A Focus on Structure

I believe that of all the topics covered in this class, I got the most use from learning about structure. I already knew to use appropriate language and give consideration to the audience, but I didn’t know how important structure would be in a document. A nice structure will lead to a nice outline, a nice outline is just filling in blanks. This only works for some documents, but structure is important regardless.

I will adopt this newfound appreciation for structure by spending more time focusing on it prior to starting to document. I will also be willing to revise the structure to fit the content if necessary – you can’t fit a square peg in a round hole. I see this helping me in the near future because I intend on writing many different kinds of documentation – processes, use cases, alerts, and config files are all things I believe I will be documenting this summer. Having a defined structure for each, and a way that they can all fit together (this is for a single project) will be fantastic when trying to write the documentation.
~Connor Shade

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The Importance of Firewalls

Firewalls are an under-utilized line of defense. A presentation I watched from a member of the Microsoft team said that many people, and companies, either leave default host firewall rules or disable them altogether. The default firewall rules are block inbound except for established connections and allow outbound unless it matches an explicit block rule. By itself, this is a useful concept, but the inbound rules allow more than necessary for most people. They are designed to just work in most environments as soon as the computer is connected.

A better move is for people installing computers to spend some time focusing on what traffic should actually occur in their networks. If nobody needs SSH in, then disable it. I found that I could disable many inbound rules, I had no use for them. On a server, I also try to block outbound connections when possible. In competition environments, I set inbound and outbound to deny and then pull a list of allow rules from GitHub. These rules are configured down to the program or service. Firewall rules in Windows are such an important factor in stopping communication, data exfiltration, network exploration, and virus distribution. Building these rules also gives a much better understanding of the kinds of communication that is happening on a network. I am surprised that more people don’t utilize these rules.

~Connor Shade

Final Blog Post

One thing that I learned about in this class that has changed the way I approach my work is the levels of edit. Before taking this class, I never really knew how to edit my work and usually I would just look for spelling and grammar mistakes. Now that I have a list of steps to use, though, I feel that I am more prepared to edit my future assignments. This will hopefully help me a lot, as editing can often increase the quality of an assignment by a lot.

-Jackson Lear

Final Blog Post

This class was very different than the other writing classes. We started learning about what technical writing is in our very first assignments, and it gave me a clear idea what would be expected from us.

I think one of the topics that we have covered in this class that has the most effective impact is the level of edits assignment. Before doing this assignment, I did not have any idea how you can revise your writing with different approaches. Every time I would revise and edit my writings, I was not sure where exactly I should start. The assignment taught me how to effectively revise and edit my writings, and determine the level of editing required to produce a high-quality document.

Since for this assignment I used one of my original document from my last co-op, it helped me to have a better understanding of how different level of edits can help improve a document. Overall this will help me improve quality of my writings in future.

–  Zaima Zeniya

Final Blog Post

One skill this course has taught me is logical mapping. Before taking this course, I was never very good at mapping out my thoughts before attempting to write an assignment. I would usually just write until I got stuck then I would take a break and get back to writing eventually. This usually turned into a very long and drawn out process to write even a two-page assignment. However, whenever I attempted to create an outline of some sort, I would just feel like I was wasting time that could have been spent writing the actual assignment. After this course, I learned how to properly and effectively organize my thoughts before tackling an assignment. This skill will be very helpful in the future as I will likely be asked to write a proposal or memo as I pursue a career in the Civil Engineering field. Now that I know how to properly create an effective outline, my actual writing process has become significantly shorter.

~Tatianna Auguste