Artfully is Dragging

Subject: Artfully is Dragging
From: "Dimock, Dick" <red -at- ELSEGUNDOCA -dot- ATTGIS -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 15 Jan 1996 23:34:00 PST


Old Artfully Senior just got out of a 1:00 - 10:00 PM "walkthrough"
meeting. My 250-page manual and I went through the wringer.
Eight SMEs taking the book para by para, command by command,
move this here, move that there, even doing system re-design
on the spot.

The book is installation procedures for a huge database HW
and SW system, in UNIX. Everything the poor field engineer
will need to know to install this (adjectives deleted cuz this is
not cleared by Marketing) system. It's got Ethernet networks,
disk arrays, parallel processing networks, tape and CD-ROM
media, a workstation that keeps track of the processors that
keep track of the configurations of parallel processors - each
of which runs a dozen virtual processors feeding the disk arrays.
Data flows somehow, in spite of us.

Now all I have to do is reorganize and write those hundreds
of red ink changes by Friday noon.

This is the Artful part of Tech Writing. Keeping up with four
cross-flowing conversations at once, gleaning the grains of
change info from the chaff of design talk, not flagging under
the strain that sent younger ones home early, pulling the
derailed trains of thought back on track, pushing that red
pen at warp speed so that only me with a clear mind can
possibly decipher the words, and GETTING THE DATA
in spite of Time itself. Show fatigue? Never.

My blankets await me on my office floor. We reconvene
tomorrow at 2:30.

Regards to All

Dick Dimock who, disguised as a mild mannered
technical writer for a major American

**NCR Corporation** I said.., fights a never-
ending battle for *truth* in documentation,
*justice* in salary, and (since this is a
global list) the Planetary way! We join him
now in his secret office in

El Segundo, CA where we hear him say
"This is trash! Take that design back and
do it RIGHT this time! And bring me the
pertinent data by 2:30. In ASCII format. I'll
have the manual online by five. Now GO!"

richard -dot- dimock -at- elsegundoca -dot- attgis -dot- com

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