’t Working

About a third of the people who are getting the most benefit from Obamacare are between 18 and 34. That’s a good thing from the point of insurers; it’s the demographic least likely to need major healthcare so payments from that group support insurance for demographics more likely to need care. But it’s also an...
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A Personal Story Always Wins in Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is a rather simple idea: Need some money? Ask people for it! But the implementations of that concept just keep expanding. The Kickstarter model, where campaign operators promise a diverse array of rewards is just one version of how crowdfunding can play out. Others include: Asking for straight up donations (usually best when the...
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How a Business Card Design Can Change a Life

Running a business — no matter how small — is about identity. In fact, the smaller your business, the more you need to differentiate between yourself and your competition on a personal level. What’s the difference between two people competing for a small project? Personality, mostly. In South Africa, reports Good Magazine, “…it’s common to...
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Kickstarted Films Need iTunes

Kickstarter is a viable launching pad for films; Veronica Mars, Indie Game, and plenty of other movies have proven that point. But distributing those movies has resulted in some very specialized (and non-repeatable) approaches to getting copies into backers’ hands. Making sure that these films reached audiences beyond the people who directly contributed to their...
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A Few Thoughts on Profanity

I’m a writer; the thought of excluding even a part of the rich vocabulary that makes up the tools of my trade tends to make me pause. But most people don’t find profanity particularly appealing, especially in professional communications. I tend to avoid certain words as a result, only occasionally dusting them off to really...
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We Should Be Using Big Data To Create

Photography community 500px acquired another startup, Authintic, which specialized in opt-in data for marketers; the purchase resulted in 500px Prime. The new site is a marketplace for premium photos, but it presents some key differences from all the other sites selling stock photography out in the world. Instead of just throwing a bunch of photos...
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