Sunday, November 28, 2021

How to respond to a question?

I've been thinking a lot about communication (I know--fun, right?!) and especially about questions. This is because asking and responding to questions (not just answering them) is a large part of communication.

So, 9(+) ways to respond when asked a question:

  1. Ignore the question. (& the person asking?)
  2. Refuse to answer.
  3. Admit that you don't know.
  4. Admit that you can't answer. (yet?)
  5. Use the fact that the asker has now stopped talking and take the opportunity to talk about what you want to.
  6. Pick a word from the question and talk about that. (Because not properly listening, or as a way to avoid answering the question directly.)
  7. Talk about a topic related to the question. (Because that's what you want to talk about, or as a way of avoiding the actual question.) 
  8. Directly answer the question.
  9. Provide information/suggestions/ideas related to the question that will allow the asker to find (or decide) the answer themselves.
  10. Other?

I know the above is a generalization, and it won't apply to all questions but is a helpful summary of the options that are generally available.

 Not all are always possible, appropriate, or useful, but all are worth considering before asking (or even answering) a question.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

I learned a shocking secret about many technical books

One of the reasons I wrote a book about the Uno Platform with a new publisher was to learn more about the book publishing process so I can look to self-publish in the future. One of the things I learned shocked me.

This fact is that, apparently, many authors don't check that the source code that they include in their books actually works! Additionally, many editors and publishers don't check that the source code that they include in their books actually works either!

I didn't want to be like this.

As part of my process for testing and verifying that everything a chapter was complete, I'd work through the contents of a chapter, following each step and making sure that it included everything exactly as it should be. This would mean starting with a new project, following each step as written, and copying (cutting and pasting) the code into the editor as I went.

For each chapter I wrote in the Uno book, I did this whole process at least three times. Not wanting to rely on assumptions or trust that what I thought I'd written, or knew what to do matched what was in the manuscript. I'd repeat the process after each round of reviews and when I made big changes to the order of steps or the code so that everything still worked as intended.

For the final round of my testing, I thought it might be an interesting artifact to record the process and so I did. Below are videos for the chapters I wrote showing how I went through each chapter to check all the instructions (& code) worked. Sorry, the sound isn't great but hopefully it's good enough if you really need to hear it.

Chapter 4 -

Chapter 6 -

Chapter 8 -

Any questions about these chapters (or the book in general) I'm sure you can work out how to get in touch ;)