Wikis are not Documentation

It seems I'm writing a minor series on the current status (and possible future direction?) of technical writing and documentation efforts. Both in terms of establishing a foundation for my own professional relevancy, as well as in and for itself because I think documentation has the potential to shape the way that people are able to use technology. I started out with Technical Writing Appreciation and this post will address a few sore points regarding the use of wikis as a tool for constructing documentation.…

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Technical Writing Appreciation

I'm a technical writer. This is a realization that has taken me some time to appreciate and understand fully. Technical writing is one of those things that creators of technology, a term that I will use liberally, all agree is required, but it's also something that's very difficult to do properly. I think this difficulty springs from the following concerns: What constitutes describing a technology or process in too much detail?…

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Covered In LaTeX

Although I haven't used LaTeX much in the past few years, it was one of the primary tools that hastened my shift to using GNU/Linux full time. Why? I'd grown sick of fighting with document preparation and publishing systems (e.g. Microsoft Word/Open Office), and had started using LaTeX on my Mac to produce all of my papers and documents that needed to be output to paper-formats. Why switch? Because after a certain point of having every tool you use be Free software (because it's better!…

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Console Use for the Uninitiated

I have a computer, an old laptop, that I mostly use as the foundation of my stereo system. It's just a basic system with a few servers (a web server and the music player daemon), and it doesn't have a running window manager. This configuration usually doesn't bug me: I connect remotely and the computer sits under the couch, but since my recent move I've not had a network connection at home and I've defaulted to playing music and managing the system from the console.…

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Collaborative Technology

I agreed to work on an article for a friend about the collaborative technology "stuff" that I've been thinking about for a long time. I don't have an archive that covers this subject, but perhaps I should, because I think I've written about the technology that allows people to make things with other people a number of times, though I have yet to pull together these ideas into some sort of coherent post or essay.…

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Saved Searches and Notmuch Organization

I've been toying around with the Notmuch Email Client which is a nifty piece of software that provides a very minimalist and powerful email system that's inspired by the organizational model of Gmail. Mind you, I don't think I've quite gotten it. Notmuch says, basically, build searches (e.g. "views") to filter your email so you can process your email in the manner that makes the most sense to you, without needing to worry about organizing and sorting email.…

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Gear Mongering

At the end of the day (or even the beginning,) I'm just another geek, and despite all of the incredibly (I'd like to think at least) reasoned ways I think about the way I use technology, I occasionally get an old fashioned hankering for something new. We've all had them. Perhaps my saving graces are that I do occasionally need new things (computers wear out, cellphones are replaced, needs change), and the fact that I'm both incredibly frugal and task oriented (rational?…

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