Tag: <span>Douglas Adams</span>

I took a few days holiday last week (if you get the chance, go visit Budapest, it’s lovely) so here’s a little bit of catchup from the RSS feeds I monitor. You can download the list over on the right there.

How Corporate RSS Supports Collaboration and Innovation
Dennis McDonald pulls together some good arguments around introducing Web 2.0 ideas to your company, noting that a lot of business cases rely on raw numbers and that, in the case of social networking tools, there is:

… a disadvantage of taking a “beancounter” approach to implementing social media within an organization. While you might be able to quantify the time, effort, and technology associated with impacted processes, you can’t necessarily predict when and where the benefits (such as innovations or new ides) will occur.

Bye Bye GoLive!
Adobe finally realise what most web developers already knew, GoLive can’t compete with DreamWeaver (also now owned by Adobe). However, it’s not all bad news if you are a GoLive user:

the company will continue to support GoLive users with online tutorials and migration assistance created by usage experts. The company has also collaborated with online training service Lynda.com to provide tutorials for GoLive users.

And one more thing
The Hoefler & Frere-Jones blog continues to provide some fascinating information for typographists (?) and writers alike. This time they take a look at the many forms of the ampersand.

As for the word “ampersand,” folk etymologies abound. The likeliest account, offered by the OED, is explained by early alphabet primers in which the symbol was listed after X, Y, Z as “&: per se, and.” Meaning “&: in itself, ‘and’”, and inevitably pronounced as “and per se and”, it’s a quick corruption to “ampersand,” and the rest is history.

The Dawning of the Age of Content – and why Content Convergence Matters to You
For anyone watching the way information is now created, collated and distributed on the world wide web, this article will ring true. We ARE all watching what is going on, aren’t we?

We’re all content producers. And we’re all about to live through interesting times with the dawning of The Age of Content. Industry is discovering content as a commodity, as inventory with value, and the rules are changing fast.

The new rules are not just for high-profit content like movies and music. What was once seen as the lowliest form of commercial content within an enterprise – technical manuals, support documentation, and other business content – is starting to take its place alongside other valued corporate assets.

The 10, 20, 30 Powerpoint rule
An oldie but a goodie, it’s often quoted but it’s worth re-reading (especially as I’ve just pulled together a presentation that has.. eh… 23 slides.. ). It’s not always applicable of course but well worth keeping in mind.

It’s quite simple: a PowerPoint presentation should have ten slides, last no more than twenty minutes, and contain no font smaller than thirty points.

Summer of Doc, anyone?
Janet has a good idea for getting student technical writers (and hey why limit it?) a little bit of experience.

Now in its fourth year, Google Summer of Code supports students in writing code for participating open-source projects, which provide mentors to help guide the students’ work. Thanks to Google’s sponsorship, the students receive a stipend (making this a summer job), and mentors receive a nominal compensation for their time.

If you substitute code/documentation, developers/tech writers, Computer Science/Technical Communication, I think it’s fairly obvious that the same benefits could apply to Tech Comm students writing documentation for open source projects.

And finally a nice quote from the late great Douglas Adams:

” I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by. “

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Movie info from IMDB
Movie revies from Metacritic

Finally saw the movie of the book that has been twenty years in the making. Initial impressions are favourable but with room for improvement.

The casting isn’t too bad, but I don’t think any of the actors did a particularly good job, although despite my hope Marvin was reduced to a few odd lines and the voice never really seemed to fit properly. I’m guessing the decision to focus on the blossoming love between Arthur and Trillian also had something to do with the odd pacing, with scenes zipping past one minute then slowing to a crawl the next.

If I’m honest I think that they held back too much, I think they could have pushed it a bit more and made it a 15 rating (or 12a or whatever the one in between is) I mean even the TV show featured the carcass of the recently deceased sperm whale. Now I come to think of it that’s more what this reminded me of, a well produced TV movie. It just seemed lacking in punch for a “hollywood” movie.

Still, large chunks of dialogue were kept intact, and there were some funny moments if never really hilarious. I deliberately tried NOT to refer to the book and on the whole I think it’s better than I thought it would be, although it did take me about 20 minutes to warm to it, even if they did miss out one of my favourite lines from the book: “The ship hung in the air much in the same way that bricks don’t.”

There are some nice nods to the aforementioned TV show and overall it’s not a bad movie. However looking at other book to movie conversions, Potter in particular, it does feel like a bit of a let down. If you haven’t read the books then I think you’ll still enjoy it, Louise did, just don’t expect a comedy romp, it’s far too quirkily British and wry to lower itself to that level.

Ohh and for fans of the book please note that: “The producers have stated that this film is not a literal translation of the books (just as the books were not a literal translation of the original radio show), but all of the new ideas and characters came from Douglas Adams himself. The hired writer simply came aboard to improve structure and make the screenplay more coherent.” according to the imdb.

Note: Despite having had advance warning we left as the credits started. A further entry to the guide awaits if you sit tight (or you can just read it here if you’ve already seen the movie)

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