Replication [first words]

Chapter 1

Katarina’s thoughtful dark eyes peered over the teacup at the motions of her machine as it prepared to print. Years of experience gave her the ability to read the machine like a human face, to know what twists of mouth might indicate a print would go sour. This orphaned machine had come to her from the network. Its owner, Katarina did not know. Likely, the person was killed or imprisoned during a federal raid. The feds would usually destroy any machines they could get their hands on, but many kept decoy rooms stocked with works in progress, broken or “expendable” machines. Brave salvage crews took on challenging missions in order to get functional parts back to the network undetected, to be assembled into hodgepodge machines by people like Katarina.

By day, Katarina worked as a schoolteacher. Her parents encouraged Katarina to downplay her exceptional engineering skills around her instructors. Students who displayed technical promise and chose not to work for the International Engineering Complex were potential targets of investigation. Her academic displays of high empathy and creativity, then, encouraged her advisers to recommend she work educating youth. She accepted this career path wholeheartedly, appreciating the opportunity to nurture those students who had not fully given their consciences over to the work propaganda. A careful rhetorician, her lectures were complex enough to not trigger suspicious students to speak against her to the authorities, but still stimulated and excited the minds of those with budding individualist sensibilities.

Whim: Join NaNoWriMo

Since I don’t have the masters program helping me practice writing, I’ve decided to do NaNoWriMo.

Title: Replication
Synopsis: A group of revolutionary civilization set builders work to establish secret micro-economies across a post-apocalyptic USA, blighted by prohibition, government surveillance, technology cartels, and a collapsed economy.

Lexicon Practice

The cerebrotonic hierophant paused from his parapatetic peregrination in a phrontristry. He arched his eyebrows moliminously and blew a nepheligenous puff from his pipe before speaking,

“Synectoche is a cynosure to maieutic thought. One cannot rely on rhetoric, science, math, or philosophy alone for verisimilitudinous belief! The zetetic must seek and use them, but the reality is all.”

“The zoetic are cryptonesiacs, sharing the forgetfulness of nonexistance. That is why they fear death and change. You must not fear, you must know. The inspissation of knowledge makes lissome the spirit as boiling water the noodle. ‘Knowing’ embraces beauty and truth without kalopsia. “


Wordnik is a new way to discover meaning.

If you’re a logophile, there is much to love about Wordnik.  Look up your word, and you’ll get definitions from the top dictionaries, examples of the word in use, related words, and user curated lists.  As well as joining in on creating user curated lists, when you create an account you can also mark words as “loved” which puts cute little hearts next the word and puts them in your favorites (See my favorite words here!).


Related words includes the gems “hypernyms” (a new word for me) which means “a word with a broad meaning that more specific words fall under” and reverse dictionary, words that have your word in their definitions.

Definitely check out the user curated lists each time you look up a word you like.  You will certainly find mellifluous and scintillating words there! Logolepsy is a good start.

Go expand those lexicons!

Usability Immunity System

One of my friends who is a master of Linux development and scripting and such, recently posted on his G+ about a usability issue pertaining to Gnome help menus. Soon, someone commented that that’s how Windows users feel all the time using Linux. I almost use Windows and Ubuntu Linux in equal proportion, so I feel like I can reasonably say (taking into account that the hardware I have at home is inferior to the school’s) I have equal usability problems with Windows and Ubuntu Linux. And if you consider the constraints of a Linux operating system before you buy your hardware, well, you really shouldn’t have any issues at all.


Musing on this conflict, I postulated that users build a sort of usability immunity with the operating system and tools they use most frequently. The stresses that don’t seem “normal” affect them more strongly. That makes Live Linux CDs the inoculations of the operating system world.  😉  On a serious note, when writing documentation and interfaces for a product competing against something with substantial market share, I think it is important to research as thoroughly as you can the immune systems of your target audience. You don’t want to make them sick!

Style Guide

This week at work, I’ve independently assigned myself the task of creating a style guide for the instructional design unit.  I’m basing it loosely on the Science and Technical Writing style guide I’ve been reading, but I also plan to draw from many other sources including my textbook from IBM Press, Developing Quality Technical Information: A Handbook For Writers and Editors.