Breve ˘

The word breve is the Latin diacritic ˘ to indicate a short vowel sound and stems from the Latin word brevis, meaning short or brief. My intention behind Breve is just that: brief, interpretive, and opinionated thoughts about design, human knowledge, creativity, and technology. My approach here is to highlight the ways that technology can encourage joy and creativity instead of pain, influenced by my training as a historian, developer, data visualizer, and designer.

How I think about “technology” is fairly broad, including everything from the environment, cities, computing, consumerism, design, and human knowledge. And while I’m not trained as a science and technology scholar, I read that work a lot — I hope, in the newsletters ahead, it’s clear that technology is filled with joy, pain, creativity, whimsy, folly, but most of all, human values. The newsletter will most likely highlight two to four case studies along with a handful of links to things I’ve been reading. At the moment I aim for at least one newsletter per month, but depending how this experiment goes they may become more frequent.

As I write these, I’m more than happy to hear from readers who want to share their own projects and work and want to pitch me to write about them. You can shoot me an email at heppler@hey.com with “newsletter idea” in the subject line. You can also reach me at that address if you have any concerns or problems with your subscription.

Why Here, and Why Not Blog?

Honestly, this is probably a topic to muse on in the newsletter. But I think it boils down to the, sadly, stagnant nature of RSS. Yes you can find an RSS feed on my website and subscribe to it through any number of existing apps and platforms, but it also feels like blogging’s heyday of the early 2000’s has largely shifted to newsletters.

And unlike RSS, which requires you to have an app or service to use, almost everyone has email. Email feels like a more natural way for newsletters to find readers, even if they are dropping into inboxes full of other transactions, communications, and spam. There’s a low barrier to access — just an email address, from anywhere — that, in my mind, encourages an engagement we don’t often see with RSS or feed readers anymore.

I could be wrong, maybe I’ll go back to blogging instead. We’ll find out together.

About JAH

I grew up in South Dakota, received my PhD in History from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, worked at Stanford University between 2013-2016, and now make my home in Omaha, Nebraska, where I am an assistant professor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha leading initiatives in digital humanities, digital community engagement, and research data services. I’ve been doing work in the digital humanities, data visualization, and design space for nearly ten years.

You can read my blog or my books and articles, or follow me on social media at Micro.blog or Twitter.

Why should I pay for this?

Right now, I don’t plan on charging for subscriptions. But, frankly, there’s something appealing about getting $5 a month — that helps me on copy editing, finding content and materials, paying for books and subscriptions that make me a better thinker, writing and responding to your emails. It could even cover my daily expenses if this ever became a full-time gig.

If this ever moves into paid subscriptions, there will always remain a free version — but as I think about it now, paying would mean an additional two or three newsletters per week, in addition to discussion threads, blogging, recommendations, and interviews. Paid subscribers would receive it all; free subscribers will get one newsletter per week.