Two Experiments

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Happy Hacking Keyboard

I'm trying a couple of new things this week:

Last week, after hearing John Gruber talk about his Das Keyboard on The Talk Show, I thought it might be (ironic) fun to get my old Happy Hacking Keyboard out of the closet and use it for a few days instead of my usual Apple Bluetooth keyboard. "Whoa," my co-workers would say, "who's making all of that racket? Stop typing, ruffian!" And I would laugh diabolically.

Unfortunately, no one at work has complained about my typing yet. And, surprisingly, I've found I really enjoy coding on the old keyboard. The noise is nice — it really sounds like I'm working — but I think the more important change is that the HHK, being about half an inch taller than the Apple keyboard, feels easier on my wrists while I'm typing. Also nice: because this is a wired USB keyboard, I don't need to wait for it to wake up or finish pairing with the computer before I can start typing.

The other new thing is what I'm doing right now: smaller, shorter, sketch-like posts, written more often.

I have a bad habit of over-explaining things when I write. For example, in trying to write a short reaction post to the Mozilla vendor prefix controversy a few weeks ago, I ended up with over 1,000 words just recapping what vendor prefixes are, and why they're good, and why they're controversial, before I'd even started explaining my own opinion. This can be a useful skill in tutorial writing, and I think it's served me pretty well writing long-form articles for the Typekit blog and A List Apart. It's even served me well here, in my epic-length Ruby setup post last month. But that can't be the only thing I do.

A related bad habit, which Marco Arment's post on the Curator's Code nonsense has made me notice, is that I over-explain link posts in a way that often makes it seem unnecessary for anyone to actually click on the link I've posted. When other blogs do that, I think it's douchey. When I do it, well, in my defense I can say that unlike The Verge or AllThingsD, I'm not doing it for pageviews. Which doesn't make it okay, or enjoyable for anyone.

So, in these shorter posts, I'm going to make an effort to explain only the bits of things that need explaining from me, i.e. my opinions or analysis. Explaining other things is the reason we have hyperlinks. I'm going to try to be more generous with both.

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