Go Analog


Close your laptop lid; take a break

Accessing Dropbox From A Vintage Macintosh


Vintage computing is a great way to appreciate the engineering and design achievements of yesteryear; here's a quick tip on how to actually get a little work done while you're at it.

Doomsday Machine Followup: Docker Project


Doomsday Machine is a tool for backing up cloud services to a local machine. This project is a followup to a Node.js project I started in April. While that project worked well, I wasn't happy with the code's performance and lack of support, being that the project was just my code. Instead, I've constructed this project which is really just an amalgamation of others' great projects.

Why AR Will Supersede VR


Apple’s unveiling of their augmented reality development tool, AR Kit, at the World Wide Developer Conference is an indicator that they see the future of augmented reality being much stronger than the future of virtual reality.

Backing Up Cloud Services With Doomsday Machine


With a rising threat of ransomware and other data-crippling threats, backups are indispensable. While cloud services, by their nature, are extremely stable and backed-up often, there is still the threat that a malicious entity could compromise or corrupt those services.

Featured On IOT Weekly


My recent article on the need to create an open standard for IOT devices, Where The Internet of Things Runs Aground, was in issue 96 of IOT Weekly.

New Project: GrammarLint


This is a Node.JS implementation of the grammar verification Bash scripts by Matt Might. Taking his work a bit further, this implementation installs as a global binary, allows for future expansion of modules, and outputs the found errors in various ways that best suit the user.

Where The Internet of Things Runs Aground


The big holiday gift of the season seems to have been the Amazon Echo Dot. The small voice-controlled gadget was the perfect combination of low-cost and high-tech for gadget lovers and techies everywhere.

_theInitialCommit Featured on TechNative


_theInitialCommit was featured on the site TechNative this week. It's been an exciting time for that project as the interest in it seems to grow week over week. I'm also excited to share that Maddison Long, also featured in the article, will be joining the project to help recruit new interview candidates and further promote it.

Algorithmic Journalism


In hindsight of this election, there have been countless articles on how social media, so much more than ever before, affected the outcome of the race.

New Project: _theInitialCommit


I've started a new blog that's meant to be an exploration of the people behind the projects. Each post is an exclusive interview with a member of the open source community.

Contributing to Backup Tool


My latest project, BackupTool, has really taken off. I've added a new section to the project outlining how contributors can help out with the project. This is my first open source project to get this sort of traction, so it is quite exciting.

Sweaters & Sustenance


My best friend, John Allen, worked with a videographer to produce this amazing documentary about his non-profit, Sweaters & Sustenance.

New Project: Backup Tool


I wasn't impressed with the open-source Glacier backup tools out there, so I'm implementing my own in Node.js.

Content is Changing: Is Your Team Ready?


Content Science Review recently featured an article co-authored by my colleague Jessica Mancari and myself. In it, we discuss a new approach to content and digital production that we've been expirmenting with in our teams at Adfero.

Chef's Hat Featured on LifeHacker


Chef's Hat was featured on the lifestyle blog Lifehacker last weekend. This is a very exciting moment for the app as that post has brought it much attention and validation to the effort. I'm excited for the project to begin catering to a wider audience thanks to the positive review from Alan Henry at Lifehacker.

TruckToMe Now On React Native


After reading more and more about how great React Native is, I began learning it and discovering its potential. With TruckToMe sitting on the project shelf for far too long, I thought it an apt project for rewriting in React Native.

New Drupal Modules: Mobile Preview and Social Media Links


I’ve been a Drupal site developer for a number of years, and I’ve always enjoyed the quality and robustness of the Drupal contributed module community. Given the experiences I’ve acquired on my Drupal projects and a personal commitment to contribute more open source software, I decided to release two modules I created to the Drupal community.

New Project: Chef's Hat


Think of Chef's Hat as a bookmarking tool for your recipes. When you're visiting one of your favorite recipe sites, you can click the Chef's Hat button in your browser, and it will then save that recipe to your Chef's Hat account. Your Chef's Hat account keeps track of those saved recipes for you to search and explore later.

New CocoaPod: EmailFeedback


This is yet another feedback prompt. This one directs users to submit email feedback or write a review. The app will ask users of the after a set period of time (30 days by default) to review the app. If the user declines, the user is then asked if he or she prefers to just send feedback directly. Selecting this option opens an email composer view with some information about the app and device preloaded. All of the strings and time intervals used in this Pod are customizable.

New Plugin: jScrollability


This jQuery plugin helps you build single-scroll pages with complex scroll-based animations a la the NYTimes Snowfall feature. As the user scrolls, this plugin will animate the position of items based on the scroll position. To use it, you select various page elements, set the boundary points for their behavior, and then define a functor to compute the behavior.

Adfero's Recent Open Source Contributions


Our interactive team relies greatly on the open source community when building sites and apps. This past quarter, while we’ve been busy building some great sites for our clients, we’ve had the opportunity to give back to the open source community by posting some code fixes and new modules. It’s important that companies who depend on open source software for their daily work contribute back to the community, and it’s something we encourage our development team to do whenever possible.

Jumpstarting Your Web Analytics Playbook


Starting in December, I'll be hosting a series of workshops at the Washington DC branch of General Assembly. The first one will be a short class on getting into web analytics; it's absolutley worth checking out.

Posted to GitHub: Oh My Tabs


This is my first attempt at a Chrome extension. It loads the latest links from Today in Tabs and displays them in a popup menu.

Relaunching My Site On Jekyll


It's been a while since I've posted anything, so I thought it might be time to correct that. Here's my new site now powered by Jekyll and running on Amazon S3.

Moving My Private Projects to GitLab


Git is such a fantastic tool for developers, and it has saved me on numerous occasions in personal and professional projects. However, the one aspect of Git that I was never fond of was the cost of private hosted Git repository services. Services like GitHub, Springloops, and Beanstalk all charge for such a limited amount of space and such a low cap on the number of private projects that developers always seemed to be getting the shaft.

What We Learned from Healthcare.gov


Anyone who works in an industry even remotely tech-related in Washington DC has repeatedly fielded the recent question, “what do you think of Healthcare.gov?” The news, and its DC-typical host of rumors, consumed this town and this country for a time. The failure of the site to function properly led to decreased public confidence in the new healthcare system established by the Affordable Healthcare Act, and it led to a very humiliating experience for the Obama Administration, the Department of Health and Human Services and the contractors involved, including CGI Federal. However, another tragedy in this family of tragedies is that the Healthcare.gov failure represents a missed chance for the government to set a higher bar for web-based government services.

3 Things in the Digital World to Watch


The buzz in Drupal groups is about the upcoming release of Drupal 8. With this major release, the maintainers of the prolific content management system (CMS) all but rebuilt Drupal from the database to the front end. The change comes as the result of an increased focus on creating code that is portable between Drupal and the larger web development community. The upside is that building a sophisticated Drupal site could become easier as Drupal sites will be able to more easily borrow code from existing open source projects. The downside is that current Drupal developers need to relearn nearly the entire platform.

Latest App: WearWhat


I'm excited to announce the launch of my latest app, WearWhat. The app is a different kind of weather app that gives you crucial information about weather when you start your day. The app is $0.99, and available in the iTunes US store. Learn more from this [press release](/download/WearWhatPressRelease.pdf).

Upcoming App Launch: WearWhat?


Next month, I'm releasing a new app titled WearWhat?. The app delivers quick local weather forecast information to users on the go. It's hard getting dressed in the morning without knowing the weather. You don't have time to wait for the weather report on the morning news, and you sure can't run outside unclothed to see if it's raining. (Trust us, that was a bad idea.) Instead, you can use WearWhat? to get a notification with the weather report at the time you choose.

Mobile Strategy Doesn’t End with Your Website


Now that Facebook has unveiled redesigned mobile pages featuring stronger action-oriented controls, it’s time examine how we implement mobile strategy outside of websites. Audiences absorb a brand through a variety of channels, and assuming that all mobile roads lead to your responsive website is too narrow of a focus.

Really Simple Syndication (d. 2013)


Google declared Really Simple Syndication (a.k.a. RSS) dead yesterday when it announced the discontinuation of their Reader app. RSS found itself struggling for mainstream relevance over the past few years as few outside of news junkies and technophiles understood the value of the obscure format. As a result of the discontinuation, Google Reader and RSS have been tossed into Google’s proverbial dustbin of abandoned technologies with the likes of Google Wave and Orkut.

TruckToMe, My Latest App


Now available on the iTunes App Store, TruckToMe is the best app for finding your favorite food trucks in the Washington DC region. TruckToMe works by watching the Twitter handles of over 100 DC area food trucks and tracks when they check in to new locations and when they mention DC area food truck hot spots such as Union Station and Farragut Square. Unlike other similar apps, TruckToMe provides an easy interface and faster speed that makes finding the best food trucks easy.

Washington Post Unveils API


This past week, the Washington Post unveiled an API, or Application Programming Interface, for accessing Washington-centric information such speech transcripts, issue information and campaign finance data. An API is a toolkit that allows any developer to leverage data produced by the Washington Post in his or her own program, such as an app or website. This API, once for internal use only at the newspaper, powers tools such as the Campaign Finance Explorer and the White House Visitors Log.

The New Frontier of Mobile Apps with Mitt Romney’s VP Announcement


Watching the coverage of Mitt Romney’s just-announced running-mate, Paul Ryan, Saturday morning, I could not help but get excited every time newscasters mentioned “confirmed via the Mitt Romney VP app.” For the first time, an app has been used as an organization’s primary method of pushing news. Not a website, not a Facebook page, but an app was used to break the Apple-like secrecy of Romney’s VP nominee. But did the Romney campaign choose an app just to look more “hip” than the opposition or was there a genuine, strategic purpose for this choice?

Usability Testing Is Like Proofreading (With Two Tools To Help You Get Started)


Proofreading your own writing invariably leads to missing massive mistakes hidden in plain sight. How many times have you sent that email or filed that story in haste only to later go back and see breathtaking gaffes in grammar and spelling that make you question your very ability to comprehend the English language? This same principle applies to a user experience that has slowly evolved from a straightforward concept in the mockup to a complex, over-revised mess in the final product: potentially large usability problems hidden in plain sight because of project fatigue.

3 Alternatives to Google Maps


With Apple’s announcement of new mapping software for its iOS line of software today, we are abruptly reminded that, like word processing and file sharing, Google did not invent interactive maps. There is a world of alternative platforms to Google Maps that offer advanced customization and other features Google doesn’t offer in their API. Below is a list of my favorite platforms that can be used to enhance the user experience in any website or mobile app

Content Delivery Networks Demystified


The worst thing to wake up to on a Saturday morning is a notification that your organization’s web server is down. When that happens, no one can see your website. You’re “off the air,” so to speak. It may seem odd, but your entire website relies on one single point of failure: the server. Whether it is because of a bad hosting vendor, a cyberattack or an unexpected spike in traffic, when that server goes down, public confidence in your organization and brand go down with it.

Please Stop Overusing QR Codes


It’s alright to admit that you’re annoyed by the amount of QR codes used in advertising; we’re all tired of seeing them. Those two dimensional barcodes, or quick response codes (QR Codes), were originally invented to help Toyota track auto parts, but with the advent of high-resolution mobile cameras and the intent of providing consumers with an easy way of accessing information on the go, QR codes are placed on everything from bank ads to cigarette boxes. But, like any fad, they are blindingly too common and implemented too improperly to add any sort of uniqueness to a digital strategy.