During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, I lived abroad in Tokyo.

Arriving in late January, 2020 gave me a precious few weeks to experience the city fully as a tourist right before toilet paper went missing from the shelves, the borders closed, and the ensuing state of emergency was declared…twice.

A few months ago, I got a cheap fitness tracker to help combat my daily inactivity, resulting from barely leaving my small studio apartment in Tokyo. While I knew 10,000 steps is generally recommended, I decided to aim for a lower and more manageable 5,000 steps, a number so achievable that I’d be more likely to do it consistently.

At first, I would try to explore a new area around my neighborhood every day, but it often led to an inconsistent number of steps, and I’d find myself walking in circles to round out the last few hundred needed to…

Example project documentation viewable at https://www.figma.com/file/1F1zOAnt3jGOAuu6kUsFJe/Name-Stamp-Project?node-id=0%3A1

One of my dissertation projects when I was a graduate student at the MIT Media Lab was Build in Progress, a documentation platform and online community for sharing DIY projects.

A main focus of Build in Progress was developing a tool that lets people visualize and navigate process-oriented documentation, or documentation that shares iterations throughout the course of a design project. Build in Progress was meant for sharing stories around how a project evolves over time rather than instructions for building a project, a more dominant form of project documentation in the DIY community (e.g., Instructables).

Issue #1: Hello World. Viewable at https://www.recurse.com/still-computing/issue-1

Last month, one of my favorite organizations, The Recurse Center, reached out to me about designing their new public newsletter, Still Computing. This weekly newsletter is intended to share the excitement and joy around computing that is at the core of the Recurse experience:

Expect stories about bugs and rabbit holes, computing ethics, career advice, art made by humans about computers and vice versa, plus other things Recursers are excited to share.
- from their Signup Page

I was super excited for this opportunity and agreed right away!

In the Summer of 2018, I spent 6 months at The Recurse’s…

Since I moved to Japan a month ago, I’ve been keeping a food journal.

It started out as an experiment ; I bought a cheap set of color pencils from Tokyo Hands (under $10) and a $8 notebook from Ito-Ya and wanted to see how long I could keep up with it.

Mostly, I wanted a more collected way to keep track of the new things I’d be able to try (rather than a scattering of unorganized photos), and I also liked the idea of practicing drawing. …

A recent realization I’ve had is how easily many people, myself included, disqualify themselves before they’re even considered.

By disqualification, I mean that many people, particularly minorities, see themselves as other and thus do not necessarily feel they deserve certain rights or experiences.

One example is qualifying for an application. I’ve often found myself feeling that I am not qualified, or even that other people deserve opportunities over me, because I am unsure whether it’s a good fit or if I’ve wanted it enough.

When I applied to college, for example, I often felt guilty about my admission to certain…

I really dislike side projects and one day will write a long blog post about why.

But I have what I’m calling a compulsive creator disorder where if I think of an idea, then I want to make it immediately, and if I don’t, then I get very antsy. And then I feel bad that I don’t finish most of them.

This is a compilation of side projects I worked on in 2019, some finished but most not.

January

  • I started reading a dictionary of Design Since 1900 and started collecting examples I liked into an are.na board [in progress]
Design since 1900 are.na board
  • I…

I intentionally tried to read fewer books in 2019.

I realized in 2018, after reading 60 books, that reading was getting less fun. I felt that reading was getting in the way of me doing what I deemed to be more creative endeavors.

You know that feeling when you get a book and think, “This is going to answer a fundamental question I have in my life”, and you’re ultimately disappointed because it doesn’t meet those high expectations? I felt like I was using reading as a scapegoat for doing the creative work I needed to do to get out…

Earliest this year, I took the longest vacation I’ve ever taken and spent 9 days in Scandinavia.

Our vacation started in Oslo, found us taking taking a train to Flam and a fjord tour to Bergen, brought us to Copenhagen for a couple days, and ended in Stockholm.

At the time of the vacation, I knew that I needed a break, but I didn’t realize how much taking time off would help me refocus my priorities and perspective on living more generally.

In particular, I realized that many of the things I did on vacation, including planning our daily itineraries…

Eater’s Digest Logo, a shameless jab at Pitchfork I created in 2013 😂

I actually wrote this article 5 years ago, while I was a college radio DJ in grad school at WMBR, MIT’s radio station.

At the time, I decided it would be fun to learn more about how bands eat on tour, given that I had a radio show called Eater’s Digest about the intersection of food and music.

Over the course of three years, I interviewed 30 bands (mostly indie rock) about their favorite restaurants around the world, what they requested on their rider, and what they like to cook when they’re at home. It ended up being a surprisingly…

Tiffany Tseng

designing tools for making.

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