I write here about public health and technology.

If you're looking for somewhere to start, I've written series of posts on teaching statistics & scientific computing, data visualization, building websites and blogs, and email.

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Otherwise, here are all my posts from newest to oldest:

Really, It Doesn't Matter What Todo System You Use 

Notes from “You Suck at Excel” with Joel Spolsky

Tips and best practices from an Excel expert's YouTube video. I learned a ton from this.

Paperpile + Google Docs: Better Than "Traditional" Citation Managers

I've switched to using a Google Docs plugin called Paperpile for inserting citations and building a references list when I write academic papers.

Scientific Python Tips 

I’ve been keeping a list of how to do basic data analysis tasks in Python as I learn SciPy.

Why It's Worth Using a Real Text Editor for Data Analysis

Many people use their stats package's built-in editor, but I think it's worth it to use Sublime Text.

FastMail Adds Push Support for iOS (And How It Works)

Spoiler on how it works: It's some secret sauce that talks with Apple's push server.

Thoughts on Safari Content Blocking and the hosts File

iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan add content blocking to Safari, which will provide a safe way to block ads. You can achieve a similar effect system-wide on your Mac by editing the hosts file.

Presenting from PDFs

Why I present from PDFs rather than using Keynote/PowerPoint, and a recommendation for Side Mirror for Mac.

Resources for Learning to Program

I've collected a bunch of links to resources for learning to program, including a number geared towards children.

Guidelines for Sharing Data in Spreadsheets 

A great list of best practices for sharing data in spreadsheets.

Reproducible Research Links

A collection of some interesting links related to reproducible research and open science.

Thoughts on Reference Management Software

I tried out a bunch of reference management applications so you don't have to.

💖 OS X and Keyboard Shortcuts 💖

One of the many reasons I love OS X.

American Belief in the Effectiveness of Vaccines 

Spoiler: it's way too low.

Walking at Lunch 

Science says: take a walk at lunchtime.

The Cognitive Costs of Multitasking 

Data Visualization: Alcohol Consumption by Country

The Economist produced a great graphic showing alcohol consumption by country.

Beginner's Webhosting Guide Updated 

I've updated my webhosting guide for beginners, which was getting a little long in the tooth.

To CC or Not to CC 

A possible solution to the conundrum of CCing too few or too many people on emails.

Organizing a data analysis project

Best practices and a template for organizing a data analysis project.

Ending statistics software monoculture

Graduate programs should teach SAS/Stata/SPSS side-by-side with an open-source statistics software like R or IPython.

A scientist's take on Facebook's psychology experiment


My backup strategy.

Rob Norris on the Gmail API 

"I hate stacked area charts" 

Dr. Drang on why stacked area charts are potentially misleading

Duke Lacrosse wins the 2014 NCAA championship!

Apple Support Profile memory lane

Interpreting regression coefficients

A straight-forward, systematic way to interpret coefficients in linear regression equations.

Fraud, ads, and Facebook's business model 

Problems on Facebook's ad platform related to purchasing "likes" is a symptom of a fundamental flaw in monetizing social media content.

The downsides of Bitcoin 

An interesting take on the downsides of Bitcoin.

Download a copy of your Gmail messages 

Google introduces a feature to download all messages in Gmail in the mbox format.

"Why I've all but given up on Windows" 

A Windows power user (Adrian Kingsley-Hughes) explains why he's switched to Mac/iOS/Android.

FastMail introduces mobile web interface that's "faster than native" 

T-Mobile rocks 

FastMail comments on (not) needing to comply with National Security Letters 

Using SIP to replace my landline phone with Plivo 

Switching from Gmail to FastMail

Here's how I moved 50,000+ messages from Gmail to FastMail, set up a keyboard-friendly inbox zero workflow, and didn't go crazy doing it.

An open replacement for Skype voice

How I replaced Skype voice calling with a system based on the SIP open standard. I include detailed instructions for setting up a SIP endpoint with Plivo.

Bulletproof your blog: a guide for surviving traffic spikes

Make your blog survive traffic spikes already!

Comcast crapware

Comcast (xfinity) tries to force you to install crapware when you set up your internet.

What Blackboard discussions could be

The recently-released Branch is an example of what Blackboard discussions could (and should) be.

Are developer job boards a waste of money?

Are ads on develpoer job boards a waste of money? These are the stats from my own experience with the 37Signals and Authentic job boards.

Keeping your email secure from hackers

Tips for securing your email account from hackers and recovering your account if it is hacked.

Wolfram Alpha and probability distributions

You can use Wolfram Alpha to visualize probability distributions and serve as a digital critical values table.

The future of farming?

Is aquaponics the future of farming?

Solution to iOS 6 map woes

Apple should start a bounty program to fix problems with iOS 6 maps.

Bling for your Terminal: zsh with my fancy Fino theme

How to set up the zsh shell with oh-my-zsh and my custom theme.

Now Twitter is just a social network

Like many others, I'm dismayed by Twitter's new API rules. Marco Arment wrote a good explanation of how these rules impact 3rd party services that rely on the Twitter API. But more generally, these changes mark Twitter's transition from a social platform into just a social network.

Combine: get paid faster with Stripe + Heroku

A quick, open source app for accepting credit card payments for invoices online. You can easily run it on Heroku for free (or your own Rails-capable server).

Quote: essential vs. urgent

From Henri Nouwen: "If I were to let my life be taken over by what is urgent, I might very well never get around to what is essential."

Woodward & Bernstein on Watergate, 40 years later

A quote from the recent Woodward & Bernstein article on Watergate.

Opinionated email signatures

A service like that explains how best to contact you is sorely needed, but seems too cold to use with strangers.

Managing default iPhone apps with emoji

BreakTime for Mac: automatic reminders to take regular breaks

BreakTime for Mac is an application that periodically reminds you to take breaks from the computer.

Running Prose locally

How to run the software locally for editing Jekyll sites.

Photo: Blue Angles

Photo of the Blue Angles performing over Fort McHenry in Baltimore, MD.

Beginner's guide: the three parts of web hosting

A beginner's guide to web hosting with recommendations for registrars, DNS providers, web hosts, and security.

Stop the paranoia: it doesn't matter if Google reads our email

It doesn't matter if Google reads your email.

Blogging with Jekyll + S3 + CloudFront

How to set up a blog using the static site generator Jekyll, hosting on Amazon S3, and using the Amazon CloudFront CDN.

Top software dev job boards

List of job boards where software development jobs are posted.

Ultimate webdev/power user tools for Mac (2011 edition)

Bulletproof your blog: a guide for surviving traffic spikes [old version]

The old version of my popular "bulletproof your blog" post.

New Kindle first impressions

First impressions with the Amazon Kindle 4, comparison of the Kindle versus the Kindle Touch.

Mapping U.S. obesity rates at the county level

County-by-county choropleth map (or thematic map) of obesity and median household income for the United States.

Usability & UX: forgotten in obesity web intervention?

Obesity, chronic disease, and other public health studies/interventions could be more effective if they did more rigorous usability, user experience, and design testing.

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