Conversation V.I.P.s

Revisiting an old post over on the Cherryleaf blog, where Ellis was prompted to ask “Can technical authors be part of ‘the conversation’ in the connected Web 2.0 world that’s emerging?” (excuse the paraphrasing). As a long-term blogger, and someone who believes that there are many tools in the Web 2.0 world that can and should be embraced by technical communicators, I immediately started thinking about this. It’s taken until now for me to distill my rambling thoughts into something coherent. Mainly because it’s a fairly open-ended topic, and because his post includes several questions: If we are going to be part of the conversation, will we be let in? What would make people do that? Once we are in …

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Product Design

As a technical writer, I often find myself bemused by the design decisions made by developers and product designers. Any time I find myself bemused by a product I tend to look towards the supporting information. However, the technical writer also has guard against such things, as evidenced by the instruction manual I received with my new watch. The watch itself has four buttons, and like most digital watches each button will do different things in different modes. The buttons are not labelled on the watch itself and so the instruction manual is the only place to figure out what button does what. OK, I’ll admit it, I did play with it for a while before turning to the manual …

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Do you have the receipt?

So, did you get anything nice? You DID! Ohh you must’ve been very good then. I got some excellent presents this year, but I have to admit that as time marches my attitude towards Christmas is changing. I’m fairly agnostic these days, and look upon such Christian-based holidays in a more spiritual sense. Christmas is a time to re-connect with family and close friends, to spend time with loved ones and generally ground yourself before the next helter-skelter year comes along. The acting of giving and receiving presents is well established but, like many traditions, seems to a little misplaced these days. After all, in our current society where anyone with a reasonable income can afford everything they need, and …

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Shhhh, can you hear Santa?

It’s Christmas Eve which means it’s time for our traditional watching of the Muppets Christmas Carol, a few glasses of wine and possibly even a mincemeat pie*. I hope, whether you celebrate it or not, that you are having a peaceful time with you and yours, and I hope that Santa is good to you (not YOU obviously, you’ve been bad). It will be a little quieter than normal here, with posting based largely on my ability to recover from the several hangovers I have planned… well, I’m not planning the hangovers, more the drinks the precede the hangover. And yes, I could drink a little less. In fact I could drink a lot less but this is when I …

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Ho Ho Ho

I hope, whether you celebrate it or not, that you are having a peaceful time with you and yours, and I hope that Santa is good to you (not YOU obviously, you’ve been bad). Have a wonderful day tomorrow, and remember that it’s all about the people you love, not the presents you get or the turkey you burn. Merry Christmas, everyone!

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Improve the experience

Recently, Tom suggested that: if someone can figure out how to make help whallop the user with wonder and awe, it will be the creative innovation of the century. Once we begin to establish a standard and a precedence, people‚Äôs beliefs will change from feeling that “all help is useless and unimportant” to “the help at my company is exceptionally good and useful; I will explore it more often.” And I completely agree. But. Whilst he goes on to list ways in which the future of online help may expand – personalized help, feedback options, audiovisual options and such like – I think that is only one side of the coin. While, without a doubt I could work harder to …

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Freezing Fog

It’s all gone now, but the previous three days saw us drive to and from work in freezing fog. During that time, the country road that we take got whiter and whiter. So, on Friday afternoon as I was home earlier than I expected, I nipped back out with my camera.

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Acceptance

I can’t help it. It’s not my fault. I try and fight it, honest I do. I do my best but.. well.. I am but a man, there is only so much I can do. Normally I can resist, I mean it’s not like I’ve not had practice at this sort of thing and I’ve tried, god help me, I’ve tried. Alas, I can fight not more. I have succumbed. It is Christmas. The thing is, and I may have mentioned this before, but I live with a Crimbo nutter. Take today for example, we are both have this afternoon off and while I’m not liking the fact I need to go into Glasgow to finish my Christmas shopping, Louise …

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New RSS Feed

It took me a while to ‘get’ RSS feeds but now that I have I find myself quite happily subscribing to them, willy-nilly. I figure I’d rather have a lot of sources than not enough. This does mean that sometimes I don’t read all the posts, but I’ve made my peace with the “Mark as Read” option in Google Reader. Since I first posted the feed compilation I’ve added a few different sources and it’s about due an update, and here it is. Due to the rather cumbersome way this is created I’ve not, yet, got a “what’s changed” list, but I’m working on that, I’ll post it to the feed page once it’s done.

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