The price of pushy

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One afternoon a couple years ago I was sitting peacefully in my den reading when I heard a loud buzzing sound. It got louder and softer, but never went away, and I’d never heard that particular sound in my house before. Like any other homeowner, I carefully looked around my house to determine if some … Continued

Facebook is purging face recognition. Here’s why I don’t trust it.

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For a decade, Facebook (now known as Meta) used facial recognition to tag millions of photos with the identities of the people in them. Now the company says it’s ceasing the algorithm and deleting a billion face prints. Here’s why I don’t trust them. This is a fraught moment for Meta/Facebook, given the leaked documents … Continued

Repetition in writing: why it happens, what it means, and how to fix it

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Every editor has had this experience: deep into a manuscript, you find yourself reading a familiar passage. Sure enough, it duplicates content that was earlier in the manuscript. Don’t just delete it. Ask yourself why it’s there, and use that knowledge to make the manuscript better. Why writers repeat themselves All writers repeat information in … Continued

On retainer: the economics of retainers for editors and other professionals

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I usually charge people by the project. But for some ongoing relationships, I charge a monthly retainer. While this arrangement is good for freelancers, clients need to think carefully about whether it’s appropriate for them. How a retainer arrangement works Here’s the mechanics of a retainer arrangement, or at the least the kind that I’ve … Continued

An appreciation for Jerry Remy

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Jerry Remy, former Red Sox player and broadcaster, died Saturday. He was a unique individual. Here’s what made him special to me and millions of other baseball fans. As an avid watcher of Red Sox baseball, especially in the 1990s and 2000s, I heard a lot of Jerry Remy. He and his broadcast partners, first … Continued

The arrogance of Meta, Facebook’s new name

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As Mark Zuckerberg announced, Facebook, the company, is now “Meta.” Meta is the parent company of the applications Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Oculus. Many have seen this as an attempt to get out from under the flood of terrible publicity that the company is suffering since the leak of the Facebook papers. In this vein, … Continued

Alec Baldwin’s gun and the problem of causality

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“Why” questions never have a satisfying answer, because everything is connected. We know that Alec Baldwin picked up a period-appropriate gun that was supposed to be a prop on the set of the western “Rust” and accidentally shot and killed his cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounded his director Joel Souza. Why? It’s natural to ask … Continued

How to get the most out of an online workshop

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I give writing workshops. Some clients find them awesome. For others, they are less effective. Since I am usually delivering similar content, what accounts for the difference? The value often depends on the way the client has positioned the workshop and the way participants engage during the session. So here’s some advice on how to … Continued