Wednesday, June 21, 2017

How to Read Documentation at Work

Reading. It's awesome. You're doing it now, and good for you. Also, thank you.

What you may have forgotten is that reading is more than just pointing your eyes at some text and recognizing that text as language. Reading incorporates comprehension of what you're reading. As one of my former co-workers told me years ago, "If you read something, and don't understand it, you haven't read it."

In technical circles, reading is a near-constant activity. We're reading release notes on patches, we're reading installation guides for new software, we're reading messages from colleagues. Reading requires dedicated time and 100% of your attention; it's not something you can multi-task. It's not. No. No, YOU'RE wrong.

The problem with devoting your attention to reading is that, to the pointy-haired types and nosy cube neighbors of the world, reading sure looks an awful lot like doing nothing. Personally, when I'm reading something at work, I slouch in my chair and rest my left hand against my chin. I mean, it really does look like I'm kirked out or whatever the kids say these days. But I'm not. I'm learning.

So to provide some cover for my fellow at-work readers, I present to you the most stupid PowerShell script I've ever written. It's also the best.

My goal was to find a simple command that would produce the busiest wall of rapidly changing text that I could let go without worrying about it. And since update-help is something we should all run on occasion, I went with it. The -verbose makes it noisier, and the -force makes it run more than once in a 24 hour period. The while statement is just the stupid part that makes the do loop run as long as you can get to, which is always.

Run this, move the window to whichever monitor you think is most visible from the doorway to your workspace, and read in peace. It'll look like you're busy doing... something? If someone asks what you're doing, just say it has to do with cloud services and the compiler in the micro segmentation containerized SDN topology. That'll chase them away.