making writing sites better

Thank you to everyone that voted and commented. Overall, as I suspected, communication is one of the two hot buttons for the community. I will create a how to make the site better post this weekend so that authors can express their other desired changes again. Overall my only concern is the two no votes for most of the communication tasks. Not sure why anyone would vote no to more site communication to everyone. Overall for the first run, the number one top-rated ask is to update the FAQ for the site overall. The poll questions are in the order they were voted. Please select one of these as your top ask. Vote for as many as you would like and then pick one for your head ask!

I promise, based on the comments yesterday, that I will do a post on the other technical asks for the site this weekend.

I wanted to clarify an provide more information bout the top 3 choices.

  1. FAQ update, this is important as it is the initial place users can go when they are having issues. The FAQs haven’t been updated in a while.
  2. I am putting a banner on the page before significant changes are something that was done a couple of years ago. It notifies you of impending changes to the site.
  3. The final one would be a one-two paragraph post on the front page of that would notify us (authors) of issues and problems.

We are a community; we can work together to make our community stronger. Communication is a high starting point for us to continue to build our community.

I will send this post and the poll results to the Admin at 12 noon EDT Thursday.

This work is Copyright DocAndersen. Any resemblance to people real or fictional in this piece is accidental.


Making writing sites better.

Community, it is the part of being on a writing site that keeps giving. In that sense of community, that expression of being part of something bigger, we can band together. I was thinking about the power and joy of the city, and I wanted to remind people of some of the successes we have gotten over the last two years.

  • Blocking users was enable
  • we had an edit button (for a brief moment in time)
  • when the downvoting was terrible on the site, they removed the downvoting option for comments

That said, there were/are several things we have asked for that haven’t happened. I suspect the chance of getting the edit button back is slim. It would be nice to be able to access our drafts folder and edit items in the draft folder. It would also be helpful for us to get more communication from the admin team. I have recently gotten contact but it was pure, “we are working on site updates.” Nothing more than that nor ultimately something we could use. So that got me thinking, perhaps the best thing we as a community can consider, and offer the admins is some ideas about the way’s that the admin team could communicate with us better.

I am going to list some options in the poll. The list I have now is not all-encompassing. If you have an idea, share it in the comments. I will incorporate those and the top vote-getters into a second poll and post that I will send to the admin team. Overall this has worked several times in the past, so let’s keep moving forward and trying to do things positively!

Thanks in advance for answering the poll. Please note that there are many good ways to solve this, please feel free to add them in the comments!

This work is Copyright DocAndersen. Any resemblance to people real or fictional in this piece is accidental.


For the world is hollow and I have touched the sky

SpaceX is about to complete the first US space launch in more than ten years. The rocket, Falcon, is going to be launched from the same Launch pad in Cape Canaveral, that launched Apollo 11, now more than 50 years ago. This mission is a joint venture between the private company SpaceX and NASA.

That got me thinking about some fun technologies and their operation in space.

  1. I have no cell phone, but I must scream! Yes, on the other side of the earth’s atmosphere and gravitational field, cell phones don’t work. Back in the early days of NASA and space travel, the radio waves were beamed in as tight a collection as possible. Now it can be done with lasers, allowing for much better and faster communication between the astronauts and earth. But they still can’t phone home. Even ET could call home!
  2. It never rains in space (but girl don’t they warn you) water vapor evaporates in area.
  3. The Suns are never behind the clouds in space. In a spacesuit, that means you can get hot fast if you are not careful when exposed to the direct light of the sun!
  4. There is enough stuff in space, that carefully plotting a launch now takes a supercomputer. Many of the items in the area now are more debris that useful. They were once valuable, but now are simply crap floating around the planet!
  5. The ISS is the third space station in orbit, can you in the comments name the other two?

It is always fun to think about things that used to be! I wonder how my twins would do without their cell phones for five days in space? I will add a couple of more fun facts in the poll questions! For those of you in the US happy memorial day, for those of you elsewhere happy Monday!

This work is Copyright DocAndersen. Any resemblance to people real or fictional in this piece is accidental.


i left my Miracle Whip in my other pants

Excuse me; I didn’t hear what you said?

The hardest part about conference calls at the time, working from home, is the reality of external noise. In particular, the truth of the dogs that live in my house barking. I have an ANC (not, as pointed out previous an African National Congress) but an automated noise-canceling pair of headphones. But sadly good headsets have what is called a Hi-Gain microphone, so ambient noise is there.

For those of you not from the US, many years ago, there was a great television show called Get Smart. Get Smart was a show focused on a secret agent, Maxwell Smart. One of the things Maxwell Smart often tried to use was the cone of silence. I know that it made me laugh every time I saw it. Now I wonder if it is possible to have the cone of silence for my office.

That, of course, sparked a series of questions (in the poll) about technology that may be a lot of fun. Or it may be an epic fail we shall see!

The fun did you know technology facts

  • Personal computers grew out of the USSR/USA space race. They were needed on the space capsule as a backup system!
  • Graphics cards came out of the Space Race.
  • Packet Radio systems (the walkie-talkie) and the cellphone use a similar concept.
  • The difference between water-resistant and waterproof is one that bites many people (one can get wet but cannot be submerged, the other can be submerged).


in the glovebox of a Tesla…

Do you ever open the glove box of your car and wonder, what is this? I put it in there two years ago and now, I don’t remember why or what it is. So, you take it out and put it in the garage. I mean, it is new and still in the package. Then you get where you are going, and you remember why you put it in the glovebox the first time. So you have to buy another one and put it in the glovebox. Now you have two.  Sometimes, this goes on like the Trouble With Tribbles episode of Star Trek. Suddenly you have a box full of the what-ever item you needed in your garage. So you stop buying new ones and use up the ones in the box. Has that ever happened to you? Doesn’t have to be the car, or anything other than merely replacing something over and over?

One o the things a friend of mine does that I think is cool is he has a list of things he will need in his glovebox. That way, when he finds something there, or in the change holder, he knows why he has it. I am not that organized.  It is an exciting system. One of the things I have thought about doing for a long time is to RFID or Bluetooth enable my kitchen. What you do is put a broadcaster on various larger devices, so that you can find them easily. We have three different people that do dishes in our house, and all three have very different views on where certain things go. I find myself looking for can openers and other devices always. IF the device is connected to my phone, I find it right away!

RFID chips are smaller but do require, and RFID wand to read the chip, so it doesn’t help in location. But it might reduce the improper putting away of kitchen utensils. You can add location chips (RFID) used in warehouses to reduce people putting things on the wrong shelf. Can you imagine how high the twins would jump if a claxon went off when they tried to put the blender top away? This last bit is tongue in cheek, intended to be funny. I suspect the dogs would protest if I put a Claxon in the kitchen that went off when things were put away incorrectly. The twins, earbuds in, and music on probably wouldn’t hear the alarm anyway. So I would end up having to put the item back in the right place.

Anyway, sometimes you have to wonder why you keep buying the same things over and over.


Please sir, my TV remote sir…

There is water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink. That is something that can happen to those shipwrecked at sea. Saltwater is not suitable for you to drink. So, you create a way to catch rainwater. From the perspective of technology, some things are designed to catch rain, like those shipwrecked survivors floating out in the middle of the ocean. Those technologies are the things that make our lives just a little easier. I am joking about talking about my grandfather’s Armstrong automated television remote (Boy, change the channel). It was something my grandfather did; he thought it was hilarious to make me get up, change the channel, sit down, only to get up and change the channel again.

I would even, at times, pause and wait, but he still did that. It made me get up the minute I sat down. It seems funny now. The concept of a remote seems like something that isn’t critical, but when is the last time you didn’t have a remote for a TV? That you got up and changed channels? That made our lives a little easier. Now we are moving to a world where media is everywhere. What is the next freshwater device? Catchy titles a couple of days ago on purpose, talking about saying goodbye to your TV. That the functionality of the TV was going away, in effect, it will go away. There is a concept of smart walls that may, for a short term, replace televisions. But in the long run, intelligent walls will also be stop-gap measures.

The next big thing is interesting. The thing about a TV is that it is one size. You put it where you think you would want to watch it. Now in the early days, Televisions were less portable than they are now. But now they are not portable. The original TV’s fit in your living room and you could move it if you want to. Now many flat screens are mounted on the wall or above the fireplace. A smart fence would have the same issue overall. It is, after all, a wall. The future is going to be the holographic projector. That will allow you to put the projector where you are, and see the images as if they were three dimensional. Today Augmented Reality, and Virtual Reality exists but often with a specialized headset. In the future, you will have a holographic projector that simply shares everything as if it were in the room with you.

Once these hit the market, the number of horror movies I would even consider watching goes way down!


Take me down to funky title town…

Someone always has a great idea. It is part of the world around us! In the case of these fun technologies, they are offering a new way of doing the same old things.

  1. Hiuni, a connected telescope. What does that mean? It means that the telescope is connected to your smart device. That means you can use any one of several high celestial applications to control your telescope. Did I mention it has a built-in Astral Camera? You can take pictures of the moon, even when you re asleep!
  2. Ambassador from Waverly Labs. Ambassador is an over the ear voice translation system that allows the wearer to translate any language the system knows about, to a word the wearer speaks. It also allows the wearer to communicate with the person in their native language. If you are a star trek fan, this is nearly the universal translator form the original series!
  3. Erora 3d Scanner – traditionally, we scan in 2 dimensions. With the Erora device or the Occipital Device, you can study in 3 sizes. For objects you want to print on a 3d printer, this is a huge opportunity!

All of these and many other products will soon be available on! If you read this post two or three months after publication, you may see these devices in this amazon ads on the site! One of the impacts of this pandemic is the impact on manufacturing. Larger companies have the advantage of having a “storage” or warehouse system where parts are staged. The reality of two, three, or even four months of no new supplies simply means the company goes down to the best shelves. Small companies and crowdfunded projects don’t have that luxury. The reality of making something new limits them. It means that they are probably going to suffer lost sales and potentially more than that.

These are exciting technologies. They may be the last exciting technologies that ship in 2020.

The other side of the pandemic is when you are worried about tomorrow, creating the next great thing isn’t as high on the priority list.


i didn’t know the word was loaded

They, words, sometimes like hand grenades explode. The funny thing is that they often explode when unexpected. Some words we all know are triggers for everyone. They are words that are often called “foul language.” Sometimes we call them 4-letter words like work! Language is funny, and if you are not a native language English speaker, it is even harder when you re required to communicate in English. Heck, I know even people that grow up with English struggle with the rules. Like when do you properly use y’all? Or the word ain’t, technically it is in the dictionary now does that make it a word? Or because it is a late addition to the dictionary, does it still stand in the limbo of not being a word?

Recently in the south of the US, people have combined y’all and ‘aint to produce the, even more, contracted y’a’int! It intrigues me when you consider communication and language. I’ve talked about my friend that has built a deck of communication pattern cards. I’ve even shared a few of those over the years. But when it comes to sharing information on a writing site, the importance of words becomes critical. The reality of the most thing is that humor doesn’t always convey. Sarcasm is a form that doesn’t work online. On the internet, no one sees you smile!  Humor, however, is essential both in what we perceive but also in what we read in front of us!

Yesterday I asked about salespeople. What kind of salesperson do you not like to work with? It was a question that got great responses. For the most part, any comment is useful. Please note I did say for the most part. I noticed that most people responded that push aggressive salespeople did not win their business. The goal of any salesperson is to earn your business. So losing your business by being pushy would seem to be antithetical. Why, if no one likes pushy salespeople, are there so many pushy salespeople? That got me thinking, what job would you expect to have a pushy person doing? Specifically, that push sales type that most of you didn’t like.

What job should they do?

Yesterday’s Post on Sales people!


what type of sales person do you like?

I was wandering FB early this morning when someone hit me up on FB messenger. I didn’t recognize the name, but they appeared to know me, speaking in a familiar. I stopped for a second and ended up clicking on eh person’s name. I was able to block the account when they launched into their sales pitch,  so I blocked the account mid-pitch.

Given different circumstances, we might have been friends. But I don’t like the fake friend sales pitch, model. It frustrates me. Then I got thinking about honestly what other models of sales approaches bother me (and you as well)!

I walk away from high-pressure salespeople (if you don’t buy in the next 30 minutes, this deal is gone forever). I also don’t like misleading salespeople (this is the best on the market, it never is, but people say things like that.) finally I don’t like salespeople that try to sell me something other than what I came in to buy in the first place (oh no this is much better).

How about you< what sales types really both you?

I have come to realize that when I have a good sales experience, I will go out of my way to go back to that person and buy from them again. There is an adage that I learned years ago that applies not just to sales but to life in general. People buy from people they like and trust.


TV is going away, but now they want your blender as well

So yesterday, I on purpose generated a title, and the opening piece that I knew would draw attention. I was trying to demonstrate the other side of starting conversations. There are a few things to think about as we consider the new world order here on our site. The first is that commenting is now critical. If you want to gain more virils per post, you have to say and start conversations on your posts. But you then also have to return that on the positions of others. You see, if you don’t help others, they likely won; ’t help you. So yesterday, I posted a title that was a little provocative first, that you would even consider hugging a television second your TV itself was going away.

But there are other measures of success. Getting to 1000 views on a post is a big deal. It means 1000 people found your content attractive, your title catchy, and they viewed your post. There are many spots on this site and others with well more than 1000 views. Some get there after 3, 4 or more months some get there in days.  I know that there are people on the site that use the rule if you don’t comment on mine I will not comment on yours. I don’t believe in that. I read what I like to read. If I don’t read stuff, you sometimes publish it because I don’t enjoy the subject area, or I don’t usually read posts of that nature. I do occasionally read posts covering areas outside of my comfort zone. But not very often and certain

So I will leave you with two things today. The first is my pledge. The second is a non-rhetorical question about goals.

  1. If you comment on my posts, I guarantee I will read and comment on your posts. If you reply to my comment on your post, I will respond to your feedback! I pledge that!
  2. What is your goal? You see, you can get views, external mostly, and if your goal is to view, then there are things you can do to help yourself. If your goal is to earn points on a site, then you have other options.

Have a great start to your week!