2013 Wrap-Up, Part 2

A year’s worth of useful, excellent things from our readers and contributors

The London Symphony Orchestra’s Bolero interactive app, submitted by Sisi Wei.

Just before Christmas, we asked you to submit one thing you found helpful or wonderful or excellent this year. The gist where we made the call grew into its own comment ecosystem of awesome links, and we’ve combined those submissions with the ones you emailed and DMed. There were too many submissions to run in a single post—the first half lives here.

Things to Read, Watch & Play

festive Sisi

Sisi woke up like this.

Ravel’s Bolero.
Sisi Wei

I recently discovered Bret Victor’s book-length design treatise, “Magic Ink,” full of revelations, inspirations, and provocations.
Joe Germuska

One thing I love this year: MoMA’s Inventing Abstraction—the exhibit, the book, the site… everything about it! (h/t Tim Carmody)
Greg Linch

THIS particular episode of 99% Invisible.
Winston Hearn

festive Noah

Noah is too festive for one submission.

Ryan Pitts’ blog post from July—I loved every word of this, I think it captured the spirit of developing in the newsroom beautifully and summarized a lot of my own feelings on the subject.

- and -

Node School—I love the way these lessons are organized, it’s a great way to work your way through Node in digestible chunks. It doesn’t provide too much structure, so you actually LEARN instead of just rote intake. And most importantly it maintains a sense of joy about what you’re doing. The whole thing makes me happy. And did I mention anyone can contribute lessons? This was no small inspiration for what I was trying to do with my command-line mystery project.
Noah Veltman

Scraping for Journalists ebook by Paul Bradshaw.

Finally taught me how to do it. :)
—Chad Skelton

Things to Use

festive Alyson

Alyson double-submitted because she loves winter.

Our team moved from Skype to HipChat this year. We have one big team chatroom, plus separate chatrooms for major projects. There are hooks for GitHub (so new commits, issues and comments come up in the chat). And we have a Hubot set up to respond to key sentences with alternately useful (google hangout links, cafeteria / food truck lunch menu) and silly (gifs galore) things.
Alyson Hurt

Tiny Circuits. Arduinos the size of a coin. Yummy.
John Keefe

This was kind of a big deal: MapBox.js 1.0 with Leaflet.
Tyler Fisher

Waldo Jaquith

I’m gonna go with http://mixture.io/.
Dan Goodwin

+1 For Mixture. Absolute ace for prototyping. My take.
Flo Preynat

SVG Crowbar from NYTimes. Save an HTML document along with styles as an SVG. Amazingly handy when you want to export a visualization as an SVG.
Sajjad Anwar

Smart icons.
John Attebury

festive David

David’s magical workshop is actually magical.

Two JavaScript libraries were of great utility to me this year. imgLiquid helps resize photos to fit a container. Having written my own version of such code a few times, this one works shocking well. Waypoints is an equally useful library for scroll-based event triggers and effects.
David Eads

For me, the Beaglebone Black was key—a simple, cheap, powerful way to prototype IoT-style interactions
Noah Feehan

Dropbox. Between it and the apps that support it, got me untied from individual devices. I can switch between machines easily, and if one dies in a fire, I can pick up something else and keep working without disruption and two days spent restoring from backups.
Andrew Janke

Dan Sinker with chainsaw

Thanks, Laurian.

This framework for reusable D3 charts and this image.
Laurian Gridinoc

A good clipboard history app really freed up my brain RAM. I like Alfred, but I’m sure there are many more.

One tool that I found really useful in 2013 is OpenStreetMap’s Nominatim: it allows you to do reverse geocoding, i.e. to get lat/long coordinates based on an address (something that is surprisingly hard to do with e.g. Google Maps). I used it for a mapping project, where I had a bunch of locations and had to put them on a map.

I know you only asked for one ;) but I have to mention TopoJSON as well. It’s a great way to minimize massive geodata sets. I used it on the same mapping project (different dataset though), and was thrilled to find it’s really easy to minimize a 50MB geoJSON file down to 50KB, which makes it usable for a web map.
Bruno De Bondt

So for me, the thing that I loved the MOST and actually has some interesting potential as a low-cost, mobile-friendly networked sensor platform journalism is the Spark Core. It came out to Kickstarter supporters to juuuust under the wire, so it feels like a little bit of a cheat in 2013, the goal definitely thing that I’m MOST geeked about.
Dan Sinker

Just starting to learn how Knockout can integrate with SharePoint but seems to be very powerful. Looking forward to mastering in 2014.
Pat Ulrich

OneNote—best tool ever—greater than Evernote!
Dave Jackson

I would like to nominate openwatch platform/app. What they do is amazing, and getting better everyday!
Onur Umut Aladinler

It’s far from new, but learning Make was huge for me. Mike Bostock’s post earlier this year on how and why to use Make changed how I do every project.
Casey Thomas

Chrome’s extension OneTab . Gives a respectful way out from having a bajillion tabs open.
Joe Murphy

For me, 2013 Was the Year That IPython + pandas + matplotlib Became an essential toolkit for exploratory data analysis.
Jeremy Singer-Vine

I Discovered d3js.org this year. I am still far from really getting everything (does anybody except Mike Bostock anyway?). Being able to display a map from pure geodata in the browser was my personal best time in coding this year.

Bonus Thing

Thank you, Ethan Marcotte.
Justin Heideman



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