Where does a writer get inspiration from?
:-) We also have a story idea researcher who tips our authors a bunch of optional ideas to choose from.
I often find ideas from problems I encounter in my own life with regards to my computer. If I don't know how to fix something and / or I think it's a problem many other people may be having too, I ask the MUO writers if they know the answer and, if so, write it up.
Reading older MUO articles also throws up new ideas. Plus as Justin says, Twitter helps enormously, as does RSS feeds in Google Reader.
Thats a good question Samuel, I mostly write tutorials for things I'm trying out myself at home and think others might like to have a go at - or technical points I think I could explain well. To be honest, I don't MakeUseOf that many new internet sites and services, so I don't write about them. My inspiration comes from my own passion in the world of computing, hardware, networks and mobiles.
Inspiration is everywhere. For me it's in life around us and in the activities I enjoy. For instance, I enjoy cycling. That turned into a post titled - 10 Bicycling Websites That Will Pedal You Into The World Of Cycling. I enjoy movies...that became a complete ebook you can download for free. Take a simple thing as cooking or self improvement. You can build an entire article on that because these days there are online help for nearly everything. Then there's this section and the queries our readers ask. I get lots of ideas from here and try to build on that. In the end there's nothing more exciting than using an online medium to help out others with information and learn something yourself in the process.
Perhaps I dabble too much with my favorite software because I can always find a good tip that would be more useful if shared (like something I learned from studying how to use GIMP), so I try to post an article on that.
There are always good software waiting to be publicized more, like open-source projects. I find a lot of good ones from AlternativeTo.Net.
I also try to keep up with startup news sites and tech blogs and usually if there's a blogger from those sites whose writing style I really like, that's enough to inspire me to start an article.
Love the question, Samuel! I get my inspiration from a bunch of random places. Tech shows I watch/listen to, popular blogs and news sites, or from just using my computer and figuring out how to do things from day to day. After a while it can be pretty difficult to come up with fresh ideas, so it might be necessary to read a lot more websites besides the ones you frequent.
To be honest, I've no idea how I think of three article ideas every week. Browsing Twitter every morning helps; I try to follow developers with a habit of making cool things.
I also read a lot of forums, such as UbuntuForums.org and MobileRead.com, to name a couple. If something cool is happening there I'll write it up and link to the post in question.
Beyond that, I just try to stay informed with what's happening in the world of software. The best articles are ones I write while trying to figure out how to do something for myself; it's amazing what a little Googling can lead to.
The biggest inspiration, however, is the threat of a deadline. Mark will do me physical harm if I miss a deadline. :)
I can't speak for MUO writers, but for my blog, I get post ideas from questions asked by friends and family or when I find new software that would be useful or interesting. I also get ideas from past experiences of fixing problems, like Firefox changing spellchecker languages or other problematic situations. Sometimes, just browsing through my own bookmarks and finding an old bookmark will help me get ideas. As with any type of writing (novels, essays, or just blogging), inspiration can come from anywhere. But that's just me. It could be different for different people.