Who Sets the Grading Scale for Grownups?

report cardsFor the 12 – 18 years you were in school, between exam scores, GPA and class rank you knew exactly how well you were doing and how you compared to all of your classmates. There were right and wrong answers, standardized tests and published grading scales. Once you graduate, how do you measure your accomplishments? How do know whether you’re keeping pace with your peers?

In the professional world, we often talk about A, B and C players but don’t actually hand out report cards. If professional success is important to you – if work is about more than just paying the bills – there are several things you should be doing. Read More…

Miss Possible: Inspiring #STEM Play

Miss PossibleIt’s fun to see kids’ imaginations run wild. My nephew and niece never cease to amaze me when they turn a laundry basket into a pirate ship or coasters into gold coins. Just think what their amazing minds might come up with if they were inspired by anything more meaningful than princesses and pirates! Enter Miss Possible, a toy company that is working to get girls interested in STEM by introducing them to role models like Marie Curie, Ada Lovelace and Bessie Coleman. Read More…

WordPress Feed XML Parsing Error

wordpress rss feedLast week, I realized that the RSS feed for this site was broken. The dreaded “error on line 2 at column 6: XML declaration allowed only at the start of the document” error. Ugh. I doubt that anyone actually uses the feed, but just knowing that it was broken was motivation enough to try to fix it. The root cause is that something somewhere in the code is spitting out an extra blank line, so the XML feed starts on line 2 instead of line 1. The trick is trying to find that something. I found a number of posts recommending the same few fixes, but none of them worked for me. Read More…

SumAll – Social Media Dashboard

sumall analytics for everythingMost businesses¬†rely heavily on social media as a marketing and community-building platform these days. For startups, non-profits, bloggers and other small organizations, the person who manages social media often wears many other hats as well. It becomes increasingly important to have tools that allow you to keep tabs on account activity and to view trends over time. I recently came across a tool called SumAll that does just that. Read More…

IFTTT for Beginner Geeks

IFTTTI recently hosted a Code & Coffee meetup for Girl Develop It in Chicago. It was our chapter’s first Code & Coffee and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. We wanted people to be able to “geek out” for a couple of hours in a fun environment, but that can be difficult if many of the people who show up have never actually written any code before.

IFTTT was the perfect thing to get beginners excited about the magic of technology. Read More…

Overcome the Tech-Jerk Reflex

The most used and least helpful phrase in all of the tech world is “It works for me.” You hear it daily and probably use it just as often; I know I do. I didn’t realize just how infuriating it is to hear until someone recently used it on me.

Think about it. Unless the question I ask you is “Does this work for you?” your response of “it works for me” might as well be “you’re an idiot,” especially if that’s your only response. Knowing that it works for you probably doesn’t fix my problem. It’s still not working for me and now you’ve made me feel stupid too. Nobody likes to feel stupid – not your customers, not your co-workers, not your friends or family.¬† Or, maybe you’re not trying to make anyone feel stupid, you’re just showing how smart you are. I already think you’re smart, that’s why I’m coming to you for help. Read More…

The Geek Secret: Coding is Cool

learn to codeWe geeks have been keeping a secret for some time now … building websites and software is fun. We were able to keep it under wraps for a long time by making you hate your PC and the infernal blue screen of death, but alas, Apple came along and made devices fun to use and our secret was blown. So, you didn’t learn to code in college? No worries, it’s never too late to get started!

Thanks in part to companies like Dev Bootcamp, Starter League and Codecademy, the number of people who build software is growing rapidly. Here in Chicago, we’ve recently launched a local chapter of Girl Develop It, an international organization “that exists to provide affordable and accessible programs to women who want to learn software development through mentorship and hands-on instruction.” It’s all about creating a non-threating environment where people can learn, practice their skills and network. Read More…

Have You Heard About the Maker Movement?

Makers: The New Industrial RevolutionIf, like me, you’ve been caught up in the wave of social media, information architecture, analytics and content strategy over the last few years, you may have missed the fact that there’s exciting innovation happening offline in the real word as well. I just got a crash course in the Maker Movement by reading Makers: The New Industrial Revolution by Wired’s Chris Anderson. ¬†Recommended reading for everyone who’s had their head stuck in the “cloud”. Read More…

10 Tips to Increase Twitter Followers

Proven Tips to Get More Twitter FollowersSo, you’ve created a new Twitter account, now what? I’m going to assume that you’ve uploaded your profile image and come up with a good 140 character description to tell people who you are … that’s a great start! Now you’re ready to grow your follower list. Your task is a little more challenging if this Twitter account is for a business rather than for you personally. With your personal Twitter account, when you follow other people, they often follow you back. It’s not so with a business account – people are less enthusiastic about following organizations they’ve never heard of.

I’ve recently been managing the Twitter account for a newly launched non-profit and have been using these 10 tactics to grow our follower list. Read More…

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