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Some advice if you're just starting out your technical writing career
I recently spoke to some technical writing interns at my work on the topic of career advice. The topic was as follows: What advice would you give to those just starting out their technical writing career? Imagine turning back the clock 20 years. What advice would be most helpful? This post expands on some of these ideas. It also gave me an opportunity to play around with Midjourney, an art AI tool that automatically creates images based on text prompts. (For fun, I included the text prompts as captions.) Unlike my other posts, this post is more visual, as it was originally intended more as a slide deck than a blog post.
Systems thinking: Limits to Growth, Complex Cause and Effect, and Shifting the Burden (Trends to follow or forget)
This post is part of a series that explores tech comm trends that I've either followed or forgotten, and why. In this post, I continue to unravel the principles of systems thinking and how this approach fits into the documentation domain. In particular, I dive into three system patterns covered in Peter Senge's book The Fifth Discipline: Limits to Growth, Complex Cause and Effect, and Shifting the Burden. And I try to connect the ideas back to documentation.
From smartphones to Netflix: moving past plateaus in growth
In this post, I note that I've slowed reading a bit and started watching Netflix more. I turn to two system archetype theories to explain these dynamics. The archetypes 'Limits to Growth' and 'Shifting the Burden' from Peter Senge's The Fifth Discipline, a classic about learning organizations, provide insight into how to move past plateaus.
Driving without GPS — the desire to be free and in control
Driving is one way we exercise our freedom. Driving without GPS could be seen as a rejection of the control of technological algorithms over lives.
Spatial and scientific reasoning from wayfinding
The origins of scientific thinking probably developed with the first animal trackers, not just the Greeks. As we wayfind, we piece together inferences by reading the signs in the environment around us.
Wayfinding requires you to be present in the world
Wayfinding starts with being attentive and present with the world around you. However, our suburban geography-of-nowhere-type cementscapes remove a lot of incentive for attentiveness.
Wayfinding -- finding my way without GPS
This post continues an ongoing series about a journey away from smartphones. In this post and the next several posts, I explore a topic of wayfinding. This topic surfaced as I tried driving without using a digital map on my smartphone.
Systems thinking and developer portals (Trends to follow or forget)
This post is part of a series that explores tech comm trends that I've either followed or forgotten, and why. In this post, I explore why focusing on the big picture fits into the domain of systems thinking. I also make a case for developer portals as a candidate for study that aligns with a systems thinking approach.
Random notes on recovering the lost art of reading
The single greatest outcome from my basic phone experiment has been to rekindle interest and enjoyment in reading books. Long-form reading is an activity that I'd sort of forgotten, and even though I've reverted to my smartphone, the experiment has taught me to love reading again. In picking up reading books again, I realized that I have many questions about reading, actually. This post is a random list of questions, observations, and other reading-related topics about reading books. I'm sure there's no single way to read, and one strategy might fit another person and scenario more than others.
Blobr API portal (API doc topic)
I added a new article about Blobr to my API course. With Blobr, you can create an API store to launch and grow an API business with different monetization models. In the same Blobr portal, you can also include documentation that describes the precise workflow for each use case, helping API consumers easily onboard with your API.
The impact of technical diversity on documentation -- epiphanies on a trip to IKEA (Trends to follow or forget)
This post is part of a series that explores tech comm trends that I've either followed or forgotten, and why. The overall goal is to better understand the reasons that drive trend adoption or abandonment in my personal career. This post focuses on the impact of diversity/pluralism/fragmentation on documentation.
Technical diversity/pluralism/fragmentation in tech comm (Trends to follow or forget)
This post is part of a series that explores tech comm trends that I've either followed or forgotten, and why. The overall goal is to better understand the reasons that drive trend adoption or abandonment in my personal career. This post focuses on technical diversity/pluralism/fragmentation.
Six weeks in -- returning to smartphone (but not as before)
All right, so you knew this post was coming. When would I abandon my basic phone and return, at some level, to a smartphone, and why? That's what this post is about. The TLDR here is that texting became too challenging on a basic phone, and it was creating more stress and disruption with my other family members who were trying to communicate with me. But let me provide more details here, because there was a key turning point.
Review of What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains: The Shallows, by Nicholas Carr
In my ongoing series describing my journey away from smartphones, I decided to read one of the seminal works that kicked off the debate about the Internet's influence on our brains: Nicholas Carr's book What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains: The Shallows. In this post, after a careful reading and dissection of Carr's argument, I try to make sense of the book for my own techno-skeptic journey. My conclusion is to find a balance between online and offline modes, using the computer to find info, but then turning away the monitor to read offline.
My Commute Seattle Spotlight
Recently I volunteered to have my multimodal commute spotlighted as part of a Commute Seattle campaign. Here's the video.