There Is No Cat

The alternative to flowers!

Tuesday, July 9, 2002

Ouch! Don't desert me Ouch! Please don't hurt me

One of my duties at The New Job is bringing the online help system for their main application up-to-date. It's a small company, so I'm the only writer there, and I was mentioning on my pal Christina's blog how much I appreciated editors from my days as a tech writer. Hey, you gotta love someone whose job it is to make you look good. :-)

Daniela Meleo saw my post there and pointed me to a book written by Jean Weber, a tech editor/writer of long standing in Australia about editing online help systems. I had a quick look at it and it was immediately clear that the author had plenty of experience in the trenches, because her first chapter, after telling you about the importance of planning, task analysis, outlining, etc., has a section entitled "What do you do when there's no plan and no time?" When I saw that, I plunked down the eight bucks for the downloadable version of the book. It's also good to have something that's a bit more recent than my other reference on the topic of online help, William Horton's classic Designing and Writing Online Documentation. My edition of that is the 1990 one, but even the 1994 would be getting a little long in tooth at this point. Incidentally, I took a course from Horton in multimedia on the cheap back years ago when I worked for AT&T. He's an excellent teacher. I wish he would update the book. But Weber's book looks like filling the gap quite nicely, thank you.

Posted at 9:19 PM

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Note: I’m tired of clearing the spam from my comments, so comments are no longer accepted.

I saw Horton at the 1998 STC meeting in Anaheim and I agree that he is an impressive speaker and teacher. He was giving a very interesting talk about online presentation and information reuse, but he kept talking about some obscure Standard for presentations and training that I have yet to hear about again. It makes me think that he went off into some backwater pool of theory and never came out.

Just a hypothesis. I haven't really kept up on this stuff, So maybe I'm missing out on something important.

Posted by lillbrother at 9:39 PM, July 9, 2002 [Link]

Jean is very smart indeed! I know her through fannish connections. Did you look at the aussie-style motorhome she and Eric Lindsay own?

www.avalook.com.au/motorhom.htm

Posted by Anita Rowland at 1:33 AM, July 10, 2002 [Link]

Wow, that is one spectacularly ugly motor home. Not that the Winnebago is a paragon in excellence in industrial design. I like that they have a sense of humor about it.

Posted by ralph at 7:30 AM, July 10, 2002 [Link]

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What do you mean there is no cat?

"You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat."

- Albert Einstein, explaining radio


There used to be a cat

[ photo of Mischief, a black and white cat ]

Mischief, 1988 - December 20, 2003

[ photo of Sylvester, a black and white cat ]

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