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visits member for 3 years, 10 months
seen Oct 28 at 19:01

A qualified chemist who somehow drifted into web development. I've learned (to a greater or lesser degree of accuracy) PHP and JavaScript, and would like to learn something completely different for the sake of it. I'm a weirdo who actually enjoys reading (and sometimes writing) technical documentation.


Oct
28
comment How to display URLs in a textbook?
Note that http://example.com is the same as http://example.com/ (so yes, you can drop the trailing slash). However, http://example.com/path is not the same as http://example.com/path/. The server may serve the same content for both, or redirect one to the other, or it may not. Don't remove a trailing slash in this situation.
Sep
23
comment Time measures in fantasy worlds
In Cynthia Harnett's novel The Load of Unicorn, a time measure mentioned is "a paternoster while" (i.e., the time taken to say the Our Father (Lat., Pater Noster prayer). In the context of the passage, the fact that the time unit is a prayer is relevant: something like, Wait there long enough to say a prayer. And, while you're waiting, say the prayer!
Sep
14
comment Time measures in fantasy worlds
Measuring distance with time is culturally dependent. It's a lot rarer in Ireland than I've heard it is in the USA.
Sep
12
comment Is it bad to include subplots that don't push the story forward?
PD James does this all the time, and she's very good at it.
Feb
17
comment How to display URLs in a textbook?
I've seen at least one dictionary which omits the http:// for URLs which start with www. I really dislike this style, though I suppose I understand it.
Nov
20
comment Using emails in an autobiography
If you want to be confident that the e-mails don't exist, you might want to use a reserved example domain.
Nov
7
comment What are the advantages of different date formats in resumes and CVs?
Now, I'd say adding the ordinal suffix makes the date more formal, not less. Perhaps that's another US-vs-Europe difference (I'm Irish).
Feb
1
comment Is it a bad writing practice to start sentences with a verb?
To be or not to be does not start with a preposition. It starts with an infinitive verb.
Feb
1
comment Is it frustrating not to know the narrator's gender?
One example of YA writing which does this well is The Turbulent Term of Tyke Tylor. You assume, naturally, that the narrator is a boy. She isn't.
Feb
1
comment Does there have to be a difference when writing different genders?
"For example, a formally educated high class woman is not likely to curse like a dock worker." Well, I have no idea what you mean by "high class", but educated people, men and women, swear all the time. So do upper class people. "High class" is, I suspect, somewhat different to "upper class", and implies value judgements I don't share.
Feb
1
comment I cannot determine my Protagonist's work-life. Any help?
Read Ben Goldacre's book Bad Pharma. It'll give you some clues.
Jan
11
comment What genre appeals to the widest audience?
CS Lewis, when talking about writers who had no sympathy for sci-fi who wrote it anyway because it was popular, called them "displaced persons". Anyway, I prefer the ungenred to the hypergenred.
Oct
13
comment The opposite sex in first person?
If you actually want to know how men and women speak, get hold of The Myth of Mars and Venus, by Deborah Cameron, which blows John Gray's book out of the water as the pseudocientific bullshit it is. Cameron is a linguist and a professor, and her book is based on actual research and data, but is highly accessible.
Oct
13
comment Use of present-tense for memory-related shenanigans in a past-tense story
... I never forgot Eve?
Jun
13
comment How much swearing is TOO much? (And how much is not enough?)
One thing to consider is that swear words often seem "stronger" on the printed page than they are in a spoken medium, so you should probably use fewer of them. But do still feel free to use them. And definitely don't star them out. F*nger.
Oct
5
comment How To Avoid Using Cliches In Storylines?
Tropes are not bad.
Sep
13
comment How much sex is allowed in a non-romance novel?
Old ladies don't like reading about sex? News to me.
Aug
5
comment What's the modern way to handle gender in tech writing?
@Lauren. "just because people have been doing it wrong for four hundred years doesn't make it right". Well, yes, actually, it does. If you don't define the rules of English from the way it's used by native speakers, how do you define them?
Jun
3
comment What's the modern way to handle gender in tech writing?
I share your dislike of singular they, but it's not wrong. It's been attested in the literature for centuries.