Web Explored: Silence of God, Cognative Computing, Etcetra…

Digital World - Web Explored

I love the variety of the web. Every time I encounter a site having useful inform­a­tion I add it to one of my Feedspot folders. This way I am build­ing an on-line library of inter­est­ing sites. I lookup articles on these every day. Some of which become part of Web explored. November is the anniversary of Web Explored, and I am honour­ing that milestone by re-using the origin­al featured image from the November 2016 edition. Web explored celeb­rates the wide variety of views that are out in the web. Silence of god is the opening story for this edition of Web explored.

 
The purpose of Web Explored is to bring a flavour of the things that people are writing about. Some you may have seen before — others you could be seeing for the first time. The object, to share the thoughts of others to my readers in an enjoy­able way.
 

Silence of God

 
An inter­est­ing question placed on Facebook: “if you’re an atheist, does a charac­ter who believes in Jesus offend you?” As an atheist that is an inter­est­ing question. I know people who believe fervently in god. Just because they have such beliefs and I do not doesn’t mean we are unable to work togeth­er. The first link here is appro­pri­ate to that question.
 
I sit in silence on my back porch, contem­plat­ing. The leaves are worship­ing all around me in a kaleido­scope of color. I sit and wait, for what? I do not know”. So says Michelle Gunnin in her piece Silence of God. Personally I may not use words like ‘worship­ing’ but it does paint an excel­lent picture of the mood of the season. Hearing the pitter-patter of leaves is an inter­est­ing descrip­tion. I love descript­ive words like this and how they can drive the imagin­a­tion.
 
What she is describ­ing is based on reality, paint­ing an excel­lent picture, the autum­nal scene in which she finds herself and the thoughts to accom­pany it. Such moving writing is normally associ­ated with fiction. Yet this writing is factu­al. It is imagin­at­ive nonethe­less. All writers should pay atten­tion to the way she has put these words togeth­er. The way we use words matters.
 

Survey Your Readers

 
ProBlogger raises an excel­lent question “how do you survey your readers?” Some inform­a­tion you may wish to gather include:
  • Demographics: find out your readers’ gender, age, income, and interests.
  • What types of content do your readers like?
  • The kinds of problems your readers want solved
 
These are excel­lent lines of enquiry. Personally, I plan and re-plan my publish­ing sched­ule every six to eight weeks. Not an end-of-year event, but an ongoing exercise. It is always import­ant to get feedback though. I have tried a couple of Twitter surveys, with moder­ate success.
 

Learning from Machines

 
Valeria Maltone, A.K.A. the Conversation Agent talks about “What Cognitive Computing can Teach us About How we Learn”. “We need the power of cognit­ive comput­ing to put into context the volumes of inform­a­tion we deal with daily in many profes­sions”. I agree. This has been a thought I have had for quite some time. I see Amazon Echo or Google’s offer­ing as a limited facil­ity gimmick, a nice to have, but not a neces­sity.
 

Digital Girl by Geralt CC0 Public Domain from Pixabay

For an A.I. assist­ant, I need a tool that will search through volumes of inform­a­tion (wheth­er on my own computer or across the Internet) and gather togeth­er the most relev­ant elements.

 
The idea being that it assists me in produ­cing what I am working on. I should be able to set it to work at any time, like midnight — before I go to bed. It then gathers all useful data and presents it in a way that allows me to easily write the first draft of a project. Find facts, figures, info-graphics, and other useful mater­i­al. Perhaps the data gathered can prove or disprove a theory. Help me under­stand wheth­er or not to publish. A useful tool, not a gimmick.
 
One of the challenges of A.I. is about context. Understanding how us humans use words. The tone. Is a person using humour, or are they being cynic­al? Sometimes it is diffi­cult for us humans to tell, how hard is it for a machine? This is an inter­est­ing discus­sion that must be ongoing.
 

Self Imposed Deadline

 
Writer Jack Vance came up with a plan “giving myself a specif­ic block of time (e.g., 10 – 15 minutes) to write a post”. His contri­bu­tion “Blogging Under Time Pressure” is an inter­est­ing read. The goal/desire/hope to train himself to finish most posts in the condensed time frame without having to come back and finish them later. 
 
The idea of using alloted time slots in which to write is a good one, but a 15 minute article becomes very short and you have to ask the value it offers. I would not limit it to 15 minutes, a 30 minute ‘sprint’ can offer a lot of value. This can focus the mind and get you to put the words on the page.
 
Personally, I refute his notion that editing and re-writing contrib­ute little to the post. Editing adds a lot of value, it is about adding spit and polish to the final thoughts. 
 

Self-Motivating

 
Bill Ferris offers Ten Tips on Self-Motivating for a writer. His first tip, “set a regular sched­ule” is one I thoroughly agree with. Even if you only have 10 minutes a day to write then you must make those 10 minutes count and use them every day. When are those ten minutes? Are they at lunch time? As soon as you arrive home from work? They are crucial  minutes.
 
He offers many other great tips which the dedic­ated writer can learn from. “Rekindle the romance” for your work is anoth­er power­ful tip. Look at what you loved about the project and try to reach that point again. That can become an import­ant driver. For other tips then take a look at Ferris’s piece.
 

Perfect Business Email

 
Mary Cullen on the Instructional Solutions Blog offers tips on “How to Write a Business Email” which every­one ought to consider. I have received some dread­ful emails sent by highly intel­li­gent, indeed brilliant, people over the years. It is not that they can’t write , they simply forget the basic rules of commu­nic­a­tion in that moment.
 
Key questions, such as, who is my audience and what is the purpose, indeed is it neces­sary, should always be asked by the writer. All too many emails are written as a knee-jerk reaction to something said when the writer ought to ration­al­ise their thoughts.
 
I agree that style, tone, and the format of the email are all essen­tial. Consider that when next writing an email. Perhaps you should bookmark this page.
 

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