RE: Back to the Dark Ages.

Subject: RE: Back to the Dark Ages.
From: Richard Lippincott <richard -dot- lippincott -at- ae -dot- ge -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 19 Jun 2002 11:27:26 -0400

>A question for those who used pencil and paper and then sent their
>writing to the word processor: did you like it better when you
>able to concentrate on the writing and not be distracted by fonts
>graphics and headers and footers and page numbering and master
>and print drivers and operating systems because someone else
handled all
>that stuff?

>Or do you like it better being in control of every aspect with the

Much better now. As a guy who goes back to pencil and paper days, it's much
better now.

I change things as I go along, and in the old days that meant erasures, or
physical cut and paste, or the like. And worse. When it went to another
person for typesetting, I still had to mess with headers and footers, but it
meant writing it out in such a way that the typesetter needed specific

For example, let's say that my task was to make a change to an existing page
in the manual, and that change is to add a new step between existing steps 3
and 4 of a 10 step procedure. Let's also assume the new step refers to a new
figure that goes into the manual.

Okay, I start out with a copy of the page. If there's a date on the bottom,
I've got to cross it out and mark in a new date. I've got to draw a big red
arrow pointing to the spot where the new step goes in, and indicate that
"Insert A" goes there. I've got to come up with a second piece of paper
marked "Insert A" and write the new step on it. I've got to come up with a
third piece of paper that shows the new figure, gives the new figure number,
and tells the typesetter where the final art of the illustration can be
located. I've got to indicate what step number this new step is. Then I've
got to go back to the original page and cross out all the step numbers from
4 through 10, and hand-write in 5 through 11 in their place. Then I have to
go through all the illustrations in the section, and bump the numbers up one
to account for the new illustration. Then I have to go through the section
again and double-check the text references to those illustrations, and bump
up the references where needed. Plus, I also have to check the text to
change any needed references to the steps that used to be 4 through 10 and
are now 5 through 11.

Adding one paragraph and one figure to a section could literally take half a
work day in this manner.

Then add another half-day when the copy comes back, as you painstakingly
review every single solitary change to be sure that the typesetter didn't
miss one.

Compare this to FrameMaker: it would take me longer to describe what Frame
does than it would to add that same paragraph and art, and have Frame
automatically fix all the numbers and references.

Plus, I second what John Garrison said: I type faster than I write in
longhand, if it's a lengthy procedure I can get it out faster using a

--Rick Lippincott
Saugus, MA

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