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    What are you writing? ask web

A little while ago, there was a discussion to start a series of threads on what the members of this site a writing (like blog posts, essays, etc.).

The idea was to share drafts and get some feedback, especially if you’re a younger writer, don’t have peers that can help you or would like some input on the topic you’re writing – maybe someone can give you a few pointers?

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    I seem to be in writing mode, how timely!

    • We’re releasing Firefox 79 tomorrow and it was my turn to write the Security Advisories (published tomorrow).
    • I’ve just finished writing a second part of Understanding Web Security Checks in Firefox (Part 1), to be published next week or the week after. The idea is to encourage new original browser security researcher and engineering.
    • We’ve also just finished our Q2 edition of the Firefox Security & Privacy Newsletter. To be published next week.
    • I’m also writing a specification for a Javascript API that will accept a HTML string and returns sanitized (i.e., XSS-free) HTML. We’ll hopefully make it into a W3C standard. A Proof of Concept implementation shall land in Nightly anytime soon. The spec draft is at https://wicg.github.io/sanitizer-api/
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      I’ve been writing out the worldbuilding for a fantasy novel and my DnD campaign. I’m using the DnD campaign to help focus out the worldbuilding so I don’t get lost in the details of things. I’ve been documenting this on my gemini capsule. So far I’ve been documenting out settings, places and a few people. I’ve also been putting more personal diary/journal style entries there.

      I’ve also been writing for my blog off and on. My trick for writing blogposts is to do this:

      • Start with an idea, something like a single sentence describing the thing you want to cover. EG: “How to set up a Gemini server using agate” or “How to automatically deploy programs to Kubernetes using Drone on new commits”
      • Explain the steps to get from a very blank starting point (assume nothing) to a point where the reader can understand the idea
      • Go into more detail with each step, make sub-bullets, include code samples and the like
      • Turn the bullet points into sentences. Turn the sentences into paragraphs
      • Have a friend look it over and make sure it makes sense
      • Post it to lobste.rs for the sweet sweet karma others to learn from it too
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        I’m finishing up a Tales From The Dork Web issue for release this Thursday about how the Amiga 1000 came to be. The Dork Web’s publishing schedule is about a week off from the Amiga 1000’s 35th anniversary, but that’s fine. Instead of writing about the Amiga, which anyone who saw a news story last week can find out about, I wanted to write about the people and personalities behind it. Not so much the techies, more the businessmen.

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          I actually just finished an article and posted it on lobsters!

          Other than that, some people reached out from here for feedback on their writing. I’ve been reading through their stuff and offering (hopefully helpful) advice.

          Next up, I might write about PageRank and perhaps explore search engine technology and see if I can build a small project and then break it down in an article. This is quite typical of my blogging method – do a small project and write up my learnings in order to solidify those learnings. My posts also serve as a personal reference!

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            I’m taking part in a community college writing class that ends tomorrow.

            I’ve started a blog on computer security tips for regular folk. I want to cover the theory and practices of topics everyone should know. I’ve started with two-factor authentication and I’ll be reading this article out loud tomorrow: https://computersecuritytips.info/two-factor-authentication/. Feedback welcome! The class has some constraints (500 words max, low readability complexity).

            I have an about page. The gist of it is there but it’s full of typos: https://computersecuritytips.info/about/

            My goal is to start a newsletter, finish 10-ish articles, wrap it up in a cheap / free ebook, market it a little to see if there is a market.

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              Your illustrations are great, and the writing’s really clear!

              One suggestion from me: right now, if you’re somebody who already know the gist of how 2FA works, you won’t learn anything new from this article. Making brief mention of novel 2FA techniques (e.g. ambient sound) or flaws with widely used 2FA systems (e.g. SMS vulnerabilities) would mitigate this problem - which is especially important if you’re planning to turn this into an ebook, where people will know of some concepts but not others.

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                One suggestion from me: right now, if you’re somebody who already know the gist of how 2FA works, you won’t learn anything new from this article.

                This is a good point. My intended audience for this blog and the book are non-computer-experts who probably aren’t familiar with two-factor-authentication. I’m working on making this more clear in the blog’s about section, but I’m not sure how to make this clear in the articles themselves.

                However even for non-experts I do want to make people aware of SMS vulnerabilities. I’m careful in the article to pretend 2FA only involves “phone codes” that an “app” shows, but I don’t go into details. I wonder how to go into details with alienating beginners.

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              I started my blog less than a week ago, and a few days ago I wrote my first post. I’ve already submitted it to lobste.rs, however I’d really appreciate some feedback on the writing style since English is not my mother tongue! Thanks in advance.

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                GitHub first put there the most important open source software

                I feel it would read better as “GitHub first put the most important open source software there”

                Probably some emperors are unknown to nowadays’ history because everything about them got lost.

                “unknown to nowadays’ history” feels odd to me, how about “unkown today”?

                This is the 1st post of the blog

                Would suggest to use “first” instead of “1st”


                English isn’t my native either, but I felt the article was well written and conveyed your thoughts nicely. Keep writing!

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                  Thanks! I updated the article according to your suggestions.

                  “unknown to nowadays’ history” feels odd to me, how about “unkown today”?

                  Much more clear and simple. Sometimes it seems like I’m trying my best to find the most convoluted way to express a concept!

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                I recently started to write an article about collecting and processing event logs, with a primary focus on collecting request logs from web servers. Any pointers on this topic are warmly appreciated.

                The point of the article is to compare different methods; e.g. logrotate, syslog, journald, s6-log, etc. Many articles out there describe how to configure logging, but not that many articles explains the philosophy behind the various methods. (No draft to share at this moment since the draft is not yet fully digitized.)

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                  I’m very interested in reading this. Feel free to send me your draft if (once it’s digitized) if you’d like some early feedback :)

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                    Cool! I’ll gladly let you read the draft when it’s in a tolerable state. How can I reach you?

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                      I’ve DMd you

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                        I didn’t even know that there is a DM system here. That’s great. TIL!

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                    I’m also interested by that! Draft or released version, I’m in to read both :)

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                    I just finished writing Fundamentals of the Vulkan Graphics API: Why Rendering a Triangle is Complicated.

                    I’m going into my freshman year of college (i.e. haven’t had “technical” writing feedback before) and this is my first technical piece of writing, so feedback on clarity / flow / engagement would be appreciated.

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                      I liked your intro. It made it immediately relatable to anyone else.

                      My one suggestion is that I wouldn’t hide the code sample. It’s an important part of the article and nearly everyone should be expanding it anyway. I’m not sure it’s worth the extra click to reveal it. That’s somewhat subjective advice though so others may disagree.

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                      I’m writing a visual novel: Anthrotari. This one is on what will hopefully be its last major editing/animation pass, barring any big surprises from beta players. It also has a Patreon. Who wouldn’t mind giving this game a play-thru in exchange for feedback?

                      I’m also writing a sci-fi novel: Planet Oz: Our Dorothy Wears Combat Boots. Once this one gets (another) line-edit pass and new layout work, it should be fit for print. Look forward to a pre-sale!

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                        I’ve been working on two write-ups on Idris. One on proving miscellaneous things in Zermelo Frankel Set Theory, and the other on implementing type systems in Idris. The type systems start with the untyped lambda calculus, and work up to System F.

                        If anyone would find these interesting, please let me know!

                        Aside from that, my friend and I have been reflecting on our lives by sharing short stories with each other. We’re doing this as part of a program called the “Crystal-Barkely method”, which aims to help one focus their career path though reflection and storytelling. So far, it’s been rewarding :)

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                          About a month ago, I started my blog not intending to share it anywhere. Someone found one of my posts and shared it here and it took off. Since then, besides college apps, I’ve been writing blog posts about topics that I think are poorly covered by other resources. I’m pretty new to writing so I would love feedback on my style and explanations.

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                            I’m working on a blog post that I’m struggling with the title of.

                            It’s on Python decorators. Specifically, most explanations are of the “Do this. then do this. THEN MAGIC!” variety, and I want to take the time to explain each step and what each bit actually is and does (like the significance of the fact that @wraps is a partial.)

                            Python decorators for the patient and detail oriented? :) I dunno.

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                              “Do this. then do this. THEN MAGIC!”

                              « The secret behind the magic of Python decorators »

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                              I’ve been writing about engineering leadership and management. The latest installment was: https://jeremy.marzhillstudios.com/perception-is-sticky/

                              My first one on the topic was this one: https://jeremy.marzhillstudios.com/engineering-managment-is-hard/

                              I’m doing more and more management these days and I’m still not sure how I feel about it. :-D

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                                I’m currently writing a review of PCLinuxOS for It’s Foss. I hope to finish it tonight. I’m also working on an interactive fiction game for a game jam on itch.io.

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                                  I’ve been trying to keep a personal journal. It’s in my private Trilium Notes and I try to write between 1 and infinity words per day.

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                                    I finished writing up a blog post a few days ago on how i was working on (and was successfully able to!) replicate and retrain one of OpenAI’s GPT-2 models (https://bilal.software/2020/7/17/nlp-series-2/)

                                    This is one of my first attempts at writing long-form technical posts, so any tips/feedback would help :)

                                    I would’ve posted it to lobste.rs but couldn’t since I’m a new user and the domain hasn’t been submitted before

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                                      I finished writing up part 2 of my piracy 101 series on the new chapo.chat lemmy instance.

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                                        I’m working on a short story for the second year of a shared-world anthology. I was published in the first year and set up the official wiki for the shared-world when the second was announced.

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                                          Well, I’ll give it a shot. I wrote a blog post I know Python basics, what next? last week. Feedback and suggestions welcome.

                                          I’m also currently updating Ruby Regexp book. You can get all my books for free currently if you feel generous enough to review 100 page books: https://learnbyexample.github.io/books/

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                                            Nice post, I can see myself referring back to this later :)

                                            Reducing the number of resources you link to would make me more likely to actually commit to using one of them - because then I’d feel more ‘confidant’ that it’s a good choice. Linking to just a single python exercise website, and then walking through what one is like or what you’d learn from solving them would be (imo) an improvement.

                                            On that note, including some of the information from those resources in your post itself would be great.

                                            In your article, you write:

                                            “Knowing how to debug your programs and how to write tests is very important. Here’s some resources:

                                            and then link to 7 pages. I’d find this section more useful if you showed a code example of debugging in Python, talked about how you’ve found using something like pdb useful, or even quoting the “jpeg parser” debugging story from StackOverflow (that you currently link to) in its entirety.

                                            In general, I’d focus in a bit more in each section by linking to less resources, and giving more information on “why” somebody might want to commit to going through a specific resource (or category of resource).

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                                              Thanks a lot! All good points, I’ll try to reduce the number of links per section (one problem is I myself don’t have much experience with those resources, mostly just collected from seeing them often recommended).

                                              including some of the information from those resources in your post itself

                                              I feel this will make the post a lot better, thanks. This would also require lesser number of resources, otherwise the post will become too long from all the quotes and descriptions.

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                                            My beta group is finishing up so I’m entering the last stages of editing my third book, Info-Ops2. It is a book about the human-machine interface, not coding, not management/sociology/psychology, but the intersection of both. Why do people make coding mistakes? What can programming teach us about being better thinkers? How can we measure the human impact our code has, both on our users and all the coders faced to maintain it without having to write and deploy it first? What types of thinking works best when talking about creating programming solutions? How about when we’re actually coding them?

                                            So that material is done. It just needs editing, polishing, and rewriting. (Yikes! But it’s done. Spoiler alert: writing is never done. It just escapes)

                                            For the last couple of weeks, I’ve also been experimenting with a new writing/blogging/vlogging platform, locals.com. I want to get the hell off of FB and these guys promise that I own my stuff, they won’t monetize or analyze my content, and there aren’t going to be any popups or sudden mysterious account deletions where I might be forced to go begging on HN or somewhere to get assistance. I like that. Plus it has a subscription model built in (which is how they make their money, taking a cut of the subscriptions you get). I made an editorial calendar and am doing a mix of short-form blogging, sharing my photography, video explainers, and technical walkthroughs. I’m hoping to do a few interviews. Just throwing stuff out there, see what sticks.

                                            Shameless plug: https://danielbmarkham.locals.com/

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                                              Hi Daniel, nice to see you here! I recognize you from Hacker News. (My nick over there is ’cpach.) Feel free to share any links to your books!