So Many Pies.

pies-9People tend to categorize things by how many ‘hats’ one wears, or how many fingers you have in pies.

In a world of specialization, I have specialized in not being a specialist – which, unfortunately, confuses people. Asked recently what I do for a living, I was caught off guard. Should I speak of having made a living from Software Engineering? Should I go with writing? What about land management? Real estate? Connecting people who need to be connected outside of the cultural ruts that exist in Trinidad and Tobago? Agriculture? Photography? Even recently, someone got stuck on the fact that I had been in the military even though my service and reserve service ended around 2006 (I think).

So my response was, “I think for a living.” That’s consistent, but it brought more confusion. I wonder how other polymaths deal with this?

It wasn’t a solid answer to the person asking, and I was revisited again by the demons of a society that defines you by where you were born (doesn’t work for me), by where you live (pick a place, I may have been there), by what you do for a living (see above), who you’re related to, what ‘race‘ you are, what religion you are, etc.

I don’t fall into categories as much as people attempt to shove me into them. I suppose part of the problem is that I gave up on categories somewhere in my 20s. It started before then, because even then I didn’t really fit – but I was not yet tired of being uncomfortable in my explanations.

All of this came to mind as I renewed this domain, where I’m uncertain where to write what. My technically related writing with a more local (Trinidad and Tobago) twist ends up on TechNewsTT.com. My more personal writing goes on RealityFragments.com.

And I suppose now, everything else goes here – as I have done historically, as you might see had there not been losses of data over the decades of my owning this domain name.

A strange world you live in.

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Writing and Tech Documentation.

cubiclecreativity

The tough part about good documentation is that everything has to make sense. All the stuff has to ‘line up’ along the user stories for the use of the documentation.

There’s the high level story and the lower level stories that make the high level story work – and those same low level stories can have multiple dimensions of their own if written conscientiously with modern tools.

Documentation is usually dry and boring. Dry and boring is great reading for those who read the DOS manuals and Unix manuals end to end (I did), and you can amaze other people with how much you can’t be understood when you talk. That’s where the social engineering aspects of documentation come into play. Or, as writers would call it, writing. The documentation has to be sticky in the marketing sense, such that when someone reads it, they remember it. For the software engineering side – the technical side – less so. On the user side, it has to be… usable.

We’ve come a long way when it comes to our capacity to organize documentation online1. The actual writing, though, has to lean toward a SEO type of writing – repeating key phrases and using possible words and phrases that a user might search for. This requires understanding how a product is expected to be used as well as how it might be used. The latter is not as important for the planned use, but is important for disruptive use cases that might pop up on the radar and allow a business to leverage quickly.

Simply put, good technical writing allows for what is planned, and enables potential uses1.

1 Something I’ll be writing about some more this week.

Should You Do What You Love?

That is all he has to say about that...So I was thinking of the possible dread irony of living most of our finite lives doing what we love, and then I realized it’s not an irony. Whether we’re happy with our time on Earth is appropriate, and ‘wasting’ time on it is not a life wastedThe irony is that I even thought it was irony. It’s what we should be doing.

 
I mean… the alternative is to die having not loved what you do.
 
How’s that better?