Re: Win95

Subject: Re: Win95
From: mpriestley -at- VNET -dot- IBM -dot- COM
Date: Fri, 1 Sep 1995 11:31:55 EDT

Of erroneous information and the future of documentation....
Responding to: Matt Ion and Stuart Reynolds

Matt Ion writes:
>On Tue, 29 Aug 1995 12:25:15 -0400 you wrote:
>> focus is to maintain that leadership. The consumer and standalone
>> desktop markets for OS/2 are growing but are secondary to our
>> emphasis on client-server applications.

>... which means that, just as IBM is dropping the home OS/2 market, Microsoft

IBM is not dropping the home OS/2 market.

>And, dear tech-whirlers, documentation being secondary to actual product (no
>point in having a manual without the product),

I write the docs for a C/C++ compiler. The docs may be secondary, but no
programmer in their right mind would buy a compiler without documentation.
The steering wheel may be secondary to the tires (no point in steering what
won't go), but that doesn't mean it's dispensable (no point in going if you
can't steer).

>the technical writing field is
>about to become obsolete, as technology companies follow IBM's lead in
>dispensing of anything that isn't their primary concern.

1) IBM has many "primary" concerns. One of them is documentation.
2) They're not dispensing with their "secondary" concerns, either (leastways
not with respect to OS/2, anyway).
3) I don't really have a third point, I just wanted to use the word "tertiary".

And, just to jump tracks here for a sec,

Stuart Reynolds writes:
>Insurance companies, software companies.. you STILL need installation
>instructions, even if the rest of it is online..

Who do you think writes the online instructions? The Keebler elves?
(quick, check: are they STC members?)

>There IS a bigger picture, than just "equipment"

Almost any company can kid itself into downsizing their doc department.
Usually it just shuffles the workload around, and they end up hiring
contractors to do the work. Which ends up costing them more. And so, after
a little twitching and jerking, they upsize their doc department again.
Unfortunately, some managers have little in the way of long-term memory,
so at some companies (ah.. not mine, of course) this kind of shuffle actually
becomes an annual cycle.

>And, as for IBM "leading", how many times have they tried to
>do that and got nowhere with it.

I really should just ignore that. I really should. Maybe I'll just mention
that the company's success-to-failure ratio is pretty damn good.

Michael Priestley
mpriestley -at- vnet -dot- ibm -dot- com
Disclaimer: speaking on my own behalf, not IBM's.

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