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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Documentation Rhetoric

Other than shortening sentences, inserting lists, and using document structure, there are a couple of "easy edits" that I make to most documents that other send to me for review: Remove all first person, both singular and plural. 2. Remove all passive sentences, typically by making the sentences more imperative. In practice these changes are often related. Expunge the First Person Removing the first person is important less because it's "more formal" to avoid the first person and more because it's always unclear in documentation: Who are "we," and who is "I"?…

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ThinkPad x220 Review

My Decision Throughout this spring I've been eagerly waiting for the announcement and arrival of the new X-series laptops from Lenovo. I've been incredibly happy with every Thinkpad I've ever had, and while my existing laptop--a very swell T510--has been great, it was time: I needed a system with a bit more power. The power of my existing system was being to frustrate me. Things took too long to compile, I was having some annoying networking processing issues, and to make matters worse.…

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Emacs Thoughts + Some Lisp

In no particular order: Org Mode Guilt and a Lisp Function I have some guilt about having mostly forsaken org-mode, [1] in particular because I was watching Sacha Chua's chat with John Wiegley, and I think both are such nifty hackers, and have done so many things that are pretty darn nifty. I liked what I heard about johnw's org mode setup so much that I might give it a try again.…

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