In Favor of PDF

This is really a short rant, and should come as a surprise to no one. I hate DOC files, and RTF files, to say nothing of ODF, DOCX, and their ilk because they have two necessarily conflicting properties: 1. They're oriented at producing documents on paper. Which is crazy. Paper is an output, but it's not the only output in common use, so it's nuts that generic document representation formats would be so tightly coupled with paper.…

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Announcement Cycle

Things you should know about, dear readers: I published a book and released a mess under the banner of the new Cyborg Institute. These projects are: Systems Administration for Cyborgs This is a high level guide that introduces key systems administration knowledge domains and concepts. Possible subtitles include: "How to think like a systems administrator," or "Just add man pages." Read it now. Tell your friends. And please, send feedback and comments.…

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Free the Work

There's a folk song with the line "let the toast go free," to which an assembled crowd of singers will often stand up and cry "free the toast!" in response. I've been spending the morning going through email, reading feeds, tweaking some of the issues raised in the site improvements page, and trying to rock getting things done. In the mean time I have a few links to share. The Everyday Lives Of Video Game Developers The Price of Free This article, and the one before, are both open on my "things to read list.…

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Writing about Technical Writing

I posted something new to Critical Futures today. It's a piece about technical writing, as part of the latest installment in which has become something of a series on technical writing. I've been playing, and watching this new tool, called dexy, which is really cool in its own right, but is also really cool insofar as it says: technical writing, documentation, is important and deserves great documentation tooling. For those of you who don't write documentation and who aren't very involved in the mechanics of publishing lots of text to websites probably don't find this very exciting.…

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Writing about Science Fiction Writing

With the last post /posts/writing-about-technical-writing about the kind of writing I do every day for work (and work related) project, I thought it would be fun to muse, briefly about the kind of writing, I do for me. That sounded pretentious. But it's less pretentious, I think, than saying I write fiction for art. Writing fiction, genre fiction at that, for me, is about talking to people directly about the way they see their worlds, about the way that we construct theories of reality, about complex systems, and maybe about all of the little thoughts and ideas that sound too foolish or too simple to justify saying plainly but are nevertheless important to say.…

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Winning Your Todo List

I kind of want to title this piece "the remains of the day," but I'll spare you. This week I found myself doing something sort of different with my task list. Since I use org-mode to manage my todo list, my explanation will include a bit of "introduction to org-mode," but I think this practice may be generally applicable regardless of the software you use. In org-mode you can take elements of an outline--any outline--and turn it into a "todo" item, and using the agenda feature, generate views of these tasks.…

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Coding Pedagogy

There are two parts to this post: first, the relationship or non-relationship between the ability to write code and technical literacy; and second, the pedagogical methods for teaching people how to program/code. In some ways, I've been writing about this and related topics for quite a while: see /posts/objective-whatsis for an earlier iteration in this train of thought. Programming and Technical Literacy Programmers and other technical folks talk a lot about teaching young people to code as the central part of any young technical person's education and basic computer literacy.…

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