Sense and Sensibility

I’m getting old. Very old. Not only am I grumpy, I’m old. Shoot me now. Put me out to pasture or just send me to the glue factory. I am old. The reason I say this is largely the fault of my cousin. We were at her birthday party on Saturday night and as her friends started to drift in, fashionably late of course, it struck me just how old I am. There I was, surrounded by nubile young girls and all I could think was “ohhh, they’ll catch their death..”. Hmmm, that last sentence makes me sound like a dirty old pervert, sitting in the corner of the hall, my seedy little eyes roving for glimpses of flesh. For …

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Revisiting the basics

There are some fundamentals tenets of our profession that are widely accepted. One being that you always need to know your audience before y can begin to understand their needs and so produce the information that they require. The reason I mention this is because, whilst it’s something very basic and is deeply grained in the technical writer part of my brain, I keep forgetting it. Let me explain. I’m currently working on a mini-project aimed at making sure the language we use and the things we talk about through all levels of our product information (from the website and marketing brochures, down to the lowest level of reference information) tell a consistent story. From basic facts and terminology to …

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Sneaky

The scene is a small darkly lit room. On the desk sits a lamp and a computer screen glows. A man sits in front of the screen, staring intently. Lost in his thoughts… Bloody hell. Can’t be right. Can’t. Shit. It is. Where’s that list? No, the other one. OK, here we go. 1 of those. 5 of those. 2 of those. Hmmm need to get that thing elsewhere. And that. Crap, that too. Plenty of time really. Calendar isn’t that ful… ohh crap it is. Maybe that will do. Yeah that’ll do. So will that. Ohh and that’s perfect. Wow, I think I’m done! Woo hooo, time for a beer. With that, the man pushes himself back from the …

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Mr. Men

Like many children of my era, I grew up being read, then reading, the wonderfully insightful Mr. Men books. I had a Mr. Tickle hot water bottle, Mr. Men wallpaper and even a matching Mr. Men bedspread. I had the Mr. Men tapes, which I’m sure my parents must’ve grown thoroughly sick off as I demanded that, for the umpteenth weekend in a row, that it accompany our journey to visit my Gran and even a windup plastic Mr. Bump. I have vague memories of lying in bed, listening to my Dad reading me the stories. Hazy recollections of standing at the counter in John Menzies with my Mum as she purchased another of the books. The theme tune evokes, …

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And so it continues

Last week at work was quietly manic and next week shows no sign of anything changing on that front. There is a big project on the go and, whilst it’s great to be involved in it from the very start, it does mean I am now juggling 4 or 5 different responsibilities. I know everyone else does this too, I’m really REALLY not complaining, in fact I revel in the additional pressure of it all. Turns out I’m quite happy when I’m busy. Maybe that’s why I say YES to so many things. It’s that need to be busy (I’m pretty sure it’s just that, not a need to be liked, or any form of acceptance seeking) which found me …

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Planning the big move

I’ve waffled on about single source and our plans for long enough so, as we are finally starting the process itself, I thought I’d capture some information as we go along. However, it’s probably good to set the scene, so I’ll cover that stuff first. Over time you’ll be able to see all the posts related to this work here. With a most recent product release almost out of the door, our thoughts turn to the next few months and, finally, beginning to move our content to Author-it. During our weekly team meetings, and across several shorter planning meetings in the past months, we’ve covered most of what we think we need to have covered. However, to be sure we’ve …

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Thank fuck

Contrary to popular belief, where “popular” refers to all my tens of readers and “belief” refers to the scant notion that any of you buggers have anything even approaching morals let alone a belief system, I am not completely brainwashed by our friends across the pond. You know, them Merkin folk. The ones with the new president. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no hater of the United States of America but there is something about this thanksgiving holiday they have that irks me in a way not dissimilar to that feeling you get when you have a stone in your shoe but it’s raining so you can’t stop to remove it and have to plod on and on through puddles …

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Rube Goldberg

I always feel ridiculous when I put on the balaclava, but I know I must. I check my appearance in the mirror and a man in black from head to toe stares back at me. Hey, I think, at least I look the part. I yank the balaclava off and stuff it in my pocket for later. I walk over to the table at the other side of the room, not a huge journey in such a cheap hotel, and check that I have everything I need, ticking each item off against my mental itinerary just as I’ve been trained. I remember all the drills clearly and trust that instinct will guide me should the need arise. Taking a deep …

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Not today

Slowly the words start to form, floating through ether he edits them as they fall into place. Soon he has the beginnings of… something… he’s not quite sure what though. He’ll know better when he sits down in the pale glow of the monitor and submits to the rhythm of the keyboard. He’s been here before and written about this before as well, and he knows that it doesn’t matter where you start just that you do. Stories are everywhere but equally he finds himself leaning away from personal introspection, away from the humdrum of everyday life, preferring to toy with the cadence of whimsy to see what it might divulge. I am the walrus. Nonsense and frivolity, sound more …

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Not today

Slowly the words start to form, floating through ether he edits them as they fall into place. Soon he has the beginnings of… something… he’s not quite sure what though. He’ll know better when he sits down in the pale glow of the monitor and submits to the rhythm of the keyboard. He’s been here before and written about this before as well, and he knows that it doesn’t matter where you start just that you do. Stories are everywhere but equally he finds himself leaning away from personal introspection, away from the humdrum of everyday life, preferring to toy with the cadence of whimsy to see what it might divulge. I am the walrus. Nonsense and frivolity, sound more …

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