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  Monday, July 14, 2003

"For every human problem, there is a neat, simple solution; and it is always wrong"

H. L. Mencken. [Quotes of the Day]

Which is of course not the same as the dictum of the physical sciences that the best solution is usually the most simple. Humans are much less predictable than the rest of the universe.

7:27:09 PM    Questions? Comments? Flames? []

As much as we're agonizing over offshoring of technical communication--well, everything technical, really--twice in the last week I've heard other perspectives on the the globalization of information technologies. One writer expressed satisfaction that low-level jobs might go overseas, because the quality of the resulting product would guarantee clean-up work for him. Another reminded us that STC is an international society, and that perhaps we might be reaching out to potential members in other countries instead of fearing them.

Then comes Peter Morville (one-half of the polar bear book) with another angle, reaching out to internationalize information architecture, linked here from ia/.

International IA. Peter Morville tackles the biggest growth area for IA - not a new technology platform, but IA practice outside the USA.

"Now is the time to actively work on building these international relationships. IA in the US has reached a plateau. We enjoyed major investment and rapid learning in the 1990s. We developed core concepts and methodology, and we experienced the trials and tribulations of interdisciplinary collaboration. As the economy revives, we're positioned to invest real energy in cross-cultural IA."
While I'm not sure about the plateau in the States, I agree that international IA is an exciting area to watch. [ia/ - information architecture news]

7:14:32 PM    Questions? Comments? Flames? []

Yahoo to Acquire Overture in Deal Valued at $1.63 Billion. The deal furthers Yahoo's strategy of moving from being a mainly advertising-supported site to a more diversified company. By Bob Tedeschi. [New York Times: Business]

Yahoo! also recently acquired John Zapolski, late of Wells Fargo, who was co-program-chair for DUX2003, and George Olsen, late (or still?) of Interaction by Design. I chatted with George at the BayCHI meeting last week, he's full of ideas and insights and experience. These moves could fortell exciting things to come from Yahoo! Now, do they need a technical communicator/information designer/content developer?

Lou Rosenfeld also comments on the acquisition:

The Undeath of Yahoo!? and more. Just read in today's NY Times that Yahoo! is acquiring Overture. Assuming the numbers crunch properly, this seems to be a great move for Yahoo!; they get to combine what's left of their original directory with Overture's keyword service, which actually makes pretty good sense for consumer-oriented directories. . . [Bloug]

5:34:10 PM    Questions? Comments? Flames? []

DOJ clears PeopleSoft's J.D. Edwards buy; Oracle extends offer. The U.S. Department of Justice has ended its review of PeopleSoft's planned acquisition of J.D. Edwards & Co., clearing the way for the deal to close later this month. [Computerworld News]

5:08:49 PM    Questions? Comments? Flames? []

Death to (Most) PDFs. Jakob Nielsen is at the same user-interface conference I'm attending today. He has posted an excellent rant on his... [Dan Gillmor's eJournal]

Jakob ranted about PDFs three years ago, and I can't see he's learned anything since--he had many facts wrong, and ignored the issue of designing for the medium intended. There's a hint at the end of this piece that he'll have suggestions coming later on; why not go ahead and skip the rant and make the suggestions?

Yes, of course, PDF was never meant to take the place of web pages. The fact that Adobe and Micro$oft integrated Acrobat and IE so that PDFs would open as if they belonged there doesn't mean it's a good idea.

If you design your PDF to display nicely on a monitor, with appropriate TOC, links, and index, it will waste reams of paper when printing. So maybe you design your page so that two 4:3 pages print readably on one portrait 8-1/2"x11" page. That's not how Word wants to format your pages, but a decent tool like FrameMaker will do quite nicely.

Jakob, don't rant about the tool, rant about the design!

Later: quite the thread on TECHWR-L on Jakob's litle rant.

4:27:27 PM    Questions? Comments? Flames? []

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