My Favorite Flipboard

If you’re an iPad user and you haven’t yet discovered Flipboard, you don’t know what you’re missing.

Anyone who has read my 4 Ways To Improve Technical Content On The Web knows I don’t like to waste time. With work and home responsibilities requiring the better part of my day, there aren’t many minutes left for keeping up with what’s happening around the world and I’d be significantly out of touch if it were not for Flipboard.Continue reading

Is Google+ Trying To Be A Better Facebook?

Months before the rumors about Google Circles started making the rounds, it occurred to me there was something missing from the social networking landscape. For lack of a better term, I began referring to it as the social private network.

As a professional who also has a private life, the biggest issue I have with sites like Facebook and Twitter is that they don’t allow me to compartmentalize my relationships the way I do in real life. Not only do my professional friends not care that I adopted an ugly duckling in Farmville, I don’t particularly want them to know how I waste my time, nor do I want to clutter up their timeline with my gaming activities.Continue reading

4 Ways To Improve Technical Content On The Web

No matter how many books I read, the Internet is still my primary source of technical information.
Time is my most precious resource.
Wasted time is something I can never recover.


It’s frustrating to Google for technical content and to spend time reading pages of information that seems to be pertinent, only to discover that it’s completely irrelevant — because it doesn’t apply to my environment or it’s out of date. What’s more annoying is that this scenario seems to be more of the rule rather than the exception.

Rules 1 and 2 describe what you can do to help your readers assess whether your post is relevant to what they’re looking for. Rules 3 and 4 discuss tactics that will simply make your contributions more valuable.

Rule #1: Date stamp your posts

Change is the one thing you can count on… and in the world of software engineering, you can expect those changes to happen pretty quickly. Information that may have been highly relevant a year ago could be completely irrelevant today. Your reader has no means of assessing the currency of your content unless they know when it was written.

Rule #2: Provide a complete context

Many of the modern technologies we use to develop applications change significantly from version to version. If you’re contributing knowledge that applies to a specific version of Visual Studio 2010 SP1, that information should be prominently displayed near the top of the page. Include as much context as possible. If you’re describing a scenario that exists when running Visual Studio on Windows XP, you should say so. If you don’t know whether the information applies to other OS or application versions, you should say that as well.

Rule #3: Get a peer review

If you’re an inexperienced writer or writing in a language that’s not native to you, ask someone to review what you’ve written for accuracy and readability. I once worked with a very smart programmer who had a terrible time with negation terms in the English language. As a result, we spent countless hours misunderstanding each other because what he said was the opposite of what he meant to say. Your readers won’t necessarily have the opportunity to ask questions about what you meant. If your writing is grammatically correct and easy to understand, they won’t have to.

Rule #4: Avoid using obscure links

Many web sites have been known to restructure their pages, leaving a lot of dead links and bookmarks in their wake. If you use links like MSCDEX May Not Detect Disk Change and the referenced page disappears, your reader still has a title they can Google for to find the new location. If you use links like click here, the only remaining context is the URL itself which is usually not enough to track down the broken reference.

Scalability Rules: 50 Principals For Scaling Web Sites

Scalability Rules: 50 Principals For Scaling Web Sites
When I went to the post office to pick up the package, my first impression was that Amazon had mistakenly sent me an empty box. After quickly thumbing through the pages, I was starting to feel pretty good about not having spent the usual amount of cash I typically fork over for a good technical resource. Much to my surprise, I could not have been more wrong. The moral of the story is that you can’t judge a book by its size or price.Continue reading