Journalling

About a year ago, maybe more, I started writing (sporadically) in a journal and I’m quite surprised that I’ve kept it going, even though how I use it has changed. I’ve always enjoyed the process of writing, this blog is testimony to that, but even before there was this place called the internet which I could pollute with the┬ádetritus of my mind I’ve always had a fondness for the written word. I can remember spending an evening with a girlfriend where we wrote down questions and answers for each other, passing sheets of paper back and forth. Even then, as a naive teenager, I realised that I preferred that form of communication over, say, actually telling someone what you thought. …

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Revisiting the basics

There are some fundamentals tenets of our profession that are widely accepted. One being that you always need to know your audience before y can begin to understand their needs and so produce the information that they require. The reason I mention this is because, whilst it’s something very basic and is deeply grained in the technical writer part of my brain, I keep forgetting it. Let me explain. I’m currently working on a mini-project aimed at making sure the language we use and the things we talk about through all levels of our product information (from the website and marketing brochures, down to the lowest level of reference information) tell a consistent story. From basic facts and terminology to …

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Conversation V.I.P.s

Revisiting an old post over on the Cherryleaf blog, where Ellis was prompted to ask “Can technical authors be part of ‘the conversation’ in the connected Web 2.0 world that’s emerging?” (excuse the paraphrasing). As a long-term blogger, and someone who believes that there are many tools in the Web 2.0 world that can and should be embraced by technical communicators, I immediately started thinking about this. It’s taken until now for me to distill my rambling thoughts into something coherent. Mainly because it’s a fairly open-ended topic, and because his post includes several questions: If we are going to be part of the conversation, will we be let in? What would make people do that? Once we are in …

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Seven Years

1999 – where it all began. 2000 ish 2001 ish 2002 ish 2003 2004 2005 Blimey, that’s an epic amount of rubbish I’ve posted, and a hugely huge waste of time (mine and yours) that I’ve managed to perpetuate. Actually that’s not true. Personally I’ve come a long way in seven years, far from the reason that made me start this silly site in the first place that’s for sure. If, seven years ago, you’d asked me where I was heading I’d have given you several blank looks and mumbled something approximating what I thought you wanted to hear. But now, seven years on I can look to the future and have some knowledge of where I’m heading, or at …

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Don't do it!

They say you shouldn’t post if you have nothing to say. But what if all you have to say is “sorry, can’t be arsed”? And what if your own conscience meant that, despite not having much to say, you felt you had to post just to let people know that they don’t need to worry, I’m fine, everybody is fine and nothing of real note has happened. Although that last bit is a complete lie and should read “nothing that I’m going to blog about has happened”. Maybe the guilt behind not posting is enough to force a post into life, the feeling that people are visiting and thinking “Ohh.. still not posted, maybe he’s bored”. Or maybe it’s my …

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Intact

Survived. Just. Not sure how well my legs will function in the morning though. And whilst I’m here I’d like to thank the person that sent me a book from my wishlist (Alasdair Gray – Lanark). I have a few suspicions of WHO sent me it but as you didn’t say who you were when you add a note to the order I can’t thank you by name (hint, hint).

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Stop the bus

Hang on! It’s March. MARCH!! How the chuff did that sneak up on me?? That means Mother’s Day, father-in-laws birthday and.. er.. some other ‘family’ things that Louise will remember. Anyway I have a complaint to make: I want an extra day. We had one last year, why can’t we have one this year as well? In fact why can’t we just add a day to the year EVERY year? What’s to stop us? WHO will stop us?? Well apart from the Catholic church of course, but let’s be honest here. What power do they have these days? The days of the Inquisition are long gone even if it would seem that a large portion of the aforementioned church are …

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Million Dollar Baby

Movie info from IMDB Movie reviews from Metacritic Other than knowing WHO starred in this movie, and that it had won awards and is nominated for some Oscars, we were a bit in the dark as to the story. Is it really just about a female boxer, the good ole American rags to riches story? Yes it is. But it’s also so much more than that. The pace of the movie drags you in, and the three lead roles are all played to perfection, even if they are all cliched to a degree; the haggard gym owner set in his ways and haunted by his past, the ex-boxer janitor who is wiser than he should be, and the white trash …

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Asia Quake

Still awake. Still processing the news. The horror doesn’t wane. I didn’t mention it before because surely everyone is aware, everyone is thinking the same thoughts. Three days on, numbers rising, still only fleeting moments of comprehension. It’s so safe and warm in my house, surrounded by Christmas gifts, material items. So easy to put this news aside and just keep score. 40,000, 50,000, 60,000. As one reporter said, the numbers overwhelm, easier to focus on the father holding his dead daughter, the mother who lost four generations of her family in an instant. Aid organisations are being co-ordinated through the U.N., so I don’t think it matters hugely WHO you give to, but if you want to help, here …

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Categorical

So I’ve upgraded to WordPress 1.2.2. Pretty smooth. I bet you never even noticed. Right? Anyway, part of my redesign thoughts include making better use of some of the WordPress features. I’m still not overly bothered about using their comment feature, especially as HaloScan will be getting some new features in the New Year. However the category feature intrigues me, mainly because it’s a completely new thing to remember when posting. No categories in Blogger so it was pretty much a case of typing up my usual nonsense and pressing Post. Ideally what I need is to be prompted to choose a category or two, every time I post. Alas the WordPress Plugins Database doesn’t have anything like that. I …

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