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robertogreco : michalmigurski   32

Old Oakland
"Sources

• 1877: Map of Oakland and Alameda / Woodward & Taggart, Agents for the purchase, sale and appraisal and care of real estate ; M G. King, surveyor.
• 1912: Map of Oakland and vicinity published by the Realty Union, compiled from optical and other data by T. J. Allan ; T. R. Morcom, draughtsman.
• 1936: Shell Oil Street Guide and Metropolitan Map of San Francisco and Bay Cities, H. M. Gousha Company.
• 1950s: Union Oil San Francisco - Oakland East Bay Cities City Map, Rand McNally & Co.
• 1967: Standard Oil Oakland, Adjacent Cities and Southern Alameda County Map, H. M. Gousha Company.
• OpenStreetMap: ©OpenStreetMap contributors, CC-BY-SA."

[See also: http://www.tom-carden.co.uk/flash/hello-oakland/ ]
oakland  maps  mapping  michalmigurski  history 
may 2014 by robertogreco
The GitHub Debacle and Why Holacracy is Bullshit | BraceLand
"EDIT: I should make very clear that GitHub does not seem to have been employing holacracy as their organizing model. Instead, Tom Preston-Werner describes it in this talk as “business minimalism.” I was sloppy in equating the two. I do stand by the larger point that these anti-hierarchical models, whatever you call them, don’t deal with power structures effectively. Business minimalism and holacracy both seem to be trying to address the same problem, bureaucracy, without really dealing with why bureaucracies get to be the way they are in the first place. I also edited the title of this post replacing a colon with the word “and” to help clarify.

————

A couple weeks ago I was in a conversation with some of my progressive organizer friends about holacracy, the latest fad in tech culture which calls for organizational structures without any hierarchy (ie: managers). Some of them were really intrigued by the elements of empowerment and decentralization at it’s core. I felt differently. Holacracy always smelled to me like a naive reaction to bureaucracy, without really understanding how and why bureaucracies end up like they do. It also has this implicit disdain for people in organizations who are responsible for the softer skills that keep things running smoothly. You know, things like communication, empathy, human resources management, etc. I see these skills getting devalued in the tech world all the time. If you can’t build shit you’re not worth anything.

Watching this debacle go down at GitHub, I’m not at all surprised to hear (from my fabulous colleague Mike Migurski, who explains perfectly why I think holacracy is bullshit) that the co-founder implicated in the story was a believer in the holacratic ideal.

Channeling Marshall Ganz, the absence of structure is a structure in and of itself. When you allow a power vacuum to emerge someone will fill it, and it’s usually the people who have traditionally held power (rich white men). That’s how you end up with stories like this coming out of GitHub.

In the wake of this, I’m starting to think all of the problems we’re seeing with Silicon Valley these days—the ineptitude at politics, the clumsiness with handling inequality in SF, the lack of gender and racial diversity in the industry—are actually rooted in a systemic failure to understand how power works. As we move to an era where tech is central to our culture and economy, smart founders and investors will come to realize that stacking their companies full of people who understand politics and can create healthy cultures is as important to success as having kick-ass engineers.

The problem with management isn’t managers, the problem with management is bad managers. And it’s not hard to imagine that people who don’t understand how power works aren’t going to be very good managers."

[Conversation about Julie Ann Horvath's Github experience here: http://www.metafilter.com/137546/Julie-Horvath-Describes-Sexism-And-Intimidation-Behind-Her-GitHub-Exit

An Metafilter discussion that predated this news: Do we need managers? http://www.metafilter.com/137257/We-look-at-our-employees-as-adults ]
catherinebracy  github  2014  michalmigurski  softskills  holocracy  horizontality  hierarchy  management  hierarchies  administration  power  social  groupdynamics  inequality  technology  technosolutionism  marshallganz  structure  structurelessness 
march 2014 by robertogreco
managers are awesome / managers are cool when they’re part of your team (tecznotes)
"Apropos the Julie Ann Horvath Github shitshow, I’ve been thinking this weekend about management, generally.

I don’t know details about the particular Github situation so I won’t say much about it, but I was present for Tom Preston-Werner’s 2013 OSCON talk about Github. After a strong core message about open source licenses, liability, and freedom (tl;dr: avoid the WTFPL), Tom talked a bit about Github’s management model.
Management is about subjugation; it’s about control.

At Github, Tom described a setup where the power structure of the company is defined by the social structures of the employees. He showed a network hairball to illustrate his point, said that Github employees can work on what they feel like, subject to the strategic direction set for the company. There are no managers.

This bothered me a bit when I heard it last summer, and it’s gotten increasingly more uncomfortable since. I’ve been paraphrasing this part of the talk as “management is a form of workplace violence,” and the still-evolving story of Julie Ann Horvath suggests that the removal of one form of workplace violence has resulted in the reintroduction of another, much worse form. In my first post-college job, I was blessed with an awesome manager who described his work as “firefighter up and cheerleader down,” an idea I’ve tried to live by as I’ve moved into positions of authority myself. The idea of having no managers, echoed in other companies like Valve Software, suggests the presence of major cultural problems at a company like Github. As Shanley Kane wrote in What Your Culture Really Says, “we don’t have an explicit power structure, which makes it easier for the unspoken power dynamics in the company to play out without investigation or criticism.” Managers might be difficult, hostile, or useless, but because they are parts of an explicit power structure they can be evaluted explicitly. For people on the wrong side of a power dynamic, engaging with explicit structure is often the only means possible to fix a problem.

Implicit power can be a liability as well as a strength. In the popular imagination, implicit power elites close sweetheart deals in smoke-filled rooms. In reality, the need for implicit power to stay in the shadows can cripple it in the face of an outside context problem. Aaron Bady wrote of Julian Assange and Wikileaks that “while an organization structured by direct and open lines of communication will be much more vulnerable to outside penetration, the more opaque it becomes to itself (as a defense against the outside gaze), the less able it will be to “think” as a system, to communicate with itself. The more conspiratorial it becomes, in a certain sense, the less effective it will be as a conspiracy.”

Going back to the social diagram, this lack of ability to communicate internally seems to be an eventual property of purely bottoms-up social structures. Github has been enormously successful on the strength of a single core strategy: the creation of a delightful, easy-to-use web UI on top of a work-sharing system designed for distributed use. I’ve been a user since 2009, and my belief is that the product has consistently improved, but not meaningfully changed. Github’s central, most powerful innovation is the Pull Request. Github has annexed adjoining territory, but has not yet had to respond to a threat that may force it to abandon territory or change approach entirely.

Without a structured means of communication, the company is left with the vague notion that employees can do what they feel like, as long as it’s compliant with the company’s strategic direction. Who sets that direction, and how might it be possible to change it? There’s your implicit power and first point of weakness.

This is incidentally what’s so fascinating about the government technology position I’m in at Code for America. I believe that we’re in the midst of a shift in power from abusive tech vendor relationships to something driven by a city’s own digital capabilities. The amazing thing about GOV.UK is that a government has decided it has the know-how to hire its own team of designers and developers, and exercised its authority. That it’s a cost-saving measure is beside the point. It’s the change I want to see in the world: for governments large and small to stop copy-pasting RFP line items and cargo-culting tech trends (including the OMFG Ur On Github trend) and start thinking for themselves about their relationship with digital communication."
michalmigurski  2014  julieannhovarth  github  horizontality  hierarchy  hierarchies  power  julianassange  wikileaks  valve  culture  business  organizations  management  legibility  illegibility  communication  gov.uk  codeforamerica  subjugation  abuse  shanley  teams  administration  leadership 
march 2014 by robertogreco
a beginners guide to streamed data from Twitter (tecznotes)
"This is a brief guide on using the Twitter live streaming API, extracting useful data from it, and converting that data into a spreadsheet-ready text form, all using tools available on Mac OS X by default. There’s also a brief Python tutorial for scrubbing basic data buried in here someplace."
2012  michalmigurski  howto  bigdata  streaming  data  python  api  twitter 
september 2012 by robertogreco
angry, productive birds (tecznotes)
"For a few years now, we’ve been diligently recording our time spent on various projects at Stamen. Earlier this year, I wrote a small Protovis-based browser app that makes this time visible so we can act on it. It looks like this:"
motivation  visualization  michalmigurski  2011  timetrackers  timetracking  stamen  projectmanagement  productvity  progress  angrybirds 
july 2012 by robertogreco
fieldpapers.org
"Field Papers allows you to print a multipage paper atlas of anywhere in the world and take it outside, offline, in the field. You can scribble on it, draw things, make notes.

When you upload a snapshot of your print to Field Papers, we'll do some magic on the server to put it back in the right spot on the map. You can transcribe your notes into digital form and share the result with your friends or download the notes for later analysis.

You don't need a GPS to make a map or learn complicated desktop GIS software to use Field Papers. It's as easy as print, mark, scan.

This project is a continuation of Walking Papers, which was built for the OpenStreetMap (OSM) editing community. Field Papers allows you to print multiple-page atlases using several map styles (including satellite imagery and black and white cartography to save ink) and has built in note annotation tools with GIS format downloads. Field Papers also supports user accounts so you can save “your stuff” for later, or use the service anonymously. Maps from the two systems work together if you want OSM editing (see below)."

[Updated 10 July 2013: http://content.stamen.com/fieldpapers-v2 ]
mapping  annotation  fieldpapers  cartography  maps  stamen  stamendesign  michalmigurski  walkingpapers  2012  osm  openstreetmap  via:litherland  gis 
june 2012 by robertogreco
bandwidth (tecznotes)
"Twitter allows you send 140 characters in a tweet, which (when you add entities, hashtags, and all that) ends up in the 4KB range as represented in the JSON API. 140 is what you see, so I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that a single tweet page on Twitter has about a 15,000-to-one ratio of garbage to content.

I get links to tweets by mail, etc. on a regular basis, and the aggressive anti-performance and apparent contempt for the web by Twitter’s designers is probably the thing that gets me most irrationally riled-up on a daily basis. How does this pass design review? Who looks at a page this massive, this typically broken and says “go with it”?

It’s mind-boggling to me that with the high overlap between web developers/designers and iPhone users on AT&T;’s network, there isn’t more and smarter attention paid to the sizes of the things we’re slinging around the network. The worst sins of the Flash years are coming back with a vengeance, in the form of CSS Frameworks…"
cruft  content  michalmigurski  2012  speed  coding  design  webdev  twitter  webdesign 
march 2012 by robertogreco
Sanborn Atlas
"Thanks to the combined efforts of the San Francisco History Center and the David Rumsey Map Collection, this historic glimpse of San Francisco in the years leading up to the devastating 1906 earthquake is now available in full color. Created for fire insurance purposes, it includes precise detail on every building in city limits, including its use and construction. Did you know there was a skating rink on Mission across from The Sycamore? Or that City Hall used to be across the street from its current block?

John at Burrito Justice says: “At some point I will make a mapesque clickable HTML grid … Imagine an iPhone app where you could stand on a corner and pull up the Sanborn map to see what was there. You turn around, and the map rotates with you. Awesome, no?” The first step to creating a map of every atlas page is getting them roughly matched up to the current geography, and we’d like your help. Can you spend a few minutes aligning pages of the atlas with a map from today?"
maps  mapping  sanfrancisco  history  sanbornmaps  michalmigurski  johnoram  burritojustice 
august 2011 by robertogreco
help make pre-quake san francisco seeable (tecznotes)
"Take five minutes, and help place a few of these historic Sanborn maps of pre-earthquake San Francisco in their modern locations."
sanfrancisco  maps  mapping  history  overlay  michalmigurski  sanbornmaps  1905  sanborninstitute 
july 2011 by robertogreco
scar tissue (tecznotes)
"This is a piece of San Francisco healing around now-gone railroad tracks:"
architecture  history  cities  sanfrancisco  scars  cityscars  rail  scartissue  repurposing  landuse  2006  michalmigurski 
july 2011 by robertogreco
Geographically densest Wikipedia coverage
"Wikipedia articles can be tagged with latitude/longitude coordinates. I was recently curious to know: which areas have the most coverage? It's important not to read too much into the answer, because the density of coordinates is due to a mixture of: how active different Wikipedia language projects are, how active at geo-tagging they are, which regions have had lots of short articles mechanically imported (e.g. on small towns, or metro stations), and finally, the actual landmark density (e.g. dense urban cores versus sprawling suburbs). But nonetheless it might be interesting to know.

So, here are the most densely Wikipedia-article-populated parts of the world, at several scales."
history  cities  maps  mapping  visualization  density  wikipedia  openstreetmap  osm  2011  michalmigurski 
may 2011 by robertogreco
electronic computation is invisible: maeda at RISD (tecznotes) {best to read the whole thing, and also the Natalia Ilyin post]
"…post about Maeda’s difficulties at RISD is interesting, but I was particularly struck by broader resonance of this:

"The Medialab is much more random than that. This may help to illuminate why John’s approach is so alien to traditional art students. Paul Rand seems to think it’s John’s engineering background which interferes with his leadership ability at RISD, but I think it’s actually scarier. John’s approach is hands off & experimental. Anything goes. Confusing & startling people is valorized…

…NONE of these artists have managed to broach the basic limitation that electronic computation is invisible. All techno artwork thus far relies on impenetrable microchips which require observer/participants to form abstractions in order to appreciate them. Look how hard it is to teach art students to program…

…once you go back in time & look at a Maeda or PLW project & realize you can’t run their code anymore, the collapsing of reality can be devastating."
johnmaeda  michalmigurski  risd  2011  handsoff  leadership  management  disconnect  medialab  mit  engineering  confusion  experimentation  paulrand  computers  computation  art  electroniccomputation  invisibility  reality  collapsingofreality  administration  learning  change  abstraction  inpenetrability  technology  mitmedialab 
april 2011 by robertogreco
Safety Maps: A Do Project
"Have you ever thought about how you’d stay in touch with your loved ones if your city experienced a natural disaster or other emergency?
Safety Maps is a free online tool that helps you plan for this situation. You can use it to choose a safe meeting place, print a customized map that specifies where it is, and share this map with your loved ones.
You can choose to print Safety Maps in wallet, desk or refrigerator sizes. The graphic at left explains how to make a Safety Map, but really, the best way to understand how it works is simply to get started making one of your own."
maps  mapping  emergencies  safety  safetymaps  nurrikim  doprojects  michalmigurski 
march 2011 by robertogreco
This Tract
"This Tract is a view into U.S. 2000 Census data for every tract, built in anticipation of the forthcoming 2010 Census data release. It uses your web browser’s built-in geolocation feature to give you a view of the demographics of your local area, or you can search by address or location."
census  stamen  mapping  maps  data  local  geo  us  2000  2010  visualization  michalmigurski  stamendesign 
october 2010 by robertogreco
presenting tilestache (tecznotes)
"Really what we're looking at is a future filled with work like Brett Camper's amazing 8-Bit Cities, "an attempt to make the city feel foreign yet familiar ... to evoke the same urge for exploration, abstract sense of scale, and perhaps most importantly unbounded excitement." What are the tools that help make this possible? Get TileStache."
cartography  mapping  maps  tilestache  stamen  python  geo  visualization  local  tiles  michalmigurski 
august 2010 by robertogreco
census-tools (tecznotes)
"this small amount of information can be quite hard to get to. Between the impenetrable formatting of the geographic record files, the bewildering array of different kinds of geographic entities, and the depth of geographic minutiae, it can take quite a bit of head-scratching to extract even the first bits of information from the U.S. Census.

I hope this first tool makes it a little bit less of a hassle. I'd accept whatever patches people choose to offer: support for summary files beyond SF1, additional geograph summary levels, general patches, and more."
census  api  data  python  michalmigurski  us  2000  2010 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Nick Sweeney · things to make and do
"When I look at the iPad, I see something my dad could use without hand-holding to find the history of that banjo, to seek out those screws, to look at old video of Sonny Terry, to feed his glorious practical creativity, unencumbered by the need to learn the habits and quirks of computing, and not relying upon a transatlantic support department.
michalmigurski  nicksweeny  ipad  making  open  creativity  freedom  technology  wii  computers  2010 
april 2010 by robertogreco
user research friday (tecznotes)
"Flickr's ability to successfully respond with this kind of deft flexibility to a crisis is a result of a caring, trusting relationship between site & users. This relationship seems to extend to all areas of the site...

The negative way of phrasing my argument is that it's hard to test everything, and doubly hard to test new things. Some stuff you just have to push out into the world and see what happens.

The positive way of phrasing my argument is that for the astonishing and the novel, you're better off pushing your ideas into the real world early, and testing with the reactions of real people who aren't self-consciously test subjects. Start small, listen carefully to your users, and grow in the direction where they want to take you. Give yourself room to fail, and understand that the trust of your fellow travelers is an important part of the equation.

The doubly-positive way of phrasing my argument is Just Effing Do It."
community  flickr  innovation  stamen  tcsnmy  usertesting  userresearch  research  small  testing  michalmigurski  twitter  walkingpapers  maps  mapping  trust  lcproject  care  do  doing  iteration  honesty  aaronstraupcope 
february 2010 by robertogreco
the hose drawer (tecznotes)
"The pattern we see here is to keep crises small and frequent, as Ed Catmull of Pixar says in an excellent recent talk. When describing the difficulty Pixar's artists had with reviews ("it's not ready for you to look at"), he realized that the only way to break through resistance to reviews was to increase the frequency until no one could reasonably expect to be finished in time for theirs. The point was to gauge work in motion, not work at rest. "So often that you won't even notice it," said Elwood Blues."
michalmigurski  design  twitter  flow  progress  datamining  measurement  data  iteration  learning  improvement  sharing  glvo  criticism  reviews  stamen  process  work  unproduct 
february 2010 by robertogreco
sky movies (tecznotes)
"What ties these together is the visible relative motion of the stars. The earthbound video shows the entire dome of the sky turning slowly, while the airplane video shows the stars eerily standing still as the landscape moves below them." ... "if there's a broad class of subjective experience I find most addictive, it's the perspective shift connected to a sudden adjustment in point of view"
video  perspective  timelapse  stars  sky  motion  michalmigurski 
january 2010 by robertogreco
here comes 2010 (tecznotes)
"I read fewer non-fiction books and more non-fiction long-form online writings, the kind of stuff that fits into Instapaper. I'm not unhappy with this change in my intake, but I do like to be a little more demonstrative with the things I'm interested in, so I'm unhappy the change in my output. If there was a way to make the Kindle pump the clippings file back out on some schedule, that would be good. Having to plug it into a computer does not cut it. ... I decided early this year that it was important and healthy to be more of a fan, so I've made a special effort to point out things that are awesome and worthy of attention. Early in the year, that meant moving pictures of the sky. More recently, that meant moving pictures of hands and drawings. Along the way, that's meant everyone I know who is doing awesome shit, with all the design and technology and music and video work that my friends have produced. Awesome awesome awesome."
kindle  instapaper  iphone  reading  books  michalmigurski  2009  astronomy  stars  beauty  interested  beingafan  attention  interestedness 
january 2010 by robertogreco
break (tecznotes)
"It's my inputs that are busy, not my outputs."
cv  michalmigurski  input  output 
december 2009 by robertogreco
Tile Drawer
"Tile Drawer makes designing and hosting custom maps simple and straightforward. The project lets anyone run their own OpenStreetMap server in the cloud with one-step configuration and zero administration. Tile Drawer is a product of Stamen Design’s Michal Migurski.

[intro here: http://mike.teczno.com/notes/tile-drawer.html ]
maps  mapping  drawing  cartography  gis  osm  openstreetmap  michalmigurski  utility  stamen 
august 2009 by robertogreco
geological training wheels (tecznotes)
"You can see a 50,000 year gap between settlements on either side of the 8 mile wide Strait of Gibraltar. There's no such gap between England and the continent, those places started out settled together, and remained so even after the Holocene split. The now-submerged floor of the North Sea was like a set of prehistoric training wheels, helping to mark the path to Britain as a possibility and encouraging the upkeep of technology to keep it so. The always-divided Strait of Gibraltar did no such thing. Knowing that something is possible makes it seem sane to work to attain it."
michalmigurski  technology  possibility  history  geology  earth  maps  mapping  humans 
august 2009 by robertogreco
people clouds (tecznotes)
"I've only been conscientiously tagging my links for a few months, but already I'm starting to get a clear picture of the kinds of material I get from my friends. I love the idea that a nice stick-and-rock diagram can be made to sum up the specific expertise of people I know, and the topics I look for from each of them. ... Do you tag your links like this? Does it help you develop a sense for those in your circle who are go-to people for certain topics? Does it help you get through your daily reading to know what certain people are best at? Don't you wish that Delicious would let you check your own name for the hive-mind consensus about what you're good for? "
michalmigurski  tagging  tags  del.icio.us  diagrams  clustering  hivemind 
june 2009 by robertogreco
Walking Papers [more here: http://mike.teczno.com/notes/walking-papers-lives.html]
"Print maps, draw on them, scan them back in and help OpenStreetMap improve its coverage of local points of interests and street detail. Make A Print: OpenStreetMap is a wiki-style map of the world that anyone can edit. In some places, participants are creating the first freely-available maps by GPS survey. In other places, such as the United States, basic roads exist, but lack local detail: locations of traffic signals, ATMs, cafés, schools, parks, and shops. What such partially-mapped places need is not more GPS traces, but additional knowledge about what exists on and around the street. Paper Walking is made to help you easily create printed maps, mark them with things you know, and then share that knowledge with OpenStreetMap."
openstreetmap  papernet  stamendesign  walking  maps  mapping  crowdsourcing  paper  neocartography  cartography  michalmigurski  osm 
june 2009 by robertogreco
slippy faumaxion, take two (tecznotes)
"Instead of continuously re-orienting itself to face North for whatever point happens to be in the center of the map during a click-and-drag, a tiny compass rose shows which way the map will rotate itself once the mouse is released."
buckminsterfuller  maps  mapping  projections  interactive  michalmigurski  slippymaps 
march 2008 by robertogreco
Faumaxion Slippy Map
""faumaxion" world map, a slightly modified version of Buckminster Fuller's famous Dymaxion World Map." more here: http://mike.teczno.com/notes/slippy-faumaxion.html
buckminsterfuller  maps  mapping  projections  interactive  michalmigurski  slippymaps 
february 2008 by robertogreco
Generator.x » John Maeda kills his darlings
"For Maeda to place himself at the head of this column is pompous windbaggery at its finest. Maeda’s thoughts on simplicity read like the rantings of an old man waving his symbolic cane at the kids today"
johnmaeda  michalmigurski  history  visualization  graphics  computing  simplicity 
november 2007 by robertogreco

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