Waiting for the Smart Grid

Article as it appeared on the web

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.

Video for “Moving Portraits”

Screenshot of the video as it appears on Vimeo

Videojournalism about turning photo collections into movie-like “Face Movies”, via a system that’s been incorporated into Google’s Picasa photo program. (Many thanks to guest interviewer Teresa Meek.)

Computing’s Narrow Focus May Hinder Women’s Participation

Article as it appeared on the web

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:

Video for “Efficient Maximum Flow Algorithms”

Screenshot of video as it appears on Vimeo

Videojournalism about the applications of, and solutions to, the “maximum-flow/minimum-cut” problem, which affects surprisingly diverse fields. As before, I did most of this, with the help of two shooters.

Drupal in Context column: Does Coding Matter?

Front cover of the print edition in which this article appeared

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.

Up and Running with Bitcoin (2014)

Screenshot from Up and Running with Bitcoin

Description by lynda.com: “Understand the basics of bitcoin, the popular virtual currency, and then learn the nuances of bitcoin transactions and security issues that can be difficult to navigate on your own. Tom Geller addresses both the big and small issues swirling around bitcoin right now, and prepares you to use or accept bitcoin as a currency for your transactions. Discover how bitcoin compares to US dollars and other forms of money; how to send, receive, and “mine” it; and how to protect and track your bitcoin transactions. Tom will even show you how to connect with the Bitcoin development community, in case you’re interested in contributing to the spread of this modern cryptocurrency.”

Video for the 2013 ACM A.M. Turing Award

Screenshot of video as it appears on Vimeo

A celebration of the life work of Leslie Lamport, recipient of the 2013 ACM A.M. Turing Award. I did production, direction, editing, voiceover, and most of the shooting. Promoted in the article at http://cacm.acm.org/news/175166-general-agreement/fulltext , and presented at the awards banquet.

The Forever Disc

Article as it appears in CACM's digital library

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

Welcome to Lower Self-Worthington (commentary)

Article as it appeared on the web

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.

Advice from Alumni: Freelancing Basics

Screenshot of video as it appears on Oberlin College site

A done-in-one short video, with minor cutaways. Me giving advice to Oberlin College students on how to get started as a freelancer. Requested by the Oberlin College and Conservatory’s Career Center, and promoted at http://oberlin.edu/career/students/advice_from_alumni.html.

Raising Money the Old-Fashioned Way

Screenshot of the article as it appeared online

“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.

Supercomputers Get Real

Screenshot of the article online

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

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.”

Keynote from DrupalCamp Western NY

Still frame from Buffalo presentation

Keynote presentation from the inaugural two-day event, “DrupalCamp Western NY” in Buffalo, 14 October 2011. The event’s theme was “Hello, Universe”, so I riffed on how the Drupal community is growing (beyond the more common “Hello, World”), and how its culture will inevitably change as a result. Video by Stephen Rosenthal, http://caramaxstudio.com. Appearance sponsored by Acquia; at the time I was that company’s Content and Communications Director.

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.”

Review: OmniFocus

Article as it appeared on the web

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

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

Article as it appeared on the web

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.)

Checkmate for checkers

Article as it appeared on the web

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

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

Article as it appeared on the web

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.”

Plastic sheet delivers wireless power

Article as it appeared on the web

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.”