Recently Read

A quick note this week: If you know of any blogs out there that focus on hardware documentation writing I’d love to hear about them. I’m keen to see if there are other topics being covered out there as I’m aware that my scope is defined by my current interests. Right, let’s press on. Can online help show “read wear?” Anne Gentle ponders on how best to show the online help topics which have the most traffic, and comes up with some interesting ideas: “You could … show the most searched-for terms when the user searches. Concepts may be more easily connected when you understand what others were searching for.” To my mind anything that helps people find what they …

Continue reading »

DITA Maturity Model

I mentioned this in passing last week but having had a little time to delve into the model in a little more depth I thought it was worth re-visiting. The DITA Maturity Model as an organic model that is still being developed. Rather smartly it’s presented in Wiki format allowing anyone who is interested to comment and debate any and all of the content. The model itself follows a familiar pattern with six levels of maturity against which you can map where you and your organisation sit. However the DITA Maturity Model starts with the presumption that you are already committed to topic-based writing, and I think that’s a gap that needs to be addressed. For me, the model allows …

Continue reading »

Health update

Just a quick one as I’m back from the doctors where my blood pressure (after 4 weeks of increasing amounts of an ACE inhibitor) is now 144/86. The upper number (systolic) is easily changed, run up a flight of stairs and it’ll rise. Sit still for 20 minutes and it will fall. The lower number (diatolic) is harder to change so that’s the one I was focusing on, so I was delighted to see it well below 100. Considering the readings that started all this were 196/122 then it’s fair to say that the downward trend is favourable. Phew.

Continue reading »

Indiana Jones and the sunny weekend

Ahhhh what a nice Bank Holiday weekend that was. Visited my Mum for lunch, then popped into to see my Gran for a while before heading home before the rush started (catching the end of the Scottish Cup Final). Saturday evening and we were out with friends for dinner and a screening of the latest Indiana Jones movie. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but suffice to say that having read several reviews I should’ve expected what I saw. Yes, Harrison Ford is older but I thought he carried it well and the first 40 minutes or so skipped along just fine, with the usual romping, fighting, nonsense all in place. But after that it started going downhill. …

Continue reading »

Do online communities work?

Since the turn of the year I’ve been thinking a lot about online communities and let me just say, right here and now, they are bloody hard to get your head around. I’m pulling together a developer community website for my company, with technical information and knowledge sharing being the core aims. It’ll be used by customers, partners and our own internal staff (fingers crossed!). The simplest part to digest is the technological aspects, as you can map your requirements directly and let that drive your choice of tool. You can make decisions based on feedback from prospective users and ultimately most tools can be made to do what you want (ohh didn’t I say, this is utopia where you …

Continue reading »

Getting old?

I’m one of the older people in our office. This is a new thing for me but I’m quite enjoying it. Don’t get me wrong I’m not surrounded by graduates but it’s fair to say that I’m part of the minority both age and experience wise. And I’m loving it for the most part. However the downside rears it’s head frequently, typically during a conversation about TV or music, or any other item that is now referred to as ‘pop culture’. Frankly I’m getting a little fed up of the blank looks and general bemusement that ensues whenever I start talking about things that happened only 10 years ago!! Like most people who are older than 24, I still feel …

Continue reading »

Recently Read

Another grab bag of, hopefully, interesting posts, it’s a varied bunch this week which fits with my current mindset which is grabbing at a large variety of different topics and trying to make sense of them all (and I think it’s finally beginning to come together). Enough of that, on with the links! Do you write FAQs? How about NAQs? As Kevin Kelly points out, we’ve all read FAQs which aren’t, instead they are NAQs – Never Asked Questions, “Easily answered questions that no one has ever asked.” He then goes on to make an excellent point, namely that: …if you don’t answer the FAQs, the internet tubes will. That’s what forums are. Customers, both potential and present, bring their …

Continue reading »

Random notes of no importance

Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! Is it wrong that I’d really rather Ollie killed the mice rather than bring them into the house to play? It’s one thing picking up a dead mouse, quite another to spend 20 minutes chasing a live one round the living room at 3 am. Melody Gardot & R.E.M. After catching her appearance on Jools Holland (and as a side pondering, does anyone refer to it as “Later… with Jools Holland”? No, it’s just “Jools Holland” innit) I listened to some samples from her album and promptly purchased it. Listening to it I can picture her onstage persona, sultry jazz singer, and I wonder if that impacts how I engage with her music? It was the …

Continue reading »

Good Customer Service

Regular readers will be aware that we’ve recently had a new kitchen installed, and that we had some delays in that process. We sent off a letter of complaint asking for compensation for having spent over 4 weeks without a kitchen (the room was completely bare, back to floorboards and brick). Last night we received a response.

Continue reading »

A pint a day…

…is good for you, but only if it’s Guinness. As a seasoned Guinness drinker this news finally backs up my own, far less scientific, research. From now on, whilst knocking back my umpteenth pint of smooth, dark, velvety goodness, I’ll be ignore all counter-claims that fly in the face of this research. Guinness is good for you, that’s all I wanna hear! And for those of you that will, no doubt, suggest that all research is flawed I have only one thing to say to you. *sticks fingers in ears* I CAN’T HEAR YOU!

Continue reading »