Author Michael McCallister
Author Michael McCallister

Hi! I’m Michael McCallister, but you can call me Mike. I write about technology, software, and the open Internet from the viewpoint of the user.

Do you (or your readers) want

  • to get more out of WordPress and the open Web? I co-authored WordPress in Depth and currently write for WPMUDev. I built this site myself, with the incredible assistance of the global WordPress and IndieWeb communities. I can help you too.
  • better access to the power of Linux and free, open source software? I’ve been running Linux since 2000 and wrote openSUSE Linux Unleashed. I can help.
  • a better understanding of modern social media and building a writer (or business) platform? I co-authored Build Your Author Platform: The New Rules. I can help.

I believe that personal computing and the internet are the most powerful tools ever developed to empower people and advance democracy. Click the Metaverse tab above to see Notes from the Metaverse, where I offer news and analysis of these topics. I’ve spent the last few decades learning to master these tools, and helping others to do the same. If you find it interesting, please Follow!

Click the links to learn more about me and my life, buy my books, and read some thoughts on the writing life. You may see some additional tweaks of the site in the coming days. If you’re missing something you think should be here, do say hello!

 

Years before I even knew about the Internet, I covered politics in my hometown, Milwaukee. Starting at my college paper, the UWM Post, and continuing through a series of local alternative weeklies. It’s been awhile since I’ve been on that beat, but a few weeks ago, I got the bug again.

Representative Robyn Vining, from her Wisconsin state assembly page.

 

 

When a hitherto-unknown politician (at least unknown to me) started running ads about her campaign for state assembly, I got curious. This week, I finally silenced the voices in my head by publishing “Who is Robyn Vining? Why is she running ads on TV?”

The story tells you a little bit about her, and some rampant speculation about her reasons for spending campaign money on TV ads, a medium where many more people will see her ads than can vote for her.

FYI: The story isn’t behind a paywall; anyone can read it.

Let me know what you think of this piece, either in the Comments below or on Medium itself. Should I do more of this? If you happen to be an editor and like it, drop me a line. We should probably talk about other things to write about. 😉

 

Google Season of Docs logo

This week, Google announced the 50 organizations taking part in this year’s Google Season of Docs (GSoD). I wrote a “Tech Writer’s Guide to Google’s Season of Docs” for TechWhirl’s Tech Writer Today magazine to invite writers (perhaps even you) to explore the program.

Perhaps you’ve heard of Google’s Season of Code program. Google started Season of Docs in 2019. Here, technical writers and open source organizations meet up and improve a variety of help docs. North American writers who successfully complete their selected project receive a $6000 stipend from Google. Writers in other countries get similar stipends based on their relative cost of living.

The article is something of a condensed version of the program’s own technical writer’s guide. I also offer some advice on how to select a project and complete the application.

GSoD is something I would have loved to get into when I was a baby tech writer. Sadly, Google barely existed when I got started. Today’s Google may not have “Don’t be evil” as a motto anymore, but this is a positive boost for a variety of open source projects. Of course, the ultimate beneficiaries are the users of the software, so it’s good for everyone! By the way, the WordPress doc team is involved, so you can help improve those documents.

Go read the article, go see the final reports from last year’s GSoD, and then start exploring your ideas for improving open source documentation. You have until July 9, 2020 to apply to the program.

Meanwhile, you can find more of my best work for TechWhirl in my portfolio.

Many thanks to the WordPress developers who interrupted your visit today with an intrusion of the Real World. This site is part of the Digital Climate Strike!

On Friday, September 20, 2019 (and the days following), millions of young people and their older allies march out of their workplaces and schools to demand solutions to the Climate Crisis.

They remind us that there are just a few years for humans to solve the problems that fossil fuels have gotten us into. They demand solutions. I stand with them. We need a Just Transition that protects working people, and a Green New Deal to solve the problem.

Want to take part? Visit https://strikewithus.org/ to find an action in your town. At the latest count, there were strike activities planned in over 2500 cities and towns in 162 countries.

Let’s all go to work.