Intermission

The past week was comprised of several acres of sleeping, a variety of coughs from a phlegm-shifting bark to a wheezy airless hack, the swallowing of many small sharp edged rocks, and the application of an ever-tightening metal band around my head. In other words, I have man-flu. More technically, I have a chest infection (confined to my left lung) the result of which means I have 4 weeks worth of antibiotics to take. I’m on the mend. Normal service will be resumed shortly.

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Q10: Text editor with a difference

Recently I’ve been toying with some software tools to try and focus my writing a little better, stumbling across an application called Q10. A full-screen text editor which is, according to the website, “a simple but powerful text editor designed and built with writers in mind.” Whenever I start a new piece of work I tend to write up notes in text files first, before moving them into FrameMaker for formatting and publishing. This was largely borne from limitations in Structured FrameMaker, and sits well with our usage of an internal Wiki for content collaboration. Q10 helps with this approach by doing one thing very well. Like most well-designed products, the features are usable out of the box, but there …

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What is art?

During a Saturday afternoon wander in London, joining the throng of tourists meandering along the river, I decided to head to the Tate Modern. It’s been some years since I’d been there (Anish Kappor’s Marsyas was the installation at the time) and my art tastes veer towards that end of the scale so I do enjoy visiting it The current installation is a large crack in the floor of the old Turbine room, installed by Doris Salcedo, and represents: Whilst I’m still trying to figure out HOW the crack was made (it’s definitely the original floor, or a very very good copy), what was more interesting to me was how people were reacting to it, and interacting with it. Like …

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The tool is not important

The tool is not important. The tool is not important. The tool is not important. I have been repeating this mantra in my head for the past week or so, over and over, like a broken record. I’m in the middle of pulling together the requirements and scope for a new technical community website for our users, which will become the key focus of our technical information. The more traditional product documentation set will be maintained as we move forward, so there is some thought to be given towards how we manage the information as well as how it is published, or rather where. I must stop considering the how. The tool is not important. At present I have a …

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Publishing

Prompted by the You’re Not the Only One… wait, you’ve not heard of it! Well a few bloggers are: …putting together a book for WARCHILD written by bloggers and here’s where you come in: We would like you to submit a written piece about something you’ve been through from any aspect of your life that you want to share. It can literally be about anything: your relationships, your past, a road not taken, being a parent, an illness or your regrets etc. We’ve called it “You’re Not The Only One” to reflect the camaraderie of blogging. [All] Proceeds will go to WARCHILD If you are interested the full details are on the site, submissions need to be in by the …

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Been and went and done it

I spent the weekend in London and have a posts garnered from a rather wonderful weekend. Here’s the first one: Friday evening, a pub in London, and a gathering of bloggers. What can I say, a great night in the company of smart, funny people. I’ve been blogging for a while now, and over that time I’ve retained a central group of blogs that I always visit. They are my daily reads (at least they were, the advent of RSS means they are now the “read as soon as they’ve posted” reads) and their popularity is well deserved. During the evening, at a point that is slightly hazy (not only are they nice people, they are very generous too, hic!), …

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Spain was Spain

Peggy enquired how we got on in Spain last week and I guess I should mention it. Thing is it’s not really a holiday as such. It’s more a sojourn, or retreat, or… some other words that has the connotation of going somewhere warm and doing sweet fuck all. On holiday I like to do things, visit places, learn about the area, sample the cuisine, the nightlife, the culture etc etc. But when we go to Spain we are there to visit my father-in-law and so we fall into his routine. We’ve seen the surrounding area and he’s not big on doing tourist stuff anyway… so our days were pretty straightforward: Wake up around 9am, sometimes later, sometimes earlier. Breakfast, …

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Happy being ordinary

I think it’s safe to say I am a fairly average guy, with an average life. I spend my working week at the grindstone, pottering about in the evening, watching TV occasionally, playing computer games, or mucking about on the computer. Weekends are usually full of family or the usual lot of the average man; B&Q, IKEA, and as much time spent sprawled on the sofa watching footie as I’m permitted. Occasionally we got out for dinner, or visit friends, or attend parties. Nothing particularly out of the ordinary. It’s safe to say that I am not extraordinary. And you know what, I’m quite happy with that. I’ve made peace with the fact that, whilst everyone is unique, mostly we’re …

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The Big Picture

Deliverables are dead. Long live multi-format, anytime, anywhere delivery of information! The more I think about it, the more I am beginning to see that creating content, writing and styling and planning, for “print” is no longer valid. Quick caveat: Know your audience and the requirements. Many places mandate printed documentation in one format or another. I am purely talking about my own experience in a software environment. I’m the first to admit that whenever I start thinking about updating a manual I think in print terms. I think of entire chapters of information, I think of how the user will be able to navigate and understand the layout and construction of the document. Changing those habits is proving hard …

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Ready or not

I have made the lists. I have checked the lists. The lists do not lie. I think I finally have a grip on … dammit … just remembered something else. OK, let’s start over. The coming few weeks will be hectic. The arrival and fitting of a new kitchen requires preparation, the erecting of a new fence in the back garden requires a little preparation too, and there is the small matter of an (overdue) website, on top of some new stuff at work which is REALLY exciting and which I’m trying not to let intrude into my ‘downtime’ (I’m failing on that count but I don’t really mind). So I have a list of things that need to be …

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