What next?

Last night, around 3am, I woke up. I lay there in bed wondering why I’d woken up and as my mind started to churn I realised I was very very awake. In flooded four things I’ve been thinking about for some time, all of which are related but I couldn’t quite make the connection. Last night I cracked it. Maybe. I’m still thinking it through but here are the four items in question: Single sourcing our documentation – and recent discussions with other areas of the company who could benefit from the same approach. Company Information Strategy – a simple pyramid based model that allows everyone creating content to ‘map’ their audience appropriately and which should start to help with …

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NaNoWriMo? No!

I’d love to. I really would. Every year that rolls around finds me considering it. Every year I start to jot down notes (where do you think one man tales came from?). Every year I visit the website, and get excited at the thought. Every year I think, yeah I COULD do that. Every year I think, maybe I SHOULD do that. Every year I think, maybe that’s just what I need. Every year I think, yes, this is the year. I will do it! But I won’t. Not this year. I just don’t have the time (such a lame excuse, really). Even if I was to promise myself to MAKE the time. I wouldn’t. I SHOULD. If it really …

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Author-it & Word

A teeny tiny gotcha that I thought I’d mention here. I can’t find explicit mention of it in the Author-it Knowledge Center and it’s tripped me up a bit. Quite simply, and I realise these will sound obvious, make sure everyone who is using Author-it is using the same version of Microsoft Word. My particular scenario has my laptop running Word 2007, making changes to the template, but when publishing from a machine running Word 2003, the footers weren’t being displayed despite the AutoText entry being available in the output Word document. Naturally I’m discovering this delightful quirk on the final day of the project as we do a final publish and check on our deliverables. And people wonder why …

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It never rains…

Some time around 1am this morning there was a loud bang from downstairs when the kitchen ceiling got fed up trying to hold up a big pool of water, choosing to dump it, and several bits of the ceiling all over the kitchen below. It seems that, after all the hassle and faffing with the cistern, there has been a leak in the bathroom. We did hear a couple of drips yesterday, but they had stopped (replaced, I presume, with a steady leak). We mopped up, turned the water off and phoned the insurance company, they took our details and said they’d get someone to phone between 8am and 9am. Which, of course, didn’t happen. So I phoned them and …

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Right now, at this moment

I’m trying to catch up on a few bands I’ve heard mention of over the past month. I’m pondering switching from dark maroon to blue. I’m still faffing with Yahoo Pipes (which power this). I’m writing up a proposal for a “community website” for a professional organisation I’m a member of (the ISTC). I’m drafting blog posts sparked by conversations with some fellow professionals last night, one of which is “How I use Twitter”. I’m slowly getting my gym mojo back, and quiet pleased that I’ve not put on any weight in the past two weeks (not lost any either but that’s a different story). I’m planning ahead for the next couple of months, and wondering how to tackle some …

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Hypnotic Brass Ensemble

I’m always wary when I attend a gig by chance, having not heard any music from the artist in question. So when 10 guys bounced on stage, brass instruments reflecting the stage lights, and announced they were here to “make some motherfucking noise”… well I was even more confused. Then they started to play and it all clicked into place. Underpinned by heavy hiphop influenced beats (delivered from an American Euphonium), the trombones and trumpets soon picked out some … yeah.. hypnotic melodies. As the band members sway and spin in time to the music, it’s hard not to match their movements. But the real key to their live act was the interaction with the audience, whipping us up between …

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Dumping the manual

I honestly can’t remember the last time I picked up a user manual, an honest-to-god paper book of technical documentation. Actually that’s a lie, it was just last week when i was tidying up. I picked up several user manuals and moved them to a lower shelf on my bookcase. It’s also been a long time since I last worked for a company that produce and printed user manuals but that’s more to do with my career path than any decisions I made within those companies. Even now whilst we have a “documentation set” comprising several different user manuals, it’s published to PDF and made available as part of the product distribution (and also online). So why do we still …

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Yearly Ritual

I have a ritual on mornings like this. I wake up with a level of excitement, take a deep breath to steady myself, get up and walk calmly to the window. I throw open the curtains, don’t worry I don’t ALWAYS sleep naked so the chances of my dangling bits being on show are minimal, and as my my pupils dilate as they adjust to the sudden change of light, I peer out into the street below. Typically there isn’t much going on. I might see our cat heading off for another adventure, or the local squirrel foraging for the last nuts of the year (remember I’m usually clothed, and anyway he isn’t allowed into the house), or perhaps one …

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Selling ourselves

Like many, I struggle at times with a common perception, one which was highlighted to me yesterday by a colleague. Like most team leads/managers, I have a lot of tasks that aren’t purely focussed on the creation of information. I don’t do much technical writing, instead letting the guys in my team focus on that (they are better at it than me anyway) whilst I work around the edges of what they do, things like taking a document through a review with some SMEs and processing the output, or building a new output template, or proof reading some of their work. My team and I have a good idea of what I do, even though I also get dragged into …

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The Drugs Work

On Monday evening we got home to a slightly limping cat. He had a sore paw which we really didn’t want us to touch, and was generally moping about feeling sorry for himself. He seemed a bit better yesterday morning so we left him to it and went to work. However when we got home last night he was limping heavily and his paw and leg were starting to look swollen so it was off to the emergency vet where he got a couple of injections, an anti-biotic to fight any infection and an anti-inflammatory to help with the pain and keep the swelling down. He was a bit groggy when we got home so we pulled his bed into …

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