Thanks to Merlin (via MetaFilter) for linking to a great essay by Kurt Vonnegut: “How to Write With Style”.
Why should you examine your writing style with the idea of improving it? Do so as a mark of respect for your readers, whatever you’re writing. If you scribble your thoughts any which way, your readers will surely feel that you care nothing about them. They will mark you down as an egomaniac or a chowderhead — or, worse, they will stop reading you.
The most damning revelation you can make about yourself is that you do not know what is interesting and what is not. Don’t you yourself like or dislike writers mainly for what they choose to show you or make you think about? Did you ever admire an emptyheaded writer for his or her mastery of the language? No.
He sums up:
- Find a subject you care about
- Do not ramble, though
- Keep it simple
- Have guts to cut
- Sound like yourself
- Say what you mean
- Pity the readers
Old travel guidebook collection on Flickr – Photo Sharing!
“…I prefer the well used books that were held by hands of a traveler. Travelers who, for instance, had their worn copy of Baedeker’s Northern Italy open while they gazed upon the Roman Colosseum and then notated the margins…
The Merlin Show
Merlin’s 30 theoretically productive frames per second
Scoutmaster: Tin Can Barometer
simple plan for a barometer made from a beer or soda can and a soup can.
Shell Scripting Primer
Merlin Mann’s new episode of the Merlin Show posted yesterday teaches very powerful Quicksilver-Fu, enabling you to access the menu items of any application, as well as introducing the concept of proxies. These techniques belie the mistaken impression that Quicksilver is “merely” a program launcher — it is an application master. ;)
What isn’t clear in the ‘cast is the settings, downloads, and brand of incense you need to burn in order to make all of that happen. I’m pretty sure the below covers everything, but let me know if I missed something.
To start, you’ll likely need to have “Enable Advanced Features” turned on in the latest-greatest version of Quicksilver.
First, to enable proxies in QS preferences… Under Catalog > Quicksilver, turn on “Proxy Objects”, “Internal Commands”, and “Internal Objects”.
To access menu items (and enable the Show Menu Items action), go under Plug-ins > All Plug Ins and scroll down to turn on “User Interface Access (+)”.
In System Preferences
Then go under your Mac’s System Preferences, to Universal Access, and turn on “Enable access for assistive devices” at the bottom.