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This is where a blog post would be if I had something I could or even wanted to post about. There would no doubt be some sentences, maybe a little attempt at humour, a quip or a pun, there MAY EVEN BE TEXT IN CAPITALS to signify that I’m feeling slightly indignant about something, or just as a poor way to emphasis a word or point (poor because I lack the necessary vocabulary to express said point in a manner which you’d understand through lowercase text alone). There may also be parenthesis to include additional clauses that I think help explain something I’ve just said. There won’t be all that much text in italics. And finally I’d try and wrap …

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Ada Lovelace

Thanks to my Mum for reminding me that today is Ada Lovelace Day. Who is Ada Lovelace? Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace (10 December 1815 – 27 November 1852), born Augusta Ada Byron, was an English writer chiefly known for her work on Charles Babbage’s early mechanical general-purpose computer, the analytical engine. Her notes on the engine include what is recognized as the first algorithm intended to be processed by a machine; as such she is often regarded as the world’s first computer programmer. What is the point of Ada Lovelace Day? Ada Lovelace Day is an international day of blogging to draw attention to women excelling in technology. Women’s contributions often go unacknowledged, their innovations seldom mentioned, their …

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Not written, yet

Quite a lot going on at the moment, but don’t worry dear blog reader I’ve not forgotten about you, I’ve still got plenty of things to post here just not really finding the time (or requisite brain power) to focus on them and think them through properly. Here are some of the things I’ve started to write about but not yet posted. In other words, “here are the posts languishing in DRAFT”. Content from the ISTC and STC publications, why isn’t it all free? Social Media Models, where I try and outline what I think are the models that we, as technical communicators can get the most value from adopting The evils of presumption Embracing user-generated content Small social media. …

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Role of Social Media

A few months ago I was approached to write a piece that would be featured in a special supplement for the ISTC Communicator magazine. The supplement, sponsored by Adobe, was to be titled “The role of social media in technical communication” and after my presentation on blogging at the Technical Communications conference last year, I was asked to expand on my thoughts about blogging. There are three other articles in the supplement, all of which look at different ways we can leverage the advantages of social media within the realm of technical communications. Noz Urbina of Mekon opens with his vision of how we can use social media to help users get the most out of products and services, David …

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The long wait

Travelling back from London last week, I landed at Glasgow on time so knew I had 30 minutes to kill until I was getting picked up. Plenty of time for a coffee and to continue reading the book that had held me engrossed for the short flight. Seating was at a premium, but I spotted a low, comfy looking seat over by the window, across from a man who was sitting quietly, staring out the window. I enquired if the seat was taken, he assured me it wasn’t. I sat down and, as I tipped some sugar into my coffee he turned to me and asked where I was going. “Ohh I’m actually just back from London, just waiting on …

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Upcoming ISTC Events

Organised under the ISTC, we hope you can join us for these events which are complimentary and open to all. London Group, Adobe Offices, Regent’s Park Sponsored by Adobe What: The Potential of using Video in Technical Communication When: Friday April 30th, 13:30 – 16:30 Followed by Drinks Reception and Finger Buffet hosted by Adobe Where: Adobe Systems, 12 Park Crescent, Westminster, London W1B 1PH Who: Everyone’s welcome (there’s no need to be an ISTC member), but places are limited Cost: FREE About This Event Video is beginning to be used more frequently in technical communication. This event offers you the chance to get to grips with the basics, offering a hands-on introductory training session with Adobe Captivate, one of …

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5 am

It’s still dark and somewhere two birds are singing, beautiful trills and chirrups fill the air. My head is full of other things though, but then it usually is, and right now it seems to be full of random thoughts about work. Which is why, I think, I’m awake. I’m a bit pissed off with my brain to be honest, it knows fine well I’m not feeling well yet did everything it could to urge me from my slumber and, despite my best efforts to stay tucked up under the warm sanctuary of the duvet, an hour after wakening I decide to give up and get up. I’m sure I’ll be fine. You only need 5 hours sleep, right? Of …

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Highs and Lows

Saturday morning, a list clutched in my hand as we ventured out early. A few things to buy, a couple of things to do, a productive day stretched ahead. Saturday afternoon, things have been bought, and one item on the list has been started but not finished. This is largely due to the rapid onset of a sore throat, possibly brought about whilst trying (and failing) to wash the car using a Karcher pressure washer that we inherited from the my in-laws. I always know when I’m not well, I tend to be a ‘sleeper’ when I’m ill as I very quickly lose all sense of energy and waves of complete lethargy wash over me. My legs become wobbly and …

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The Wrong Domain

For a few years now I’ve randomly been checking the WHOIS records for the mclean.co.uk domain, and throughout that time it’s sat there, holding nothing but adverts and any attempt by me to contact the owner with a view to purchasing said domain for a “reasonable” fee have fallen on increasingly deaf ears. Yes, it’s pure vanity/ego at play but I did have plans to offer email addresses to my entire family (and a few cousins too) so it wasn’t entirely unselfish. My Mum and Dad have done a lot of genealogy research which was something else I had toyed with hosting under that domain name. And now, it’s gone. Bought (for a stupid fee no doubt) by a record …

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Further Webhelp hacking

I mentioned in my previous post that we run a webhelp build of our content (a.k.a. our Knowledge Centre) on our developer community website, and that it was hosted in an iframe. I thought it worthwhile fleshing out the detail of that as it includes a bit of custom code some others might find useful. As our content is locked behind a login, we need to be sure that only people who are logged in can access it. This is achieved by a couple of simple checks. 1. When the Knowledge Centre is loaded, a script runs that checks it has been loaded within the correct iFrame within our website. If it’s not, the user is redirected to the login …

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