Brainstorming: In Defense of Broad Participation

For almost 3 years now, I’ve been developing and facilitating brainstorming sessions for public sector clients to understand data-related problems. In that time, I’ve never seen a person who shouldn’t have been in the room or didn’t have something to contribute, but I’ve always had someone say “We should ask {insert team} about that” or […]

Chief Data Officer – Getting Started

I’ve been thinking recently about the job of a Chief Data Officer and what it would mean to come into an organization to perform this role. Whether there has been a previous CDO or not, in my experience helping government agencies get a handle on the data they collect and use, the key first task is […]

Map Hacking NYCT Subway Station Conditions, Part I

There’s probably a name for someone who takes the data from someone’s map and creates a whole new map based on it because they thought the first map didn’t do the data justice. I’m sure the name is not pleasant and I’m also sure it applies to me. After hearing about the Citizens Budget Commission interactive map […]

Installing matplotlib and pandas on Amazon EC2

I’m trying to add analytics to my first Twitter bot and to do that, I need to use the pandas and matplotlib packages in Python. Trying to install these on my Amazon EC2 instance revealed an unpleasant thing about the Amazon Linux package manager: it’s updated like the decor in my local bodega is updated, hardly ever. […]

The Art of Writing Automatic Tweets

I’m a coder, by which I mean, I like solving problems with code. The more elegant the code, the better. Being also trained in the humanities, I have a aesthetic sensibility, particularly around language. Having wanted to write a Twitter bot for a while, I finally took the time to deploy one (you can see it […]

My First Twitter Bot

Inspired by the legion of Twitter bots created by Allison Parish to disseminate all kinds of lovely linguistic mayhem, I decided to build my own bot. While I love what she’s put together (my personal favorites are The Ephemerides and Deep Question Bot), I knew that generating text algorithmically wouldn’t be my thing. I’d played with Citibike […]