Note: This article is the first in a series. I will be adding posting new content that completes the story in a week or so.

This is my experience creating a personal computer lab for Red Hat Virtualization (RHV).

(Side note: oVirt is the upstream open-source project that RHV is based upon. Red Hat developers contribute code to both the oVirt and RHV projects. I know there are minor differences between the two, but I’m not sure what they are. Also, I wish had footnotes.)


I’m a senior technical writer. I work for Red Hat. I work remotely from home. Although I can connect to Red Hat’s established test RHV environments over the VPN, doing so doesn’t give me the full scope of interaction I need. …

Image for post
Image for post
Find a welcoming community of developers and users who need your writing skills!

Recently, I met an Uber driver with a degree in English and experience as a professional writer in Los Angeles who wants to transition into technical writing. She has the skills and smarts to do it, but needs several things to get hired:

  • Experience working with software development teams
  • Knowledge of particular platforms and technologies
  • Doc tools experience
  • A portfolio of tech writing samples

I recommended she start by contributing to open source projects; copyediting at first and creating content later. Most open-source projects welcome newcomers with the skills to improve existing content and document new capabilities.

Denis Arh, a contributor on the Corteza project, says “…this work is rarely paid but all contributions and contributors are public. And this makes it a very valuable CV/LinkedIn/Portfolio material.” …

Here, I take a look at using Grammarly as a tool for authoring original content.

How did this come up? I already use Grammarly to help copy edit existing content for clients. Often, I’m using one of Grammarly’s plugins to work in Chrome, Microsoft Word, and Google Docs (Beta). Rarely, if I’m working in an unsupported platform, I copy and paste text into My Grammarly and back and forth applying edits to the source document. So this got me wondering, why not use My Grammarly as an authoring environment?

Here’s the TLDR

* Instant feedback. Fix and improve your writing as you go.
* Customize its feedback for the type of content are writing.
* Portable. Access it from anywhere. Safer than logging into Google Docs.
* No formatting. Just write text and stay in your flow. …

How much time do you waste being ignorant and afraid to ask?

As a technical writer, I realized I was getting stuck in a mental trap. Let me tell you about it. Maybe you can relate to this story.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

My job is to write about new and obscure topics. Often, I’m a visiting team member (i.e., contractor) or a new team member among semi-experts and experts (i.e., people who have been working on the subject for months or years).

And here is my dilemma:

Almost by definition, I’m ignorant of the subject material. My job is to learn those nuggets of information and communicate them to others who are similarly ignorant and learning. …

Image for post
Image for post

In early December, researchers at DeepMind, the artificial-intelligence company owned by Google’s parent corporation, Alphabet Inc., filed a dispatch from the frontiers of chess.

A year earlier, on Dec. 5, 2017, the team had stunned the chess world with its announcement of AlphaZero, a machine-learning algorithm that had mastered not only chess but shogi, or Japanese chess, and Go. The algorithm started with no knowledge of the games beyond their basic rules. It then played against itself millions of times and learned from its mistakes. …

Here’s a companion gallery for my story, Living without AC.

Image for post
Image for post
The attic fan, a typical box fan, behind the massive air conditioner it replaced. (How are we going to get that massive AC out of the attic? The previous owners must have hauled it up there with a crane in the back yard.)

Image for post
Image for post

In the dog days of summer, you can count on your dog to find the coolest spot.

This summer, my family and I decided to live without air-conditioning.

Wilmington, North Carolina, where we live, is considered hot and humid by most. It’s located halfway between New York and Florida along the Southeastern Atlantic coast of the United States. This July, our daytime temperatures have been in the 90’s (34'C); at night, the temperature drops into the mid-70’s (24'C). Humidity is usually 65 to 85%.

Most of the people here use AC all of the time and everywhere they go: At home, at the office, in the car, when they go shopping. Some of them avoid activities that require doing without AC, such as walking around downtown. …

Image for post
Image for post

This morning, I came across Higurashi When They Cry Hou — Ch. 5 Meakashi at the top of Steam’s Popular New Releases.

Manga is not my thing. My son went through a phase in his early teens, and all I could see in it was sophomoric preoccupations and choppy story-telling. So I was ready to move along, but decided to at least watch the video trailer for this…game?

Robin Nixon’s book, Learning PHP, MySQL & JavaScript (with JQuery, CSS, & HTML5), now in its 4th edition, has been a perennial best-seller for aspiring full-stack web developers. At the end of the book, the author guides you through the creation of a social networking site, the Robin’s Nest. You can also download the book’s code examples, including the Robin’s Nest site. If you decide to download the site, article shows you how to set up the database that’s required before you can run the Robin’s Nest.

Before you begin

Install and run XAMPP on your development computer.

Copy the example code

Download the examples from

Open/extract the contents of the examples .zip …


  • More often
  • Shorter pieces
  • Using colorful informal style
  • Entertaining and engaging content


Rolfe DH

Husband, parent, and tech writer at Red Hat. Open source, instructional design, and information architecture.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store