RE: "Old School Article"

Subject: RE: "Old School Article"
From: "Nicola Harlow" <N -dot- Harlow -at- seamsltd -dot- com>
To: "Blount, Patricia A" <Patricia -dot- Blount -at- ca -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 23 May 2008 10:40:44 +0100

Sorry if this is late...regretfully I'm a few days behind on my emails.

I'm enjoying this thread very much. I remember in 1988 being hauled up
in front of the English class because I'd done a newspaper article
project using some Word Processing software. Being a shy nerd, this did
not go down well!

Just one thing to Patty's email:

"I wonder if technology will ever reach the point where documenting
instructions is superfluous because the interface is just that
intuitive? "

I've often wondered that. Then I look at Word 2007, the fact that I had
to search the Internet to find out how to shut off predictive text on my
mobile (press #)because the instructions were woefully inadequate, and
all those other apps that we use on a regular basis.

Seems to me that as we advance with computing things get more
complex...if you want to actually *do* something meaningful. Perhaps
we'll see a two-tier system, with one-button applications for some, and
massively complex applications for those that 'do stuff'.

Mind you, just think of something like an MP3 player. Back, forward,
play, stop, pause, shuffle? Random? :) I think we humans like complexity
too much to ever get to total intuitive interfaces, there will always be
stuff that need describing. Perhaps help will just change to be
hyper-embedded, and our jobs will become fractured to write sentences
rather than documents.

My $4.98 worth (I did go on a bit!)

Nicola


-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+n -dot- harlow=seamsltd -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+n -dot- harlow=seamsltd -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On
Behalf Of Blount, Patricia A
Sent: 21 May 2008 14:27
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: RE:"Old School Article"

You know, after seeing Deborah's suggestion about compiling all of these
Old School memories into some sort of article, a few things occurred to
me.

First, this was FUN!!! I thank you all for that. Sometimes, this list
becomes the equivalent of a dark alley in which I find myself afraid to
walk for fear of being attacked. I think the medium itself encourages
that level of hostility...seriously, how many of us would be as rude as
we sometimes are via email if the recipient of that message were
standing before us? I've been part of this list since the late '90's and
all of you have taught me something new. It's time I thanked you each
for that. Thank you!

Second, the old school thread reminds me of how far the computer
industry has come... Back in the day, when I was punching paper tape and
swapping floppies out of dual drive PCs, I might well have signed away
my soul for the chance to ask questions, post opinions and even debate
issues the way we can on this list. If I had a grammar question or
couldn't think of the right word, I'd have to blow the dust off my
ancient copies of an English textbook, a dictionary and a thesaurus. If
my question was more technical, such as how do I shrink wrap a Frame
around a graphic, I might have spent hours on hold trying to reach
Support. And research? Well, that was done in the library, after work
and on weekends. Today, those answers are a mouse click away. How many
of us take for granted that we have instant access to tech writers,
professors and trainers, tool experts, and so on?

Finally, I have a suggestion for you, Deborah, as well as for the list.
What about including our wish list for the future of computing and how
tech writing will evolve? We talked about paper tape, punch cards, Xacto
knives, etc... My iPod has more storage space than my first PC
did...What will the next 25 years be like?

In an offline message to Dave (the original poster), I suggested full
holographic displays. In my vision of the future, I would be in my home,
shuffling screens about with the slightest flick of my wrist. I would
love to see computer "jewelry" - a charm bracelet containing removable
storage with enough capacity to hold every book I've ever read. On the
commute home, I could queue up a story... I wonder if technology will
ever reach the point where documenting instructions is superfluous
because the interface is just that intuitive?

The one thing I hope we never see is embedded computing...chips embedded
in our brains and the like. That's just a bit too William Gibson for me.


I could go on...but I would like to see what the list has to say.


Patty B.


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printed documentation. Features include support for Windows Vista & 2007
Microsoft Office, team authoring, plus more.
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Help & Manual is the most powerful authoring tool for technical
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Follow-Ups:

References:
RE:"Old School Article": From: Blount, Patricia A

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