Wordle

Ahh the internet is full of simple pleasures, like Wordle. Give it the URL of your blog, a chunk of text, or your del.icio.us username and you get something like this (click for fullsize, requires Java):

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Brain dump

Twitter pulls random thoughts from my head now, but there are some that require a little more room to breathe. In no particular order then… The iPhone is a wonderful device, and if you are web-savvy and heavily invested in web applications and social networking then it is THE choice. If you just want a phone with a few features, it’s still a strong player but remains lacking in some areas (camera is poor, lack of video, no MMS). Needless to say I think Apple pitched this phone at the right group of users and it will only get better as more applications appear. My fitness is slowly improving, although weight loss is very very slow. I’ve been trying to …

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Consideration Layer Model

As a technical writer, every decision you make is influenced by several discrete things, considerations for either the audience of the information, the process you’ll need to follow to collate and verify the information, and so on. Every decision requires such considerations but is it possible to model these? Some background first; I don’t revisit my old posts nearly as often as I should and, as there are certain topics that I tackle with the vague idea of covering in greater detail at some point later on, it’s handy when someone else gives me a nudge about an old post (namely, The tool is not important). That said, such topics are typically the hardest ones to consider, the big picture …

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Landfill Indie

Great article about the current state of the UK music scene. Now, whilst I disagree that the Fratellis fall into this camp and feel it is a tad harsh to blame all of this on the Arctic Monkeys, the article mirrors my current thoughts, largely fuelled by listening to X-FM in the morning commute to work (Not a fan of Radio 2 in the mornings, nor the inane chat on Radio Scotland and Radio Clyde). There seems to be a lack of anything new and original, with band after bland band churning out the same punk-lite, faux gritty, rat-a-tat-tat style tunes. It’s no wonder I’m reaching for some old favourites every time I fire up iTunes. You don’t need to …

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More nothing

I’m not sure if it’s the lull after the last few frantic weeks but I find myself ebbing between tasks, bumping around on the current, rudderless for the moment, with nary a breeze to prod me gently onwards. In saying that I did re-organise the bedroom yesterday, whilst Louise shampooed the living room carpet. We were going to shuffle the living room about but, due to the space and dimensions we are kinda limited. As we had talked about doing the same with the bedroom I tackled that, moving a chest of drawers into the next room (now known as the “walk in wardrobe”), and moving the bed under the window. It gives us a lot more floor space although …

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Normality resumed

… whatever that is… As the week draws to a close my mood is liftening (err… that’d be “lightening” and “lifting”) considerably. I’ve spent the last week facilitating meetings which have the teams looking at how they work and coming up with improvements. To get to the improvements they are asked to consider what went well (with the aim of taking those things forward) and what didn’t go so well (aka “badly”) with the aim of putting actions in place to stop them happening again. Needless to say, fixing things is a lot harder than dealing with things that already work, so the process can be kinda draining. Looking back on this week (this is the second time I’ve filled …

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Quick iPhone Thoughts

Whilst it isn’t as full featured as, say, the HTC Touch Diamond, I can’t think of anything that I’m really missing. Text messages appearing as a conversation thread is so much better than the traditional display method (one text per screen). Intuitive? Very. Although there are a few funny things, for example, you CAN set the keyboard shift button to turn into a CAPS LOCK style key, but it’s disable in the Settings by default. Tip: To switch between keyboard modes (to add a ? for example), press and hold your finger on the 123 mode toggle button, keep your finger on the screen and slide to the ? and then let go. The keyboard inserts the ? and automatically …

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Stop Writing Manuals

No-one reads the documentation anyway, so why do we persist in writing user guides, instruction manuals and all the other types of document-centric information silos that we all quietly loathe creating in the first place? Unless you have a contractual agreement to compile information into a document, it’s our job to figure out how best to get the right information to the user at the right time. It’s down to us, no-one else. And I, for one, have failed to do my best, instead I’ve hidden behind the usual arguments of “ohh but that was how it was when I got here”, or “we don’t get to speak to our users so it’s hard to know what they want”. OK, …

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Learning Lessons

I love making mistakes. Really I do. Sure they can be painful, costly and time consuming but let’s look at the positives here, every time you make a mistake you can learn something new. How great is that! As part of our release cycle, we conduct a series of retrospective meetings, one per team, in which we focus in on the things that went well (with the aim of continuing them) and things that didn’t go so well (so we can improve them). I faciliated some of the last round of these and this time round I get to do them all. So for the coming week I have two, two hour long meetings a day, helping the teams discuss …

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