Finding Ada

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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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What do we want?

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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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I am Apple

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Well, I’ve finally done it. I’ve ditched my Windows PC and bought a MacBook Air so all my PC tech is now Apple. Am I a fanboy? Possibly. But for me it’s more about things working easily, and I’m not really into hacking stuff these days so the fact I can plugin an Airport Express in and instantly I can bounce music to a nice beefy set of speakers across the room, or fire up a video on either my MacBook, iPhone or iPad and bounce it to Apple TV to watch on my big screen… well it’s simple, easy and works. For me. I don’t feel “locked in”, I still use a hybrid service for things like email and …

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Back to Mac

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I’ve had a long term aim to move away from a big ‘box’ of a computer to a smaller laptop with a nice big storage system. Last week I took the last step towards that goal. I’ve been waiting several years for this and, in retrospect, should never have bought the last Dell machine I did (it’s a good enough PC but I was already thinking about going ‘laptop’ at that point). It will also mean that, for home use, I will be completely Apple Mac based, MacBook Air, iPad, iPhone, Apple TV, Airport Extreme, Airport Express (and, errr… a Synology NAS box). Oddly, one of the main reasons for this switch isn’t actually anything to do with technology. It’s …

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Faff

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I cannot be bothered with faff. This is one personality trait that has definitely changed as I’ve gotten older, or perhaps it’s just a reaction to the years I spent indulging my ‘gadget-geek’ and allowing myself to think that jumping through 5 hoops to get a simple task done was “OK”. My mindset these days is very much that technology is there to serve me. If something starts getting in my road I’ll work around it, or replace it completely, ruthlessly. I’m about to talk about a technology company which I know some people don’t like, but bear with me. I have an iPhone, an iPad, Apple TV and an internet connected Samsung TV. The bulk of my content consumption …

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How to embed linked images in Word 2010

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One of the most popular posts on my blog was written a few years ago but still gets a lot of visits and comments; How to embed linked images in Word 2007. Some of the comments have offered better solutions and one in particular I found myself searching for today. Having upgrade to Office 2010 I’ve realised that Microsoft has, again, “improved” the user interface by moving things around! So, courtesy of Sarah, here are the updated instructions for how to embed linked images in Microsoft Word 2010: With your Word document open, click the File tab, top-left of the window. On the left-hand side, select Info. On the right-hand side, near the bottom, click Edit Links to Files. In …

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Quick wins

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At work I have a laptop running Windows 7 and every lunchtime, as I lunch away from my desk, I lock the machine. Except what I should do is pause iTunes, set my IM status to Away, and then lock it but I forget to do all that most days and just bash Windows+L. However, I’ve found two small, free, applications that will now allow me to do all that with one mouse gesture, specifically it will pause iTunes, set my IM status to Away/Idle, mute the laptop speakers and turn off the screen. Hot Corners handles the mouse gesture (and allows you set to other actions), and MonitorES handles the media player, IM and screen actions. Simple and effective. …

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Purchase Ponderings

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File this in the “idle window shopping for stuff I don’t need” category. BUT. If can anyone see any gaps or improvements to the following (and yes, I am largely going with Apple because it is easy to setup and I have no desire to hack, configure or otherwise spend ages of my time to get the thing working), please let me know. You might save me a lot of money. Not that I’m gonna be spending anything on any of this, no no, that’d be silly and I have more important items to buy soon, like a bed, that kind of thing. This is purely and utterly an academic exercise, a small indulgementation if you will to keep me …

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I have a new phone

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It is shiny and new. It does a lot of things my old phone could do but does them a lot faster, and prettier. I have a new phone. It doesn’t do some things other phones do but I don’t need it to. It does have some things other phones don’t. I have a new phone. I am very pleased. Some people probably think the new phone is a waste of money. They may well be right. I have a new phone. I’m sure there are other options out there. I’m sure there are other phones with more features, better battery life and other things. I have a new phone.

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