Moments of beauty

A few days I ago I mentioned finding the beauty in things and I had a perfect example this morning as I drove to work. A glorious view unfurled beneath me as I drove down the hill. As usual my camera was tucked away in my bag. Mind you I was on the motorway so couldn’t really stop.. The sun was up, white-yellow through clouds, wafting salmon pink mist across the city like a blanket. Sprawling chimneys and gangling tower blocks dangled through the cloud. Layers of light broke away towards the hills on the horizon, shading each rise and fall, buildings picked out in silhouette, windows flashing sunlight. 15 seconds later the road dipped and it was gone. A …

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Getting to EXPERT

The gaps in your documentation aren’t there because you haven’t consider a particular level of user; the gaps in your documentation are there because you haven’t considered how one level of user becomes another. How DO you get from Beginner to Expert? The question above was prompted by a presentation I attend last week, given by Paul Sherman on behalf of the Scottish Usability Professionals’ Association, entitled: THE PERPETUAL SUPER-NOVICE. The basic premise is: the tendency of people to stop learning about a digital product-whether it’s an operating system, desktop application, Web site, or hardware device. A simple example: Someone who has learned that you can cut and paste text in Word by using the Edit menu options and the …

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Fate?

What is it about these things, these events in life that all seem to collide. Days go by with only the merest ripple distorting the norm then … BLAMMO! … For example, take tomorrow. I need to be in the office to deliver a presentation as part of our induction and the kitchen fitters are due to, finally, start work. I’ve also got an appointment with the nurse to get my blood pressure taken. I’d figured out the timings, I’d wait until the kitchen fitters arrived and then head to work. The presentation is right after lunch, so I’d give that then head off to the local health centre, then home to see how the fitters are doing. Except they …

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Explorer showing multiple desktops?

Windows XP has a bug in it, one that has bugged me for ages but is under the “can be tolerated” category. I’ve looked for a fix before but couldn’t find anything, mainly because it’s hard to describe within search terms (note to Google: how about searches based on uploaded screenshots??). The problem occurs when you open Windows Explorer and start browsing folders. The tree on the left starts to show additional items named “Desktop” but, when you click on them they are actually items that are on your Desktop.. it’s a little weird and after a while you can end up with multiple “Desktops items at the top (and middle) of the tree on the left.

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Recently Read

Been a while since I did one of these and, as ever, they reflect some of the things that have caught my eye over the past week or so. A couple of things on DITA which have me rethinking my approach towards it, and a some links to posts discussing … welll community, social media, Web 2.0 kind of stuff, some of it is a little away from my world but it’s good to get a different point of view on these things. Docbook versus DITA Not the first comparison I’ve seen but an excellent summary comparison of DocBook versus DITA. Whilst it was written by someone who admits that they were looking to portray a favourable outcome for DocBook, …

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No searching…

I’ve been trying, unsuccessfully, to add a better (Google) search to this site. Alas because I have a hand-coded WordPress theme, and I last looked at it about a year ago, I’ve managed to bork the search results location. So, for now, the search isn’t working. Nuts. Thanks to Tom, it’s all working now, and it’s even better!

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A few random things…

Twitter continues to absorb, offering an instant outlet for tiny thoughts and today was Muxtape day. As ever, Meg was near the front of the list, but I soon followed along. Completely illegal I’m sure so I don’t expect it to last… Asaph has caught my eye as I continue to find a way to gather together my online life, although I’ll happily admit that these days I’m not as bothered, or driven, to find a ‘solution’ as I’m not really seeing it as a problem. I have two blogs, a Twitter account, a Flickr account and follow copious amounts of sources via RSS. I’ve stopped watching feeds that aren’t full (with very rare and limited exceptions) and I’m quite …

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I see no… photos

Flicking through Flickr … ahhhh I get it now … Anyway. I was … ummm … browsing Flickr last night and it struck me that I’m just not generally of a mind to take photos. I’m still very much a “go and take photos” type of photographer, rather than a “quick, take a snapshot” type of photographer. Now I’ll admit that, in the grand scheme of things, this isn’t really that big a deal but, as we all know, it’s the minor things that tend to piss us off and this, currently, is one of mine. Before I continue I’ll point out that, as I type, my camera sits in the bag at my feet. It’s been there for the …

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A day in the life

As featured in the Spring 2008 edition of Communicator, the magazine for ISTC members. I’m the Publications Team Lead at Graham Technology, a mid-sized (and growing) software company based in Scotland and like many people in this field, I have a wide range of duties. As well as the more traditional technical authoring work, I also manage resources, consider strategy and working practices for the team, and generally do my best to represent the user during development meetings. I also find myself spending time considering the information strategy of the company, investigating translation requirements, and keeping up to speed with the Technical Communications industry. I joined Graham Technology just over a year ago and it’s my first time working in …

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