Jun 24

Recent Antics: Pirates Tweeting for Dogs

The last few weeks or so have been all over the place!  Here are some nifty things I’ve been up to recently:

  • My Twitter follower count went over 500 for the first time! Half way to 1000, right?
  • I went up to Beltsville, MD (north of College Park) and had an epic pirate party with my new roommates and a bunch of other grad students. I was going to take video and pictures but there was never a really good time to do it.  This picture will have to console you [taken by Sergey Sulima]:
  • Pirate Jimmy

  • Following the party train…I’ve been to two clubs in Richmond so far and might wind up going to 3 before the summer is over.  Basically I’ve done more partying this summer than I did my entire time as an undergrad.
  • Twitter Dog triumphs! Since two of my future roommates were already on Twitter (@deutschbagette and @punkpostmodern), we decided to create a Twitter account for Eva the German Shepherd (now @evabrowndog) who lives there in hopes that roommate #3 might feel more pressure to tweet.  Happily, we suceeded (@jbriank)!

On top of all the awesome things above, I’ve just gotten all my new tech toys at once.  My laptop, wireless printer, and iPhone 3GS are all in my hot little hands now and I can feel the power all around me!  Suddenly page are loading at a reasonable speed and my calls are audible (my old iPhone’s speaker was dying)!  The best part about this new laptop is the built-in webcam and mic, which I plan to use in posting daily updates (or at least semi-daily) to the web.

That’s about it for me.  Hope the week goes well for you!

Jun 09

My New Gig: Task.fm – The Task Blog

Task.fmAs most of you who know me are already aware, blogging is really a hobby for me.  While I make money at it, the time I spend preparing for articles is probably time I would spend doing something similar if I wasn’t being paid.  That being said, I love to take on new “gigs” and try to both broaden the breadth of my writing and enhance my abilities.

I’m glad to say that Task.fm‘s “Task Blog” has taken me on as their first freelancer.  If you’re not familiar with Task.fm (run by @feint), that’s somewhat understandable as they only launched in April.  That being said, they are a neat little web service that will help you keep track of your daily tasks with email, SMS, and voice reminders (yep, it’ll call you right up!).  You might remember a similar site I blogged about called IWantSandy, but as they were acquired (read: dismantled) by Twitter a while back, I’m making room in my heart for Task.fm.

Try Task.fm Today!

Once their service has gotten a little more “mature” (there’s a lot they have planned in the near future, including pro accounts) I’ll probably talk more about them, but for now I’m going to focus on making their product blog into…more than just a product blog.  They’ve hired me to share some “getting things done” strategies and other lifehacks.  I think this is a great ideas, because who needs another product blog that’s just a list of service updates?

Follow @taskfm if you want to hear about their latest developments. If you want to catch a glimpse of my first article on the Task Blog…you’ll find it here!

May 13

Science IS Sexy! [GAS]

the-pen-is-mightierRecently I figured out that while I may not be an expert on anything in particular, I AM more knowledgeable about science than most of the people out there on the internet.  This is only because I’ve studied the subject and they have, presumably, studied something else.

For this reason, the idea of writing science articles occurred to me and Yan over at GeeksAreSexy.net (or [GAS] as he calls it) has been gracious enough to let me try my hand at it.  Thus far I am calling the column “Science is Sexy” as a play on the site’s name.  The response has been very warm for the most part and some of the articles have garnered great interest and praise from the readers.

Here are the first three that I have gotten from brain to keyboard to blog:

The last one was kind of a challenge because I’m really no physicist.  For the moment I may stick with either general science or bioscience topics.  If you have any requests I’d love to hear them (though I can’t promise anything…my knowledge is more limited than people expect).

[“I tend to scribble a lot” from Unhindered by Talent on Flickr, CC]

May 07

Writing About Science (Part 1)

I figure I’ll start out this blog with my take on science writing.

the-pen-is-mightier

Scientists construct papers and journals all the time that make validated statments about the nature of the universe. These publications serve as permanent records of scientific research.

Journalists, on the other hand, have to answer to different standards.  The role of the journalist, on the other hand, is essentially to inform. This puts the science writer into a strange position, because in some respects he is informing, but in others he is actually educating.  To top it all off, the science writer needs to add a level of relevancy to the piece so that readers will see how it applies to their own place in the world.

When I first began blogging, I was exclusively a technology blogger, writing about the news and general minutia that makes up the bulk of the tech side of the internet.  Low level tech blogging essentially consists of taking other stories, digesting them, and regurgitating them as a new, slightly updated story.  It didn’t teach me all that much about journalism of any kind, but it cemented my skills in blog editing and getting a lot written in a short amount of time (many of the stories were time sensitive).

After several iterations of freelance blogging, I got the opporunity to write about more general topics.  Instead of geeky technology news, I branched out into other geeky areas as well.  I wrote an article about how magicians use the internet.  Since that didn’t receive much acclaim, I tried out a few science articles.  I was surprised by two things immediately:

  1. How easy they had been to write
  2. How many people seemed to really have benefitted from them

Now I don’t want to oversell myself here, I only have an undergraduate education, but it was at that point that I realized how important it intelligible science could be to everyone, not just genuine scientists.  People are naturally seekers of truth.  Most are hindered by the immensely complex nature of the universe.  It is up to specialists to parse out that complexity and allow people to do what comes naturally to them: seek out the truth.

Later on I will continue this article in Part 2…

[“I tend to scribble a lot” from Unhindered by Talent on Flickr, CC]