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  Friday, July 9, 2004

So I played hooky and went to see Spider-Man 2 this afternoon. It's as good as the reviews, and the record-breaking box-office receipts, indicate. I remember Spider-Man being a terrific film, because the characters were so real, so believable in their humanness, their flaws, their uncertainties. This one has the same, and more. I think it was more emotionally satisfying. After all, Peter gets the girl this time. And the bad guy reaches inside and finds that spark of humanity that some villains --even in the real world -- have lost entirely. And there's plenty of room to work with on version 3.

6:49:20 PM    Questions? Comments? Flames? []

Seen today on the TECHWR-L list, discussion around the UI and UA changes on the road to Longhorn, including this statement:

Tech Writers Need to Change

This may be a difficult time of adjustment for tech writers, who typically spend months meticulously documenting every nuance of an application. Wake up, folks! Nobody reads it.

But it gets worse. Authoring in MAML XML is very different from authoring in Word or HTML (which have presentation elements). Some authors find it difficult to adjust to the transition.

But many authors do fine. This quote sums up UI/UA design for me. "The goal of the UI designer is to put the Help author out of a job". This from a Microsoft Help author and team leader who I highly respect. You don't need to document everything.

I expect the changes in the M$ help system for Longhorn was covered in one or more sessions at the STC conference, and probably at WriterUA earlier this year. And I haven't paid much attention, since I don't write help for Windows.  Besides, I'm already authoring in XML, so I don't imagine MAML will be a big leap. Still, it's interesting to see that M$ is moving ahead with changes that may actually result in self-documenting interfaces, with less verbose help. 

Or is it just a cost-saving measure, like not supplying printed manuals with the OS? -- which supports a nice little publishing line for O'Reilly in the Missing Manual series.

6:22:19 PM    Questions? Comments? Flames? []

Have you taken the 20 Questions to a Better Personality quiz yet? I took it twice, and came up with the same result: WEDF.

You are a WEDF--Wacky Emotional Destructive Follower. This makes you a menace to society, depending on how you channel your energies. You chew your fingers and have an addictive personality. Properly guided, you can be enormously productive--otherwise you run amok, stir up trouble, and generally have a hell of a good time.

To your friends, you are a source of relentless entertainment. You often get into trouble, but you almost always find a way out. You are strangely popular and feed off others' energy. You live hard, seize the day, and although your more sober friends would like to see you settled down, you generally have fewer regrets and better memories than they do. Your tenet is that, at the end of the day, one regrets only what one didn't try. You are right.

You could benefit from outside help in balancing your highs and lows. Or perhaps cutting back on the caffeine.

I find it frighteningly accurate, but in the troubling way that daily horoscopes can be right-on for no apparent good reason.

Thanks to Liz at mamamusings for finding this little piece of amusement.

6:11:03 PM    Questions? Comments? Flames? []

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