Like with everything that humans have created in the last 200 years, the proliferation of cheap electronics is threatening our planet. When a device becomes obsolete most people just chuck it in the trash (even though a lot of municipalities have designated places to drop off your old devices for recycling). This has some significant and global consequences that we as technologists ought to be more vigilant about avoiding.

What is E-Waste?

Any electrical or electronic device that is discarded can be considered e-waste. Every year we globally generate about 50 million tons of it. These devices range from mobile phones and computers…


I grew up adjacent to software engineering, but never really full immersed in it. I learned HTML and CSS in middle school, I learned how to use the command line in highschool, and I thought myself how to program microcontrollers in college. I would call myself software savvy, but certainly no expert. That’s why I’m having such a hard time learning data structures. Being a self-taught programmer for most of my life, I had no foundational education in some of the more abstract parts of coding, particularly things like trees. …


This past week I participated in my first ever hackathon. I had known that hackathons were a thing, and I had been encouraged to sign up for one. I don’t even know where I got the link from, but I figured ‘why not?’. I participated in Essteem’s Equalithon which specifically supports non-profit organizations.

the beforetimes, when mass gatherings weren’t filled with existential horror

Before I get into what I’ve actually been up to this week, let’s look at a bit of history….

What is a Hackathon?

The word itself is pretty easy to break down: a portmanteau of “Hack” and “Marathon”. The general idea of a hackathon is a software engineering competition where the…


I’m set to graduate from the Flatiron School Software Engineering program at the end of the week. My journey started back in August 2020 when I first started learning the very basics of Ruby. Seven months later and it’s pretty unbelievable what I can build with just my computer and some know-how. Programming has not come easy, the learning curve is pretty steep, especially at the beginning. Once I got the hang of the process of programming I started being able to see the parallels to the work I did pre-pandemic.

For the last 16 years I’ve held a variety…


In the early history of the computer industry, computers didn’t really do all that much outside of computations. The name “computer” is actually appropriated from the name of a profession that the devices would eventually replace. Before the 20th century, computers were people (mostly women) who sat at desks with paper and pen, and just crunched numbers all day/night/week/month/year/life. As somebody who struggled with math in primary school, that sounds like a hell nested within a nightmare.

The Harvard Computers was a team of women working as skilled workers to process astronomical data at the Harvard Observatory

Tabulating and calculating machines were tailor-made to doing these repetitive and mentally taxing tasks, and for 50 years that was all anybody could…


I’ve heard many times in my life that the computers used to run the Lunar Module during the Apollo missions only had the computing power equivalent to today’s calculators. It’s always been a universal way to measure how far we’ve progressed in computing in such a short amount of time. There’s all kinds of photographs of hand soldered circuit boards, and scientists braiding together cables by hand to link them together. Makes you wonder what kind of software they’re working with nowadays. It’s only recently occurred to me that they probably have some very specific requirements.

Over on the NASA…


In 1900, the International Time Recording Company was established in New York. They had improved on a device that was developed about a decade earlier called the timeclock. It was a device made to record the start and end times for hourly employees. We have been watching the clock ever since.

ITRC’s device was called the Time Recorder, and when an employee slipped a preformatted piece of cardboard into the machine, it would punch a hole through it that indicated the exact moment the punch had taken place. …

Aaron Amodt

I take things apart, and then I put them back together again

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