Portfolio

Farm Automation Gets Smarter

An interview-based news report about how automation is coming to large farm machinery (such as tractors) worldwide.

Association for Computing Machinery
Article, News
Wrote
October, 2016
1600 words

Computer Science, Math Laureates Convene in Heidelberg

An online report on the Heidelberg Laureate Forum, which gathers recipients of the world’s most prestigious math and computer science awards (Turing, Fields, Abel, Nevanlinna) with 200 advanced young researchers. Includes two original photos.

Association for Computing Machinery
Article, News
Wrote
September, 2016
750 words

When Computers Are The Hackers

Coverage of DARPA’s Cyber Grand Challenge, a competition in Las Vegas where seven teams trained computers to hack each other for over three million dollars in prizes. Here’s the video I produced at this event.

Association for Computing Machinery
Article, News
Wrote
August, 2016
750 words

Drones Too Complicated? We’ll Take Care of That

An article about “drones as a service”: companies that offer to fly drones for various purposes on an as-needed basis.

Association for Computing Machinery
Article
Wrote
June, 2016
850 words

Can Chatbots Think Before They Talk?

An article about recent developments in computer programs that mimic human conversation (“chatbots”), particularly the use of modern artificial intelligence techniques to improve their discourse.

Association for Computing Machinery
Article
Wrote
April, 2016
750 words

Rich Data, Poor Fields

An article about use of digital resources and mobile devices to improve crops worldwide.

Association for Computing Machinery
Article
Wrote
February, 2016
1500 words

In Privacy Law, It’s the U.S. vs. the World

An article about the special position of the United States in internet privacy law, a topic under special scrutiny after the revelations of Edward Snowden.

Association for Computing Machinery
Article
Wrote
January, 2016
1600 words

Mental Health Apps Listen and Guide

An article about apps that attempt to discern when their users exhibit signs of depression, mania, and other mental issues.

Association for Computing Machinery
Article
Wrote
September, 2015
1000 words

The Filter Bubble: Is It Real? Does It Matter?

An article reviewing whether search engines et al. isolate us from unusual ideas and beliefs through a “filter bubble”.

Association for Computing Machinery
Article
Wrote
June, 2015
950 words

Car Talk

Article about vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication, touching on vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) efforts, government involvement, and models that feature V2V technologies.

Association for Computing Machinery
Article
Wrote
February, 2015
1700 words

Energy Harvesting Extends Life of Small Devices

Article about using power gathered from radio waves, heat, and motion to power small devices such as sensors and cell phones.

Association for Computing Machinery
Article, Online
Wrote
January, 2015
850 words

Boot Camps Promise PhDs Fast Track to a Data Science Career

Ph.D.s: Want a month of all-expenses-paid training, with a six-figure job waiting for you when you’re done? That’s what a new crop of “data-science boot camps” offer — for those who qualify. (Online-only article.)

Association for Computing Machinery
Article, Online
Wrote
October, 2014
1000 words

Waiting for the Smart Grid

The “smart” electric grid has held great promise for 15 years, but it’s not always been clear how deeply it’s penetrated our infrastructure — or what benefits it’s delivered. This article summarizes the current state of smart-grid technology, who’s implemented it, and where improvements are likely to appear. Online only.

Association for Computing Machinery
Article, Online
Wrote
October, 2014
1000 words

Computing’s Narrow Focus May Hinder Women’s Participation

I was afraid to work on this article about the gender gap in computing because it’s a topic surrounded by dogma, strong feelings, and poorly conceived statistics. As a result, most coverage on it is timid and shallow. But I think the hours of interviewing and research paid off. I’m happy with how it turned out. Online-only.

It’s gotten lots of coverage:

Association for Computing Machinery
Article, Online
Wrote
August, 2014
1000 words

Drupal in Context column: Handrails for Everybody

A column for Volume 4, Issue 1 of “Drupal Watchdog”, the print magazine distributed at the semi-annual DrupalCon. It discusses the importance of an “easy entry” to technology, and the struggles Drupal has experienced in that regard.

Tag 1 Publishing
Article
Wrote
June, 2014
750 words

The Forever Disc

An article in the May 2014 issue of CACM about data storage for very long times, e.g. a million years.

Association for Computing Machinery
Article
Wrote
April, 2014
2000 words

Buried Ghosts: What Lies Below a Paradise Lost

A short elegy to rust-belt towns, as told through the decay of buildings and bodies.

Belt Magazine
Article
Wrote
April, 2014
450 words

How Do You Feel? Your Computer Knows (article)

An article in the January 2014 issue of CACM about “affective computing”, which enables your computing device to perceive react to your emotions and moods.

Association for Computing Machinery
Article
Wrote
December, 2013
1900 words

Welcome to Lower Self-Worthington (commentary)

My first article for Belt Magazine, “an online magazine devoted to long-form journalism, essay, and commentary with a distinctly Rust Belt sensibility”. It examines why locals seemed to warn me away by asking, “Why would anyone move here?” Four of my photographs were also featured.

Belt Magazine
Article
Wrote
December, 2013
1400 words

Raising Money the Old-Fashioned Way

“Crowdfunding for technology gains traction” — an online-only article covering technology funding venues including Fundable, Gittip, Bountysource, and others, with commentary from various players including Eric S. Raymond and the National Crowdfunding Association.

Association for Computing Machinery
Article
Wrote
October, 2013
1100 words

Making the Internet Safe for Gadgets (article)

First page of article as it appeared in print

An article for CACM about competing technologies to repurpose the Internet’s host-centric architecture so it’s more appropriate for small, often-mobile devices.

Association for Computing Machinery
Article
Wrote
September, 2013
1800 words

Drupal in Context column: Does Coding Matter?

A column for Volume 3, Issue 2 of “Drupal Watchdog”, the print magazine distributed at the semi-annual DrupalCon. This one describes how to get Drupal to do what you want, despite having no knowledge of Drupal’s main languages, PHP and JavaScript.

Tag 1 Publishing
Article
Wrote
September, 2013
600 words

Collect Yourself Before You Forget Yourself

An article for CACM online about lifelogging, touching on the related subjects of veillance and “the quantified self”.

Association for Computing Machinery
Article
Wrote
July, 2013
1200 words

Five Predictions for (Bit)coin

My guesses for the future of this popular cryptocurrency.

Slashdot
Article
Wrote
June, 2013
1300 words

Regulators ask: What is Bitcoin?

An article about legal challenges to the decentralized virtual currency Bitcoin, specifically on how the question of its definition affects its place in law.

Association for Computing Machinery
Article
Wrote
May, 2013
900 words

Drupal in Context column: “Getting Help”

A column for Issue #5 of “Drupal Watchdog”, a print magazine distributed at DrupalCon Portland.

Tag 1 Publishing
Article
Wrote
April, 2013
500 words

Exascale Enthusiasm Escalates

Screenshot of CACM article about exascale computing popularity Published at http://cacm.acm.org

A very short report on the popularity of exascale computing at the International Supercomputing Conference 2012.

Association for Computing Machinery
Article
Wrote
January, 2013
200 words

Book Review: “Terrible Nerd”

A review of the book by Kevin Savetz. (I liked it.)

Slashdot
Article
Wrote
December, 2012
1000 words

Control without Controllers

A feature article about Disney’s Touché sensor project, which explores new ways of controlling electronics with touch.

Association for Computing Machinery
Article
Wrote
November, 2012
1500 words

The Future of Free Speech Online

Image of the article as it appeared in print

A very brief article about whether survey respondents believe that technology companies in the democratic West will increasingly help repressive governments.

Association for Computing Machinery
Article
Wrote
September, 2012
300 words

DARPA Shredder Challenge Solved

A feature article about a $50,000 challenge issued by DARPA and its solutions, including quotes from the First and Second Place winners.

Association for Computing Machinery
Article
Wrote
August, 2012
1500 words

Drupal in Context column: “Social Security”

A column for Issue #4 of “Drupal Watchdog”, a print magazine distributed at DrupalCon Munich.

Tag 1 Publishing
Article
Wrote
August, 2012
550 words

Talking to Machines

Screenshot of CACM article about speech recognition

A feature article about modern applications of speech recognition, in particular how they’ve combined with complementary technologies to produce such consumer products as Siri.

Association for Computing Machinery
Article
Wrote
April, 2012
2000 words

Drupal in Context column: “What Three Decades of Publishing Programs Teaches Us”

A column for Issue #3 of “Drupal Watchdog”, a print magazine distributed at DrupalCon Denver.

Tag 1 Publishing
Article
Wrote
March, 2012
1250 words

Cloud-based HPC

Image of the article as it appeared in print

A very brief article about a U.S. Government report on whether high-performance computing is cost-effective using cloud-computing techniques.

Association for Computing Machinery
Article
Wrote
March, 2012
275 words

Supercomputers Get Real

A short online-only article about how supercomputer developers are teaming up with application specialists to make the hardware’s power more useful.

Association for Computing Machinery
Article
Wrote
December, 2011
900 words

Managing the Demise of Privacy

A news report on the Privacy Identity Innovation conference in Menlo Park, November 2011, which focused largely on how social media are changing the landscape for consumers.

Association for Computing Machinery
Article
Wrote
November, 2011
750 words

Seeing is Not Enough

First page of article as it appeared in print

An article about vision systems that recognize actions, rather than just objects.

Association for Computing Machinery
Article
Wrote
October, 2011
1500 words

Drupal in Context column: “You are a Mobile Device”

A column for Issue #2 of “Drupal Watchdog”, a print magazine distributed at DrupalCon London and later made available online.

Tag 1 Publishing
Article
Wrote
August, 2011
1100 words

Supercomputing’s Exaflop Target

A review of Asia’s recent ascendency in the Top500 list of the world’s leading supercomputers, and the supercomputing field generally.

Association for Computing Machinery
Article
Wrote
August, 2011
1700 words

The Promise of Flexible Displays

Article about advances in electronic displays that can bend, be made in irregular shapes, and be produced through a print-like process.

Association for Computing Machinery
Article
Wrote
June, 2011
1700 words

Drupal in Context column: “Getting Paid”

A column for Issue #1 of “Drupal Watchdog”, a print magazine distributed at DrupalCon Chicago. (Content not available online.)

Tag 1 Publishing
Article
Wrote
March, 2011
1300 words

Last CMS Standing: The Promise of Drupal Versus WordPress and Joomla

This article compares the three CMSes in terms of user base, code maturity, richness of plug-ins, and business acceptance. Commissioned by Peachpit Press to support my recently published book, Drupal 7: Visual QuickStart Guide.

Peachpit Press
Article
Wrote
February, 2011
1550 words

Evaluating Government Funding

Article as it appeared in print

Abstract: “A presidential report asserts the value of U.S. government investments in the cross-agency Networking and Information Technology Research and Development program and specifies areas needing greater focus.”

Association for Computing Machinery
Article
Wrote
February, 2011
600 words

ACM China Nearing Launch

News story about the Association for Computing Machinery’s expansion into China. (Published in Communications of the ACM.)

Association for Computing Machinery
Article
Wrote
September, 2010
600 words

Beyond the Smart Grid

Feature story about sensors to monitor energy consumption and other environmental data in residences. (Published in Communications of the ACM.)

Association for Computing Machinery
Article
Wrote
June, 2010
1300 words

Rebuilding for Eternity

Article about “e-heritage”, digitization of large-scale historical sites such as the Bayon Temple in Cambodia.

Association for Computing Machinery
Article
Wrote
January, 2010
1250 words

Top Ten Changes That Make Drupal 7 the Best Version Ever

Article written for the publisher of my book, Drupal 7: Visual QuickStart Guide. I wrote it at a time when Drupal 7 seemed primed for imminent release, but it ended up taking a year more. The article is still fairly accurate, though.

Peachpit Press
Article
Wrote
January, 2010
2000 words

Shaping the Future

Article about “claytronics” — ensembles of tiny robots that self-assemble into larger functional units.

Association for Computing Machinery
Article
Wrote
October, 2009
1200 words

IT drives policy — and vice versa

Reporting on a three-day conference about technology policy. This was my biggest case of preparation overkill: 12,000 words of notes went into a 575-word article.

Association for Computing Machinery
Article
Wrote
August, 2009
575 words

Practice Makes Perfect, Even for Brain-Controlled Prosthetics

Short, online-only news article about brain-machine interfaces — or, as I call it, “MONKEYS CONTROLLING ROBOTS WITH THEIR BRAINS!!!”

Association for Computing Machinery
Article
Wrote
July, 2009
450 words

Review: OmniFocus for iPhone

A review of the productivity and life-tracking app, OmniFocus.

MacLife
Article, Review
Wrote
November, 2008
400 words

Articles for Apple Developer Connection (edited)

As the registered company Geller Guides, I found, oversaw, coached, and edited subcontracted writers for a couple of technical articles that appeared on the Apple Developer Connection section of Apple’s website. (I’ll provide copies of the articles on request.)

Apple
Article
Edited
September, 2008
5000 words

Overcoming the Uncanny Valley

First page of article as it appeared in print

A feature article about the perceptual gap between images of real human faces near-human representations.

Abstract: “What makes some near-human characters scary while others are merely laughable? More important, why do some human and humanlike characters fail to arouse our sympathy? Visual artists and roboticists face these questions as they seek to alternately frighten and endear. Recent attempts to create accurate human replicas have brought these questions to the fore with increased urgency.”

IEEE
Article
Wrote
July, 2008
4500 words

Interview: “Ex-agent doesn’t miss shoveling dog doo”

Rediscovered this forgotten interview with me by an unnamed reporter. Fun!

Inman News
Article
Presented
June, 2008
600 words

Review: OmniFocus

Review of the productivity and personal-tracking application, OmniFocus (known at the time as “The Omni Group Omnifocus”).

MacLife
Article, Review
Wrote
June, 2008
500 words

Shrinking cities, Part 3: Investing in America’s urban rebirth

The third part in a series of three articles about the death (and rebirth) of cities, particularly in the U.S. Rust Belt. (Note: As of August 2013, these articles are incorrectly attributed to another author in the byline, but are correct in the footer.)

Inman News
Article, Series
Wrote
November, 2007
950 words

Shrinking cities, Part 2: Local knowledge key for small investors in urban areas

The second part in a series of three articles about the death (and rebirth) of cities, particularly in the U.S. Rust Belt. (Note: As of August 2013, these articles are incorrectly attributed to another author in the byline, but are correct in the footer.)

Inman News
Article, Series
Wrote
November, 2007
1500 words

Shrinking cities, Part 1: Why cities shrink… and grow

The first part in a series of three articles about the death (and rebirth) of cities, particularly in the U.S. Rust Belt. (Note: As of August 2013, these articles are incorrectly attributed to another author in the byline, but are correct in the footer.)

Inman News
Article, Series
Wrote
November, 2007
1200 words

Coda Unites Web Development: Panic Builds Its UI with WebKit, Quartz

An article for the Apple Developer Center (ADC) about how someone created a popular developer’s tool using Apple technologies. (Article is no longer on ADC; available by request.)

Apple
Article, Case study
Wrote
October, 2007
1800 words

Aluminum: Common Metal, Uncommon Past

A feature article about how Aluminum went from being a precious metal (in its elemental form) to being cheap enough to use as a construction material, focusing on the 1880’s work of two chemists who discovered, almost simultaneously, the process to extract it.

Introduction: “In the mid-1800s aluminum was more valuable than gold. Napoléon III’s most important guests were given aluminum cutlery, while those less worthy dined with mere silver; fashionable and wealthy women wore jewelry crafted of aluminum. Today aluminum is a critical component of modern life, found in airplanes, automobiles, soft drink cans, construction materials, cooking equipment, guardrails, and countless other products. The difference between scarcity and abundance (and between obscurity and ubiquity) of this metal depended solely on scientists’ ability to find the way to release it—the third most common element in the earth’s crust by weight—from its ore.”

Chemical Heritage Foundation
Article
Wrote
September, 2007
3200 words

Envisioning the Wind: Meteorology Graphics at Weather Underground

A feature detailing how the website Weather Underground manages data, produces weather graphics, and collects crowdsourced information to put together its content.

IEEE
Article
Wrote
September, 2007
4000 words

Real estate in an unreal world

A feature article about real-estate tours in the “virtual world” of Second Life.

San Francisco Chronicle
Article
Wrote
September, 2007
1500 words

A star with a tail: Stellar streak tells of 30,000 years of history.

A news story about an astronomical discovery.

Intro: “Astronomers have found an unexpected treat on a star first described more than 400 years ago – the streak of a 13-light-year-long tail. The tail, the first seen of its kind, could provide clues about how celestial bodies are formed from the material spat out by such aging stars.”

Nature.com
Article
Wrote
August, 2007
600 words

Conversions, Part 3: Marketing converted properties as stylish and practical

The third part in a series of three articles about how old properties are being used for new purposes. (Note: As of August 2013, these articles are incorrectly attributed to another author in the byline, but are correct in the footer.)

Inman News
Article, Series
Wrote
August, 2007
950 words

Conversions, Part 2: Speculation in condo conversions: South Florida’s cautionary tale

The second part in a series of three articles about how old properties are being used for new purposes. (Note: As of August 2013, these articles are incorrectly attributed to another author in the byline, but are correct in the footer.)

Inman News
Article, Series
Wrote
August, 2007
1000 words

Conversions, Part 1: Changing building’s use presents challenges and rewards

The first part in a series of three articles about how old properties are being used for new purposes. (Note: As of August 2013, these articles are incorrectly attributed to another author in the byline, but are correct in the footer.)

Inman News
Article, Series
Wrote
August, 2007
1100 words

Checkmate for checkers

A news story about checkers being “solved” — that is, proven that it’s possible to draw against even a perfectly played game.

Nature.com
Article
Wrote
July, 2007
600 words

Going global with QuarkXPress 7

Article as it appeared in email Published at http://quark.com

Written for the the premiere issue of a newsletter by software publisher Quark, this article discusses their flagship product’s globalization-friendly features.

Quark
Article
Wrote
July, 2007
1000 words

Lots of Frustration: Buying government-seized properties can be more of a nuisance than it’s worth

A feature article about tax auctions in the Bay Area, for the Sunday San Francisco Chronicle’s real-estate section.

San Francisco Chronicle
Article
Wrote
June, 2007
2000 words

Review: Scrivener

A review of the text editor/organizational program for writers.

MacLife
Article, Review
Wrote
June, 2007
600 words

Review: Adobe Illustrator CS3

A review of the popular illustration program.

MacLife
Article, Review
Wrote
May, 2007
650 words

Cannabinoids: A Secret History

A feature article about the chemical history of cannabinoids — the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana — touching on medical and legal issues. No longer available on the Chemical Heritage site.

Chemical Heritage Foundation
Article
Wrote
May, 2007
3000 words

Plastic sheet delivers wireless power

A news article about wireless power transmission.

Intro: “Annoyed by the tangle of power cords under your desk? A sheet of plastic invented by researchers in Japan could one day make for tables and walls that power devices placed on them — without any need for wires or plugs. Computers could be powered through the desks on which they sit, for example, or flat-screen televisions through the walls where they hang.”

Nature.com
Article
Wrote
April, 2007
600 words

Review: EazyDraw

A short review of an illustration program. Part of a package of three: EazyDraw, Intaglio, and Lineform.

MacLife
Article, Review
Wrote
April, 2007
400 words

Review: Intaglio

A short review of an illustration program. Part of a package of three: EazyDraw, Intaglio, and Lineform.

MacLife
Article, Review
Wrote
April, 2007
250 words

Review: Lineform

A short review of an illustration program. Part of a package of three: EazyDraw, Intaglio, and Lineform.

MacLife
Article, Review
Wrote
April, 2007
300 words

From Student Project to Retail Distribution: Lineform Uses Xcode and Core Image

An article for the Apple Developer Connection that shows how Apple technologies facilitated the creation and production of a graphic-design tool. Copy available on request.

Intro: “Will Thimbleby didn’t set out to write an illustration program. He needed to create drawings for a project, but he found he couldn’t afford the market-leading application and was unable to find a lower-cost option that suited him. So the 25-year-old doctoral student opened Apple’s Xcode tools and built his own.The result is Lineform, a vector drawing program that challenges the features of pricey competitors while sporting a far more accessible interface. His homegrown “scratch-an-itch” project won the 2006 Apple Design Award for Best Mac OS X Student Product, and soon after was picked up by software publisher Freeverse, Inc.”

Apple
Article, Case study
Wrote
April, 2007
2000 words

Imaging the World: The State of Online Mapping

First page of article as it appeared in print

A feature article for Computer Graphics and Applications, a publication of IEEE.

Abstract: “Consumer sites such as MapQuest, Yahoo! Maps, and Google Maps compete to improve their interfaces and data relevance to better appeal to the browsing public. But innovation in online mapping isn’t limited to these household names. Sites for the public good, such as those the US government manages, provide graphical access to data buried in such sources as the US Department of Agriculture Forest Service and the decennial census. Meanwhile, community mapping sites let the public provide local details, find nearby colleagues, and organize information in ways unknown 10 years ago.”

IEEE
Article
Wrote
March, 2007
5000 words

Building WingNuts in Xcode with OpenGL: Freeverse Creates a Great Mac-only Game

An article for the Apple Developer Connection that shows how Apple technologies facilitated the creation and production of a game. Copy available on request.

Intro: “The 11-person team at Freeverse, Inc. might be small, but the company has scored big with the action arcade game Wingnuts 2: Raina’s Revenge , which won the 2006 Eddy Award for Best Game and was named runner-up for the 2006 Apple Design Awards for Best Mac Game. Freeverse created a fun and addictive game, and according to the development team, the road to outstanding creative development was paved with Apple technologies such as Xcode, QuickTime, Core Image, the platform’s OpenGL implementation, and Mac OS X as a whole.”

Apple
Article, Case study
Wrote
March, 2007
1800 words

Interactive Tabletop Exhibits in Museums and Galleries

My first feature article for the “Applications” section of Computer Graphics and Applications, a publication of IEEE (the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers).

Abstract: “Just as online shopping is a bellwether of advanced online technologies, so are museum and gallery showcases for the best in computer display and interface technology. In the first case, commerce demands that speed and reliability get priority, in the latter, technological invisibility is foremost. The museum experience is an unusually tactile, sensual one, and the standard keyboard-mouse-and-screen setup might seem out of place. This trend toward sensual involvement is particularly noticeable in tabletop displays, as they appeal to two aspects of familiar daily life: the horizontal surface as a workspace, and hand gestures (or common objects) as tools for manipulating information.”

IEEE
Article
Wrote
September, 2006
4000 words