Multi-Audience Documentation

I've written before about different types of documentation, and the different purposes and goals that each type services. Rather than rehash what documentation is, I'm interested in using this post to think about ways of managing and organizing the documentation process to produce better documentation more easily, with the end goal of being able to increase both maintainability and usability of documentation resources. Different groups of users--say: administrators, end-users, and developers--interact with technology in overlapping but distinct ways.…

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Knitting in Three Dimensions

It's relatively straight forward to think about knitting in terms of creating two dimensional shapes. Most of us start by knitting something "easy" [1] like a scarf. From there it's easy enough to teach knitters to create a never ending variety of polygons. This, however, misses what I think of as the really cool part of knitting. I think the way to understand how knitting works, to be able to knit things that more closely resemble what you want, and to have the most fun knitting is to always think about knitting as three dimensional.…

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Intellectual Audience

My friend Jo wrote a post a while ago that addressed the subject of building an audience for your scholarly work. You can read the post on her blog, here. One of the things that I think Jo is really great at is thinking practically about academic careers and trajectories in light of the current academic job market. While people working in traditional academic spaces and on a traditional academic course have a different set of challenges than folks like me, her points still resonate.…

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Minimalism Versus Simplicity

A couple of people, cwebber and Rodrigo have (comparatively recently) switched to using StumpWM as their primary window managers. Perhaps there are more outside of the circle of people I watch but it's happened enough to get me to think about what constitutes software minimalism. While StumpWM is a minimal program in terms of design and function; however, in terms of ram usage or binary size, it's not particularly lightweight. Because of the way Common Lisp works, "binaries" and RAM footprint is in the range of 30-40 megs.…

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Back to Basics Tasklist and Organization

I'm a huge fan of emacs' org-mode on so many levels: as an IDE for knowledge workers, as a task management system, as a note taking system, and as the ideal basic mode for so many tasks. However, I've been bucking against org-for a number of tasks recently. The end result is that I'm becoming less org-dependent. This post is a reflection on how I've changed the way I work, and how my thinking has changed regarding org-mode.…

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Cyberpunk Sunset

I'm not sure where I picked up the link to this post on the current state of cyberpunk, but I find myself returning to it frequently and becoming incredibly frustrated with the presentation. In essence the author argues that while the originators of the cyberpunk genre (i.e. Gibson and Sterling, the "White Men") have pronounced cyberpunk "over," the genre is in fact quite vibrant and a prime location for non-mainstream ("other") voices and per perspectives.…

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Arranging Patterns for Sweater Design

There are two major problems in sweater making (design.) First, figure out how to make the shape you want out of knitting, and second to place some sort of ornamental feature (pattern) in the knitting without disrupting the shape. Shaping isn't easy, but it's solvable. Once you figure out how to make the shapes you want, it's just a matter of implementing a known process. Shaping becomes trivial. The second problem, the design, is the really clever part.…

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