Reading

'Django' Untangled: the Legend of the Bad Black Man – The Chronicle Review – The Chronicle of Higher Education Redesigning Google: how Larry Page engineered a beautiful revolution | The Verge How To Find Common Ground When Engineers Don’t Like Features Users Know: Expect More From Product Managers My Time — Your Intellectual Dentist — Medium Noted – The Chronicle Review – The Chronicle of Higher Education Living the Quantified-Self Way: Like a Weirder, Hive-Mindier Weight Watchers | Vanity Fair The American Scholar: On Friendship – Edward Hoagland How Self-Help Publishing Ate America — New York Magazine

Continue reading »

February Resolutions

Partly due to circumstance, partly by choice, I tend to let January just ‘happen’ and avoid any specific resolutions if I can. Admittedly, this month I’ve been getting my head into my new job, handing over previous responsibilities and as I spent last week in Sunnyvale working I’ve not had a routine around which to structure anything that requires my resolve. February rolls around and it’s now that I’m looking at what I will be aiming for this year and, as this year I turn 40, I’m determined to continue the slow progress of last year and continue my weight loss. Hopefully I can get back into jogging, even if my knees complain it’ll give me the push to get …

Continue reading »

Space

I’m sitting in a hotel room, it’s 8am, I’ve had breakfast, and we leave for the office in 20 mins. I have a couple of meetings scheduled, but thankfully I’m not too busy today. This is not been the story for the rest of this week. Instead we’ve been leaving at 8am and starting full days of meetings and workshops from 8.30 until around 6.30. Then we go out for dinner as a group and get back to the hotel around 10pm. I’d then spend 30 minutes typing up some notes from the day, go to bed and wake around 5am. I’m not complaining, I enjoy working hard, I enjoy the buzz of bouncing ideas back and forth, the challenges …

Continue reading »

Everything Changes

Everything Changes A new year, a fresh challenge. I’ve been working in the Technical Communications field my entire career. From those first days, stumbling my way around FrameMaker 4 with only a vague idea of what I should be doing (and largely using the FrameMaker User Guide as a sample of both approach and layout) to my current incarnation as Product Information Manager which involves running a team of 6 technical writers, looking at what other services we could offer to other parts of the (now) global organisation I’m part of, not to mention running a developer community website and generally advocating a product view wherever possible. Actually, make that my previous incarnation. As of today I’m changing roles, with …

Continue reading »

Everything Changes

A new year, a fresh challenge. I’ve been working in the Technical Communications field my entire career. From those first days, stumbling my way around FrameMaker 4 with only a vague idea of what I should be doing (and largely using the FrameMaker User Guide as a sample of both approach and layout) to my current incarnation as Product Information Manager which involves running a team of 6 technical writers, looking at what other services we could offer to other parts of the (now) global organisation I’m part of, not to mention running a developer community website and generally advocating a product view wherever possible. Actually, make that my previous incarnation. As of today I’m changing roles, with a new …

Continue reading »

Faith less

I can’t get no sleep. That was pretty much the story of last week, with a million and one thoughts rushing through my head. I’d go to bed, read to relax and drop off, only to awaken a couple of hours later, wide awake. Sometimes I’d get back to sleep after a couple of hours of tossing and turning, sometimes I wouldn’t and so I’d try and be productive, mostly in an effort to empty my head as much as possible. I hadn’t actually realised that was I suffer from in this instances, for they happen every now and then, is insomnia. I always thought that was purely for those that couldn’t sleep at all, not for people like me …

Continue reading »

Going Global

One of the challenges the team will face this year is how to coordinate the creation of product documentation with geographically dispersed teams, across different product lines. At present we have engineering teams in Glasgow, Belfast, Limerick, Jakarta, Sunnyvale CA, and Bedford NH, building four products and maintaining five other legacy applications. Currently we have six technical writers in Glasgow and one in Belfast. Initial assessments suggest there is a bit of a resourcing gap (a separate issue I’m dealing with) but beyond that the main challenge will be figuring out how to best work with these disparate teams. I have asked this question in a couple of places and had some excellent responses. Some cover things we had already considered but …

Continue reading »

Travelling home

Dumbarton Common, rainfall at dusk, originally uploaded by Gordon. The train pulls out of the station, slowly gathers speed as I head to my home town. I am cocooned in steel, my music and my own thoughts. Face tingling from the fresh air. There are several stops to be made, familiar names from my past. At one stop a man alights and heads down the platform, bulbous headphones sit proudly on his head. In his right hand he holds a carrier bag, contents unknown, in his left he carries the rhythm of the music that he is silently, but passionately, singing along with. His step falters and I wonder if he’s about to fall, but no, that drop of his …

Continue reading »

Happily uncreative

I aspire. I desire. (I perspire). I want. But, it seems, it’s just not meant to be. Whilst I can appreciate art in many forms, place value on the productions of others, it seems that I’m just not particularly creative. Not that I can’t be creative to a certain level but I’ve long since realised my limitations in that area. But realisation doesn’t stop the longing, the niggling feeling that I should be able to create something that is borne from me, something with meaning and value. So I keep trying. I conjure up word play in silly stories, blast out blog posts, tinker with web pages, play with photography. None of it sticks. But that’s ok. Every time I …

Continue reading »

Happy New Year

Looking forward is always a good thing, but I’m going to start this year by looking back at the lessons to be learned. Things I will need to improve upon include better planning of work, there is one big project that I will head up that needs to be delivered by September, so I’ll be looking at how to get a better handle on that. One thing I learned last year was to rely more on my colleagues, to look to their strengths to compensate for my weaknesses; attention to detail is something I can struggle with so I’ll be getting some help with that by getting my plans reviewed by a couple of people before I present them to …

Continue reading »