Only the good die young

One of the reasons DITA has gained so much traction in such a short space of time is that the people behind it are taking advantage of the internet to publicise and drive it forward. With that in mind it’s great to see them open the new DITA Maturity Model out to the community: This community is designed to bring the DITA Maturity Model to life, applying the “Wisdom of the Crowds” to the evolution and refinement of this approach to DITA adoption. The premise is that none of us is as good as all of us. The DITA MMC is an evolving resource that will grow and change over time with your active participation and contributions. Definitely a good …

Continue reading »

Do children still play in the street?

Excuse this burst of nostalgia, but whilst tidying up this weekend I happened across some old school diaries and various notes and letters to my Mum, scrawled in my own fine hand aged between 7 and 10 or 11 (roughly). One thing that struck me was just how much I used to do when I was younger. Excluding the piano lessons and practice, the Boys Brigade and visits to see my Gran I used do a lot. Memories came flooding back, times of mammoth Monopoly games that would span weeks at a time, bombing round the street on my bike, playing tag with a spud gun, and that one where you tied some poor sod to a lamppost and everyone …

Continue reading »

New books

So I’ve updated my bookshelf with a couple of new books, and an old one. I’ve started The World Is Flat which is utterly fascinating, even if it is slightly outside of the more traditional technical communications area. However anyone with any interest in social media (aka Web 2.0) should give it a look. My personal opinion is that our jobs are going to become increasingly influenced by such things so it’s good to get a bit of perspective on how they are already making an impact.

Continue reading »

Keyboard and Mouse

I should’ve waited before replacing my old PC with another one. If I had I wouldn’t have my current dilemma as I’d be typing this post on an iMac, with a nice wireless keyboard, thin of form, full of factor. But I’m not so here are my requirements and, dear reader, I’d like your thoughts and suggestions please. My current keyboard is almost ideal. It has two USB ports on the back which I use for thumb drives (and occasionally to plug in a USB mouse when the batteries need charging on my main mouse), I’d be lost without the multimedia buttons (the silver ones in the photo), although I don’t use the ‘internet’ ones at all. It’s small, well …

Continue reading »

Life ahoy!

Right on cue, the star of the show wanders into the living room, damp from the drizzle outside, he rubs himself dry on my trouser leg. And now he’s lying on my foot, dozing off… purring like a contented cat should. Actually I wasn’t going to talk about him but as he’s made an appearance it’s probably worth well letting all his fans know that he’s still as playful, friendly and inquisitive as ever. If he’s awake then he’s always at your feet, checking what you are doing. So helpful. We do have a bit of an issue in that, during the day, he tends to sleep on my office chair so if I’m at home and on the computer …

Continue reading »

Recently Read

Conference season is underway, with DocTrain and AODC recently finishing. As such there is a lot of great and interesting blog posts out there, some are catchup style so if, like me, you didn’t attend you can still get some nuggets of information from them. But the type I prefer are the ones which collate the various ideas and pull them together. So, with that in mind, if you only read one of the posts linked below, make it the first one. DocTrain Conference thoughts Tom chats to Noz Urbina from Mekon and starts to pull together some of the varied threads I’ve covered here into a vision of the future which, in my opinion, makes sense. It’s great to …

Continue reading »

Dumbarton from the air

Yesterday morning I cashed in a Christmas present and took the air in a hellychopper. It was quite noisy, but very smooth, and I have to admit the little boy in me loved every minute (whilst the adult in me fretted about carbon footprints and so on). We weren’t in the air very long, a quick zip up and down the River Clyde from Inchinnan down to about Helensburgh and back, but we did pass my hometown on the way. We didn’t go much above about 1500ft, but kicked it up to about 160mph. It was fun hearing, through the headsets, air traffic control at Glasgow Airport warn us that there was an incoming Boeing… summat or other, approaching and …

Continue reading »

Animals on the Underground

This is one of those silly things that seem to grab my attention from time to time. I’m a bit smitten with this, but not entirely sure why… Back in 1998, Paul Middlewick was staring at the tube map during his daily journey home from work when he discovered an elephant hidden in the shape of the tube lines, stations and junctions of the London Underground map. Since then, the elephant has been joined by many other animals from bats to bottlenose whales. What fun! Found via It’s Nice That.

Continue reading »

Weekender

Ironman kicked off Friday night, and I have to say it’s a darn good blockbuster with Robert Downey Jnr. on twinklingly good form as the rock’n’roll engineer and hero of the story. Jeff Bridges was pretty good too although we are convinced he had platform boots on or something because he suddenly seemed very tall. Gwyneth Paltrow is in it too but as the token tight-skirt wearing personal assistant she had little do (but what she did do, she did well). Saturday was an odd day. I felt a little light-headed for most of it, still not sure why although I’m wondering if it was upping my blood pressure pills (ACE inhibitors, now on 7.5mg a day… will be 10mg …

Continue reading »

Recently Read

I took a few days holiday last week (if you get the chance, go visit Budapest, it’s lovely) so here’s a little bit of catchup from the RSS feeds I monitor. You can download the list over on the right there. How Corporate RSS Supports Collaboration and Innovation Dennis McDonald pulls together some good arguments around introducing Web 2.0 ideas to your company, noting that a lot of business cases rely on raw numbers and that, in the case of social networking tools, there is: … a disadvantage of taking a “beancounter” approach to implementing social media within an organization. While you might be able to quantify the time, effort, and technology associated with impacted processes, you can’t necessarily predict …

Continue reading »