The world we live and write in demands the use and understanding of increasingly high-tech tools. The Writer’s Technology Companion is a guide through the world of technology as it directly impacts the life of a writer. From backing up your files and using your word processor to putting up a website and publishing electronically, The Writer’s Technology Companion covers it all.
I’m your guide, Dustin M. Wax. I’m a Las Vegas-based college instructor and freelance writer. I’ve recently published an academic book called Anthropology at the Dawn of the Cold War: The Influence of Foundations, McCarthyism and the CIA (Pluto Press, 2008), a volume of essays by myself and 6 other anthropologists.
I’m also the project manager and contributing editor at lifehack.org, a site devoted to personal development, organization, and productivity. There I edit the work of over 25 writers, who are read by over a million unique visitors a month. I think it’s fair to say I know a thing or two (maybe even more!) about technology and the writer’s life.
Can’t get enough of me? You can also check out my personal site at dwax.org or read my thoughts on anthropology at Savage Minds (where I write under the username “Oneman”). I’m also available as a freelance writer; you can get more information and see my portfolio at dustinwax.com.
Is there a story behind this site?
Why, yes there is! I’m glad you asked.
I was flipping around the Internet one day, looking for software for writers. I like to play around with new software (and am always hoping for the new thing that will just *click*) and I write about technology from time to time at lifehack.org. Anyway, I came across a forum post, where someone was asking about some piece of software, and several of the responses were along the lines of “I don’t trust computers, I barely trust Word, don’t use this piece of software!”
That’s kind of sad.
For better or worse (I think “for better”), computers are the main tool of the writer’s trade these days. Used well, they can help us get organized, be more productive, and build our careers faster and more easily. Because of computers we can learn about new markets easily — and the Internet has given us not just new markets but a whole new medium for publishing.
I know a lot about computers, more than most writers, I think, and I figure that I can help other writers become more comfortable and knowledgeable about the tools of their trade. This site isn’t all about computers, of course — there’s some decidedly low-tech stuff I use on a day-to-day basis, and I’ll be writing about that, too — but computers (including software, the Internet, peripherals, computer-like devices, etc.) are the backbone of this site. Used properly, they can help us write faster, more, and even better than we could were we born into the Underwood Era.
A Note on Advertising
While I have a great deal of fun doing this, The Writer’s Technology Companion couldn’t exist without the income brought in by advertising to cover the cost of hosting, some degree of research, and my time. Because I aim to provide only the most relevant and useful information to my readers, the relationship between content and the advertising that supports it has to be a little less rigid than you’d expect from a commercial magazine or newspaper (or news site).
Here’s my pledge to you: as much as possible, I will only accept sponsorship from products that I believe are genuinely useful to writers. Most of the advertising on this site is hand-picked by me to that end — you can consider their appearance on this site an endorsement. However, I am also running ads from Google’s AdSense program and other contextual advertisers, which are tuned to the specific content of each page. While I cannot specifically choose the sponsors these systems select as appropriate, I will make an effort to prevent inappropriate or shady advertising from appearing on the site.
If you have a problem with a product or service advertised on The Writer’s Technology Companion, let me know and I will reconsider their ad placement. If I feel strongly enough about it and the situation merits it, I will share your story for the benefit of other readers.
I may also accept compensation in return for writing reviews on this site. I will only do this in cases where my compensation is not dependent on the outcome of my review. Any positive review I offer on this site you can take, again, as an endorsement.
The privacy of our visitors is important to us.
The Writer’s Technology Companion recognizes that the privacy of your personal information is important. We never sell your personal information to third parties. However, The Writer’s Technology Companion does collect some of the following forms of information due to the nature of the Internet, and also includes third-party ads that may collect and use the following forms of information:
- Log Files
As with most other websites, we collect and use the data contained in log files. The information in the log files include your IP (internet protocol) address, your ISP (internet service provider, such as AOL or Shaw Cable), the browser you used to visit our site (such as Internet Explorer or Firefox), the time you visited our site and which pages you visited throughout our site.
- Cookies and Web Beacons
- Email Addresses
The Writer’s Technology Companion offers an email update list, and also allows you to receive notifications when someone responds to a comment you’ve left. This information is used only for the explicit purpose you’ve designated.
- Third-Party Agents
We also use third party advertisements to support our site. Some of these advertisers may use technology such as cookies and web beacons when they advertise on our site, which will also send these advertisers (such as Google through the Google AdSense program) information including your IP address, your ISP , the browser you used to visit our site, and in some cases, whether you have Flash installed. This is generally used for geotargeting purposes (showing New York real estate ads to someone in New York, for example) or showing certain ads based on specific sites visited (such as showing cooking ads to someone who frequents cooking sites).
You can chose to disable or selectively turn off our cookies or third-party cookies in your browser settings, or by managing preferences in programs such as Norton Internet Security. However, this can affect how you are able to interact with our site as well as other websites. This could include the inability to login to services or programs, such as logging into forums or accounts.
While I have no control over third-party users of your information, I do not willingly offer private information (such as email addresses or other identifying information).