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About twelve years ago I didn’t really understand Climate Change but I was actually looking forward to it, sort-of like a good mystery I could become enthralled with.  At the time all I knew was I wanted a different lifestyle, and I thought, maybe Climate Change might make that happen? Maybe my life will actually be better because of it?  I had this fantasy about being a self sufficient bohemian gourmet, growing my own food harvested right in my yard. Mother Earth magazine seemed so bucolic. I wanted the opposite of my cramped apartment in San Francisco. In 2008 Climate Change was just an excuse to make changes, quit a job and move.  
I moved East, close to my dad. I didn’t mention anything about Climate Change to my father, a total denier who was a meteorologist when he was in his 20s. There was no amount of practical data that would change his mind. He retired in ’93, with nothing to be stressed about so he simply didn’t care about anything but football, fishing and food.  
When I …
Recent posts

The Unsatisfying Story of Vegan Penn Jillette

Every so often my husband will mention how he’s interested in becoming vegetarian. Yesterday he was telling me about Penn Jillette, the famous comedian from Penn & Teller. He had read how Jillette is now a vegan, saying with personal interest that Jillette said “he feels so much better now.” First I was perplexed, we are both Penn & Teller fans and as performers over the years Penn Jillette struck me as an unapologetic manly man, veganism seems totally at odds with his character. I also barked at my burger loving husband, “What would you eat if you became a vegan? What do you even like that’s vegetarian?” There was no reply because my husband leaves all the food decisions up to me and I am nowhere close to being a vegetarian myself. 
I wanted to know more about this so I go online and Google ‘Penn Jillette Vegan’ and found this LA Times article
“At 6 feet, 6 inches and 330 pounds, he was hospitalized for his high blood pressure and a 90% heart blockage. Already taking six medi…

My Awesomely Surreal Experience at Facebook’s F8 c.a. 2007

It was about this time 11 years ago that Facebook opened up to the world. It was Spring in San Francisco and I was working a little stint at prosper.com. The CTO and Product Manager were a couple of well connected Stanford guys, and one day we were driving down to Palo Alto to go to Facebook’s headquarters. I didn’t really get what was going on. Although some of my other colleagues were encouraging me to check out Facebook for it’s interface and interaction design, I had never gotten on the site. I didn’t possess a dot EDU email address, I was too old for that for RISD. So there I was cruising down to Palo Alto with two guys to go meet with Dave Morin not really knowing what the heck was going on.

We breeze into Facebook’s office, greeted by Dave right away. It was a really cool office and people we met were young, and this was not the kind of start-up I was used to. Prosper's CTO had been my boss at a previous job. Facebook was effortlessly cool compared to that company my old bo…

How to Help Grandparents with Their Technology

I'm sitting here writing this on my dad's old iMac realizing I could have done a better job helping him with technology over the past few years. I feel like a bad daughter, an interaction designer ought to do a lot better for their parents. My dad was very capable, and fiercely wanted his independence, so I didn't bother him.  Still, I was already doing "tech support" for friends and strangers, and I'm realizing now that I could have saved myself a bit of work after he passed me on his gadgets. So here's my advice to people who have an older parent or friend, even if they are not a luddite!

Make yourself the Admin.
Set up their gmail, give yourself access.  Give them their password, make sure it's super easy to remember but tell them not to reuse this password for any reason anywhere.

Set up their iCloud, Amazon Prime, YouTube etc tethered to their new Gmail.  Yes, plug their credit card into these accounts, they're still independent! Give them their…

Why Can't Columbus Day Just Be A Food Holiday?

Today is Columbus Day. I never gave the day much thought really, except it's a Federal Holiday and in the past few years it's been a paid holiday I get to take. A few years ago a friend of mine posted to Facebook about Christopher Columbus, in doing so she enlightened me about what a shit the guy was.

I was in my forties by the time I figured out what a giant douchebag Christopher Columbus was. Seems like a lot of people are just figuring it out because now, all of a sudden, people are defacing statues of him. There's a lot of questioning of patriarchy in 2017. To me, I have to say, Columbus symbolized America, the inception of this place I call home, more than he symbolized patriarchy. And, let's admit that pretty much every European explorer in the 1700s was a prostitute of patriarchal colonialism. So why can't we be realists about the past? Why can't we just celebrate America and how Italians have made America great? With food?

My mother was Italian American…

Steph's Advice to Fix Uber

Dear Uber,
Here we are. You've finally canned Travis Kalanick, what took you so long? You used to be cool but that was like, four years ago. For the past couple of years it just feels like you've been coasting off of your success from the past. How much longer can that go on? I guess if I was being showered with VC gold I would be hanging onto those old victories too. But you're a tech company, you provide a service to consumers, haven't you learned anything from your neighbors at Apple and Google about delighting customers? I'm sorry but you need to try harder. Your vision needs to be much much bigger, and it needs to include people outside of the C suite or Uber won't last.

If I may give some advice to your product, UX, and marketing teams it would be this:

Build up your brand I know, I know, you think you did this already. But you didn't. I have never seen a single ad from Uber encouraging me to ride. No TV ads, no radio, no print ads, not even internet …

How to NOT Get Your Email Hacked

Never transmit STDs - Software Transmitted Diseases

I came up with this saying over 10 years ago. And today it's more relevant than ever thanks to Google Docs. Fortunately there are some simple rules I'd like to share and please feel free to pass this along.

The rule is simple - NEVER click on a link emailed to you unless you can absolutely verify it is legitimate.

Sub rule 1: If the email with link is from a business like your bank or from any online account you might have - Go directly to that website instead of clicking on the link in your email.

Sub rule 2: Tell friends, family and colleagues not to send you emails that look phishy. If they must share something over email ask them to at least write a sentence or two along with the link to show that the email is legitimate.

Sub rule 3: DO share with everyone these rules.