Shoot Bird
What Is ShootBird?

Zed is a documentarian who has worked with software companies to produce end-user and developer documentation, as well as helped keep their developers sane by writing stuff down for them. He also writes here about design, software, and ethics.

While not formally trained as a software developer, he’s been thrown (by well-meaning colleagues and himself mostly) into enough development-heavy projects that has made him fluent in dev-speak, and holds his own when writing about technical subjects in a human-friendly manner.

Ping him at zed@nsdmdh.com for business enquiries, or if you want to talk about anything he’s written about.

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打鳥 (.v, Hokkien; pak jiao), literally translates as “shoot bird” and is used to refer to the act of landing a wide shot i.e. missing the target. It’s also used to describe a person who is literally a bad shot, or just generally imperceptive.

This metaphor interests me because it’s meant to evoke an image of a person aiming and attempting to shoot (with an imaginary weapon of choice) a target but their shot landing so wide that it seems like they’re trying to shoot birds out of the sky. This, of course, assumes that the target of value is the set one, and not the bird that is seemingly a casualty of collateral damage.

But in a world where precision tends to mean “algorithmic” and “machine-like”, if not “machinic”, perhaps it’s worth exploring things that are off-centre, off-target, at the edge of vision (in the periphery), and sometimes, out of sight.

“Shooting birds” — and what we’re trying to do here at ShootBird — is therefore an exercise in exploring the periphery in hope that sometimes, what can seem like bad aim in the service of finding a meatier target than if you were on target.

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Contact zed@nsdmdh.com for work/questions.


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