The Recommender: Gabe Stein, The Nerd In The Back With The PalmPilot

The three best things Co.Labs’s News Hacker and Technical Editor found on the Internet this week.

The Recommender: Gabe Stein, The Nerd In The Back With The PalmPilot

Name: Gabe Stein
Role at Fast Company: News Hacker and Co.Labs Contributor
Twitter: @gabestein
Titillating fact: Gabe was an early adopter of using the Internet to not pay attention to teachers. “In high school, I was the nerd who used a PalmPilot and foldout keyboard to ‘take notes,'” Gabe says. “This was before schools had Wi-Fi and the iPhone made teachers hypersensitive to connected devices, so I was able to get away with connecting it to my feature phone via Bluetooth and using free dial-up services to connect to the web.”


Things he’s loving:

1. Cargo Cult Analytics
As a media nerd working at a big publication, this post on publishers misusing metrics by newsroom developer Stijn Debrouwere resonated with me. Publishers put a lot of time and effort into collecting and making decisions based on data, but more often than not, the numbers actually mean very little, and the decisions made based on them are empty. Debrouwere’s missive on designing testable experiments to make real use of data is something everybody in any kind of online content business should read.

2. Andy Baio’s Collection of 1,200 computer interfaces from movies
A few weeks ago, developer and early Kickstarter-er Andy Baio tweeted a link to a directory containing 1,200 screenshots of movie computer interfaces that he’s collected over the years. The collection features some amazing (and some hilariously bad) visions of future computer interfaces from designers of the last 50 years. But the story doesn’t end there: Within days, a few fans of the collection created web apps to more easily view the collection, including the one I linked to above. It’s the perfect mashup of geek obsession and the open-source mentality.

3. The CIA admitting its involvement in the 1953 Iran coup
I studied International Relations as an undergrad, where I learned that one of the recurring themes of 19th and 20th century diplomatic history is the U.S. intervening in a foreign country’s affairs and regretting it later, a prescient lesson given the current debate about whether to bomb Syria. One of the most infamous but little-known (in the U.S.) interventions was the U.S.- and British-led 1953 coup in Iran. Together, the CIA and British intelligence ousted the immensely popular, democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh, who had the gall to demand that his government split oil profits with the company that became BP, which at the time controlled Iran’s oil fields. Ousting Mossadegh, who was something like an Iranian Abraham Lincoln, instilled in Iranians a deep-seated mistrust in the West that eventually led to the overthrow of the U.S.-backed Shah in 1979 and that still fuels today’s tense U.S.-Irani relationship. Acknowledging the CIA’s involvement in the coup is an important first step in eventually rebuilding a constructive relationship with Iran, which could be an important one to cultivate in the next few decades given the recent turmoil in the region.

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About the author

Jessica Hullinger is a London-based journalist who covers science, health, and innovation. She currently serves as a Senior Editor at