One common challenge to many modern workers is integrating digital workflows with good, old-fashioned piles of paper. For people like us, I think Brooks Duncan’s newsletter, ‘Paper Cuts’, is a fantastic resource that (quite literally) helps cut through the clutter and keep you appraised of the latest developments in digital paper management.

Brooks is a warm, engaging writer and his DocumentSnap blog offers timely, tightly-focused information about “paperless office” concepts. ‘Paper Cuts’ collects these on a bi-weekly basis and includes additional tips, along with some exclusive eBook content for subscribing.

I highly encourage you to check it out!

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I’m such a huge fan of tutorials which take the time to explain why to do something a certain way, not just how. Today’s shining example: ‘Building OS X Apps with JavaScript’ by the talented, Brooklyn-based designer/developer Tyler Gaw.

Tackling a subject which I’ve been giving a lot of thought to recently as I plan future scripting projects, Tyler documents some of OS X’s new JavaScript automation possibilities with this very thoughtful primer. Not only has he created an additional page of app examples to flesh things out further, but he invokes a screenshot of Prince to illustrate his work – an act which alone merits an additional 94.9003 bonus points on the Veritrope Scale of Excellence™.

Highly recommended.

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There is often a complicated interplay between human language and the global spread of technology.

If you live in a place where the dominant languages are globally popular (or where less common languages are spoken by affluent communities), there is probably a wealth of “cultural capital” laying around which can help encourage a rapid adoption of new technologies: Things like keyboards being available in your language, pre-existing words for technology concepts, and educational materials and tools which use those words to teach new learners the basics.

So how would you teach people to use a computer in a country that, for example, lacks a word to describe a crashed program? The Economist takes a look at the Mozilla Foundation’s challenges of creating a new technology vocabulary for minority languages which lack them. Quite often, a new language which serves as a path to modernity is crafted out of words used in traditional trades like livestock, farming, and fishing:

Ibrahima Sarr, a Senegalese coder, led the translation of Firefox into Fulah, which is spoken by 20m people from Senegal to Nigeria. “Crash” became hookii (a cow falling over but not dying); “timeout” became a honaama (your fish has got away). “Aspect ratio” became jeendondiral, a rebuke from elders when a fishing net is wrongly woven. In Malawi’s Chichewa language, which has 10m speakers, “cached pages” became mfutso wa tsamba, or bits of leftover food. The windowless houses of the 440,000 speakers of Zapotec, a family of indigenous languages in Mexico, meant that computer “windows” became “eyes”.

I think this is a fascinating and underserved area of development and, if you’d like to support the Mozilla Foundation’s efforts, this page lays out dozens of ways that you can aid their work.

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