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The Epic

What follows is an informal story of my life in bullet form insofar as it relates to experiences that qualify me to represent myself as a copyeditor, all prior to forming Neologistics Editing. Items are related in chronological order, so the most current information is at the end.

Born on a mountaintop in Tennessee . . . No wait, that was someone else.

  • I’ve been writing since I started banging out Lassie stories on my mother’s portable Remington typewriter at age five.
  • At age nine I wrote a script for a one-act musical which I deposited on my astonished teacher’s desk in expectation of seeing it produced.
  • I got an A on every term paper I ever wrote in college.
  • As a musician I was a composer—someone who writes music down. I became an expert on music notation.
  • At age twenty I learned the craft of music typography. (We called it music engraving in those days, which is a misnomer.) For the next twenty years I made most of my living preparing music for publication from publisher-submitted manuscripts, providing camera ready copy for printing.
  • As a music typographer I became obsessively attentive to detail, and would fix flaws on proofs that I needed a magnifying glass to see myself.
  • At the end of my music typography career I prepared the musical portion of the graphical masters, including the English text (minus titles, end matter, art work, and final paste-up) of a volume of songs of hymnbook category. Over 47 million copies in many languages were ultimately printed between 1984 and 2008.
  • My first task for Motorola was to copyedit some manuals as an audit of the company’s documentation department. My work was considered so effective that in six weeks it led to being offered an engineering job that lasted eighteen years.
  • At Motorola, as a software engineer, I was responsible for writing many documents, including especially test plans and test results reports, along with vast amount of technical material, from programming manuals to process specifications.
  • As a software test engineer I became renowned for creating the most precise, accurate, complete, and understandable defect reports.
  • I acquired the reputation as the one to ask when it came to reviewing important documents that others wrote.
  • As a software engineer I created a domain specific programming language for controlling automated tests. In support of that I authored a 120-page programmer’s reference manual, and typeset it myself in XROFF (closely related to the Unix’s NROFF family of text processing utilities). I completed the entire manual in the course of one work week.
  • The programming language I wrote was given exposure by means of an article I wrote for a Motorola journal, which I presented at a Motorola Technical Ladder conference.
  • As an engineer I wrote many software programs for permanent use by our department. For each program I produced standard Unix documentation in man(ual) page format using NROFF or POD (Perl’s documentation method).
  • I helped define a repeatable System Test process by creating its required written components and functions. Upon completion, the System Test organization became second in the company to achieve SEI Level 2 certification. I remained the caretaker of this library of work objects, and the definer of standards for test plans and reports for the remainder of my time at Motorola Computer Group.
  • Also at Motorola, I was among the very first to explore the use of LAMP technologies to develop thoroughly self-documenting web based applications for internal use. The two applications I developed drove my department’s way of accomplishing its work.
  • I have written a monographic book of nearly three hundred pages in glossary form about the specialized language practices of an American subculture. I fully typeset the book myself using LaTeX. This book has been withdrawn from circulation, but a special edition is available for viewing upon request.
  • I worked for Cisco Systems, authoring courseware on Unix for the 20,000-plus outposts of Cisco Networking Academy Program (CNAP).
  • I taught beginning and advanced Linux and Unix at an accredited university. Given nothing but a weak two-page syllabus and a poor excuse for a textbook, I developed all the lectures, exercises, and exams entirely myself, based on my long professional experience in Unix.
  • As a web application developer, I supplied a great deal of internal documentation to source code that I helped to develop, which was entirely lacking when I started. The code was all written in Perl, so the documentation was supplied in POD.
  • I have created and supported numerous websites, my own and for others, including most content.
  • In 2003 I created a website as a volunteer (acrosstheyears.com), including extensive back end programming, and nearly 100% of the site’s extensive written content. I continued to build and support that site through 2010. (I handed it off in early 2011, but parts of it are still active in the deep Web.)
  • In 1999–2000 I wrote the three-hundred-page book Running Through the Millennium, about making the transition as an athlete from traditional marathoning to running fixed-time and multiday ultramarathons. This book is fully typeset in LaTeX, and has also been rendered into HTML. It is available for free in PDF format from my personal website.
  • I’ve been a blogger since 2005, and fill my column fill regularly with humor, articles about running, music and book reviews, and opinion.
  • At Interhack, a computer science research firm, with practice areas in forensic computing and information assurance, my job title was Documentation Editor, where I did more copyediting than anything else.
  • At Interhack I was responsible for gating documentation of all types that reached the outside: research reports, journal articles, legal documents such as depositions and affidavits, and other items that reached the hands of high ranking government officials, judges, lawyers, scientists, professors, C-level business executives, and IT managers.
  • At Interhack I was responsible for setting corporate documentation style guides, including in typesetting matters, and created new LaTeX style and class files.
  • I was release manager for Interhack’s corporate website, vetting news articles, marketing releases, and newsletters, and helped with migration of the website to the Plone configuration management system.
  • Because Interhack is deeply concerned with branding and maintaining the highest quality in all its activities, I was involved even in the production of standard office forms, invoices, CD labels, and correspondence to clients.

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