This guest post has been written by Trinity Nick from the UK. In this article, she explores unique ways of delivering tech reviews
While technology is a thrill for some people, it can be a real kill for others. Those with a flair for technology can quickly grasp its essence. However, there are many who lack this inclination and find it difficult to understand the profundities of technology. Bloggers or technical writers can play an important role in bridging this gap, and helping readers understand and appreciate technology. This is how “technical writing with a twist” comes into the picture.
Apart from using simple language and images to get the idea across, there’s one more useful means of helping readers understand technology better – that is, drawing a comparison with real world objects and scenarios. This can prove to be very effective in enabling people understand the intricacies of technology.
Let’s take the example of the operating system (OS) on a laptop or PC. When explaining what the OS is technically, one might say:
“The operating system is the most important program that runs on a laptop or computer. It is a platform which other applications use for their execution. All computers must have an OS in-order to run other programs or applications. The main functions of the operating system are:
- managing peripherals like keyboards, printers, mouse, monitors etc.
- managing all the active applications and prioritising them.
- managing the system resources, like memory, processor activity, registers etc.
- understanding the input provided by the input devices like the keyboard.
- providing output to be displayed on the monitor.
- managing data on the disk.
- managing the security of the system.”
Those readers who are familiar with a computer will be able to understand the description faster. However, a layman might not be able to get the complete picture. Now relating the OS to a real world object can make a big difference.
How To Make Complicated Parts Simple: Relate To Life
Let’s compare the functioning of an operating system to the functioning of a chef in a hotel. The waiters who take the orders from customers are like the programs that run on the computer or like the peripherals which interact with the computer. Just like how the applications need some task to be accomplished by the computer, the waiters need the chef to prepare the delicacies on their respective orders. The waiters can also be compared to the peripherals which provide input or accept output from the computer (OS actually). Just like how the OS manages all the resources of the computer, the chef manages all the resources inside the kitchen, like the utensils, the fuel, the vegetables, the meat, the spices and other things.
The chef takes the orders from the waiters, manages all his kitchen resources, and prepares the required delicacies. He then hands the food to the waiter to be served to the customer. He also multi-tasks, depending on how many extra stoves or utensils he has. This is exactly what the OS does. When the programs or applications want some tasks to be performed, they let the OS know about it. The OS uses all the system resources and gets the tasks done. The results are also handled appropriately, i.e. they maybe returned back to the application or displayed on the screen.
Sometimes one of the waiters might bring in a message saying, “He’s our regular customer.” or “He’s a big guy around this place, so let’s serve him first.” The chef thus sets a higher priority to that particular order, just like how the OS sets priorities to the applications running on the system.
Now, what would happen if the OS was not present. Imagine the kitchen without a chef. The waiters might get their orders to the kitchen. Since there is no chef, they might try fixing up something themselves. They might fight for the utensils, the spices, the vegetables and stoves and create a big mess. This is what would happen if there is no OS in a system. All applications might try accessing the system resources simultaneously and create havoc.”
This drawing of comparison to a real world scenario makes understanding technology a whole deal easier. The readers will remember these examples much better. Letting loose one’s imagination can really help in stumbling upon some exciting or innovative ways of drawing comparisons. And this creates the “twist in technical writing”.
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