Nerd Alert Issue 14: Signs of a Spring Thaw

How many clocks did you change last weekend?


What we're reading this week

  Adam: Lukas Mathis writes: “Whenever [a design] discussion veers from «how can we solve this problem» to «should we pick option A or option B», you need to take a step back, and ask yourself — and your team — if these are really the only two options.” He goes on to offer tips on avoiding these false dichotomies and ensuring you’ve considered the range of possible options available to you.

  Ben: Drone journalists should expect to get arrested, says Drone Journalism Lab professor Matt Waite. The first few years of flying won’t be easy, but communications will help that. If you think you might fly a drone in the future, be sure to comment on the FAA’s rule making.

  Denise: Many of us probably use Chartbeat to look at real-time analytics of our stories. This CJR profile of the company and CEO Tony Haile breaks down why some of us might be using it all wrong. Attention should be a more important metric than clicks. “Imagine if Woodward and Bernstein had access to this kind of data and they said, ‘I’m sorry, this break-in is not really trending.’”

  Kaeti: As a woman working in technology, I have experienced the coded, and occasionally blatant, assumptions people (often men) make about my abilities and experience. No, I’m not here with my boyfriend. Most of the time, these comments and assumptions aren’t malicious — they’re born out of privilege, ignorance, and a deeply broken system. Sailor Mercury breaks down what it really means to code like a girl in a thoughtful, concrete, and compassionate essay.

  Meredith: A gentle farewell to the Google Code project. The conversation highlights the nature of tools and how those that are most widely used and adopted survive, and the desire to continue to be able to find work after a particular tool or site shuts down, via @cdibona

 Nick: Since starting on March 9, I’ve jumped in the deep end with this amazingly productive team and feeling a serious case of Impostor Syndrome. When I have doubts, I listen to this short piece by Ira Glass on being creative and the natural distance between having fine taste but not quite producing at that level. The point I take from it: stop worrying about how inadequate I am, just keep working, and only by doing that will I become adequate and eventually awesome. One of the key points of the INN Manifesto is to always be learning. I suggest you read that manifesto and borrow part or all of it for your own manifesto.

  Ryan: In this post, Melody Kramer shares a story about her friend Betty, 89. She explains how Betty gets her news and some of the difficulties she encounters in the process. The anecdote reminded me that there are lots of people out there who do not share in my lived experience. The things I build will wind up in the hands of people I never took the time to consider, used under circumstances I may never have imagined. Please keep this in mind as you build out your next big project.

  Will: Read about how UI designer Zoltan Hosszu learned to code in order to build a live widget to integrating Google Analytics beautifully into the OS X notification center and then download it.

  Bert: The next time you reach for a snack, maybe share one with me?


This week's guest contributor: Melody Kramer, 18F

Using the Doppler Effect, you can now implement motion sensing on your computer screen using only a computer speaker, your mic, and your hands. Which means you can create a theremin — or in a more useful application, scroll down a computer screen without using a mouse or touching the screen.

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


Our projects, manifest

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 7.29.50 PM_thumb
This week we launched (built using Largo) and announced our new name, Institute for Nonprofit News. Our design director wrote about how we redesigned INN in less than 60 days.


Work we admire by our peers

Screen Shot 2015-03-12 at 11.33.13 AM_thumb

A live style guide generated based on existing code that you can edit in the browser? Sign us up. As we think about how to build our own pattern library, we’ll definitely keep the SC5 Style Guide Generator in mind.


Gather ye rosebuds

LISTEN: Terry Riley celebrates his 80th birthday this year.  Listen and participate to this version of his famous, "In C."

COOK: Fridays on the Fire, Thai Chicken on the Grill from the fine Wild Yonder folks..

WATCH: Spring arrives for these beauties.

GIF: Our new logo is mesmerizing.

logo gif