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Mónica Guzmán

Stories at the intersection of tech and life from a boldly connected city.

Category: People
April 19, 2014 at 9:33 PM

Using a phone when you can’t hear or speak? Here’s who makes it possible

Priya May has been the voice of hundreds. “You have a customer using sign language contacting you with the Purple VRS system,” May, 31, spoke into a headset to the man who picked up at Seattle’s MOD Pizza. “I’ll be interpreting this call for you, OK?” “Sure,” the man said, kind of delighted, and from May’s…

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Comments | More in Column, Conversation, People, Seattle

April 5, 2014 at 8:28 PM

How Facebook found Hailey: Why this Seattle parent shared her search for her teen

One Sunday last month, Marie Montemayor cut back and forth through happy crowds at French Fest at Seattle Center. Not finding any place to charge her phone’s dead battery, she cried. Two days earlier, at 4:30 p.m., she had told her 13-year-old daughter on that phone that she was making spaghetti for dinner. She hadn’t…

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Comments | More in Column, Crime, Family, People, Seattle, Social

March 15, 2014 at 10:22 PM

Sitless in Seattle: Standing desks give workers a leg up

The office of the future might look a little funny. Peek over the rows of workstations in the marketing department of Tableau Software in Fremont, and you’ll see dozens of employees leaning into their screens. It’s a crisp, modern office setting that looks like any other. Except that a good fourth of the workers are standing…

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Comments | More in Column, Disruption, Habits, People, Seattle

November 2, 2013 at 8:03 PM

Four digital divides: Where do you stand?

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Maybe you’ve heard of the “digital divide.”

It’s a term coined in the ’90s to refer to the mostly socioeconomic gap between people who can access information technologies and those who can’t. The concept gave thinkers and policymakers a grasp on a new problem: For more people to prosper, the digital divide would need to be closed.

I’ve been thinking about digital divides a lot lately, but rarely in this traditional sense. Tech has come a long way in 20 years, and it’s raised all kinds of sticky new issues. It’s made me think: If we take a fresh look at what divides us in our use of tech, we might get a better grip on whether we’re headed somewhere we want to be.

So here goes: I think there are four digital divides that matter. As we consider them, ask yourself: Where am i on these divides? And do they all demand to be resolved, or in some ways, protected?

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Comments | More in Code, Column, Conversation, Education, Identity, People, Privacy, Security, Tech Devotion

August 31, 2013 at 8:07 PM

Want to learn the world’s most powerful language?

Hadi Partovi

Hadi Partovi

“Fill in the blank with the biggest thing you feel is true,” I asked Hadi Partovi, reading off my notebook in a small downtown conference room. “ ‘Learning how to code is as important as learning … ’”

Partovi put his head in his hands and thought for a long moment.

“I would say it’s as important as learning the basics of science,” he said. “Anything you learn in sixth grade, learning to code is as important as that.”

Partovi, a Seattle investor and entrepreneur who’s sold companies to Microsoft and MySpace, is easily the strongest, most passionate advocate anywhere for the importance of learning how to code. In eight months his nonprofit, Code.org, has ignited a push from its small Second Avenue office to see coding taught in every American school. In China, students must learn code to graduate.

Here, 90 percent of schools don’t teach it. And in most states, taking a coding class doesn’t even count toward graduation.

But to me the most compelling argument for learning how to code is not about schools or even jobs, mighty as those motivators are, and should be. It’s about these basics. On Earth, atoms make things up, and gravity makes things fall. On digital, instructions code behaviors that build systems that every day run more and more of our lives. How we talk. How we move. How we exchange goods and services and information.

Code isn’t how a world works. It’s how the world works.

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Comments | More in Code, Column, Education, Habits, People, Seattle, Tech Devotion