Not here

I don’t think I’ve done this before and to be honest it’s more an experiment than anything that has particularly good reasoning behind it, yet here I am, tapping away on my iPhone. It’s because I can, pure and simple, yet there is a part of me screaming “SWITCH IT OFF!!” and begging me to step away, switch off, detox from all of this modern technology. And I should, I have the books, the moleskine contains few scrawls and aches for more, yet I’m drawn to this tiny screen. How sad. So I will, turn it off I mean, and go lose myself in a book, or wander across the empty pages, trailing inky thoughts behind me. This is a …

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Instructions and ethics

Two things are currently making me GRRRRRRRR quite a bit. One is a minor annoyance that crops up frequently, the other a fairly fundamental gripe with a certain profession. In reverse order then, my main gripe is with the current batch of moaning politicians who are saying that it isn’t fair that they are having to pay back monies claimed because the rules have been changed and … well it’s just not fair. Cue stomping of feet and many huffing noises (no, not that kind of huffing), like the spoilt children they are. Now, don’t get me wrong, it is slightly unfair to change the rules NOW and apply them retrospectively. I get that. The thing is, regardless of any …

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At the conference

Morning, in a short while I’ll be delivering my presentation, trying to keep everyone awake whilst I waffle on about why blogging is the best thing ever and WHY AREN’T YOU DOING IT?? Or words to that effect… Don’t worry though, dear reader, you can view the presentation and read through some of my notes although without my dulcet tones you’ll only be getting half the ‘experience’ (the best half, granted). Although there is a small chance my session will be recorded so you may yet be able to get the full experience, I’ll confirm that later though (and depends on whether it can be edited as well!). Wish me luck!

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Ada Lovelace Day

Yesterday was Ada Lovelace day, a day when women in technology, particularly those who blog, take a moment to highlight some of the heroines (am I still allowed to use that word?). 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 faces rarely recognised. We want you to tell the world about these unsung heroines. Whatever she does, whether she is a sysadmin or a tech entrepreneur, a programmer or a designer, developing software or hardware, a tech journalist or a tech consultant, we want to celebrate her achievements. An excellent idea and, whilst it was open to me as well I …

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Learning from others

I spent most of the weekend laying, re-laying, cutting and swearing at laminate flooring. I read the provided instructions, measured twice (hell, four or five times in most cases) but still it proved problematic. I re-read the instructions, googled a little and then, after some experimentation finally figured out what the problem was… me. Well not just me, but my interpretation of the instructions which were a little vague in one key area. Namely, where to start. This is crucial as, most laminate flooring needs to be laid the correct way to make it possible to snap all the pieces into place. It’s a one-directional jigsaw puzzle, if you will. The details here aren’t important, but what it taught me …

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Got TED?

Have you heard of the TED conference? (TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design) No? It’s been going a while now, and got started back in 1984 …out of the observation by Richard Saul Wurman of a powerful convergence between Technology, Entertainment and Design. The first TED included demos of the newly released Macintosh computer and Sony compact disc, while mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot demonstrated how to map coastlines with his newly discovered fractals and AI guru Marvin Minsky outlined his powerful new model of the mind. As well as the conference they share some of the sessions on the internet (freely under Creative Commons license). The quality of these sessions remains high with some of the brightest minds of current times …

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Recently Read

Been a while since I did one of these and, as ever, they reflect some of the things that have caught my eye over the past week or so. A couple of things on DITA which have me rethinking my approach towards it, and a some links to posts discussing … welll community, social media, Web 2.0 kind of stuff, some of it is a little away from my world but it’s good to get a different point of view on these things. Docbook versus DITA Not the first comparison I’ve seen but an excellent summary comparison of DocBook versus DITA. Whilst it was written by someone who admits that they were looking to portray a favourable outcome for DocBook, …

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The Big Picture

Deliverables are dead. Long live multi-format, anytime, anywhere delivery of information! The more I think about it, the more I am beginning to see that creating content, writing and styling and planning, for “print” is no longer valid. Quick caveat: Know your audience and the requirements. Many places mandate printed documentation in one format or another. I am purely talking about my own experience in a software environment. I’m the first to admit that whenever I start thinking about updating a manual I think in print terms. I think of entire chapters of information, I think of how the user will be able to navigate and understand the layout and construction of the document. Changing those habits is proving hard …

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Why AuthorIT?

As I mentioned before, we are planning to migrate content from FrameMaker to AuthorIT, staging the migration across two different product sets (and no small amount of time!). I’m in the process of evaluating AuthorIT for, despite having used it before, it has recently been overhauled with a spiffy new UI and some new features. AuthorIT is a single source system, with content stored in a central database, which can publish to most (all?) of the formats that anyone would ever need. It includes an editor, supports multiple users, and has some additional add-ons for localisation and so on. Their website is very good if you want more information on their product. After downloading and installing the trial version, which …

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