Star Simpson – XOXO

Star Simpson builds hardware with soul, currently working on sky machines at Otherlab. The creator of the PLIBMTTBHGATY series of coding events and the TacoCopter drone delivery concept, Star’s latest project is Circuit Classics, reviving the hand-drawn circuits of Forrest M. Mims III as hardware kits.

If you’ve ever done something creative 1 you’ll know the alternating feelings of “This is crazy”, “This is terrible!”, and “This is great!”. I enjoyed Star Simpson’s talk on how that craziness is what often leads to some of the best things people have ever made.

I’ve languished in sharing more videos from XOXO, but this one is rather timely. Just the other day I learned that the circuit board designs Star talks about are now available over at Adafruit!


  1. You have, even if you don’t recognize it

As Those Who Make

It’s not, of course, that there’s anything wrong with making (although it’s not all that clear that the world needs more stuff). The problem is the idea that the alternative to making is usually not doing nothing—it’s almost always doing things for and with other people, from the barista to the Facebook community moderator to the social worker to the surgeon. Describing oneself as a maker—regardless of what one actually or mostly does—is a way of accruing to oneself the gendered, capitalist benefits of being a person who makes products.

– Why I am Not a Maker – Debbie Chachra

I make communities. I do it with other people. It is just as valuable as those who make the architecture, content, documentation, and software that these communities use and support.

My Favorite Twitter Bot

Nearly a year ago I tweeted the following.

It was always funny and frustrating to me when folks shared screenshots from their mobile phones with such low battery. For some reason the low battery bugged me. It’s like living on the edge, man!

So then today I get this reply.

Rahat actually coded up the damn thing! And it works really well. Even better, the source code is up on Github under an MIT license.

I was curious if I was the first to think of it. I wasn’t, which is cool. It looks from my sleuthing that the first mention was back in 2013.

I love the Internet – and the people on it.

My Presentation from WordCamp KC is now Online

I had a great time at WordCamp KC last year1 and thought my presentation wasn’t too bad. Secret behind-the-scene info: I started getting really sick minutes after my talked ended. I even had to leave KC early and asked my wife to drive I felt so yucky. It was as though my body knew it had to keep itself together until I was done presenting, then – PARTY TIME IN SICK TOWN.

If you run a site managed by WordPress you’ll do yourself a lot of good if you keep it up-to-date. So, I hope my video helps a few people learn to stop worrying and love the update button.


  1. 2015 is now last year!?

Explaining Hard Things to Humans – My Small Part to Make WordPress More Welcoming

Fred Meyer from WPShout gave this really good talk on writing for technical knowledge at WordCamp US earlier this month. It really resonated with me. I work with a bunch of really smart people everyday who are savvy with technology. Some of the concepts Fred talks about seem like common sense, but are so often overlooked (even by myself from time-to-time).

In one particular example, Fred calls out the language in the WordPress installer itself. Currently, once the installation is successful you see a message:

WordPress has been installed. Were you expecting more steps? Sorry to disappoint.

This could be interpreted many different ways, but the potential to sound flippant or snarky during the initial steps of an interaction with your software is a bad idea. Not to mention, not all software installations go as smoothly as planned. The individual using your program could be at their wit’s end; frustrated.

I was inspired by Fred’s talk and took action. WordPress is open-source, right? So I did what all folks should do, I submitted a patch to change the wording.

WordPress has been installed. Thank you, and enjoy!’