Category Archives: Writing

Duke of URL

Just a quick note to let you know about a change or two I’ve made around the site. Changed the primary URL of the site from www.thecabal.org to www.devinonearth.com. This is actually something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time, to reflect the site’s really awesome branding. Devin on Earth has long been […]

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Oh, Alaric Ganger, no!

For the most part, we have good kids. We get compliments on their public behavior all the time. Usually, this is because we’ve taught the kids to hold it together until they get back home, where we give them a bit more leeway. However, what it also means is that when they mess up in […]

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New books!

WOrking on my latest book, Mastering System Center Data Protection Manager 2007, was a long process. However, Monday I got to experience my favorite part of the writing process — getting the box from the publisher with the author’s copies. There’s just something cool about seeing the final physical product; I don’t think I’ll get […]

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Expanding Alaric’s world…and getting mine expanded in return

Recently, we decided to do something about a problem we’ve been noticing with our kids. While they’re both avid readers, they both tend to re-read the same books — tens of times serially if we’d let them. Alaric was not happy when we temporarily banned him from yet another end-to-end re-read of the Harry Potter […]

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A footnote in history

I’d like to toss a hypothetical out there for y’all to ponder. Say, for the sake of argument, that you’re an editor for a technical book publisher. You have a line of books that you want to make roughly equivalent to textbooks in layout and feel. Now, you have an author who begins to write […]

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A writing question

For the past few years, I’ve had two novel ideas eating my brain. Last night, however, I finally made the decision to put both of these ideas on the shelf and work on another book. While I care about these ideas passionately, I do not yet have the confidence that I’m ready to write them […]

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I’ll check that out right away

I buy and read more than a few technical books. Big shock, I know, but what can you do? I have a local bookstore I like to visit, but I’ll often use Amazon as well when I’m not in a tearing hurry to get a particular book in my hands. One of Amazon’s value-added features […]

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And it’s about time, too

I finally managed to do two things today that I've been trying to do for several years now. I've had the idea for a re-telling of Beauty and the Beast in my head for several years, and had finally gotten enough of the world-building details worked out (geography, economy and politics, character names) last year […]

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A nine-word poem

My friend Mir was telling me about a writing challenge she's been working on lately on one of her web forums; someone posts nine words and then people write a poem incorporating them. I decided to do something different: write a poem in nine words. Discipline. Commitment. Relationship. Can't I have easy lessons, God?

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Prose, Pros, and Wannabes

Elizabeth Bear did a very bad thing: she started a new LJ community called novel_in_90. The basic premise is that of NaNoWriMo — commit to working for a specific amount of time on the same writing project, building the discipline to plug away at attainable daily wordcount levels until they pile up into a real […]

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Drive-by memeing

First, I would like it to be known that I am only doing this under protest. I don’t usually participate in blog memes, because most of them are damned silly. However, I got tagged on this one by Paul in what looks like a fairly typical spree of spreading the love, so I’ll go ahead […]

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Compassion is for the weak

One of the things I like about 3Sharp is that I have a great group of co-workers. We can be heads-down in the middle of the most amazingly deep technical discussion and without batting an eye (or dropping an ASCII smiley) transition into the most esoteric (or geeky — or for extra points, both) topics. […]

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That would be why I love her

I’m still chuckling about the words that passed my wife’s lips fifteen minutes ago: “I try not to read books that encourage my homicidal tendencies.” You see, I’ve finally gotten around to getting A Feast for Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 4) from the library and have just started in on it, […]

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WritEx #1: A Boy and His Dog

I’m making an effort to extend my writing skills by writing up several epsodes from my life. Some of these I’m writing up just because they’re a good tale and I’ve been told I need to, while others are intended to be reused (with suitable alteration) in various fiction projects. This is my first tale, […]

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Looking up

I had a pretty nice weekend than has gone a long way toward getting my attitude back close to being fit for human consumption. On Saturday, despite the now-standard insomnia and sleeping in late, we got out of town up into the mountains to a party at a friend’s house. They’ve got a lovely place […]

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I’ve talked about it long enough, I need to just do it

For a while now, I’ve been kicking around the idea of writing a book on Christianity. All this recent fuss over The Da Vinci Code just convinces me of two things: today’s Amercian Christian churches serious need a well-placed slap upside the head and there’s a lot of free publicity just waiting for the enterprising […]

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The next step of my Master Plan

I’ve reached another milestone on my personal plan for world domination: my first tech magazine article has been published. I talk more about it over on my work blog.

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Kids, don’t try this at home!

Today, I did something I’d never done before. It was risky and a bit scary, and I don’t recommend it as a general procedure for everyone. Yes, I upgrade my new Window Mobile Pocket PC. What made it risky was that I upgraded it to the ROM images that didn’t come from my manufacturer, but […]

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Well, that’s no good

Chatting with my sister just now and I realized that a lot of my problem with this current chapter is that it deals with the people side of the process. And as you all know, I’m such a dynamite people person, so clearly this is my strength. Not. I also realized that somewhere along the […]

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teh sux0r

As you may remember, the local bookstore closed down last year. Today, I found out that our charming little hole-in-the-wall CD shop will be closing down in 6 weeks or so. This bites, because Steph and I try to support small local shops even if it means paying more, as long as we can get […]

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Oh, yeah, Chapter 3 is up

Chapter 3 of my DCAR ebook is now online, details on my work blog. If you need to read about these things, enjoy.

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Feeding the monkey on my back

Every now and then, I look up from the keyboard and wonder why the heck I’m blogging. I’ve been blogging for work for 14 months, and I still don’t have any really good feel for how many readers I have. Some days, it feels like five or six. Well, this morning I’m feeling pretty good […]

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Sick days and publication news

Both kids woke up with an excess of phlegm, so we kept them home from school today. Sounds like a good day for them to work on updating their web sites and blogs, especially since I just handed out the URLs to the members of my family. In other news, Microsoft has produced printed versions […]

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First brush: Amazon reviews

I finally remembered to check the Amazon reviews for the Exchange Server Cookbook tonight. I was amused by this line:

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Pencils, pencils, two for five!

If anyone other than my family knows where the title of this post comes from, I’ll be impressed. I have belonged to a certain online community for many years, the only one that I’ve joined that requires a subscription payment. While there have been occasional downsides, it has been a mostly positive experience and I […]

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My new ebook on email DCAR is now available!

DCAR (Discovery, Compliance, Archival, and Retention) is a big topic these days. I’ve done some work with 3Sharp in this space, and I have been fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to write an ebook for Windows IT Pro on the topic. The first chapter is now available for free download with registration; the […]

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Miscommunication

I hate it when I blow a deadline. I will point out, however, that it’s hard to keep a deadline when one’s editor fails to inform you of it. Looks like I’ll be writing another magazine article this weekend. The last one was for Exchange anti-spam tools; this one will be on mitigating Exchange directory […]

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Late night thoughts

Once again, I’m up far too late, trying to fix a raft of computer problems. This time I’m reinstalling my Exchange organization, migrating DNS zones, and trying to install a new reverse proxy web server. The usual. I’ve got my iPod playing away — I love the Griffin iTrip I bought for it. For $40, […]

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The Next Day; a beginning

[Editorial note: The Next Day is a working title for now. I do not plan on publishing it on the Internet at this time, beyond what is here. I will be starting to work again on Silicon Cats and new chapters will be posted as they are completed.] They were dancing again, keeping effortless pace […]

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This King kick and the power of words

Several months back, I bought the fifth novel (The Wolves of Calla)in Stephen King’s Dark Tower series for Steph. After we read it, we got the final two books from the library and read them. Since then, I’ve been on a bit of a Stephen King kick. I haven’t been reading everything he’s written, but […]

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Cookbook progress

The Exchange Server Cookbook (final title) is still on schedule for a June release. We finished the final author hands-on review stage a week or two back and got to see our cover this week. (Yes, it’s a baboon; our editor Robbie told us that this was what the art department came up with from […]

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The Good, the Bad, and the Bald

I just did a very difficult thing: I withdrew from an overdue RPG writing project that I thought would easily be within my capabilities and that turned out (for many reasons) not to be. I should have done this months ago; I did not because of pride (I’m a writer; I can do this, no […]

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Funniest April Fool’s day posting I’ve seen yet

Charlie Stross goes posthuman. My favorite line is the crack about the temporal vortex and needing the combined efforts of Stephen Baxter, Vernor Vinge, and Greg Bear to free him, and not just because I’ve met Vernor Vinge in person (although he is my favorite science fiction writer and one heck of a nice guy.)

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Call me Demosthenes

Steph has started indulging in a nice habit, now that I’m getting my home office more mucked out; she’ll drag her chair into my office, along with some craft project such as knitting, and sit with me while I’m working. We may not talk much depending on how hard I’m concentrating, but she provides a […]

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This Idea Eats Brains!

I wasn’t a big fan of the story of Beauty and the Beast until the day I stumbled across Robin McKinley when I was 12. Although the first book of hers I devoured was The Blue Sword, it didn’t take me long to discover Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast. […]

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Burst of Creativity

Thanks to the joys of wireless networks, laptops, and the rare conjunction of having a free evening, enough energy to do something about it, and enough brainpower to remember what all I want to do, I’m sitting in bed next to Steph (who is reading) and getting some bits and scraps of stuff done. [Steph: […]

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Cookbook progress and the rediscovery of free time

Oh, right, since I forget to mention it — we got the last chapter of the Exchange Cookbook off to our editor’s hands (and thus into production) early last week, so I’ve actually had some free time again in the evenings. I now need to get Once Upon a Time in Seattle finished and off […]

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All-nighters and Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom

I’m staying up late to get a paper done for work. While I’d rather not pull late nights and long days, in reality I have an extremely high amount of flexibility and self-determination in the day-to-day details of my job. The flip side of that coin, however, is that I keep that freedom as long […]

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Department of Obvious Truths

It is horribly difficult to get work done when you get four phone calls in a row.

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Of weekends, writing, and wonderful breakfast food

I love Saturdays, especially today. I got a decent amount of work done last night, including turning over two papers that came back yesterday for edits. Additionally, Robbie (my O’Reilly editor) got Chapter 7 edited and passed it back to me last night, so I’ve got some rewrites to do on that. But first, I […]

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Year Three: What will I learn?

Somewhere in the last ten days, I hit my two-year anniversary with 3Sharp. This is a big deal; the longest I’ve ever worked at one company was 2.5 years. I don’t think I’ll have any problems shattering that record here at 3Sharp. It is still the absolute best job I’ve ever had, even with some […]

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It’s done!

I just shipped the first draft of Chapter 7 “Routing, Transport, and SMTP” of The Exchange Cookbook to my editor and co-authors. I wrote this chapter entirely by myself. It started off with 47 recipes (including the introduction); final size was 27 recipes. Many of the missing 20 were duplicates of either recipes in other […]

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A Far, Green Country

“And the ship went out into the High Sea and passed on into the West, until at last on a night of rain Frodo smelled a sweet fragrance on the air and heard the sound of singing that came over the water. And then it seemed to him that as in his dream in the […]

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On Encouraging Tolerance (with thanks and apologies to John Scalzi)

John Scalzi posted his seven Maxims for Non-Believers and they struck me as so well-crafted, I immediately wished that I was a non-believer so that I could use them: Being a non-believer does not mean you have to be intolerant of those who believe. Being a non-believer does not mean you have to be ignorant […]

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Scary revelations at 2am

Put Steph to bed a couple of hours ago and came back downstairs to finish up a recipe or two for the Exchange Cookbook, which I am co-writing with some awesome co-workers, and which is way behind schedule. When researching one particular twist got me frustrated, I dropped over to Yahoo!’s Launch website and fired […]

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Thoughts on the Parable of the Lost Geek

As I was getting ready for bed, a casual conversation with my wife kicked off a thought that resulted in me rushing to the keyboard. This post is the result. Those of you who read me on LJ may not know that I am a Christian. That’s not a very comforting thing to have to […]

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