Custom formatting of date and time for events in in Squarespace blocks

I’ve recently done a little bit of front-end development work on a Squarespace website.  This is my first experience with the platform, and it’s been generally positive.  It starts out with a sane content model and makes all the content available as JSON.

The system provides a number of predefined blocks that let you expose content from  collections on other pages in the site.  Unfortunately, as of January 2014, you can’t customize the markup of items in a block.

This was a problem for us because the default summary block for event content only showed the event date and we wanted to also show the start time.  Luckily, the JSON feed of the events collection provided timestamps for the start and end date/time.

I wrote Squarespace Event List, a YUI3 plugin that fetches the event collection JSON with AJAX and overwrites a block’s content with a custom-formatted event list.  You can find the JavaScript and some brief documentation on GitHub.


Positive organizing: midwest consent fest

Consent Fest sign
Photo by Lauri Apple/Chicago Reader

This photo showed up this week in the Chicago Reader.  Out of context, the sign seems a little strange, but perhaps that strangeness speaks to how consent isn’t always a part of the way we talk about sexuality.

The lonely, hand rendered sign doesn’t really reveal the work and consideration that fest organizers Otter Irene and Ben put into Midwest Consent Fest.  They both said it was the most involved event they had helped organize.

The event went down on May 21 and consisted of an afternoon of workshops, a  a pitch-in meal and a show featuring punk and hardcore bands, solo acoustic performers and poets.

In the week before the fest, I talked with Ben and Otter Irene about what motivated them to organize the fest and the consciousness they hoped the event would forefront.  I also stopped by the fest for some of the workshops and part of the show.

Watch an audio slideshow of the interview and photos of the fest:

Additional audio:

  • Otter Irene talks about sexism in the DIY/radical scene 

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

  • Ben talks about how sex education doesn’t usually address consent

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

I didn’t take any photos of the workshops because the ones I attended involved people speaking really directly about very intimate and often painful parts of their life.  There aren’t a lot of places where people can speak candidly about mental health or substance abuse and I got the strong feeling that, even if people consented to be photographed, it would still mediate the discussions.  The ability for people to get something helpful or meaningful from the event was more important than me documenting it.

Allied Media Conference Supercomputing Project

Call for involvement from Free Geek and similar projects


My name is Geoff Hing and I am coordinating a project at this summer’s
Allied Media Conference in Detroit, MI, July 16-19. For more
information about the conference in general, please see I’ve been aware of your project for
some time and am excited to finally get a chance to talk to all of you
and hopefully collaborate this summer. I’m hoping that you can help
provide expertise in-person (really important), consulting advice
(important), or hardware donations (less important, but helpful) with a
special project at this year’s conference.

I am seeking your help with a project in this year’s Media Lab space at
the conference. The conference organizers describe the Media Lab space
as “an open, collaborative space where people can go to make media
together, after being inspired by the things they learn in conference
workshops. Youth are the main teachers and learners in this space,
leading workshops in animation, beat-making and recording.” An example
of a media lab project from last year was the building of an FM
transmitter by conference participants, with the guidance of folks from
the Prometheus Radio Project, to be used by a grassroots organization in
Detroit after the conference.

This year, one of the projects will be to refurbish computer hardware
and install Free/Libre/Opensource (FLOSS) software to make
“supercomputers” that will form a permanent media lab in Detroit. This
computer lab will be a training space to offer participants insight on
how to make full use of common and new technologies. Participants from
throughout the city will use the lab to learn skills for web 2.0
organizing strategies, media production, community radio, interactive
communication techniques, technology design, and media policy.

Since a big part of the project will be working with conference
participants to refurbish PC hardware and install FLOSS software, your
project immediately came to mind. I would love it if folks from your
project could do some of the following:

* Come to the conference and act as mentors for the supercomputing project

You will share your expertise with conference participants as they piece
together usable machines from donated hardware and then install a
GNU/Linux operating system and multimedia software. As the machines get
built, you will show folks how to use them for things like
videoconferencing, beat making, image editing, graphic design, or
audio/video editing.

* Be available to for consultation

Maybe you can’t make it to the conference, but you have tons of
experience in sharing tech skills with people. I want to know what
you’ve found are the best ways to show people how to do this stuff. How
do you break down the process into steps/tasks? What language or
analogies do you use to make things clearer? How do you document the
process so other folks can replicate your work? If you have ideas to
share about these kinds of things, please let me know your contact
information so we can chat.

* Donate hardware

We’re looking for machines with these minimum hardware requirements:

256 MB RAM
10 GB Hard Drive
Sound and Video Cards
Network Card

The media lab is looking to build 5 machines, so the emphasis is
definitely on quality rather than quantity. However, if you would be
willing to donate one barebones machine, or one large-capacity hard
drive, or one really great video or sound card, that would be so helpful.

* Suggest a session for the conference’s How To track

If you have other skills you want to share outside of this project
through a session, or there’s just something that you feel has been
missing at other media conferences, suggest a session at

Thanks for taking the time to read this. I think the work that you do
is completely awesome and I would love to work with you on this project.
Please share this with folks working within your group and with other
people who might have similar expertise. I’m always happy to chat if
you have any questions or ideas. You can reach me at

Skype: geoffhing

I look forward to hearing from you!

Take care,