As some of you know I specialize in both technology writing and financial writing. Lately, I’ve been publishing some nice, long, articles over at Tom’s IT Pro. If you’re familiar with Tom’s Hardware, it’s the same family of publications. My author page is here.
These recent articles are about Microsoft’s System Center 2012 R2 release. For those of you not aware of System Center, this is Microsoft’s suite of tools for enterprise-level computer and system management. System Center covers everything from installing and upgrading software across thousands of computers, to monitoring, updating, and automating just about anything and everything a system administrator would ever need to do. Theoretically, if you had the entire suite set up and working correctly, you could run and entire company’s IT department from a single location using nothing but these tools. That isn’t how the real world works, of course, but that’s the idea.
Software distribution and updating is handled by System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager.
I’ve also written an article about System Center Operations Manager 2012 R2 and some other nice articles.
And finally, here is an overall look at whether System Center 2012 R2 is worth the upgrade or not.
It’s always interesting to take these deeper looks into new software. The trick is finding useful information since the products are so new, there usually isn’t a lot of stuff out there. Fortunately, Microsoft does some pretty extensive betas these days, and their own engineers have taken to occasionally making blog posts or writing TechNet articles that have just the right information. Digging them out can take effort because Microsoft puts more effort into linking their main marketing page and materials, but once you get an idea of where to look, then it come pretty rapidly.
Finding the information beyond what is in the press release is the hallmark of a good freelance technology writer. If you have a project and are looking for someone to help, you can find me at ArcticLlama, as always.
Hey, that’s what I said.
After a long process, and frankly, design by committee, Colorado ends up with a new branding logo that is… basic, plain, cliche, blah. Take your pick.
It cost $1.1 million in real dollars and $1.5 million in “pro-bono work.”
It’s a mountain (shocker) with a CO on it (the official state abbreviation). The color is the same green that’s been on the basic license plate since I was in elementary school. For all of that money and time, one has to wonder, couldn’t the local 4th graders have come up with basically the same thing?
Here are a couple of articles about it if you are interested in looking further into it:
Long ago, writing authorities decided that passive voice was “weaker” than active voice, and therefore, discouraged. However, no one has ever proclaimed passive voice to be grammatically incorrect. This leads to some head-butting with editors from time to time.
Editors, of course, follow the various rules of their own publications, as well as the established rules of the English language and grammar usage. Their job is to ensure that the various writing styles and voices of writers are accommodated* while still preserving the integrity and readability of the publication. In pursuit of this mission, editors almost always demand that passive voice be eliminated.
*’are accomidated’ is passive. Note, that it is not WRONG, jut passive. To make it active, you need to switch the sentence around and use the main active verb ‘accommodate.’
There are certain topics that make it hard to eliminate passive voice. More specifically, there are certain sentences that make eliminating passive voice difficult. When talking about something that someone may choose, or not choose to do, or allow in the future, passive voice is hard to get away from without making the sentence awkward. I notice this most when writing about taxes.
Tax rules and regulations often offer taxpayers a choice. A sentence must, therefore, make it clear that there is a choice. Using the word may, or can, is a good way to show that there is a choice. Next, most tax advice or tips involves what the taxpayer will do in the future. Add it up and you end with passive phrasing.
“A taxpayer is allowed to take a deduction.”
That sentence is passive, is allowed.
Fixing it requires a different subject, or verb.
“Tax code allows the taxpayer a deduction.”
“A taxpayer may take a deduction.”
While I understand the concept of avoiding passive voice, it is still my contention that the first sentence conveys the information most accurately in terms of tenor, sound, or feel, even if the others are grammatically the same information.
If you were wondering, yes, I am writing something and the passive is bugging me
There is an bill winding its way through the Colorado Legislature – HB1135 – that would allow for “pre-registration” of teens for voting. The idea is that these folks would already be registered to vote when they turn 18, thereby increasing the turnout in elections.
My main thought is that it isn’t really that hard to register to vote in Colorado. This isn’t one of those states where they passed new voting requirement laws. In fact, you can register by checking a box when you renew your drivers license when you turn 18. With so many voters out there being very uninformed, isn’t a minimal level of effort a reasonable barrier to entry for the most uninformed and un-involved members of society? Or am I missing something here?
I write for the blog of the computer training company, TrainSignal. Frankly, I’m proud of the various content I’ve published there over the years, and I think the vast majority of it is both informative and worthwhile. It was no exception when I published an article about the new features in Windows Server 2012 that have people excited.
The fun part was that the official Windows Server twitter account posted a (unsolicitied) link to the article. It’s always nice to get a little extra validation. I assume, if nothing else, that the article is at least technically accurate since they bothered to link it
Have a nice day, especially those of you who are not stuck in a blizzard.