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Peter (pi)

Keep your paragraphs short and logical

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Edited by Peter Whyte, Friday, 10 Dec 2010, 13:33

More from William Zinsser. This time on paragraphs:

Keep your paragraphs short. Writing is visual -- it catches the eye before it has a chance to catch the brain. Short paragraphs put air around what you write and make it look inviting, whereas a big chunk of uninterrupted type can discourage a reader from even starting to read.1
Paragraphing is a subtle but important element in writing nonfiction articles and books, a road map constantly telling your reader how you have organized your ideas. Study good nonfiction writers to see how they do it. You'll find that most of them think in paragraph units, not sentence units. Each paragraph has its own integrity of content and is rounded off to serve as both an end and a springboard to what's coming next.2

__________

1. On Writing Well. 5/ed, New York: Harper Collins College Publishers, 1995, p. 126.

2. ibid. p. 128

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Peter (pi)

Keep your sentences under control

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Edited by Peter Whyte, Wednesday, 8 Dec 2010, 00:08

William Zinsser has some wise advice on writing sentences that apply well to discursive TMA answers.

There's not much to be said about the period1 except that most writers don't reach it soon enough. If you find yourself hopelessly mired in a long sentence, it's probably because you're trying to make the sentence do more than it can reasonably do -- perhaps express two dissimilar thoughts. The quickest way out is to break the long sentence into two short sentences, or even three. There is no minimum length for a sentence that's acceptable in the eyes of God. Among good writers it is the short sentence that predominates, and don't tell me about Norman Mailer -- he's a genius. If you want to write long sentences, be a genius. Or at least make sure that the sentence is under control from beginning to end in syntax and punctuation, so that the reader knows where he is at every step of the winding trail.2

__________

1 full stop.

2 On Writing Well. 5/ed, New York: Harper Collins College Publishers, 1995, pp. 114-115.

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Peter (pi)

Javascript debugging tutorial

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A colleague has posted a useful video tutorial for finding errors in Javascript programs when you are using Firefox. It shows how to install the Firebug extension for Firefox and how to use it to find errors.
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Peter (pi)

The Pirate Bay

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Edited by Peter Whyte, Monday, 20 Apr 2009, 23:25
There are a couple of recent reports on The Pirate Bay court case in Stockholm that are worth viewing in relation to the sections of the course on digital piracy. The BBC has a report from 17 April that has links to several other items. There is also a video report from Reuters on the Scientific American Web site.
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Peter (pi)

Interview with Google CEO

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Edited by Peter Whyte, Friday, 10 Dec 2010, 13:36

Google CEO Eric Schmidt was on Charlie Rose Friday night (6 Mar 2009) to talk about all things Google and technology. It’s a fascinating discussion covering topics like privacy, group learning, online reading, etc.

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Peter (pi)

Don't try this at home

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Edited by Peter Whyte, Tuesday, 3 Feb 2009, 12:56

One of my colleagues shared this cartoon which gives an amusing twist on computer security and cryptography. I'm certainly not recommending the tactic, but I hope you find it amusing, nonetheless.

Cartoon on security

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