[HSP #98]

Ok, Straws, Project Breakdown Systems, Newsletters, and Teleprompters

Happy Shiny People!

An explanation is in order.

I’ve had most of this email drafted for months- but for whatever reason I couldn’t bring myself to press the send button. Maybe it’s the knowledge of the (inevitable) unsubscribes that’ll happen when I do. Maybe it’s being burned out a bit, or spread too thin across my projects. Maybe it’s the existential dread that seems to have come with much of the last two years. Maybe it’s a lack of confidence that I can still find the good stuff and explain to you exactly how and why it’s good. I dunno. But today I woke up determined to send this (the 98th edition!) of this mailing. I don’t want to promise about where things will go from here- tomorrow I may wake up and want nothing more to ever do with this. Or it’ll be time to start drafting #99. But in the meantime, enjoy some lovely nuggets I’ve found you.




Holy smokes, I had no idea. I love the elasticity of language- we modify and twist it to suit our needs of the moment, and some things stick (and others don’t). The history of Ok is fascinating, and I always take stuff like this as a reminder that the “pesky slang” of kids is (inevitably) the language of our future. So pay attention.



This one comes via my mom. Straws have been in the news a lot recently, and it’s timely that 99% Invisible has an episode out on the subject. It’s exactly as good as you’d expect from the crew over there- you are subscribed, right? It’s also worth reading the copy on the episode page- there’s some excellent turns of phrase and deeper thinking on the American Condition with straws as a symbol. And while I’m not sure your students will care about the history of straws (who knows, though?), I’m always on the lookout for excellent examples. In this case, it’s a twofer, as you get a well done audio presentation, and a lovely bit of writing, too.

Project Breakdown System


I’ve worked on some pretty big projects in my life- designing textbooks coming to mind first (though other projects, like multi-hour multi-maker videos come to mind…), and when there’s a lot of parts/people/processes going on, having a way to keep track of all of it really can make a difference. Sometimes that difference is the project getting done (or not!), and sometimes that difference is your sanity during the process. This system is being made public and open for anyone to use- there’s links in the description of the video. If you’re heading into something large, and you’re looking for a way to manage it all, this might help.



If you’re looking to start writing your own newsletter (and we can talk later about how newsletters are better than Blogs in a lot of ways…), this is a tool that might help you get started. When I started this newsletter, I used TinyLetter- but it’s future is still in doubt (which caused me to migrate away to Substack), and so a simple tool like this could be the thing that gets you moving. Who knows?



This is a no-frills browser based teleprompter. You enter some text, and as you read it, it moves the text along. Unlike a lot of similar tools, it doesn’t move the text at a fixed rate- it actually listens and moves things along as you speak. That’s pretty cool, given that for online video the specifications about words per minute spoken (for educational purposes, mind you) are pretty high. Might be useful for yourself of students when they’re reading to camera.