| First Posted 03 April 2020 | Last Edited 03 April 2020 | Philip Kiely |
I write technical articles. As part of that work, I make charts and diagrams to explain concepts to my readers. I also irredeemably suck at drawing and my handwriting defaults to illegible. Nevertheless, I manage to deliver useful diagrams with my articles that explain complex ideas with intuitive visual metaphors. I’m able to do this because most aesthetic properties are not relevant to a diagram’s usefulness, and the ones that are can be achieved relatively easily. I harbor no delusions about any ability to show you how to become a better artist. I do believe that you can use a few simple techniques to create more effective graphics at your current level of skill.
| First Posted 02 March 2020 | Last Edited 02 March 2020 | Philip Kiely |
Recently, I had tens of thousands of spoken words that need to be transcribed into written text. “Hang on,” you might be thinking, “why would a college student who, by all accounts, spends his time on reputable pursuits such as Python, need to convert audio into text?” While I was doing interviews for my book, I transcribed about 8 hours of audio, a process that took somewhere between 24 and 32 hours of very focused work over the course of a month or so. Here’s what I learned in the process.
| First Posted 14 December 2019 | Last Edited 14 December 2019 | Philip Kiely |
Style has a triple meaning in martial arts. Lee cut this knot by describing the “style of no style.” To Lee, everyone practiced a different art, thus everyone practiced the same art: the practice itself is the art. Lee’s perception of art survives the changing of language, content, and context because the style is not the substance.
| First Posted 25 November 2019 | Last Edited 25 November 2019 | Philip Kiely |
A couple of weeks ago, I was minding my own business on a Sunday morning when I received a cold email from an editor to write for their online publication. I opened up my trusty ideas.txt only to find it devoid of topic suggestions, so I developed an exercise for developing quality ideas that helped me generate 20 solid pitches to use over the coming months in a single planning session, and I hope it will be useful for you as well.
| First Posted 18 September 2019 | Last Edited 18 September 2019 | Philip Kiely |
The year was 2018, and I did not want to write a poem. Specifically, I did not want to write a net, an interpretation of a Shakespearean sonnet first imagined by Jen Bervin. I had to do so as part of an assignment, but instead I wrote a program to generate them for me according to the constraints of the form.
| First Posted 20 August 2019 | Last Edited 20 August 2019 | Philip Kiely |
Every great writer writes stories, and so do all of the good ones. Technical writers are not immune from this requirement, nor are we barred from the tools of the craft. Stories have conflict. Our writing has characters, these characters have motivations, desire outcomes. Despite this legacy and these tools, technical writing is often held to a lower standard than even the humble blog post…
| First Posted 20 July 2019 | Last Edited 20 July 2019 | Philip Kiely |
When I was five years old, my family moved to Des Moines and my parents signed me up for TaeKwonDo. In college, I practiced with friends as the facetiously named “Grinnell Fight Club,” a mostly boxing-based organization. This summer, I have been practicing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu three times a week. I have taken powerful lessons from the integral similarities between martial arts that this range of experience has revealed to me.
| First Posted 09 July 2019 | Last Edited 09 July 2019 | Philip Kiely |
My mother wrote a blog, Overneath it All, for many years. Goodreads has an archive as far back as 2015, but she wrote from well before that, starting in 2011. In January 2019, she decided to shut the blog down after not writing for it for six months, but she wanted an editable archive in case she wanted to use anything from it in the future. At her request, I scraped the entire blog into a giant Microsoft Word file…
| First Posted 24 June 2019 | Last Edited 24 June 2019 | Philip Kiely |
I put almost every line of code that I write outside of work on GitHub. Anytime I make a public repository, I make sure to stick a license on it so that people can actually use the contents; usually I use MIT, sometimes Apache 2.0. Thus, I could say that I have published thousands of lines of open source code across dozens of projects. However, most of that code is pretty useless to other people, so I don’t go around saying that…
| First Posted 20 June 2019 | Last Edited 08 September 2019 | Philip Kiely |
| First Posted 13 June 2019 | Last Edited 13 June 2019 | Philip Kiely |
This is a living document. The list will be updated accordingly as I have new ideas that stick around for a while and, much more infrequently, as I actually do anything on this list. Currently the list stands at 8 to do and 2 done…
| First Posted 30 April 2019 | Last Edited 02 April 2020 | Philip Kiely |
I have been fortunate enough to write for a variety of other publications. Posts are listed in reverse chronological order…