How to Write a Technical Article

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…


Black Belt, White Belt

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.


Archiving a Wordpress Blog with Web Scraping

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…


My First Open Source Contribution

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…


How to Succeed and Thrive at a Hackathon

One of my first times coding outside of class was at a hackathon during my first year of college. It was late February, and we drove through a snowstorm to an industrial building near the Iowa State University campus. Inside, we checked in at a folding table, and fortunately the person handling registration didn’t examine my ID carefully, as I was 17 at the time. For the next 36 hours, two friends and I developed a client-side JavaScript isometric map maker, trimap. As I started from essentially zero knowledge, I had no choice but to learn more in that weekend than I had in the preceding weeks of Introduction to Computer Science combined. What we made is, without a doubt, a terrible piece of software, and to this day I am inordinately proud of it…


My Software Developer Bucket List

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…


Posts in Other Publications

I have been fortunate enough to write for a variety of other publications. Posts are listed in reverse chronological order…