5CT April 2015

I f you could record your actual writing process, would you? A cool new app helps you manage and keep track of your expenses and receipts. Hayden Pedigo hails from Amarillo, Texas, and he plays like a dream. A great piece of science writing spills a big story. There’s only one man in the world who can make native advertising funny. Happy birthday to 5CT fan PB, sadly not long for Seattle. “To do the useful thing, to say the courageous thing, to contemplate the beautiful thing: that is enough for one man’s life.” ― T.S. Eliot

By Wyatt McSpadden

By Wyatt McSpadden

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Draftback – Watch Me Write This

This story comes courtesy of writer Daphne Gray Grant, my pal in Vancouver, B.C. Imagine a playback machine that would actually show you – in a real time sort of way – how you write. All the stops and starts. The swapping out this one word for that another one.The murder of your darlings. Well, it exists. It’s called Draftback and it’s a Chrome extension. Watch Me Write This is a cool story all about it and you can find it over at Nate Silver’s new house.

From Chadwick Matlin at fivethirtyeight.com:

In November, Somers, a developer for Genius, released an app called Draftback.1 It’s a fascinating experiment that treats writing like data. After years of trying to build a program, Somers realized that Google Docs was already saving every keystroke we enter. So he hacked Google Docs to play documents back to their authors, materializing on the screen with every stutter-step inherent to the writing process.

In its latest form, Draftback is a Google Chrome extension that can reach deep into the archives of any Google Doc you have editing rights to, make sense of all that writing and rewriting you innocuously poured into it, and beam it right back to you, backspaces and all.

The replay showed me that I build a story’s skeleton first, so I can see where all the pieces fit before I put any flesh on the bones.

Draftback is here >>

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Expense and Reimbursements with Xpenditure

Xpenditure - capture receipts on your phone.

Xpenditure – shoot your receipts

Screen Shot 2015-04-11 at 8.33.40 AMXpenditure is a new tool we’ve started using here at 5CT corporate. The early verdict? Winner. Very robust. All the typical expenses you’re familiar with are here. Just take a photo of your receipt (from the phone’s camera or the app) and upload. It actually ‘reads’ the receipt and enters it into your system. Here’s what they say at Xpenditure’s website:

Xpenditure and Dropbox for Business

Filing expense reports is a time consuming job, but with Xpenditure’s “Receipt to Accounting” approach, expense reporting and expense management is easier than ever before.

When you connect Dropbox for Business to your Xpenditure account, new folders are created.

Use the Xpenditure inbox to add receipts or invoices and Xpenditure will check the folder for new files, read out the data and create an expense in your account.

When you create an expense report, a copy of it will be saved in your Dropbox account as well. Now it’s ready to send to your accountant or supervisor.

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Hayden Pedigo

Hayden Pedigo, courtesy of Hayden Pedigo

Hayden Pedigo, courtesy of Hayden Pedigo

Hear 20-Year-Old Guitarist Hayden Pedigo’s New Take on an Old Fingerpicking Style, by Alex Frank in Vogue

The 20-year-old guitarist Hayden Pedigo trades in a style of guitar-picking called “American Primitive.” It was developed back in the 1950s by the guitarist John Fahey, who took the fingerpicking of traditional and country and blues into experimental new places. And as Pedigo has said since his very first interview, he wouldn’t be doing justice to his heroes if he didn’t try to push the genre forward. “It is an easy style to get trapped in if you aren’t careful,” Pedigo told Vogue.com in an email. “I don’t think John Fahey would want a bunch of young guys playing music exactly like him.” On a new album, Five Steps, Pedigo mixes his own unique playing style with disconcerting ambient tracks, creating a sound that comes off as entirely original. “I think the genre of American Primitive was more about breaking rules and moving forward than staying traditional in a certain spot.”

Check out the full Vogue piece here >>

Listen to Stray, from his latest album, Five Steps.


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Uprising :: Science Writing & the Environment

copy goes here

Published in Medium

The Environmental Scandal That’s Happening Right Beneath Your Feet

You might think natural gas is a better answer than coal. This award-winning piece raises some big questions.

From Medium:

Boucher told him to look up instead: “You look for dead trees, dead grass and dead shrubs.” It seemed too crude, but a moment later Boucher swerved to the curb. A Norway maple stood in a patch of dead grass by the side of the road. The tree was also dying, its top branches barren twigs. The air held the foul odour of rotten eggs —mercaptan, a chemical added to natural gas to make it easier to detect leaks. Boucher poked around the roots with a steel bar and pushed the snout of a gas meter into the earth around the tree. The needle jumped: well over 20 per cent of the air in the soil was natural gas. The figure should have been less than one per cent.

Read Uprising here >>

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John Oliver Takes on Church and State

Who else could take on native advertising? Native advertising. And just in case you’re wondering. It’s the sponsored content you see on websites everywhere. The Atlantic Magazine has received some unwelcome attention for its native advertising program. Native advertising was created to solve the problem of not a single human being ever having clicked on a banner ad at the top of web pages. Watch. It’s a revelation.


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