Showing posts from November, 2013

The Gravity of Technical Writing

A few days ago I found myself sitting in a cinema, wearing ridiculous 3D glasses over my regular specs, getting ready to see Gravity.
I'd heard that the film is excellent, but I wasn't prepared for the amazing special effects, breathtaking scenery, and riveting story.
George Clooney and Sandra Bullock were very believable in their roles, and the 3D effects mercilessly drew me in to each scene.
I don't want to spoil it for anyone, but something odd came to mind as I was sitting there, gripping the arm-rests of my chair, trying to catch my breath: internationally recognized symbols in space station documentation is really handy. The character could not read the text, but had no trouble deciphering the diagrams.
As the credits rolled and the cinema slowly emptied, I suddenly realized that I really need a break. Anyone who can watch a movie as heart-stopping as Gravity and think of nothing else but Technical Writing issues probably spends too much time at work.

Everyone Needs One of These

Using the power of Flipboard, one of my favorite apps, I have started publishing my own digital magazine called "Everyone Needs One of These".

"Everyone Needs One of These" showcases new, innovative, weird, and interesting products.

As of writing this blog post, I have published six articles, including:

An "Invisible Girlfriend" service (one for your Facebook profile)A champagne vending machine (one for your wine cellar)A Sony "smart wig", complete with laser pointer (one for your head)A DIY Batmobile for sale (one for your cave)The AUUG iPhone Grip that turns your body into a musical instrument (one for your hand)The Full Metal Jacket Jeep Wrangler (one for your garage) Download Flipboard from the iStore, Google Play, Windows Store, and Blackberry World and subscribe to "Everyone Needs One of These".
You can also view the magazine on the web from any browser, here:

25 Computer Terms to Substitute for Real Words

Be geeky - substitute these 25 computer terms for what you really want to say.

Computer TermReal Meaning1Low disk spaceSlow down! You're giving me too much information.2Battery is running lowI'm going to bed.3This device can perform fasterI'm lazy and I know it.4Pairing devicesI'm getting married.5File type mismatchI'm getting divorced.6This program has stopped respondingI'm no longer listening to you.7Unexpected catastrophic failureOh crap.8Driver requiredCan someone please take me to the mall?9Windows needs to restartI need a vacation.10Illegal operationI just did something naughty.11Printer offlineMy pen ran out of ink.12Save as draftI'll finish it tomorrow.13LoadingI'm getting dressed, just hold on a minute.14Defragmenting drive CI'm tidying up the house.15UndoForget what I just said.16RedoSay that again.173 minutes remainingI'll be finished when I'm finished.18Touch device not detectedGet your hands off me.19Not enough memory to perform …

5 Business Tips You Can Learn from Hospitals

Over the past few days I have spent way too much time in hospitals. However, on the up-side, I discovered that hospitals are an interesting source of business advice.

Although hospitals are not usually profit-generating organizations, a lot of the activities they undertake are analogous to those in profit-centric companies. For example, there are many departments, all of which have to work together towards the same ultimate goal: make the patient well. In a traditional businesses, you may also have many departments working towards the same ultimate goal: selling more stuff. To achieve their aims, both hospitals and businesses require communication, systems, and sometimes even creativity.

Here are five business tips you can learn from hospitals.

1. Share information
It surprises me that in this era of fast networks, databases and cheap storage that the different departments in the hospital don't necessarily share information. We had to tell and re-tell to every doctor we met the bac…

Out-Outlooking Outlook

Email is either the best invention ever, or the bane of your existence. Either way, this technology invented in the 1960s is a necessary tool.

How do you deal with all of the messages that find their way to your inbox? Google "Rethinking Email" for 7,940,000 articles on the subject. 651,000,000 Google results will tell you how to deal with "too much email". Or, if you want to use the modern term, search for "inbox zero" to find 45,200,000 suggestions for getting your inbox down to nothing.

GMaaces. uggests you prioritize:
Here is how I try to out-Outlook Outlook 2010.
All incoming email goes to the Inbox (no automatic filtering).In a PST file called "Projects" I have a sub-folder for each project I'm working on.I use "Quick Steps" that mark the email as "Read" before moving it to the relevant sub-folder (this is for emails I receive for ongoing projects,…