Welcome

I am a technical communicator with a love of explaining technical concepts in documentation, blog posts, videos, books and more.

I currently work for Chronosphere and have a small technical writing agency called Gregarious Mammal.

I am a podcaster, video maker, writer of interactive fiction, and games. This website is a home for all my blog posts, podcasts, newsletters and creative projects.

Need advice for your documentation project? Sign up for my office hours.

Devx5 - The best JS framework with Next.js

Next.js gives you the best developer experience with all the features you need for production. Does it live up to the hype? Ian and Chris take a deep dive into the developer experience and see.

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Hands on - collaborative markdown with hackmd

Embracing “standard” Markdown, HackMD lets you collaborate using everyone’s favourite plan text format. How does it compare to the bigger, shinier competition? I take a look.

Open source monitoring and metrics landscape

Metrics and managing and understanding them is an essential part of any modern complex application. As with any active and busy technical ecosystem, there is a proliferation of competing open source monitoring standards. A handful emerges as the most popular solutions. Slowly, the community creates a standard that most projects follow in some way.

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Hands on - Creating digital humans with Unreal's MetaHuman

MetaHuman provides a way to create your own digital human representations in an intuitive and easy-to-learn environment. Watch me freak myself out as I create myself, live on camera 🤯

Relaunch announcement

Relaunch announcement

I’ve been quiet for a while, here’s why. I’m relaunching the show soon and here’s what I have planned.

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Hands on - Use your voice to code with Serenade

Serenade lets you write code with your voice. You heard that right. Is it faster than typing? Is it annoying? I take a err, speak?

Why your software teams need an internal developer platform

Why your software teams need an internal developer platform

Companies that are built upon or are building software typically want to move fast and not break things. But how can growing teams allow developers to keep building new features and fixing bugs without operations teams slowing them down with complex and arduous processes?

Devx5 - Code-based music collaboration with Sonic Pi

Sonic Pi is a code-based music creation and performance tool. Learn to code creatively by composing or performing music in an incredible range of styles from Classical & Jazz to Grime & EDM.

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Hands on - Browser-based Screen recording with Screenity

There are a lot of screen recorders available, so what does Screenity offer over all of the others? I take a look.

Real-Time Analytics with Venkat Venkataramani of Rockset

Real-Time Analytics with Venkat Venkataramani of Rockset

Rockset promises The real-time indexing database for modern data applications. How does it compare to the competition? I speak with Venkat Venkataramani to find out.

Devx5 - Fast Application development with StepZen

Easily connect data from REST, GraphQL, databases, or any backend, StepZen promises simplicity and interoperability. But how will it stand up to our rigorous developer experience testing?

CTD - Winter Wonderland Ep 16 (Pt 1)

Episode 16 - Winter Wonderland (Pt 1) was streamed live on our Twitch channel at Twitch.tv/crittestdummies on April 25th. Check us out most Sundays at 6 PM CET for new episodes! You can find this adventure and more by Kian Bergstrom on DMs Guild at https://bit.ly/2TkcKHu He can also be found at @FalseFlorimell on Twitter. Character art made by Lance @20sapodcast on Twitter. Game audio by SoundTale. Thank you to James for letting us use their work, our players Chris, Luke, Patrick and Shane, and our DM Peter!

Chinchilla Squeaks - Full Stack Automation with Consul and Nomad of HashiCorp

Chinchilla Squeaks - Full Stack Automation with Consul and Nomad of HashiCorp

Many of us in software development know of, and have used HashiCorp projects. How do they stay innovative in a rapidly changing ecosystem? I speak with Ray (Consul) and Chang (Nomad) to find out more.

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Hands on - Create Rich Documentation for Swift applications with DocC

Apple’s new DocC documentation compiler converts Markdown-based text into rich documentation for Swift applications. How does it compare to other language-specific tools? I take a look.

CTD - White Dragon Mountain Pt1 (Ep 15)

Episode 15 - White Dragon Mountain (Pt 1) was streamed live on our Twitch channel at Twitch.tv/crittestdummies on April 4th. Check us out most Sundays at 6 PM CET for new episodes! You can find this adventure and more by Bruno71 at DMsGuild.com Character art made by Lance @20sapodcast on Twitter. Game audio by Tabletop Audio. Thank you as well to our players Chris, Luke, Patrick and Shane, and our DM Peter!

Recommendations and Newsletters

I currently curate 4 newsletters on Ethics (mostly in technology), gaming, Language and Linguistics, see my latest recommendations and join those newsletters below.

The Chinchilla Squeaks Newsletter

My general newsletter "Chinchilla Squeaks" draws content from all these sources and a couple more, sign up to that below.

Latest ethics posts

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Last summer an(other) unarmed black man was killed by police in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The subsequent 8 minute and 46 second video clip swept across social media and raised widespread condemnation. Hours of discourse and weeks of protests followed.
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Can Silicon Valley Find God?

from The New York Times
“Alexa, are we humans special among other living things?” One sunny day last June, I sat before my computer screen and posed this question to an Amazon device 800 miles away, in the Seattle home of an artificial intelligence researcher named Shanen Boettcher.
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In 2020, as the co-lead of Google’s ethical AI team, Gebru had reached out to Emily Bender, a linguistics professor at the University of Washington, and asked to collaborate on research about the troubling direction of artificial intelligence.
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A trail of clues helped police close in on a dangerous predator. Now, a battle over the future of end-to-end encryption could change the rules of engagement
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In December 2019, Utah startup Latitude launched a pioneering online game called AI Dungeon that demonstrated a new form of human-machine collaboration.
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Latest language posts

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from
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In his early days of writing, famed fantasy and Appendix N writer Michael Moorcock was a disciple of Lester Dent's Master Plot.
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The Guardian’s style guide was originally published in 1928 as a physical book, and is available to everyone on our website. Over time, it’s grown bigger and more complex, containing guidelines on important topics that we want to get right.
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As the car with the blacked-out windows came to a halt in a sidestreet near Tübingen’s botanical gardens, keen-eyed passersby may have noticed something unusual about its numberplate. In Germany, the first few letters usually denote the municipality where a vehicle is registered.
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Microsoft is integrating AI technologies with its PowerFx low-code programming language. This integration will enable customers to use natural-language input and "programming by example" techniques when developing with PowerApps.
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Latest gaming posts

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Corrupted Blood incident

from Wikipedia
The Corrupted Blood incident (or World of Warcraft pandemic[1][2]) was a virtual pandemic in the MMORPG World of Warcraft, which began on September 13, 2005, and lasted for one week. The epidemic began with the introduction of the new raid Zul'Gurub and its end boss Hakkar the Soulflayer.
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I am probably late to the party on this, but just this past week I discovered the game Spire: The City Must Fall. It looked absolutely fascinating, so I threw myself into it and read the entire book cover to cover, and now I have thoughts about it.
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In 2015 I shared my Universal NPC Roleplaying Template, which is designed to structure the description of NPCs so that they can be quickly picked up and played at the table while simplifying the prep you do for them. More bang for your buck, in other words.
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It’s a world filled with Pokémon card grading fun – and tons and tons of abuse
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Becky Ensteness was fed up. She was at a local wargaming convention, where enthusiasts schlep their pewter armies to beige conference halls for a long, meditative weekend of stone cold tactics, and Ensteness couldn't wait to get her orders out. She's been a hobbyist wargamer for decades.
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