I write here about technology, productivity, and public health.
Note: The icon below indicates a "linklog" post. Click on the icon to directly open the referenced web page.
Moving My Blog
Vital Statistics is hosted on micro.blog, which is a relatively new “microblog” hosting platform.
How I get the most out of Slack
If you’re wondering what to do with that new Apple Watch you got for Christmas or Hanukkah a few weeks ago, here are some great apps made by independent software developers that you should check out.
An epidemiological take on "Laptops Are Great. But Not During a Lecture or a Meeting." and other thoughts
This is a pretty great way to intersperse Markdown and Stata code, and produce good-looking HTML or PDF output.
Tired of getting spam calls? Use a throwaway phone number from Twilio, with the ability to receive voicemails for real callers.
I've made lots of under-the-hood changes and rewrote all the visual styling.
Phil Nunnally, on Twelvety:
No matter what system or app you use, there is just no substitute for the unsexy work of:
- Regularly reviewing your commitments and what steps will need to happen to get them done
- Being realistic about what you can achieve in a day or week
- Actually doing the things on the lists
Tips and best practices from an Excel expert's YouTube video. I learned a ton from this.
I've switched to using a Google Docs plugin called Paperpile for inserting citations and building a references list when I write academic papers.
I’ve been keeping a list of how to do basic data analysis tasks in Python as I learn SciPy.
Many people use their stats package's built-in editor, but I think it's worth it to use Sublime Text.
Spoiler on how it works: It's some secret sauce that talks with Apple's push server.
iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan add content blocking to Safari, which will provide a safe way to block ads. You can achieve a similar effect system-wide on your Mac by editing the
Why I present from PDFs rather than using Keynote/PowerPoint, and a recommendation for Side Mirror for Mac.
I've collected a bunch of links to resources for learning to program, including a number geared towards children.
A great list of best practices for sharing data in spreadsheets.
A collection of some interesting links related to reproducible research and open science.
I tried out a bunch of reference management applications so you don't have to.
One of the many reasons I love OS X.
Spoiler: it's way too low.
Science says: take a walk at lunchtime.
The Economist produced a great graphic showing alcohol consumption by country.
I've updated my webhosting guide for beginners, which was getting a little long in the tooth.
A possible solution to the conundrum of CCing too few or too many people on emails.
Best practices and a template for organizing a data analysis project.
Graduate programs should teach SAS/Stata/SPSS side-by-side with an open-source statistics software like R or IPython.
My backup strategy.
My response was “oh, its about time”.
To understand its purpose, and why its not (yet) a replacement for IMAP, you have to understand how it fits with the rest of the integration points Gmail offers to developers.
He goes on to explain about Gmail’s contextual gadgets, why the Gmail API is not a replacement for IMAP, and how FastMail solved the difficult problem of creating a fast web interface for IMAP. Read his whole post, it’s good.
I think the last thing the email ecosystem needs is another proprietary API for interfacing with a popular email system. There are good reasons why someone might want to switch away from Gmail, like the design direction, privacy concerns, or the lack of customer service.1 But if I come to depend on tools built around a proprietary API, it will be difficult for me to switch to a different email provider.
- Yes, you can sign up for Google Apps to get support, but then you lose your @gmail.com address (and have to get a domain name), and have all the overhead of having a Google Apps account. This is way too complicated for the average user who only wants to be able to talk to a human when their account is hacked. [return]
Dr. Drang on why stacked area charts are potentially misleading
Duke Lacrosse wins the 2014 NCAA championship!
It was a lot of fun photographing this game!
Apple Support Profile memory lane
A straight-forward, systematic way to interpret coefficients in linear regression equations.
Problems on Facebook's ad platform related to purchasing "likes" is a symptom of a fundamental flaw in monetizing social media content.
An interesting take on the downsides of Bitcoin.
Google introduces a feature to download all messages in Gmail in the mbox format.
A Windows power user (Adrian Kingsley-Hughes) explains why he's switched to Mac/iOS/Android.
Here's how I moved 50,000+ messages from Gmail to FastMail, set up a keyboard-friendly inbox zero workflow, and didn't go crazy doing it.
How I replaced Skype voice calling with a system based on the SIP open standard. I include detailed instructions for setting up a SIP endpoint with Plivo.
Make your blog survive traffic spikes already!
Comcast (xfinity) tries to force you to install crapware when you set up your internet.
The recently-released Branch is an example of what Blackboard discussions could (and should) be.
Are ads on develpoer job boards a waste of money? These are the stats from my own experience with the 37Signals and Authentic job boards.
Tips for securing your email account from hackers and recovering your account if it is hacked.
You can use Wolfram Alpha to visualize probability distributions and serve as a digital critical values table.
Is aquaponics the future of farming?
Apple should start a bounty program to fix problems with iOS 6 maps.
How to set up the zsh shell with oh-my-zsh and my custom theme.
Like many others, I'm dismayed by Twitter's new API rules. Marco Arment wrote a good explanation of how these rules impact 3rd party services that rely on the Twitter API. But more generally, these changes mark Twitter's transition from a social platform into just a social network.
A quick, open source app for accepting credit card payments for invoices online. You can easily run it on Heroku for free (or your own Rails-capable server).
From Henri Nouwen: "If I were to let my life be taken over by what is urgent, I might very well never get around to what is essential."
A quote from the recent Woodward & Bernstein article on Watergate.
A service like protocol.by that explains how best to contact you is sorely needed, but seems too cold to use with strangers.
BreakTime for Mac is an application that periodically reminds you to take breaks from the computer.
How to run the http://prose.io software locally for editing Jekyll sites.
Photo of the Blue Angles performing over Fort McHenry in Baltimore, MD.
A beginner's guide to web hosting with recommendations for registrars, DNS providers, web hosts, and security.
It doesn't matter if Google reads your email.
How to set up a blog using the static site generator Jekyll, hosting on Amazon S3, and using the Amazon CloudFront CDN.
List of job boards where software development jobs are posted.
The old version of my popular "bulletproof your blog" post.
First impressions with the Amazon Kindle 4, comparison of the Kindle versus the Kindle Touch.
County-by-county choropleth map (or thematic map) of obesity and median household income for the United States.
Obesity, chronic disease, and other public health studies/interventions could be more effective if they did more rigorous usability, user experience, and design testing.