My videoconferencing setup.

My job on a distributed team necessitates that I spend 1–6 hours meeting with folks via videoconference. Google Hangouts, Zoom, Appear.in, and GoToMeeting intermediate my professional interactions with co-workers, vendors, and clients. Initially, I joined these using my Macbook’s standard camera and iPhone earbuds, but spending so much time on the phone, I needed to make some changes. In the intervening six …

I want you to become a government tech vendor.

Hey, competent tech folks: your country needs you. Your knowledge, your experience, and your connections can improve the United States for everybody. I’m not asking you to go work for the federal government. I’m not asking you to go work for a non-profit. I’m asking you to become a government technology vendor. I want you to sign up at …

How I built a chicken coop.

I am not a carpenter. My occasional effort to build something, no matter how mundane, ends badly. That’s because carpentry is hard. There are a hundred ways to screw up, and ninety of them are only obvious in retrospect. I took shop class in middle school, so I’m generally comfortable with the tools of the …

Reliability is the most important professional trait that you can cultivate.

When I accepted the position developing Ethics.gov for the White House late last summer, I wondered what sort of people I’d be working with. The conclusion that I arrived at was that the kind of folks who get hired by the White House are probably among the nation’s best at what they do, and that …

Warren Olney is emblematic of what’s wrong with modern journalism.

Warren Olney’s “To the Point,” the PRI show carried by NPR affiliates across the country, has long struck me as a bit of a parody of NPR. The name, for starters. I can’t remember the names of any of the faux NPR stations in “Grand Theft Auto: Vice City,” but they’re all names exactly like …

On the impracticality of a cheeseburger.

If you came here having been told that this is an article about how the cheese­burger was “impossible” until recently, please note that it is not. It is about how the cheese­burger as we know it today was an impractical food until relatively recently. (Ref: the title.) A time-traveler with unlimited resources could probably pull …