Re: What's the most technical task you ever did as part of your job?

Subject: Re: What's the most technical task you ever did as part of your job?
From: "William Sherman" <bsherman77 -at- embarqmail -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2013 17:45:48 -0500

I used to never think that my work was that highly technical, as it was just something all my coworkers and I did as part of the job. But compared to some things I've done recently, I guess it was pretty good stuff for the time.

F15 Avionics and Electronic Warfare stuff. Don't ask, I won't tell. Writers were Data Engineers, and were expected to write that stuff with minimum interaction with the design engineers, working strictly from drawings, prints, schematics, and on the bird access. Back then, there were hundreds of us. Today, they do it with a dozen or so.

Motorola cellular systems, not just the phone, but the entire system of software and the cellular units that make those little phones work. This was back when most phones were the size of a brick or larger and maybe you knew someone who had a cellular phone.

Helicopter stuff. Igor Sikorsky was obviously the first person to heavily use drugs, based on how he ever figured out how to make one fly. Everything after that had to be equally as insane. Rube Goldberg was a lightweight.

One of those San Jose network companies with switches, routers, and such. Again, it seemed normal at the time to configure and run them, but apparently, they still consider that stuff high tech.

Big Blue got into robots and it was one fun project. In a land of dark blue suits, white shirts, and ties, we would have some days in tee shirts and jeans as we tore the robots apart in the lab.


The really sad part is that in most jobs, there would be dozens or more technical writers doing a job, all of them highly technical. Now there seems to be 3 or 4 at most and often the writer is barely above a secretary in writing skill. Of course, many want to pay at that same low level. I worked with a guy not long ago complaining about rates in Orlando. His explanation was the low rates and poor quality were due to actions of one STC member years ago to convert housewives into technical writers with a tech writing degree in the local college. They knew all about writing, Word, and such, but had zero technical background, and would work for secretary wages as the STC person/instructor told them that was the going pay.

Hope I'm not offending anyone on here who lives or lived in Orlando.




----- Original Message ----- From: "Robert Lauriston" <robert -at- lauriston -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- techwr-l -dot- com>
Sent: Friday, January 25, 2013 2:26 PM
Subject: What's the most technical task you ever did as part of your job?


The most technical task I've ever had to do as a tech writer was
probably setting up a VMware virtual network to test a DBMS monitoring
/ security tool. I had six separate VMs: Linux running the monitoring
tool, Windows Server running SQL Server, Solaris running Oracle,
Windows running the monitoring tool's admin client, and Windows and
Linux to run test queries against SQL Server and Oracle.

Oddly, the single most difficult part was getting the Oracle client
running on Linux. Oracle's docs were incomplete, so I had to get a
field engineer to help.
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