Re: Not being a programmer...

Subject: Re: Not being a programmer...
From: Lou Quillio <quillio -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 30 Mar 2005 17:59:30 -0500

On Wed, 30 Mar 2005 14:04:20 -0800 (PST), John Posada
<jposada01 -at- yahoo -dot- com> wrote:

> Don't tell ME that being a programmer wouldn't help me be a better
> technical writer.

There's a shorter route: just become an experienced hack.

Last gig was with a Big Bank. I'd written some large and winning
proposals for them in the past (I'm mostly a proposal guy), but this
time they wanted system docs. Whole 'nother world and I was rusty.
Plus the app was a legacy hodgepodge and way behind. I swear, devs
were making design decisions based on our discussions.

Anyhow, I quickly figured out I wasn't up-to-speed on UNIX-y systems,
at least not enough to suit me. I was a legitimate Windows god, deep
into a new OS X iBook and had worked with Apache on UNIX/Linux for
years. But I didn't own the road.

So I forced myself to drive the iBook from the command line (FreeBSD).
Then the big plunge: I permanently switched to desktop Linux nine
months ago. There's a Windows box around here somewhere, but I rarely
use it. What's funny is that a Mac made me switch to Linux. Not what
Steve had in mind.

You're in a Windows dev enviroment, so this advice is off-target. But
anybody who feels inadequate with UNIX-like systems (as I did) can
just dive in, at home, on their own time.

Using desktop Linux every day has changed me. It makes you learn
brass tacks, partly because you have to, partly because you'll want
to, but mostly because you can. Nothing's hidden. You can get an
awful lot done without touching the command line, but you'll be
touching it anyway, often. Everything's free (except for your time),
and it rejuvenates old hardware. Highly recommended.

And in terms of exposure to coding, you don't have to find a copy of
C++ or Perl or Python or Ruby that you can sucker Windows into
running. It's already there in the standard enviroment. Take it up
as you have time and interest.



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Not being a programmer...: From: John Posada

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