Finding Ada

This should be easy. I work in a software company, I’ve only ever worked in software companies so, in honour of Ada Lovelace Day (what do you mean, who?) I should be able to join in “sharing stories of women — whether engineers, scientists, technologists or mathematicians — who have inspired you to become who you are today”, right? I work directly with many smart and inspiring women and, indirectly, I’ve been lucky enough to get to know many more in my profession, but how many of them have inspired me? When I sat down to write this I did wonder if I would be able to think of any women to which I could assign this claim. But then it’s not …

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Finding Ada

This should be easy. I work in a software company, I’ve only ever worked in software companies so, in honour of Ada Lovelace Day (what do you mean, who?) I should be able to join in “sharing stories of women — whether engineers, scientists, technologists or mathematicians — who have inspired you to become who you are today”, right? I work directly with many smart and inspiring women and, indirectly, I’ve been lucky enough to get to know many more in my profession, but how many of them have inspired me? When I sat down to write this I did wonder if I would be able to think of any women to which I could assign this claim. But then it’s not …

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On pedantry

I start this blog post with an admission and an apology. Admission: I am a manager, I don’t spend a lot (any) of my time writing technical content these days. Apology: One of my weakest areas is in the intricacies and ‘correctness’ of grammar. * That said, there is one thing that continues to frustrate me about the technical communications profession, the constant ‘deep dive’ into every single aspect of one sentence, one clause. Dear grammar pedants, please stop! Don’t get me wrong, I know that good written information is a keystone of our profession and I’m all for discussions to make sure things are being approached correctly and debated thoroughly, where appropriate. Please note the last two words of …

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Where I am at

I cannot believe I’ve not written about my trip to Singapore! And I’m not going to, as I’ve yet to post my photos to Flickr so I’ll wait until I’ve done that. That said, I’ve been busy since I got back, spending a few days in Newcastle at a conference, and the rest of the time trying not to be ill (and failing). So it’s only really the past couple of days I’ve finally felt back to my usual self and started to get things back on track. It feels a bit odd, as I approach my 39th year on this planet, that I’m still ‘finding’ myself (and that sounds a bit new age wank but it is what it …

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What do we want?

At TCUK12 this year, I chatted with several people about authoring tools. Vendors, other technical writers, managers, I asked the same two questions, again and again. What authoring application do you use, and why do you use it? The answers were illuminating, interesting and always useful. There are many, many options out there, catering to many different needs, and all of them have a different set of strengths and weaknesses. Alas, no matter how hard I tried, regardless of how many ways I tried to bend our requirements, all of those conversations led me to the same conclusion. No-one out there builds what we want so we may have to build it ourselves. As part of improvements to our content, …

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So that was TCUK12

It’s been a few days since I got home after the Technical Communications Conference this year, and I’ve been digesting and mulling over some of the ideas and thoughts gathered from the speakers and conversations. The conference was in a new location, Newcastle, and that brought a different feel to the event. Hard to put my finger on it but it felt a little more business like, or maybe just a little less social? Not sure, and as ever my experience will be different from others. Something that hasn’t changed was the value. It remains an excellent opportunity to learn from your peers, industry experts, and if nothing else it’s great to hear that we are doing the right things …

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Quality time

I’m at a conference, having dinner with some of the attendees. I’ve met them before, know them well enough on a professional basis and talk turns to Twitter and Facebook. Turns out the three of us are developing very similar relationships with Twitter and Facebook, namely that we now approach each service with a view on how much quality we will get from them. Twitter is the easiest one to tackle. I have two Twitter accounts, a personal one which is useful (in a limited way) for keeping up to date with the goings-on of a mish-mash of friends and colleagues, and a professional one to which I push interesting articles but in which I don’t spend all that much …

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