Nerd Alert Issue 10: Happy Something Day!

Here's hoping your President's Day celebration is a blast!


What we're reading this week

  Adam: Every time the design team at Medium writes about their work I’m at once super inspired, jealous and perhaps a little depressed. This week they published an epic series on how they think about typography for the site that has lots of tips that are applicable to any site and some that are...well, a little depressing because they would take forever to implement. But one can dream!

  Ben: You’ve heard that journalists and their support organizations should be more conscious of information security, but you haven’t been sure where to start? Check out the book Learning Security: Information Security Education for Journalists by the Tow Center for Digital Journalism.

  Kaeti: A lot of advice reads like a sort of infallible prescription for success, when in reality it’s just what happened to work for that person. Eileen Webb’s thoughtful essay reminds us that, “Our journeys are our own, and the key to each person’s success does not — cannot — lie on someone else’s path.”

  Meredith: Word clouds aren’t always silly. I discovered this suggestion for using Wordle to improve design research. Discovered via a Huffington Post list of Awesome Blogs Every UX Designer should follow in 2015.

  Ryan: A few weeks ago, the developers at Facebook released React — a javascript library for building user interfaces. I’m always excited to try shiny, new libraries. React promises ultra-high performance, stateful components and an intuitive data pipeline. For a closer look at how to build things with React, read Thinking in React.

  Will: If you're anything like me, you cringe at the thought of building rewrite rules. That's why you'll probably want to star this new repo by phanan on github — a list of .htaccess snippets to make at least that part of your day suck a little less.!

  Bert: Harder, better, faster, stronger.

This week's guest contributor: Aaron Williams, The Center for Investigative Reporting — @aboutaaron

As a news developer, I strive to build graphics and applications that meet people where they're at. In most cases, that's been the web -- and more specifically -- the mobile web.

So, Quartz's recent story on how millions of Facebook users perceive the popular social network, not as a web site, but as platform in and of itself, shocked me.

Facebook's accessibility and reach around the world is important and gives journalists a great vehicle to share their content. But, we must remember that Facebook certainly has its own interests. As we ponder journalism's new model, let's hope we as reporters can convince these Facebook provincials that the web is just as diverse as the world they live in.

Each week we ask someone from outside our team to contribute a link, tool or idea. Are you our next guest star? We think you might be. Send us a note at

Shout outs

The folks at Mapbox developed hubdb — a database adapter which uses Github for storage. Props to them for creative use of git and Github!

Some Other Stuff

Gather ye rosebuds

LISTEN: J Dilla passed away this week in 2006, but left us with his incredible music. To celebrate Dilla Day (Feb. 7, J Dilla’s birthday), give It’s Your World a listen.

COOK: Here in Chicago, we’ll be cooking up a hearty meal of shrimp and gritsto help get through this cold weather.

WATCH: Sister Rosetta Tharpe performs This Train.

GIF: Pro tip for your first custom computer build: this is not supposed to happen.

Did you read the whole thing? Feel free to forward it to all your friends. Human or canine.