I live in San Francisco, and I grew up in Los Angeles. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’m @brittagus.
This blog is mostly about making art and learning about architecture, infrastructure, local history, and places.
What I’m up to
I work for the United States federal government on improving its software. I’m part of the 18F team in the Technology Transformation Service of the General Services Administration, where I’m the acting deputy director of cloud.gov. I write blog posts for 18F sometimes. I joined in September 2015; a few years ago I wouldn’t have predicted that I’d work for the government, but it makes perfect sense for me, and I’m delighted. In May 2016 I gave a talk about my work: technical writing as public service.
I’ve edited Wikipedia since 2001. I add photos, write articles (such as Outreachy and Pinboard), and teach new editors at editing workshops. For Wikipedia's 15th birthday in 2016, I gave a talk about why people should care about Wikipedia's early history.
I also contribute to LocalWiki (and gave a talk in 2015 about why that's fun). I write articles about San Francisco sometimes, such as Old Mission Police Station, 25th Street Telco Building, and 717 Market Street. I established the Isla Vista LocalWiki, and I ran a Facebook page and editor group for it. A few of the articles I’ve written about Isla Vista: The three houses at the end of Del Playa, Enchanted Forest, St. Michael's University Church, Lost Murals, Counterculture Tiles, Tipi Village.
From 2005 to 2015, I worked as a community manager.
From March 2011 to September 2015, I was part of the tiny company that makes Cydia, the alternative to the App Store for jailbroken iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches. My work included answering lots of questions, moderating support forums (JailbreakQA, the jailbreaking subreddit, IRC channels, and Facebook), improving documentation (in the Cydia app, iPhoneDevWiki, TheiPhoneWiki, etc.), organizing JailbreakCon, testing software, selecting featured packages, and coordinating with the variety of independent people who make up the jailbreaking ecosystem (jailbreak developers, repository managers, tweak and theme makers, enthusiastic users, and more). I was lucky to work on something I care very much about. Here's a jailbreak podcast episode with me (summary). A few of the things I wrote as part of my work:
- A talk explaining why I care about jailbreaking
- A comprehensive list of malware for iOS
- A list of misuses of iOS enterprise and developer certificates
- A campaign to help people submit comments to the Copyright Office to support proposed DMCA exemptions for jailbreaking (and I wrote a letter supporting a different exemption)
- A beginner's guide to assessing the risk of installing a package
- Detailed advice for new developers in the community
For part of 2010 I did product and community work for Canvas, which was a fun experiment in building a social network around remixing images.
From 2005 to 2009 I was the Delicious community manager (which was during college for me; I worked part-time during the school years and full-time in the summers). I answered email and forum questions, helped problems get fixed when people complained, killed spam, wrote blog posts, and loved Delicious as one of its first users and team members. This was pretty much the best first job. (After I left, Delicious got re-sold and rebuilt a few times, and I recommend Pinboard.in now.)
Friends and I ran a one-day conference about roguelike games, the Roguelike Celebration.
I volunteered for OpenHatch to help newcomers find their way into contributing to free and open source projects. I wrote about this in a blog post there, and my OpenHatch profile has some details. I answered questions from newcomers, wrote tweets and blog posts, filed bugs, mentored at workshops, and generally helped with communication.
I saved and tagged thousands of bookmarks from 2005-2011 or so. They were on del.icio.us, but they're on pinboard.in now.
I wrote about a few places on Findery.
I have a Literature BA from the College of Creative Studies at UC Santa Barbara, with an unofficial specialization in Literature and Culture of Information. I made a portfolio of some of my work when I graduated. I ran the CCS Literature student club and wrote a blog about the program.
What is a jeweled platypus?
When I was 11 years old, I found this image in an issue of National Geographic Magazine and decided it looked like a jeweled platypus. I cut it out and pasted it in a binder that I soon lost, but the image stuck in my head. When I was 19, I researched the image and found out that it’s a picture of an ancient Peruvian duck earring, which confirmed its status as my favorite thing.
architecture books community food geometry infrastructure insects jailbreaking losangeles maps memes naturalhistory netart osx plants prettypictures sanfrancisco santabarbara self toys transportation typography ucsb webdesign yahoo