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----- Original Message -----
From: "Andrew Plato" <intrepid_es -at- yahoo -dot- com>
> --- Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com> wrote:
> > For me, the effort to understand what I'm writing about is at least half
> > the
> > time of producing the document. In fact, if I have trouble finding the
> > right
> > way to simplify the concepts (or, to put it another way, the degree of
> > complexity to put into the manual) then I know that I'm still too
> > ignorant to
> > be writing.
> My experience is very similar. I spend about 50% of my time figuring it
> out, 25% writing it, then 25% honing, tweaking, and simplifying. However,
> I could cut out the honing and simplifying and still have something that
> was technically correct, but a but messy and cumbersome.
I agree with you both. <Did I really say that?>
If I can't understand the subject, how can I possibly write about it? To me,
that's a requirement for a technical writer. But Andrew is always talking
about so-called technical writers who don't understand what they're writing
about. Tell me, how exactly does one do that?
Some atrocious documentation has come to my attention in the last two days
as I installed antivirus software on my computer. The Help is
incomprehensible, totally incomprehensible, and not because the writer
didn't know the technology. The documentation is incomprehensible because a
writer didn't write it.
I have demonstrated my faith in the future of the world -- and in my own
future as well -- by buying a much-needed new computer. So here I am with
this shameful documentation and a product that I cannot figure out how to
use. Oh, I'm pretty good at software, but this product (perhaps some of you
can guess which one it is -- I'd better not say which one, though) is
unbelievable, although it boasts that it worked with Microsoft to develop
something called (IIRC) "inductive user interface".
The interface is unusable. Then there's the place where the installer (when
I tried to reinstall) tells me that I have 18GB of space that is not
sufficient for a 61MB program. Honestly! I ran it twice. That's what it
said. The company says it doesn't support Windows XP until the 25th of
October, so we'll see. I can return it, of course, but I could also -- while
I am unemployed -- figure out how to use it and then rewrite the
documentation as a project for my portfolio. There's no reason for me not to
do that, is there?
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