Dr. Dobb’s Journal of Computer Calisthenics & Orthodontia was one of the first magazines I bought as a teenager. It was full of algorithm hacks, exotic programming languages, and twisted challenges. Dr. Dobb’s was irreverent, enthusiastic, critical, attracting some of the best authors in computing. I’ll miss it.
The new owners are sunsetting it and setting the staff free. They promised to keep the archives up (for now).
Things they might have done:
- Mailed their readers. They should have massive lists from 38 years of posts, comments, subscriptions. Passing along the farewell message would have been polite (and driven up traffic for a week or so).
- Held a wake. I don’t know where the editors live, but it feels like there should be a party.
- Pushed a copy to the Internet Archive. Let Dr. Dobb’s history survive future M&A.
I volunteered this last campaign season with OpenOakland‘s OpenDisclosure project, sharing data and making sense of politics and money in Oakland, California. In honor of our NorCal OpenDisclosure Summit last Saturday, what would it be like to host an OpenDisclosure awards show?
On the fundraising side…
- Sweepstakes: Most Money Overall
- Efficiency: Most Money From Fewest Contributors
- Everyman: Most Money From Most Contributors
- Labor: Most Money From Union Committees
- Commerce: Most Money From Businesses
- Local: Most Money From An Oakland Address
- Level: Most Money In More Oakland Neighborhoods
- Confidence: Most Self-Funded
- First: First To Raise $1000
- Last: Most Money Raised Between Last Two Filing Periods
- Infamy: Most YouTube Viewers Per Warchest Dollar (edited)
- Kapra: Most Votes For A Candidate Spending Less Than $1000
- Einstein: Most Interesting Ineligible Candidate
On the spending side…
- Gourmand: Most Money On Food
- Ink: Most Money On Printing And Postage
- Air: Most Money On Radio And TV
- Tubes: Most Money On Web, Email, Social, Mobile
- First To Field: First Office Opened
- Most Field Months: Most Field Office Spending
- Friends: Most Money To Other Campaigns
- Whoopsies: Most Refunds And Returns
- Scribble: Most Money Spent On A Write-In Campaign
- Uphill: Most Money Per First Vote
@RobertGammon to host?
I like its humor on a touchy subject.
I like that it’s timely and newsworthy (if we can get fresh data and hustle in the weeks before an election).
I like that it gives a nickname to many of the ideas we don’t talk about because they’re wordy or complex.
I like that it contributes to understanding the different ways campaigns compete.
I like that it will spin-off many sharable bits.
I like that it opens room for storytelling about campaigns.
I like it has room to change, adapting new concerns.
From Overv.io‘s home page:
No strings attached
We store all critical information on GitHub
These are your projects. You get to keep your data and we can’t lose it even if our servers get mauled by a grizzly bear.
No commitment required
You are free to only move a part of your team to overv.io. People who hate progress can just keep using GitHub directly. Everyone else gets to keep using their favourite tools.
And then one day you may find a flashier app
You will like each other and then you’ll stop returning our calls. And as we lay in our bed and hug the pillow and certainly not cry, well maybe a little, you realize one very important thing:
There is no data for you to pick up from our office while awkwardly trying to hold a conversation.
This is how much we love you.
Principle: Avoid holding customer data if you don’t have to.
Bonus: Discuss a potentially distressing hypothetical event (breaking up with the site) in a human and humorous voice. Kudos for the metaphor; post-dating breakups are less traumatic than, say, the death of a puppy at the hands of terrorists.
Kevin Menard wound down his Mogotest service after five years. He wrote a thoughtful explanation of why he did’t release his code into the wild under an open source license. It came down to a few things.
- IP. Untangling third-party code to clear licenses was a big job.
- Privacy promises. Some customer data had been hard-coded and would need to be discovered and removed.
- Cost. Nobody was willing to pay for the work.
- Feelings. The prospect of returning to prepare the code for release was “a really tough pill to swallow.”
A good read.
I’m working this Saturday at Oakland City Hall with friends from San Jose, Sacramento, San Francisco and Oakland. It’s our first time together. We’re figuring out what we want campaign finance apps like OpenDisclosure to evolve into. How can we make boring accounting data meaningful, entertaining, and active? How can we reach more of California’s voters? Can we turn contribution envelopes and expense reports into a tool for citizenship? It’s an open meeting. RSVP.
“Remember us.” Tombstone pages stay behind after your product or company is gone. Here’s a simple, effective one from the gang at Resolver Systems Ltd..
Resolver’s tombstone does a few things well:
- Clear headline
- Logo to confirm you’re in the right place
- What happened and why
- What you can do if you want to contact someone or get support
Tombstones are briefer and less biographical than product obituaries. Easier to write, too.