New Yorkers, I Am Watching You

I recently wrote a story for The Atlantic about a question that I have been obsessed with for a long time: How many photographs am I in, in the world? It’s something that has bugged me for years, and before you chalk this up to pure narcissism, here’s a fact: Facebook can now identify you […]

Email is an Untamable Beast

It’s not my imagination. Even gmail is telling me that my email is out of control, threatening that if I don’t dump some of my tens of thousands of emails (or pay them money) I will be “unable to send or receive emails.” That’s starting to sound appealing. I’ve caught myself fantasizing about creating an auto reply: […]

A Modest Proposal for Re-Naming Connectors and Fasteners

Here’s a thing I hate: calling plugs and ports “male” and “female.” In case you’ve never heard of this before, the terms are applied like this: things that plug are called “male” and things that receive those plugs are called “female.” So, a nut is female. A bolt is male. Your headphones have a male […]

Taking the Waste out of Wastewater

In a fenced-off corner of Washington, D.C, down at the very tip, where the city’s diamond shape meets the Potomac river, is a giant feeding station for gulls. Ok, that’s not its main function. If you have ever pooped in DC, or in parts of four surrounding counties, including Dulles International Airport, you have helped […]

The Internet Is a Series of Lead Tubes

Like many of you, I suspect, I have a love hate relationship with the internet. I love the access it gives me to all sorts of information, and how it connects me with people I would have never been able to hear from before. I hate how it also contains spaces for people to easily […]

A Moore’s Law Mystery

You know those things that people say as an aside? Things that aren’t their main point, but just kind of come out of their mouths. Fun facts, little anecdotes, steam of consciousness blips. I find that when I’m looking back at my notes from conferences, the things that pop out to me are, largely, those […]

The dark crystal

The electronics of the future could be made of a material you leave in your toilet. If you’re up on your electronics of the future, you’ll recall that they were supposed to be made of graphene. Remember graphene? It was supposed to be better than silicon, because it lets electrons go really fast. That’s great, […]

The Tyranny of Planned Obsolescence

The post has taken me entirely too much time to write. Not because I’m procrastinating or writing slowly, but because I’m being held hostage by the spinning beach ball of death. I bought my current iMac in early 2011, which means that enough time has elapsed that the Apple Care warranty I purchased with it […]