Sources and Methods #33: Gabe Weatherhead

Gabe Weatherhead 101:

Macdrifter (Gabe's personal site)

Gabe (not really any more) on Twitter

Nerds on Draft


Technical Difficulties (Gabe's old podcast)

Show notes:

6:50 - - Resource to make your website (or others) searchable.

8:50 - Podcasts are great for ruminating on a topic, where you’re just riffing and talking real time about it, but it’s not great for thinking through things. People that I’ve seen who become more podcasters than writers, I think their logic suffers for that. They’re not ever really thinking things through at a deep level other than to have a kneejerk conversation.

11:02 - I think there are a couple different flavors of app developers. There are those who are in it for the money. Then there’s the app makers who have their own personal problem they’re trying to solve. Then of course there’s the career developer. We were more in the bucket of we had a problem we wanted to solve, and we wanted customers to pay to help us solve that problem. We learned a lot. 1) iOS development is not cheap. 2) There’s not much of an equation or plan that you can follow. It’s like viral marketing is luck of the draw and what sticks, no one really knows. We were naive, thinking ‘if you make a good thing, people will come to it.’ That’s not really how it works.

14:52 - We learned that we were really terrible at business because we were in love with our own principles too much. And we learned that you have to give up some of your principles to be really good at business.

19:42 - I have left Twitter without announcing it. I don’t think Twitter and Facebook are good for people, in general. I think that it’s not healthy the way people are interacting with each other, and focusing in on things and they’re too easily deceived by what they think the world looks like, and I’m a victim of that, looking at the world through the kaleidoscope of Twitter, thinking I understand how everything works because I read! The conscious choice to limit my view of the world almost predestined everything. Coming out of this election, I would be shocked because I viewed everything differently whereas maybe the old way was I watched the news, I read different newspapers, I talked with different people, I consumed all of this different content and pulled it in and came to different conclusions.  

24:45 - I left Facebook because of their attitude towards privacy, and the way they’ve repeatedly tried to trick their users into revealing more information about themselves. I’m a big privacy proponent in my own life, I don’t really like algorithms following me. I feel like a bit of a nut talking about this.

There was a conversation where someone told someone to delete their Facebook app. I said, to a large number of people, that’s like telling them to delete their mailbox. That’s their connection with family and friends, that’s how they know what’s going on with their actual associates. And to tell them oh you should get rid of that is naive at best. I don’t need facebook because I have other ways to connect with friends and family, and they mostly aren’t on facebook. (Laughs) I’m a hermit.

I don’t think a non-commercial product will replace facebook. Money is what drives it. So collecting user data will always be the business. And selling ads will be the business because that makes the most money. In order for their to be an alternative that didn’t track people for people who cared about privacy, most people don’t want to pay for that service and they especially don’t want to pay what the company would make on ads instead. So I don’t think that will be replaced. I do think facebook will eventually die away because younger people care about different things. Younger people are using different services.

29:11 - Right now, I don’t think there’s enough money in privacy for people to make much off of it.

Quick App Notes:

I like Slack a lot.

I like Sublime Text. There’s a commercial version I use a lot.

I use Keyboard Maestro a lot.

I have Hazel on Mac. Copied on Mac and iOS.

1Password of course.

I’m really hopeful that the Devonthink Team adds document provider service to Devonthink on iOS.

40:00 I would own an iPhone at this point just to use Devonthink. I have so many notes because that’s how I’ve always been. I’ve always been the guy that created 3x5 cards with bits of information and kept them in a shoebox and created a little tagging system with little colored flags. That was just how I worked. On the computer, it made sense – I’m not going to run out of space.

A great example of this is Christmas shopping. I have a little note that’s just information about my wife’s shoe size, ring size, which is great for gifts. I also have a note with the gifts I’ve already given people, so I don’t get them the same gift five years later. Little bits of information.

43:17 – Apple Notes is great.

49:00 – Task Paper is also great.

1:05:18 – I love mind mapping, that’s a big thing that I do. And my favorite is iThoughts.

1:07:56 – I use Arq which encrypts things before it goes to backup servers. Backblaze is great too. And Little Snitch is useful for monitoring what apps are connecting to the internet.

1:10:33 – I recommend people get this: Napkin. Great little app for Mac.

Gabe’s Picks:


1)    The Hayao Miazaki Blu-Ray Collection


1)    QC35 Headphones by Bose. They are fantastic. Get the iMic flip USB cable.


1)    I use Audible. All the time.

2)    The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*** by Mark Manson

Sources and Methods #30: Deb Chachra

Deb Chachra 101:

Deb Chachra on twitter / instagram / homepage

Metafoundry -- Deb's weekly newsletter

Deb Chachra's OLIN faculty profile

Show Notes:

00:47 – Metafoundry

01:00 – OLIN College

02:58 – “Why I am not a maker” (The Atlantic)

4:44 – “Making as an Act of Caring” by Anab Jain (Superflux)

4:59 – John Ardern

6:17 – Edward L. Deci - “Why We Do What We Do” (book)

7:36 – Deb Chachra / education research

8:11 – Tetris / Minecraft

9:42 – Ursula Franklin (wiki) “The Real World of Technology” (book)

19:04 – MOOCs (wiki)

20:28 – Gender imbalance in engineering school

27:39 – Edward L. Deci - “Why We Do What We Do” (book)

33:43 – UCL’s Integrated Engineering Programme

33:55 – Engineering Leadership Programme (Olin / U Texas partnership)

37:27 – Oral Roberts University

38:30 – Polaroid

45:46 – Canada & refugees Sponsoring Syrian refugees

48:20 – Metafoundry (email newsletter)

50:17 – Metafoundry on VR (here and here)

52:46 – Zibaldone / Commonplace book Deb’s zibaldone

53:30 – Pinboard

54:57 – Boston Athenæum (wiki / official site)

56:20 – A book as a souvenir (James Bridle)

58:49 – Deb on Instagram Clive Thompson (twitter) Situated Systems Project

1:00:21 – The Situated Systems Team

1:01:24 – Metafoundry posts referencing the Situated Systems project

1:02:37 – Stranger Things (IMDB)

1:04:12 – Dylan Thomas – “My education was the liberty I had to read indiscriminately and all the time, with my eyes hanging out.” (quote)

1:05:44 – Sarah Perry - The Essex Serpent (book)

1:06:59 – Predestination (IMDB)

1:08:34 – Kill vs Maim (song video)

Sources and Methods #8: Azmat Khan

Photo  credit: Sam Bailey

Photo credit: Sam Bailey


Azmat Khan 101:

TwitterFacebookInstagramGoogle +

-- Tumblr/Blog

-- "The Brothers" (PBS Frontline in Cairo)

-- "The Bombing of al-Bara" (PBS Frontline):

Azmat @ Al-Jazeera America

Azmat @ PBS Frontline

Show Notes:

5:58 - Defining ‘success’ in the digital media age:

It depends on the institution. Some friends of mine have been given quotas to hit. I’ve been lucky not to have to do that. I value response and resonance as an indicator - people writing about it, talking about it online, questions, even critiques, things like that I really value in terms of success. The ideal success of course is when there’s a problem or injustice is to see that result in a conversation that hopefully elicits change.

7:50 - Al Bara Film

10:20 - Is Google News driving all of our news consumption?

Not necessarily - I’d say it’s more social. Facebook in particular, not as much Twitter, is one of the biggest sources of traffic, and it’s not a bad thing for a good thing to be shared a lot. And for people to study data to figure out ways to make it reach as many people as possible. In that way, it can be a very good thing. And there’s the opposite of that - when stories are told in a way just to elicit pageviews of clicks.

11:36 - A follow up point on success in journalism:

That it endures, and can be a reference point for something later… that can be a definitive portrait of something at a particular time.

16:00 - Staying up on social media:

I dip in an out of that depending on how busy I am with other things… But I spent a lot of time in the past curating lists of people to follow on Twitter. This can include newsletters. I use Digg’s website and wakeup with a morning email. I use Reddit Edit.
At the same time, I think there are lots of non-traditional ways I gather information from areas that are less talked about.
Facebook Groups. If there’s an issue that sparks my interest or I want to learn more about or report on, one of the first things I’ll do is see if anyone has coalesced around that issue in a Facebook Group. It’s more useful than Message Boards, so you can message them directly, and it’s super easy to get in touch immediately and quickly. And people get intimate on a place like Facebook. That’s one of the most under-reported tools to use when trying to figure something out. It’s not representative of an issue, but it is individuals, and you can learn so much. It’s an incredible starting place that people don’t think about when they want story ideas.

20:58 - for the kinds of stories I’m doing now, I rely more on individuals than people talking about public issues on Twitter.

24:00 - Right now, one of the most fascinating things you can see online are people who’ve supposedly run off to join ISIS. They have blogs, and social media accounts. They are so interesting. But verification is very hard when it comes to these things. The best reporters have done a good job corroborating the facts… but I do wonder, what does this platform or accessibility do in terms of small errors or embellishment of the truth.

26:00 - Norwegian filmmaker and a fake short on Syria

28:02 - Fake blog taken for real news here. Proof here.

32:33 - I think books are increasingly underutilized. The people who turn to information that isn’t publicly accessible when they’re writing about whatever issue it is online.

33:48 - It’s great because much of the material is not publicly accessible, the information is not at fingertips. There should be more of that, we may be losing a lot of that.

34:31 - I think the internet echo chamber is one of the dangers of how we receive our information. You would think the internet would afford more perspectives and differing ones than what you encounter in real life, walking around, but it actually in so many ways provides the opportunity for people to singularly identify - by hashtag, website, by following people - to actually narrow that down further.

38:10 - Standard research tools for Azmat:

  • Know how to write a Freedom of Information Request

  • is an invaluable resource

  • Look at the courts

  • Ask for feedback

FOIA Letter Generator here

42:31 - Language classes are a game changer. (Matt and Alex feel quite strongly about this - you should take them. Need inspiration? Read Alex’s great post on why you should learn languages. And then pair with his second post on how you should learn that language.)

46:18 - Being fluent in a language puts you ahead in so many ways, it’s incredible. I can’t even explain it.

49:45 - If it’s Thursday, I’m listening to Serial. Any other day, I’m listening to NPR’s five minute newscast.

50:35 - I’m also obsessed with audiobooks, and prefer fiction.

54:00 - Azmat’s Instagram account.

56:30 - Azmat on Twitter.  

How did she grow her account to some 48,000 people?

It’s about providing a service, or context, or things that people find useful and interesting. Don’t necessarily push a narrative or an opinion - people really liked that.

1:00:01 - Azmat’s Tumblr.

1:04:00 - Azmat’s moving over to Buzzfeed.

Azmat’s Book: Never Let me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Matt’s Book: Zero to One by Peter Thiel

Matt’s Story: Why Our Memory Fails Us by Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simmons, creators of the famous Invisible Gorilla test (a Selective Attention test)

Azmat's Music pick:

Alex’s Book: Seasons of Trouble: Life Amid the Ruins of Sri Lanka's Civil War by Rohini Mohan

Azmat’s Film: It’s A Disaster

Azmat’s food she would eat if she were on death row: buttery lobster.

Matt’s Book: Being Mortal by Atul Gawande