Nerd Alert Issue 15: Spring arrives shortly

We are chasing sunshine and celebrating the shoots of new ideas.


What we're reading this week

  Adam: A reminder that late night emails aren’t just bad for your team, they’re also bad for you as a leader. If you have to write emails during non-work hours, at least save them as drafts and then send at a more reasonable time. Your team will thank you.

  Ben: Proving once again that CSS makes everything possible, here is a font done entirely in CSS: CSS Sans. It uses ::before, ::after and some <divs> to create common letterforms.

  Denise: It’s that time of year again — time to follow @NailbiterBot on Twitter. This bot from the WNYC Data News Team tweets any time there is a close game (men’s or women’s) during March Madness, so you’ll know when it’s time to stop working and watch the game. This post has a quick walk-through on how to set up text notifications anytime @NailbiterBot tweets. News you can truly use!

  Kaeti: Jason Santa Maria (a super talented designer/thinker/author and current design director at Vox media) hosted an AMA on Designer News and it’s full of great insight and advice.

  Meredith: Robots are cute and engaging, even in a zoo. Learn how a handful of robots work to respond to natural disasters and were named for science fiction authors.

 Nick: My interest in computers started in the days when we used modems, and connection speeds were measured in thousands of bytes per second. The unique screech of a modem making a connection has always fascinated me, and I would listen to it like an exotic language being spoken skillfully. Oona Räisänen, a self-described signals hacker, does an awesome write-up The Sound of Dialup, Pictured including a diagram suitable for printing.

  Ryan: Every now and then, it's worth taking the time to consider what motivates us and how we can strive to live more meaningful and truly satisfying lives. Take a few minutes to read and consider The Creative Life and Well-Being.

  Will: Mike Monterio writes about redesigning The Seattle Times. It’s interesting to get an outsiders perspective on the complexities involved when working with a news organization — things us news app developers deal with every day. My favorite quote? “You wanna learn how to ship? Work at a newspaper for a year.”

  Bert: I dream of one day of wearing the crown.

This week's guest contributor: Kate Golden, Wisconsin Watch, @wiswatchkate

At, we were bulletproofing a series of 12 animated GIFs and provoked some interesting, critical (and longish) responses from opposing sides. Instead of changing the piece, I wanted to add the responses as annotations, preferably hidden by default to avoid weighing down the layout. This led me to the News Nerds office hours. The second-best thing about the pop-up footnotes they came up with is that it is fairly easy to implement. The best part is that it allows me to take a page from the fantastic web comic xkcd (thanks to Ben Keith). The inspiration is here and the gist of the solution is here.

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

We share our projects, processes and tools in our docs repo on github.  Ryan’s instructions show how to contribute to this or any other repo.


Work we admire by our peers

18F is a government organization charged with helping other agencies deliver their mission through digital and web services recently celebrated their first anniversary and  released a look back at their first year.


Gather ye rosebuds

LISTEN: Discover the songwriter’s songwriter, Jason Molina, covered by Glen Hansard.

COOK: Get a head start on next year’s Irish Soda Bread competitions.

WATCH: Dipping south this week.

GIF: A spacey solstice.