Posts Tagged as: blog

April 30, 2019

The Death of Dashboards

Last week I had the privilege of speaking at Slack’s yearly conference about some of the fun stuff I’ve been working on at Hearst.

There’s such great energy and momentum around Slack and the community of users and developers. It really feels like we’re in the infancy of redefining “work”.

“Dashboards are where data goes to die” is a bold statement. So I’ve been walking the walk, getting my hands dirty with graph databases and conversational UX. Excited to see where this leads…

February 20, 2019

Judging People Who Don’t Exist

TLDR: I made a thing and it got some press.

Judging people by their appearance feels icky. Why? Because there’s more to people than their looks; we need to consider the whole package.

(“But they have such a good personality!”)

But what if someone exists in appearance only? A cover without a book, solely for your judgement?

That sounds like a fun place to make guilt-free snap judgements, so I built it!

Please enjoy “Judge Fake People“, a place where you can vote on the appearance of people who don’t exist.


Like many internet addicts, I was blown away by NVIDEO’s demo using style-based Generative Adversarial Networks to generate faces. They seem to have crossed a threshold for generating artificial images that can genuinely fool our brains.

Flash forward to last week when I saw Philip Wang’s amazing single-serving website

It was fascinating to see a photo-realistic face of someone that doesn’t exist. Philip’s writeup does a great job explaining his motivations and this implications behind this groundbreaking technology.

But I just wanted to turn it into hot or not.

So I wrote a script to download an image from every 5 seconds and built up a collection of around two thousand fake people. Then I made a voting system with php/MySQL and some filters to show the highest and lowest rated faces. And I enabled comments just for fun.

So sit back, relax, and enjoying rating the attractiveness of people who don’t exist right here.

November 11, 2014

First Steps in One World Trade Center

I’ve been literally watching One World Trade Center take shape since construction started. So today when I got the chance to spend a few moments in the building for the first time, I excitedly snapped a few photos with my phone.

The lobby is huge and gorgeous. It smells like a mixture of “new car smell” and fresh paint.

Security was very nice but not very subtle. When I entered from the street a few large (but kind) men slowly descended upon me and guided me to the main security desk.

Once past security I was in the elevator bank. The elevator buttons are presented on a touch screen, and you’re only shown the floors relevant to you.

Inside, the elevators don’t have many buttons.

Welcome to New York. Welcome to New York.

From inside the building, the only subtle reminder you’re in such an iconic piece of architecture (besides the view) are the gradually sloping corners, which are a cross section of the building’s overall unique geometry.

Not a bad view.

September 8, 2014

Poorly Drawn Comic

This scene popped into my head and I felt compelled to make a poorly drawn comic about it. Enjoy!


July 29, 2014

Messing With a Bitcoin Scammer

It’s been a while since I last messed with an online scammer, but today when I received a known phishing attempt I decided to have a little fun.

The correspondence didn’t last particularly long and I doubt I’m getting a final response, but here’s the full conversation below. I also reported the email address to Google as a phishing attempt. (My responses are in green, the scammer is in red.) Enjoy.

On Fri, Jul 25, 2014 at 11:00 AM, Coindesk wrote:

Hello, we would like to offer one of our advertising opportunities – Reviewed by
Includes – Full review of your website, security, services, payment options and many other, It depends on your business type.
Review is about 8000-14000 characters.
Price depends on a company type. Contact us for more information.
Banners for sale.
CoinDesk Ltd

On Fri, Jul 25, 2014 at 11:06 AM, Bitcoin Megaphone wrote:

Could you send me an example of one of these Reviewed by CoinDesk articles? Where do they appear?
I might be interested in one for What are the rates?

On Fri, Jul 25, 2014 at 12:05 PM, Coindesk wrote:

Hello. Thank you for answer.
This review was for gambling site –
This costed 0.4 BTC
CoinDesk Ltd

On Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 8:25 PM, Bitcoin Megaphone wrote:

Awesome, thanks!
OK, I’m in. How can we get started?

On Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 1:38 PM, Shakil Khan wrote:

Please make payment to Bitcoin address below.
After payment notify us.
Best Regards

On Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 8:49 PM, Bitcoin Megaphone wrote:

Ok cool. I’m getting the payment ready now. Just to confirm, it will be .4 BTC ($233 USD), correct?
Also, one more quick question about the bitcoin payment… I’m going to send the money to 1HQ8jcCAmYE5pWxt5T16Xx5GJ3bjiPmKg5, but what address should I send it from?

On Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 1:51 PM, Shakil Khan wrote:

Everything is correct and you can pay from any of your bitcoin addresses.
Best Reards

On Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 1:59 PM, Bitcoin Megaphone wrote:

Gotcha, thanks.
Ok, setting this up now… Just a head’s up my handwriting’s pretty bad lol!!

On Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 9:12 PM, Bitcoin Megaphone wrote:

Sorry to bombard you with questions…
How much postage do you recommend? (I want to make sure the transaction goes through but don’t want to waste any money…)

On Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 2:15 PM, Shakil Khan wrote:

0.0001 will be enough.
Best Regards

On Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 2:36 PM, Bitcoin Megaphone wrote:

Ok, thanks. I’m about to send the payment (see attached image for proof) but I have one more question – can you wait until Monday to publish the article? I’m going to be traveling with spotty internet this weekend and want to be available if any server issues come up.


And here’s the image I attached. (I have yet to receive a response.)

May 5, 2014


As far as I can tell, there’s no word for that thing when a website links a few consecutive words of text. For example, if I was talking about Charlie Sheen I might mention he’s a had some trouble with the law. (See what I did there?)

So I’d like to formally submit my term, “Chainlinking”:

Chainlinking. When a website hyperlinks a few consecutive words, usually to provide background on a topic. Often snarky. Usually annoying.

Lastly, I should add that there’s another definition for chainlinking on Urban Dictionary. My definition is decidedly different, and has nothing to do with a bunch of dudes blowing each other.

July 8, 2013

Zomies and Fluid Dynamics

I haven’t seen “World War Z” but some of these effects look amazing.

June 3, 2013

Iris Smyles and Dave Hill at The Strand

If you’re in New York this Thursday, check out this event at The Strand with authors Iris Smyles and Dave Hill. If it’s half as awesome as the poster then you’re in for a treat.

June 2, 2013

A Million Dollars Isn’t Cool…

I just found out about this 2009 art piece called “One Billion Dollar” by conceptual artist Michael Marcovici. It’s described as consisting of 12 shipping pallets stacked with 10 million hundred dollar bills, making it the most expensive piece of art ever. Conceptually it’s pretty cool, and reminds me a little of Damien Hirst’s For the Love of God, a skull covered in diamonds with a value of around $100 million.

But I was curious – who fronted the money for “One Billion Dollar”? Maybe it was a government? Or a fabulously wealthy art fiend?

Well it turns out nobody did. The art piece isn’t real money at all, but a small scale sculpture as I discovered in this video, screenshot below:

In any case, it’s still an interesting concept for an art piece. If you’re interested in visualizing more money, check out the amazing site Demonocracy.

Things To Do In Portland

If you’re planning to travel to Portland (the Oregon one, not that lame-ass place in Maine), keep this blog post handy. Before a recent trip a friend of a friend sent me this incredibly extensive and helpful email with restaurants, activities, and suggestions, which I’ve broken up and hyperinked just for you.

The greatest thing about this list is it’s from an actual Portlander, not some guidebook. So consider these suggestions properly vetted. Enjoy, and keep Portland weird.

Outdoor Activities

Timberline Lodge

Go up Mt. Hood to Timberline Lodge – you can ski year round if you want or just hang at the gorgeous lodge and get some food and drink and walk around in the snow.

Multnomah Falls

Multnomah Falls is very cool to see – about 30 minutes from downtown up the Columbia Gorge – take the scenic route. You can walk a nice paved trail up to the top.

Angels Rest

Angel’s Rest is a popular hike.

Pony Tail Falls

Pony Tail Falls is a cool fall that you can go behind. It’s part of the Horsetail Falls Loop. More info here.

Pittock Mansion

Pittock Mansion is a cool mansion in town with views of all the mountains.

Forest Park

The rose garden up in forest park/washington park is nice.

The drive straight out route 26 to the ocean to Cannon Beach is spectacular! 1.5 hours – gorgeous drive – Sleepy Monk Coffee House is amazing! It has a restaurant/booze too I think…. easy to park right next to that and they’ll point you to the beach!


Cascade Brewing

Cascade brewing is pretty cool – right in town on Belmont – known for interesting Belgian sour beers.

Base Camp

Very close to that is a new fun brewery called Base Camp – great outdoor area and a pizza truck right there – great if the weather is good.


Prost! seems cool on N. Mississippi.

Upright Brewery

Upright Brewery is a cool cavernous brewery in a building on Broadway – really nice beer – only open on weekends. Broadway is a nothing busy street but very close to North Williams which has lots of food….


Clyde Common

Clyde Common is a restaurant in the Ace Hotel – reallly good food and fun and good cocktails…… go there!

Beeker and Flask

Beeker and Flask is near that Basecamp Brewery – great restaurant and attached behind it is a place called Rum Club with all fun rum drinks and they spin old vinyl – cool.

Le Pigeon

Le Pigeon – seriously awesome! Go. Best restaurant in town – chef wins awards – not pretentious – open kitchen behind bar to watch him cook.
It’s On East Burnside next to the Jupiter Hotel which houses the Doug Fir Lounge and band venue – Doug Fir is fun to hang at – outdoor fire pit etc…

Little Bird Bistro

Little Bird Bistro is a good restaurant downtown. Sister restaurant to Le Pigeon which is famous. Johnny the bartender/part owner is awesome – he used to run the bar at Clyde Common.


Biwa is a great looking Japanese Izakaya in Southeast Portland – cool cement industrial chic basement – yummy food – not too expensive.

Miho Izakaya

Miho Izakaya is an awesome Japanese restaurant – Izakaya is Japanese comfort food. It’s in a renovated bunglow house – we love it!

Por Que No

Por Que No is great taco restaurant on Hawthorne around 46th or 47th. There is one on Mississippi Ave as well. Fun “Mexican” and big margaritas – fun people watching.


Check out Alberta Street for sure – I’d say Alberta is cooler later in the day. Salt n’ Straw Ice Cream is great. And Random Order Cafe on Alberta at 15th is great. Sweet and savory pies and really good bloody marys and other yummy coffee drinks – alcoholic or not….. lots of cool shops and bars.

All the way from 33rd Ave to 10th Ave there is cool stuff. Zilla Sake restaurant is next to Random Order too – lots and lots and lots of sake and sushi – cool place.

Pok Pok on SE Division Street is fabulous and delicious – he just opened 2 places in NYC – SE Division has lots of cool bars and stuff from 33rd up to almost 50th….

Pok Pok owns a bar across the street called Whiskey Soda…. The Woodsman Tavern on Division is nice – I’ve only had raw bar and cocktails – menu seems so so to me. Cool tho….

Ava Gene’s is new fancyish Italian – not sure how Italian really.
Cibo is really nice big clay oven for pizzas and other roasty toasty things. Around division and 37th – Urban Winery is right around the corner. Pok Pok also opened a funky noodle house on Division at 34th.

SE Clinton St. has cool places to eat at 26th (like Broder) and at 20th (St. Jack to eat and drink) Nite Light Lounge to eat and drink (Night Light is our favorite bar).

Hawthorne Blvd between 34th and 38th is very Portland – a fun street.
Hit that Powell’s Books right there. Get a waffle at the Waffle Window right off Hawthorne on 36th.

Close to Hawthorne is Belmont. SE Belmont St. between and 32nd and 34th is cool. Some bars and shops.

N. Mississippi Ave is a cool street of shops and restaurants.

N. Williams is a street with restaurants etc…. Tasty and Sons, Eat, Lincoln

SE 28th Ave between Burnside and Glisan has a bunch of restaurants, bars, and shops and cafes…..

East Burnside has a bunch of restaurants too – intersects 28th…..

Walk around the Pearl district in the NW section around 13th Ave and Everett – our SoHo. It’s where Wieden+Kennedy is.

NW 23rd is our preppier shopping street – not sure for the boys – like Newbury Street in Boston – lots and lots of shops – Besaw restaurant is good for apres strolling….

Band Venues

Doug Fir

Mississippi Studios

Mississippi Studios has a cool bar called Bar Bar attached.

Wonder Ballroom

Secret Society is a popular bar next to it…. you can grab the WW (Willamette Week – our Village Voice) for listings.

And lastly, make sure to check out Moonbrine Pickles, the best pickles in Portland.