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I’m utterly failing in my attempt to make this a weekly feature on this site. Maybe I should cut it down a little, thoughts and comments are appreciated. Writing an Interface Style Guide Some handy tips for what to include in any user interface guidelines document: Interface style guides are extremely useful to define best practices for design and development. However, keeping that information updated and functional is imperative. A glossary, an index, references, acknowledgments, etc., are among some of the supplementary details you can add to make the style guide as helpful as possible. A Climate of Fear among Technical Communicators? Prompted by a panel in the recent STC Summit, Ben Minson outlines some basic tenets of employment which, …

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A good book

We all know that there are many excellent writers out there who blog just as there are many bloggers who are excellent writers. This latter point is proven by the publication of You’re Not The Only One, a collection of stories written by people who blog, and which was compiled to raise funds for War Child. So, if you want a good read, go buy it. Or if you just want to support a charity that works with the children trapped in war-torn countries, go buy it and then hand it in to a charity shop (two lots of karma in one go!). For full details of the book, how it was compiled and who is in it, go and …

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I miss the plod plod plod

You know when, during a conversation with someone, something they say just clicks and seems so obvious that you wonder why on earth you hadn’t realised it until now? I had such a moment recently and the clarity of what was said was quite startling. I’m mourning my ability to run. It’s quite a simple sentence and, without wanting to belittle anyone who is mourning the loss of a loved one, quite a powerful statement. Powerful enough to make me request a physio appointment to try and get my knee sorted (any ability to exercise it would be good), powerful enough to make me decide that I should be doing some base exercises to improve my flexibility and strength, powerful …

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Why the internet is wonderful

Gather one, gather all, let me tell you a story, let me regale you with a simple yet powerful tale of the wonders achieved when the internet and compassion of (wo)man join in harmonious union. OK, maybe not. But I do have an excellent example of how this interwoven online life we lead is actually a good thing… bear with me though, as this covers many tangents. It all started with an RSS feed… [cue wibbly wobbly dream sequence] wibbly wobbly wibbly wobbly [cut to dashingly handsome man, idly checking his RSS feeds]

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Starting Backwards

The last week or so I’ve been pulling together a strategy presentation. Backwards. It all started when I realised that I need a place to dump some thoughts and concepts, things I knew were related but didn’t know how or why. Most of these were simple diagrams, or short sentences. I’m not sure why I choose powerpoint, I guess I knew that at some point I’d need to present these ideas as a cohesive whole. So without planning it I soon had a batch of somewhat related slides, but which had no audience and certainly no idea of structure or story. The slides include diagrams of how we are planning on storing our content once we have chunked it all …

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Ohh it's just a phase…

I wasn’t planning on following up the previous post, but given the amount of time people have taken to respond, and how thought provoking those responses were/are I think I should take a moment to address a couple of things. Like Pete, says: I go through phases where I use the computer a lot, and then I go through phases where I avoid it as much as possible. I have phases where I watch films, and then I have phases where I don’t. Phases where I read books, phases where I don’t. Computer games, don’t. Watch TV, don’t. So with that in mind I’m not overly concerned at my current computer apathy, and as usual simply expressing my thoughts here …

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Once there was a man

The man was once a boy, and that boy remembers sitting in front of a large cream box which had a keyboard of mainly dark keys with a row of red ones at the top. He wasn’t sure why the television people had made such a thing but he enjoyed watching the items on screen move under his control. A few years later that same boy was sat in front of a grey box which had a little smiley face on the screen when you turned it on. It made funny noises and took small rigid discs into a slot on the front just under the screen and had a keyboard and a mouse, all in the same colour. It …

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A suburban weekend

Isn’t it amazing what a difference a little bit of sunshine can make, offering us a glimpse of another life, a different way of living. Memories of holidays rush to the fore, from the early morning birdsong to the dusky barbeques and glasses of cold wine, droplets of condensation glistening as they race each other down the stem. Of course living in a suburban cul-de-sac there are certain things that need done on such a weekend and so the air is soon filled with the buzz of lawn mowers, the rip of hedge trimmers. People pottering around their gardens filling the air with the sounds of summer; a tranquil busy-ness fills the air. Evening descends and the smells of summer …

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