The weekend that was

Friday was damp. Friday was wet. Friday was a pretty fucking good day mainly because a band called Radiohead was playing at Glasgow Green and, whilst it there was a light drizzle for most of the evening I really didn’t care. I was just happy to be there and listen to them blast their way through most of my favourites; 2+2=5, There There, Everything In Its Right Place, Paranoid Android, Just(!), Fake Plastic Trees, Jigsaw Falling Into Place, and more. As usual there were several knobs who did their best to spoil it but it didn’t work. Why do these people go to gigs? Regardless a good time was had by all, even if by the end of the second …

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Recently Read

Almost halfway through the year and I’m still finding new technical communications blogs. If you have recently started blogging about this wonderous profession of ours do let me know. On with the last findings. Web 2.0 and Truth Sarah O’Keefe presented at the recent X-Pubs conference on Web 2.0 and Truth. It’s an interesting read, including three quick points which speak volumes as to where the future of our profession may lie. 1. Document publishing needs to accelerate. 2. Online documents should allow for comments and discussion. 3. The documentation needs to be explicit about product limitations and workarounds. 14 Widespread Myths about Technical Writing An intriguing look at our profession, Tom challenges some of the myths about technical writing …

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On Writing

One day I’ll figure out how many words I type in an average (week)day. I have absolutely no idea what that total will be but I can already guess that it’ll scare the bejesus outta me. Be they emails, instant messages, text messages, documents, presentations, spreadsheets, blog posts, blog comments, articles or just jotting down items in my to do list, words dominate my day. I hate them. Well I don’t hate them, but I certainly abuse them on a regular basis. Mind you, given the amount of abuse the English language gets, and given that a lot of it is brought about by the language itself, with it’s twisting, turning rules and exceptions, part of thinks the words welcome …

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Interestingly Mundane

Blimey, yer a strange bunch. In fact I’m also a little insulted. I spend hours crafting blog posts, considering the weighty issues of the day, or trying to capture the elusive quality of a moment, carefully choosing my words to be thought-provokingly poetic. Despite all that, what are the topics that really get you going? Whether tea is rubbish and how to hang up washing to dry! I’ve not had this many comments since we discussed toenails a few years back (July 2004? blimey), well apart from that one time I ASKED for comments. The lesson here is that the mundane artefacts of modern life are something we all feel passionately about, and such things as which beverage you drink …

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Feeling Brave

OK OK, I’ll bite. Gentlemen of the audience. How do you hang clothes up to dry? Presuming you aren’t just leaving them in a sodden clump, and that you hang them over a line or a clothes horse… can there really be a WRONG way to hang clothes up to dry? The way I hang ’em up doesn’t stop them from drying, so how can there be a wrong way?? Honestly, you wummin don’t half make things complicated sometimes…

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Pure distilled poison

Calamity!! Dearest blog reader your intrepid blog writer almost did himself in this morning, so forgive me if I seem a little shaken, if not stirred. My morning ritual at work is well entrenched and includes a cup of coffee. I’m still not sure if I’m as addicted to caffeine as I make out but I do know a nice hot cup of coffee seems to settle my brain for another day at the coalface. It’s gotten to the point where I’m almost on auto-pilot until that first glorious mouthful of not quite scalding but hot-enough-to-feel-as-it-goes-down coffee hits the mark. This morning was no different, I popped some coins in the meter, turned on the PC, fired up Outlook to …

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Your publishing model is broken

When do you publish (release) documentation? Inline with the latest version of your product I’d expect as that’s the traditional model and, and believe me I hate to be the one to break this to you, that’s no longer acceptable. Please don’t shoot the messenger, it’s not my fault, if you are going to blame anyone, blame Google. Or perhaps Tim Berners-Lee. Now, to say that the traditional “publish alongwith product versions” model is broken is a bit of a sweeping statement and of course it still has a place, will be and should be followed but have you ever taken a close look at the information you provide? Is it ALL based only on new features? Maybe it’s just …

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Sudden need for habit

Everything happens at once. It’s always the way of these things, the calendar remains empty until, all of a sudden you realise you have a concert and a leaving do to attend one evening, and a day/evening session in the pub the next day. Such is the case this coming Friday, Radiohead gig at Glasgow Green on Friday evening the same night my boss is having his leaving do (he’s sharing it with another member of staff who is leaving, double trouble!). I’m really looking forward to both, and only hope that I’m not so completely soaked that they don’t let me into the pub later on… It’s also approaching the end of our release cycle at work, so things …

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Sign reads: Occupied

Gosh the football is good, isn’t it. Way better than a World Cup, not as long winded as an entire season and, a few games aside (I’m looking at you France), bloody top quality entertainment. Apparently there are other things that can be watched on TV at the moment but, seriously, why would you? In saying that there is still plenty of other things currently vying for my attentions. Friday night we are out for a quiet dinner to lightly celebrate Louise’s birthday. Saturday morning we’ve both got appointments to see the dental hygienist (the price of paying for your dental care) and then we are off to visit Peggy. Except we aren’t REALLY visiting Peggy, we are all about …

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Promoting DITA without promoting DITA

Recently Scott Abel posted a heartfelt plea to get people all psyched up about how to better promote DITA to the rest of the world. He backs the idea of the DITA Adoption Technical Committee, stating that: “we need excellent communicators with the gumption, know-how, and network to get the word out about the many ways DITA impacts the world and those who live in it.” I’m a fan of DITA and as I read his post I could feel myself getting quite excited, he makes some excellent points about finding real world examples of the benefit DITA can bring but something just doesn’t quite fit. It’s taken me a while to get my head around this but, isn’t a …

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