Writing About Tech to a Beginner’s Perspective

matrixOne of the trickiest parts about writing tech articles is figuring out the best way to explain beginner-level tasks, for which we can’t assume the reader is familiar with proper terms and seemingly obvious steps. In trying to work around that problem, I’ve found that the best solution is often to approach the task from a completely different angle. Continue reading

Tech Steps Forward, One Step Back

1111After my grandfather passed away in 2006, my grandmother — who had very little computer knowledge — needed to learn for the first time how to send email, browse the Web and save the photos that friends and relatives regularly sent her way.

As the “tech guy” in the family, she naturally leaned on me for training. But she taught me something important, too, as I helped her find her way. Her experiences in trying to master Windows XP and a DSL modem and a finicky inkjet printer helped me understand that the best coaching comes not just in answering the present question, but in framing it such that it also covers the next, unasked, question. Continue reading

Featured Contributor: Seth Amery

finalWho was the most entertaining person you’ve interviewed throughout your career? There are two in particular who stand out to me the most, although for one I had only transcribed the interview. I interviewed the guys behind the No More Room in Hell mod for Half-Life 2, which adds a ton of realistic zombie gameplay and a barricade mode, and it really impressed me how much effort they were pouring into this detailed mod that they released for free; it was a glimpse into raw passion. It stuck with me.

I transcribed an interview with Doug Kennedy of Reverb Publishing, and during that they discussed fixing the standard developer-publisher relationship that favored big guys at the literal expense of their development team. It was reassuring to read about at least one other person who wanted to fix a very real problem in the industry and was actually trying to do something about it. Continue reading

Featured Contributor: Karren Doll Tolliver


School: Mississippi University for Women, Columbus, MS
Degree: English
Approved Sections: Fitness & Well-being; Food & Drink; Garden; Technology; Travel

A day in the life of Karren, summarized in a Tweet:


Sounds busy! By the way, I’m digging your name, Karren Doll Tolliver. Did you have a nickname growing up? Well, first of all my middle name, Doll, is actually my maiden name. I really didn’t have a nickname growing up, but my college friends gave me the nickname Double-R because of the two R’s in my first name. There was another Karen in the group; she was Single-R. Continue reading

Breakfast: Why you Shouldn’t Skimp on it

You don’t have to be a certified nutritionist to know breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But just to be on the safe side I decided to ask our resident nutrition expert, Tim (see below).


Disclaimer: Tim did NOT know I was quoting him. He wishes to inform the reader he apologizes for his grammar. His IM name has been blurred for his protection.

The story checks out!

Did you know that after 8 hours of beauty sleep that first bite of cereal/muffin/leftover pizza means you’re literally ‘breaking’ your overnight ‘fast’? (hence the breakfast). Not only does a morning meal help curb your appetite throughout the day (i.e you won’t feel the constant need to snack), it replenishes vital mind & body operating sustenance. Science!

However in our fast-paced, technology driven world we don’t always give ourselves enough time in the morning to eat. We aim to recuperate the loss during lunch, but by noon the damage might already be done—your withdrawn brain has gone hours without nourishing vitamins/minerals, resulting in a sluggish zombie-like state (we all know the feeling). Coffee might offer that quick jolted fix, but ultimately it’s just that, a fix. According to WebMD when you skimp out on a nutritious breakfast you’re basically kicking your brain right in the productive mojo–a bad idea for us writers/editors out there—I sincerely hope that’s not you! 

By eating a healthy breakfast it ensures proper brain functionality; which is key to staying alert, productive, and most importantly, “improved concentration and performance.” I hope I’m not speaking for myself when I say I could certainly use more of that…um…concentration. 

When it comes to my most beloved meal of the day, I have to ask: what gets your motor going? I’ve put together a few of my favorites in the pics below, but feel free to share your own ideas/recipes/whatever in the comments.




pancakes tropical-fruit-smoothie breakfastsandwichdonutsron-swanson


Now, I know coffee doesn’t substitute as a meal. However it’s a writer/editors staple beverage, and it’s a great compliment to a meal—it just doesn’t suffice on its own. And would you look at those donuts? They’re from Voodoo’s bakery in Portland, OR. The zombie/ghost looking doughnut features a pretzel stick stabbed into its ‘heart,’ and it’s also filled with raspberry jelly (yum).

For my money I love cold cereal, especially with a banana on the side. On the weekends, when I have more flexibility, I spring for a more loaded breakfast. Then again I’m usually particularly active on the weekends, and the extra oomph is necessary.


10 Things My Studio Bio Won’t Tell You

Karen on one of her many adventures -- this time in northern Kenya.

Karen on one of her many adventures — this time in northern Kenya.

Name: Karen Sherman

Location: Brooklyn, New York

Years in the Studio: Four

Sections I chief for: Travel, Style and Food & Drink

1. I’m usually working hard, but when I’m hardly working, you can find me…

Planning my next trip, or the one after that. Or the one after that. Or a trip for someone else to take.

2. If I had to describe my work in three words, they would be…

Interested. Particular. Flexible.

3. The one thing I wish I could do well, but can’t is…

Play sports. I’m a good swimmer, but at anything that involves a bunch of people getting together and smacking a ball around, I’m pretty hopeless.

Credit: today.com

Credit: today.com

4. If I ruled the world for a day I would…

Run away and hide. I’m not comfortable wielding that much power!

5. I couldn’t make it through the day without…

Music. But chocolate helps too. As does pie.

6. The greatest risk I ever took was…

Quitting my job to vagabond my way around the world. Choosing to let my return ticket expire and just keep wandering might have been a bigger risk, but it wasn’t nearly as scary. And by the time I made it home again, choosing to freelance instead of getting a real job was easy!

7. You’ll catch me saying this phrase far too often …

“Let me just reiterate…”

The road trip Karen is saving up for!

The road trip Karen is saving up for!

8. I am saving up for…

A road trip to Newfoundland…the long and complicated way. Anyone want to donate two spare tires (on rims)?

9. What is your theme song for life?

“Consequence Free” by Great Big Sea. Or maybe “These Are Days” by 10,000 Maniacs.

10. My favorite movie of all time is…

Danny Kaye’s “The Court Jester.”