Still busy

I know it’s still October (just) but I just wanted to say that I’m looking forward to Christmas this year, largely because it’ll be a holiday. The sale of the house is complete, debts have been paid off, and all that is left for me is to change the address on my driver’s license, join a gym, and buy a few bookcases and a some bedroom furniture (I have other purchases planned but they’ll be Christmas presents to myself, before the VAT rises). The past couple of months have been somewhat busy; packing, fretting, phoning, packing, phoning, signing, phoning, fretting, phoning, fretting, phoning, unpacking, unpacking, phoning, fretting, unpacking, phoning, celebrating!, unpacking, buying, paying, phoning, paying, phoning, paying, partying, not to …

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SOLD

In every walk of life, some people seem to exist just to annoy and piss off everyone else. Today I’d like to talk about lawyers. Before I say anything negative, I would like to hold up a shining example of a good lawyer. So, if you are in the Lanarkshire area, I can recommend Stretford and Tulips in Hamilton, specifically Louise Johnstone and Linda Dick who provided exemplary service in a professional and friendly manner, keeping us up to speed with progress and making sure we knew what was happening as things progressed. The lawyer on the purchasing side however, not so good. In fact he turned out to be the most pedantic, nitpicky and frustrating, nay unprofessional person (taking …

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Mechanics Weekly

You’ve heard of coincidences, right? Well sometimes when those coincidences are a little too unbelievable, our family (OK, mostly Mumsy) says they are “spooky”. So it’s safe to say that when I found out the name of our solicitor was Louise, that was just a coincidence, but when her legal assistant is called Linda (my Mum’s name is Lynda), well then, that’s just “spooky”. With me? Look, this is my mother’s thing, I’m just relaying it. That said, now and again there are some genuinely weird coincidences that can, and should, be correctly labelled as “spooky” or as I may have uttered on this occasion, “Ohhhhhh spoooooooooky!”. This is a story of one such occasion. A couple of weekends ago …

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How do you learn?

I was recently asked for some advice for people new to technical communications and I found myself reminded of the Curse of Knowledge: “when we know something, it becomes hard for us to imagine not knowing it. As a result, we become lousy communicators”. I struggle to remember not only what I didn’t know when I first started out in this profession, but how I learned things on the way. Memory suggests it was a mix of trial and error, good advice and lots of reading of other documentation to see how other people did it. I won’t give away the advice I passed on, it’ll be published next week, but it did cause me to ponder my own career …

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First World Problems

I’ve been in my flat for just over a week now, I’ve unpacked as much as I can until I purchase more bookcases and it’s starting to feel like home. The living room is a wonderful big space with lots of light, the kitchen is way bigger than my simple needs but allows me to eat at a table every night and the location is wonderful. But, there is one thing missing. No, not the cat. An internet connection! It’s getting installed at the end of the month and whilst I have missed it I’ve gotten by quite well using my iPhone, although it’s fair to say any ‘smartphone’ would’ve done and it’s definitely saved my arse several times this …

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ISTC West of Scotland meetup

The next ISTC technical communicators’ meeting in Glasgow will take place on Monday 8th November 2010, from 7.30 pm onwards. Come along to talk about latest news and trends in communication, or just to meet other communication professionals. The event is free and open to anyone interested in technical communication, such as technical authors, information architects, internal communication professionals, report writers, marketing writers, web content writers and graphic designers. Venue: Waxy O’Connors pub, 44 West George Street, Glasgow, G2 1DH. Please make your way to McTurk’s Room on the middle level. For more information, contact westscotland_areagroup [at] istc.org.uk.

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The last weekend

Sunday night will be the last night I spend in the house in Hamilton (trying to get out of the habit of calling it ‘home’). Removal van arrives on Monday morning and, by the afternoon, everything will have been moved into my new home. So, barring a final visit to give it a quick clean at some point during next week, from Monday I’m officially moved. Now we just need to finalising the paperwork for the sale of the house and we are done. It’s still a bit weird at times, and as I’m spending most of my time either working, or making sure I’ve not forgotten to pack something, or complete a form, or make a phone call, I’m …

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Where are we going?

As the end of the year starts to draw close, inevitably thoughts turn to 2011 and the challenges that may lie ahead. From a product point of view we are starting to get a feel of how the year will shape up, and so we can start to look at how our team negotiates the (still forming) landscape. It already looks likely that our aim (alongside keeping pace with product development) will be to get to a point where we can correctly focus our efforts around structure, and ad-hoc document requessts. Given that we have access to outcome codes from the Support team, several of which are specifically around product documentation being either wrong, missing, or not read at all, …

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Miscellany

Random thoughts of a Sunday morning. And yes, I’m sitting waiting to get through to buy my ticket for Glastonbury next year. No, the website won’t load, yes the phone line is constantly engaged. You know you are bad at packing when you have several open ‘I’ll-just-take-them-in-the-car’ boxes. Anyone else on WordPress seeing a lot more spam in their comments? Thank the lord for Akismet! By the way, does anyone pay for that? Is it like Xmarks, something you’d pay for but don’t? Speaking of which, if you use Xmarks and want to, maybe, see if you paying for it would keep it going (it’s folding up), then go read this! Sorting through boxes that have been unopened and in …

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Svetlana

She can’t remember much of her childhood, a life spent travelling from town to provincial town, her parents picking up jobs where they could until something, as it inevitably did, went wrong. She tries not to remember the shouting and yelling, the men fighting, the women cursing, the pointing, the stares, the hasty packing of meagre belongings and the jolt of yet another train carriage. She has always been looked at, glances becoming stares. She is used to it now but it wasn’t always this way, she remembers moments of peace, childhood memories of dolls and quiet places. She knows she was loved, that her parents understood her life and how she was seen by others, she knew why they …

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