tecznotes

Michal Migurski's notebook, listening post, and soapbox. Subscribe to this blog. Check out the rest of my site as well.

Jul 13, 2016 11:52pm

quoted in the news

I’ve been quoted in a few recent news stories, which happens from time to time but this is unusually a lot.

If You Can’t Follow Directions, You’ll End Up on Null Island (Wall Street Journal)

Science reporter Lee Hotz got in touch after talking to my coworker Nathaniel Kelso about the Null Island geo-meme. It’s a short piece, but I hear it’s supposed to run on A-1 tomorrow and Lee did an impressive amount of interviewing to make sure the story was right. Nathaniel included Null Island in the wildly popular Natural Earth dataset around the time he worked at Stamen. We had just included Null Island in a basemap style for GeoIQ where Kate Chapman, another interviewee, had worked at the time. I was happy to lead Lee to Steve Pellegrin from Tableau, who was the initial creator of the meme that birthed a thousand t-shirts.

Stronger Together: Could Data Standards Help Build Better Transportation Systems? (Govtech)

Ben Miller digs into data availability for transportation systems. At Mapzen, we host Transitland for transit data based on Bibiana McHugh’s pioneering work on the General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) at Portland TriMet. It’s the reason you can find a bus ride in both Google Maps and Mapzen Turn-By-Turn!

The App That Wants to Simplify Postal Addresses (The Atlantic)

Robinson Meyer writes one of the few non-sycophantic, critical articles about What3Words and addresses generally. I’ve got a few friends who work there so I hate to be mean, but in my eyes What3Words is an anti-institutional bet whose success, like the price of gold, will correlate strongly with the unraveling of basic public infrastructure. I can’t believe Meyer got the part-owner of privatized Mongol Post to cop to having heard about W3W at the Davos cartoon supervillian convention. Thinking about it makes me mad enough that I’ll change topics and leave you with this amazing quote from another Robinson Meyer article on word processors and history, from English professor Matthew Kirschenbaum:

Another interesting story that’s in the book is about John Updike, who gets a Wang word processor at about the time Stephen King does, in the early 1980s. I was able to inspect the last typewriter ribbon that he used in the last typewriter he owned. A collector who had the original typewriter was kind enough to lend it to me. And you can read the text back off that typewriter ribbon—and you can’t make this stuff up, this is why it’s so wonderful to be able to write history—the last thing that Updike writes with the typewriter is a note to his secretary telling her that he won’t need her typing services because he now has a word processor.
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