Ben Cotton

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10 Tips for Making Your Documentation Crystal Clear

So you've some written excellent documentation. Now what? Now it's time to go back and edit it. When you first sit down to write your documentation, you want to focus on what you're trying to say instead of how you're saying it, but once that first draft is done it's time to go back and polish it up a little. One of my favorite ways to edit is to read what I've written aloud. That's the best way to catch awkward phrasing or sentence structure that might not stand out when you're reading it to yourself. If it sounds good when you read it aloud, it probably is. If your documentation happens to include instructions, you can watch someone try to follow them...

2016 Hacktoberfest Ignites Open Source Participation

DigitalOcean launched Hacktoberfest in 2014 to encourage contribution to open source projects. The event was a clear success, and in terms of attendance and participation goals reached, it's also clear that Hacktoberfest has become a powerful force in driving contributions to open source. The lure of a t-shirt and specific, time-limited goals help new contributors get started and encourage existing contributors to rededicate themselves and their efforts. The third year continued the momentum. In fact, early in the month, community management manager Daniel Zaltsman told that 2016 already surpassed last year's results...

A Look at Open Source Image Recognition Technology

Image recognition technology promises great potential in areas from public safety to healthcare...At the Supercomputing Conference in Denver last year, I discovered an interesting project as I walked the expo floor. A PhD student from Louisiana State University, Shayan Shams, had set up a large monitor displaying a webcam image. Overlaid on the image were colored boxes with labels. As I looked closer, I realized the labels identified objects on a table. Of course, I had to play with it. As I moved each object on the table, its label followed. I moved some objects that were off-camera into the field of view, and the system identified them too.

Department of Education Seeks Comments on Open Licensing Requirements

One of the more effective ways to advance an agenda is to attach requirements to grant funding. The U.S. Department of Education has an interest in broadening the impact of its grants, so it announced a notice of proposed rule making (NPRM) on October 29. The proposed rule would require intellectual property created with Department of Education grant funding to be openly licensed to the public. This includes both software and instructional materials...

How to Write Documentation That's Actually Useful

Steven Vaughan-Nichols | Enterprise.Nxt | July 10, 2017

Programmers love to write code, but they hate to write documentation. Developers always want to read documentation when they inherit a project, but writing it themselves? Feh! How common is this? A recent GitHub survey found that "incomplete or outdated documentation is a pervasive problem," according to 93 percent of respondents. Yet 60 percent of contributors to the open source code repository say they rarely or never contribute to documentation. Their reasoning, for both the open source projects and their own applications? A common attitude that "documentation is for 'lusers' who don't write good code!"...

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