Megan Taylor

front-end dev, volunteacher, news & data junkie, bibliophile, Flyers fan, sci-fi geek and kitteh servant


Of maps, classifieds and social media

Facebook recently released free local classifieds, also known as Facebook Marketplace. The interface could be a little cleaner, but it’s no worse than Craigslist…no telling how this will effect the classifieds industry. I use a combination of Craigslist and LiveJournal to get things for free or cheap. Facebook is extremely popular among college students as a social networking site, but will they post ads? Depending on the reaction, I’ll have to add Facebook to my “I hate being broke” browsing.

A Craigslist and Google Maps mashup called Mapskrieg shows exactly where Craigslist housing listings are located. In some cases, you could probably get a great satellite view of the area. I poked around Gainesville and Miami (my hometown), and sent the link to some friends who are looking for a change of residence. Looks like a really useful tool.

I know the Gainesville Sun and the Independent Florida Alligator both carry classifieds online. The Sun’s are a searchable database, while the Alligator provides a .pdf due to limited resources. It doesn’t seem like it would be too hard to grab data from Craigslist and other popular online ad sites and create a ginormous pile of ads. Mix it with Google Maps. Make it easy to search. Give it a feed. Give it to us for free, we’re gonna get it anyway, we might as well be spending time on your site.


Gatorade + Pretzels + Diesel Fuel = Bonfire!

I took this video at the University of Florida Public Interest Environmental Conference (PIEC) after-party in March. It’s a little long, but well worth it, I think. And yes, my hands are shaking.

I’ve decided I like Brightcove better than YouTube. Faster upload, better quality, nicer interface.


My Favorite Coffee comes to Gainesville


One of my favorite high school memories was stopping at Dunkin’ Donuts on the way to school. My teachers were caffeine junkies as well, so I’d pick up a couple extra cups for them.

The saddest thing about moving to Gainesville was the sudden lack of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee. I’ve learned to manage instead with AMP energy drinks, but at least once a week, the craving surges up.

Now, at last, my wish has been granted.


Preparing for the job

As all students do, I worry about how prepared I will be come graduation, to take a job in my field. Unlike many other majors, however, journalism is changing, and fast. So are the required skills.

Mindy McAdams, Ryan Sholin and Howard Owens, among many others, have blogged about the changing skill set of journalists.

Others in the field or education have reinforced basic reporting skills and ethics.

Maybe I’m paranoid, but it seems to me that, even having taken all the right classes and learned all the right things, getting a job will still be a challenge.

I got into journalism halfway through college. Many of my peers have had multiple internships; I haven’t even had one. Not that I don’t want to, or don’t think I can, but my circumstances have been such that I either wasn’t ready or I couldn’t afford to add an internship to a difficult semester.

Now, with (officially) a year left, panic sets in. I’ve several opportunities open to me, and my first thought is to try to take them all at once. A job at school that will expose me to the field. Working at the Independent Florida Alligator. An internship at The Gainesville Sun.

I know that, in addition to classes and my 20-hour work week, taking all three opportunities at once is a recipe for a psychotic break. What I don’t know is how to narrow down my options to what will be most beneficial to my career. Where will I learn more? Where will I get the most experience?


Hyper-local Gainesville

I’d really like to see more from the Gainesville Sun.

As RSS feed of community events.

Hyper-local coverage. The next time I see a homeless person while walking home from school, I’m going to interview him (or her, but they tend to be male, I wonder why that is, someone should do a study or write an article about that) and write an article for the Newsies.

There is so much about Gainesville that I don’t know because I am fully immersed in the college scene.

I live literally one block east of campus. I go to restaurants, stores and events that are within walking distance (1-2 miles). I only know about The Fest (an annual, mostly punk-rock show that turns Downtown Gainesville into a roiling mass of people, mosh pits and noise for three days in November, and yet no one seems to notice) because I hung out with a music journalist.

I want to know about the holes-in-the-walls, the hidden deli, the place with the best burgers, the cheapest food. What bar suits what personality and which serves the cheapest drinks?

I want to know the town characters. I want a Web site where people post about odd things they’ve seen or done in Gville. So far, none of the mainstream sites that supposedly cater to this have caught on here.

I’ve lived here for three years, and I know none of these things.

Have a seat Gainesville, and tell me about yourself.