Getting Organised

Reading time: 4 mins

I read some advice the other day that suggested that, instead of reading up on how best to be productive, you’d be better served actually doing the things you need to do rather than trying to figure out the best way to ‘be productive’. I guess the premise being that many people spend a lot…

Why Fitbit is winning

Reading time: 3 mins

My main aim for this year was to lose weight. Actually that’s not true. My main aim for this year was to be happy which involves changing my lifestyle and habits, mostly focussed around my fitness and weight. Data helps me with this, tracking my weight loss lets me look back and see how I’ve…

Windows 7 RC

Reading time: 3 mins

Having installed the Release Candidate of Windows 7 a couple of days ago, I have to say I’m fairly impressed and it may even sway me to keep a Windows box in the future despite plans to move to Apple hardware/software completely. Let me tell you why.

Design matters

Reading time: < 1 min

Why would you choose to make something difficult to use? Are you deliberately putting barriers in the road? Or are you just forgetting the main reason why people pick up a document or manual? Long ago, when I had just started out as a technical writer, I attended a course on designing for Print. It…

Usability sucks

Reading time: 2 mins

I’m getting royally fedup with a lot of what I read that is written in the name of usability. Maybe it’s just a personal loathing of the overly academic, or perhaps I lean towards simplicity a little too heavily but SHEESH, some of the better known experts can’t half prattle on… I’m a member of…

No Docs = No Product

Reading time: 3 mins

What of agile documentation? It seems like such an old argument that surely, SURELY, doesn’t need revisiting? Alas it seems that the world of software engineering still contains those who think that code = product. Thankfully, in my experience, the numbers are thinning as most practitioners of modern software practices are at least educationally aware…

Improve the experience

Reading time: 3 mins

Recently, Tom suggested that: if someone can figure out how to make help whallop the user with wonder and awe, it will be the creative innovation of the century. Once we begin to establish a standard and a precedence, people’s beliefs will change from feeling that “all help is useless and unimportant” to “the help…

Recently Read

Reading time: 2 mins

Christmas looms large, and the days are “fair drawing in” as they say in these parts. I’m taking a couple of weeks off to relax and recharge, and no doubt to eat, drink and be (very) merry. As ever this time of year is pretty hectic, so here are few things that caught my eye…

Who do you write for?

Reading time: 3 mins

I started this blog to have a separate place to write about my “professional” thoughts and I guess I thought I could maybe add a little value to the cluttered world of technical communications, or at the very least raise my profile a little. Yes, I have an ego, but it’s kept in check for…

Jack of all trades Pt. 2

Reading time: 2 mins

My name is Gordon McLean, I am a Technical Communicator* and I am proud to be a jack of all trades. I recall once being asked to breakdown all the skills required to be a Technical Writer, and then to provide a list of daily work tasks. The list of skills was to be used…

Jack of all trades Pt. 1

Reading time: 2 mins

My name is Gordon McLean, I am a Technical Communicator* and I am proud to be a jack of all trades. Working in the software industry, and particularly for a company that has embraced the XP development methodology, I have exposure to, and contact with, most of the other roles in the company. I talk…

Recently Read

Reading time: 3 mins

Another week, another quick set of links. I really should start using one of these new fangled “social bookmarking” sites for this, shouldn’t I. Problem is I already have a del.icio.us account for personal use, and I like being able to add some thoughts about the links but it limits that slightly. In saying that,…

Technical Writing Evolved

Reading time: 3 mins

The following is largely focussed on the software industry as that is where my experience lies. I’ve been an on/off member of the TechWR mailing list for many years now. I dip in and out of threads depending on my current work and knowledge levels. The membership of the list is fairly wide-ranging, with people…

On switching

Reading time: 4 mins

I received my MacBook some weeks ago, but decided not to post immediately and try to get a better feel for both the new hardware and operating system before posting my thoughts. What follows has been written up over the period of a few weeks. It’s official. I am now cool. I must be because…

Damned lies

Reading time: 3 mins

A boring post about website statistics follows. Feel free to scroll on down to the next post which may, or may not be more entertaining. What? You want a LINK to the next post? You lazy bugger… Last month (or was it the month before?) I asked you for recommendations for a new stats package…