On a hot New Orleans summer day, Mr. Willie and I wait outside the historic Circle Foods grocery store, eager to register voters for the upcoming election on November 6.
To my disappointment, most people we talk to refuse to register to vote—on principle. Some explain they want to stay out of politics, while others claim their vote doesn’t matter. Many simply walk away as soon as they hear the “V” word.
While I empathize with their lack of confidence in the presidential election process—with its gerrymandering and the electoral college—I cannot accept that our votes in local elections “don’t matter” or are “just politics.” …
The City of New Orleans is expanding bike share from the initial pilot in the French Quarter. Expect to see new stations popping up as early as december, continuing into early 2018 — of course, just in time for Mardi Gras.
Several stations will line St. Claude Avenue and Royal Street. Alvar Library and Flora Coffee Shop will each get a station, and several stations will line the edges of the French Quarter.
The blue bikes are managed by Social Bicycles in partnership with the City. The program costs $15/month for residents and just $1.67 for those who qualify for “low-income.”
To find the location nearest you, check out this nifty interactive map.
Sometimes external forces make living minimally a challenge. One such force is the postal service. Every day a government employee drops off a new batch of clutter — and ironically most of this clutter is about convincing us to buy more clutter.
While cancelling your mail might be infeasible—if not impossible—there are a few steps you can take to significantly decrease the amount of junk mail you receive. None of these steps are immediate, and most require a bit of patience.
The Data & Marketing Association is a trade organization that shares your data and mailing address with its member corporations. You can create an account on their website and pay $2 to opt-out of their lists. …
If you’re anything like me, you’ve become dependent on Amazon.com for ordering everything from light bulbs to spices. Order to you means ordering from Amazon much like Search means searching on Google.
As I’ve become more conscious about the brands I support, I’ve learned that many brands themselves have actually caught up with the whole Internet thing. That is, many brands now offer their products directly on their website.
Here are four reasons why I’ve stopped buying everything on Amazon:
Amazon has tested every detail of its site to increase sales. This analytical approach to design has rendered Amazon.com …
We’re in a crisis and it’s time to start acting like it. The time for cute little “go vote” graphics has passed. People’s civil liberties and personal safety are at stake.
While there is plenty of blame to put on the media, they no longer control us. The Rupert Murdochs no longer have a monopoly on the public psyche. Instead, technologists—designers, developers, product managers—are in a unique position to affect public behaviors and beliefs. We are a small but powerful part of the 74.5% of eligible voters that didn’t vote for Trump. …
I was invited to speak at the homecoming assembly of my high school, Newman. These are my remarks.
A lot has changed in the 7 years since I was at Newman. I could go on and on about how you can accomplish so much with your ability to consume, create, and distribute information over the Internet. Or how lucky you are to grow up in a New Orleans full of opportunity and growth.
Instead, I’m going to focus on 3 things that I hope has changed since I was at Newman, but probably haven’t.
I recall a day at the end of Senior year where everyone wears the t-shirt of the college they’re going to. I remember wearing my new Wash U t-shirt with pride. I can hear Dr. Sheets telling me maybe we shouldn’t have this day because that pride I feel is at the expense of someone else’s shame. But I was too proud to listen to Dr. …
Waiting on hold is so 2015. With the new Service app, you can have someone else deal with any company’s customer service for you. While they seem to focus on refunds (presumably because that’s where the money is), I successfully used Service to get AT&T to stop sending me offers in the mail.
This set-it-and-forget-it app finds you refunds while you sleep. By monitoring your email account for receipts from Amazon and other retailers, Paribus knows when items you purchase fall in price and will contact the retailer on your behalf. …
Ever since reading The Dispossessed, I have been adamant about removing unnecessary possessions from my life. This started off simple–I added to my list of Sunday evening chores “get rid of something.” However, as the quick-wins diminish, I have resorted to a few tricks:
1. Treat every item as a to-do
Looking at friends’ phones, I’ve observed two types of email inboxes. Those with 0-100 unread emails and those with thousands. There’s not much in between. That’s because people either approach their inboxes as a to-do list or as a stream of information. …
Guatemala is about as temperate as San Francisco, or so I find to my surprise as I step out of the plane onto the tarmac of the Aeropuerto Internacional de Guatemala. My father had told me to pack only short sleeves. However, I couldn’t resist bringing my favorite hoodie, which I’m subconsciously putting on without ever fully removing my backpack. Later, my father would purchase the largest poncho he could find, hilariously several sizes too small.
This is my first trip with Water For People since high school, when I joined my father on a tour of African latrines while my friends back home in New Orleans were celebrating Mardi Gras. …
Designers are critical — it’s a requirement for the job. Design candidates, Braden Kowitz of Google Ventures says, will “come up with a solution and then, without hesitation, list all its faults.”
Upon joining SaveUp as the company’s first user experience hire, I immediately set out to uncover the product’s faults. Using Delighted, I ask thousands of users the simple question, “How likely are you to recommend SaveUp to a friend?” With much excitement I watch the real-time responses flood in, and I filter down to only users who are unwilling to recommend the app.
Patterns quickly emerge. SaveUp encourages people to save money by offering chances to win big prizes in exchange for good financial behavior, so naturally people think it’s too good to be true. I read responses from people who think our system is rigged, our prize winners are fake, and the product is a scam. Some users are unwilling to link their financial accounts, indicating lack of trust. …