Instacane

The night before Hurricane Irene would hit NYC in August 2011, Peter Ng and I walked down Eighth Avenue after work in the New York Times R&D Lab, discussing how we expected loads of people to be sharing their preparations and experience of the storm through photos posted to Instagram. So we decided to spend that night hacking together a simple website that captured these images as they were posted and display them in a simple, grid-based layout.

After it went live the next morning, news of the site spread rapidly through Twitter. Many people valued the authentic way in which Instacane brought a unique, authentic angle to the coverage of the storm, in contrast to the produced and hyped up ways in which mainstream media outlets covered the story. Some news sites covered the unique approach, such as NBC NewsVentureBeat, and even Instagram's own blog.

So when Hurricane Sandy was bearing down on the U.S. East Coast in October 2012, we had a bunch of folks reach out asking if we'd turn the site back on. We fired things back up as the storm approached and once again, the site became a popular source for people seeking on-the-ground accounts of the storm's impact. This time around, CBS News, The New York Times, The Huffington Post, and TechCrunch covered the site, which was also named by PBS Mediashift as the Most Innovative Digital Coverage of Superstorm Sandy. 

 

Boarding Cards

Since 2000, I've been saving the boarding card for each flight that I take. Even as airlines have introduced options to print-at-home or scan your mobile phone, I still religiously print mine out at the airport before each flight in order to save this memento from each trip.

I've lost some of them along the way, but over the years I've amassed a huge pile of boarding cards which have been tucked away in a box, stuffed in a closet of a spare room of my house.  Every once in a while, I'll find myself shuffling through them, reflecting back on the different journeys I've taken.

In order to better organize and preserve these memories, I've digitally archived all of the boarding cards and hacked together a simple website to serve as a living representation of the collection as I continue to add to it.  By capturing the details of each flight, I'm now able to better visualize the collection in new ways, such as on an interactive map or through leaderboards.