Re: TECHWR-L Digest - 27 Jan 1996 to 28 Jan 1996

Subject: Re: TECHWR-L Digest - 27 Jan 1996 to 28 Jan 1996
From: cindy stevens <stevens -at- MAIL -dot- GLD -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 30 Jan 1996 10:30:01 -0600

>There are 18 messages totalling 505 lines in this issue.

>Topics of the day:

> 1. Challenge to active-verb advocates
> 2. Redundancy ("Our product is...")
> 3. What To Call the Next Decade (6)
> 4. New nose count (2)
> 5. user-friendly manuals
> 6. conditional text in Word
> 7. Any Web Page Designers Out There?
> 8. bioavailability [thanks]
> 9. alpha burst activity [medical]
> 10. Thumbnail/preview TIFF images
> 11. Warning, Will Robinson: Doc-to-Help & McAfee Virus Scan
> 12. Superfluous modifier contest

>----------------------------------------------------------------------

>Date: Sat, 27 Jan 1996 20:50:34 -0800
>From: Robert Plamondon <robert -at- PLAMONDON -dot- COM>
>Subject: Re: Challenge to active-verb advocates

>On Thu, 25 Jan 1996 DLE -at- alpha -dot- sunquest -dot- com wrote:

>> Enough of the easy rewrites. Can you recast the following sentence in
>> active voice and improve it?
>>
>> "The leaves on the sidewalk were kicked and scattered by passing
>> feet."

>No problem. How about as an octosyllabic couplet?

>Feet, passing through the tumbled sheaves,
>Unnoticed stirred the sidewalk's leaves.

> -- Robert
>--
>Robert Plamondon, President/Managing Editor, High-Tech Technical Writing, Inc.
>36475 Norton Creek Road * Blodgett * Oregon * 97326
>robert -at- plamondon -dot- com * (541) 453-5841 * Fax: (541) 453-4139

>------------------------------

>Date: Sun, 28 Jan 1996 12:01:27 IST
>From: Mark Levinson <mark -at- SD -dot- CO -dot- IL>
>Subject: Re: Redundancy ("Our product is...")

>If you say "This product will..." and it doesn't, you are held liable
>from a legal standpoint. (- Louise Mayberry)

>** Don't I get some protection from "The information in this
> document is subject to change without notice"?

>__________________________________________________________________________
>||- Mark L. Levinson, mark -at- sd -dot- co -dot- il -- Box 5780, 46157 Herzlia, Israel -||
>|| You can't judge right by looking at the wrong. - Willie Dixon ||

>------------------------------

>Date: Sun, 28 Jan 1996 05:50:08 +0000
>From: Brad Connatser <concom -at- USIT -dot- NET>
>Subject: What To Call the Next Decade

>I have just come across an interesting terminology puzzle. If someone went
>to high school from 1962 to 1966, then you would write that she went to
>high school in the 1960s. If she went to high school from 1935 to 1939,
>then the 1930s. What do you call the decade from 1900 to 1909? I have
>posed this question to a number of tech writer friends of mine, and none
>of them have been able to offer a satisfactory answer. Because we are
>sneaking up on a new decade that poses this same problem (2000 to 2009),
>perhaps some of you have thought about it. Any suggestions?

>--
>Brad Connatser
>Concurrent Communications
>concom -at- usit -dot- net

>------------------------------

>Date: Sun, 28 Jan 1996 04:56:53 -0600
>From: soundy -at- NEXTLEVEL -dot- COM
>Subject: Re: What To Call the Next Decade

>In <concom-2801960550080001 -at- concom -dot- ppp -dot- usit -dot- net>, on 01/28/96 at 05:50
>AM,
> Brad Connatser <concom -at- usit -dot- net> said:

>>are sneaking up on a new decade that poses this same problem (2000 to
>>2009), perhaps some of you have thought about it. Any suggestions?

>How about the 'naughts'?

> Your friend and mine,
> Matt
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
> ---*** NOTE: Windows 95 Fixpack now available! ***---
> See http://www.austin.ibm.com/pspinfo/drk95.html for more info!

> Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of Next Level
> Productions, or anyone else of sound mind from this planet or
>dimension!

>------------------------------

>Date: Sun, 28 Jan 1996 03:40:50 -0800
>From: Richard Mateosian <srm -at- C2 -dot- ORG>
>Subject: Re: What To Call the Next Decade

>>What do you call the decade from 1900 to 1909?

>The nineteen-oughts. ...RM

>Richard Mateosian http://www.c2.org/~srm/ President, Berkeley STC
>Freelance Technical Writer srm -at- c2 -dot- org Review Editor, IEEE Micro

>------------------------------

>Date: Sun, 28 Jan 1996 14:25:43 IST
>From: Mark Levinson <mark -at- SD -dot- CO -dot- IL>
>Subject: Re: What To Call the Next Decade

>Any suggestions?

>** Are you on the naming committee? I'd like to suggest
> calling the years from 2000 to 2009 the double-Os.

> Mark L.

>------------------------------

>Date: Sun, 28 Jan 1996 11:13:13 -0500
>From: John Posada <jposada -at- NOTES -dot- CC -dot- BELLCORE -dot- COM>
>Subject: Re: New nose count

> The immediate response has been good, too good, perhaps: I realize that
>the
>job I set myself is more difficult than I had anticipated because so many of
>you do many different things. I was surprised by the diverse job

>--------------

>Be careful of what you ask for...you may get it

>;-}

>John Posada
>Technical Writer
>Bell Communications Research, Piscataway, NJ
>(908) 699-5839 (W)
>jposada -at- notes -dot- cc -dot- bellcore -dot- com (W)
>--------------------------------------------------------------------
>I don't speak for my employer and they return the favor
>--------------------------------------------------------------------

>------------------------------

>Date: Sun, 28 Jan 1996 08:58:20 -0800
>From: Kris Olberg <kjolberg -at- IX -dot- NETCOM -dot- COM>
>Subject: Re: What To Call the Next Decade

>At 05:50 AM 1/28/96 +0000, you wrote:
>>What do you call the decade from 1900 to 1909? I have
>>posed this question to a number of tech writer friends of mine, and none
>>of them have been able to offer a satisfactory answer. Because we are
>>sneaking up on a new decade that poses this same problem (2000 to 2009),
>>perhaps some of you have thought about it. Any suggestions?

>I remember my grandparents referring to these years (in 1900, of course), as
>"aught something." My grandfather would say: "I remember one night back in
>'06 (read: aught six) when it was so cold that we found the dog frozen to a
>fire hydrant."

>Seriously, this same convention could work again.

>Regards...Kris
>--------------------------------

>------------------------------

>Date: Sun, 28 Jan 1996 13:52:33 -0500
>From: Stan Brown <stbrown -at- NACS -dot- NET>
>Subject: user-friendly manuals

>WandaJane Phillips <wandajp -at- ANDYNE -dot- ON -dot- CA> raises the question of
>user-friendly manuals. (Ever notice that nothing is ever described as
>user-hostile, even when it is? But that's another story.)

>She deprecates the use of cartoon figures and other peppy stuff in a
>manual, in part because "Marketing style belongs in marketing
>documents." I agree with her conclusion, but not with that part of her
>reason.

>I think back to a Microsoft manual for, I think, the upgrade version
>of DOS 6. It was chock full of cartoon-like drawings of a bird. Not
>only did I feel annoyed at being talked down to (and that's the
>impression I got, regardless of the actual content of the text), but I
>kept seeing that damn bird out of the corner of my eye when I was
>trying to concentrate on what little text there was.

>(If I had a choice about whether to buy DOS, and I saw that bird in
>marketing materials, I would be less inclined to buy. I wouldn't think
>the product was friendly, I'd think it was childish.)

>Colin Wheildon's book (about which I shall write more later) points
>out that while colored headlines grab the reader's attention, they
>detract materially from comprehension of the text. I expect the same
>is true to an even greater degree for cartoons. The trouble with
>eye-catching pictures is that once they catch the eye they tend not to
>let go.

>Regards,
>Stan Brown, Oak Road Systems Cleveland, Ohio USA +1 216 371-0043
>email: stbrown -at- nacs -dot- net Web: http://www.nacs.net/~stbrown

>------------------------------

>Date: Sun, 28 Jan 1996 13:52:33 -0500
>From: Stan Brown <stbrown -at- NACS -dot- NET>
>Subject: Re: conditional text in Word

>In TECHWR-L Digest, CARYN_RIZELL -at- HP-ROSEVILLE-OM2 -dot- OM -dot- HP -dot- COM asks:
> I need to produce documentation for many different platforms from
> one single source file. Has anyone figured out how to produce
> several different versions of your documentation (either manuals
> or online) from a single Word document? How do you handle
> conditional text in Word?

>>From your mentioning different platforms, I assume that there will be
>many places where text differs, and that the differences will each
>range from a few words to a paragraph or two.

> An alternative
> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>Before I give a technical solution, might I suggest an alternative? If
>this works in your context, why not have only one manual that covers
>all platforms? In the introduction, you would define an icon for each
>supported platform, and then at the point where differences occur you
>could give each version, with the appropriate icons in the margin.

>Microsoft does this sort of thing in some manuals, where some
>instructions have a mouse icon next to them and others a keyboard
>icon.

>It could simplify the development process and make life easier on your
>reviewers, since it would be clear to them what the (claimed)
>differences were among the platforms. It might also simplify your
>client's inventory and reduce the printing bill. But it could be
>confusing to the reader (and therefore a Bad Thing) if there were,
>say, half a dozen versions and the reader couldn't easily tell where
>the common text began again.

> Using multiple styles meets your stated requirement
> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>So, on to a solution that does what you asked for. It depends on using
>styles in a disciplined way in Word, and is best illustrated by
>example. Say you have decided to define a style called Instruction for
>step-by-step instructions. After defining that style, you would then
>define an additional style for each platform -- say Instruction UNIX,
>Instruction VAXVMS, Instruction NT, Instruction OS360 <grin>, and so
>on -- all based on the Instruction style and differing from it only in
>having the Hidden text attribute set. You'd do the same thing for each
>character or paragraph style in your document, always using consistent
>suffixes. (A simple macro could define the derived styles for you.)

>You'd format any instructions that were common to all platforms in the
>base Instruction style. But instructions that applied only to VAX/VMS
>would be formatted in Instruction VAXVMS, and similarly for the other
>platforms. It's important that you _never_ redefine the derived
>styles, but make any changes to the "base" style.

>Now when you want to produce the VAX/VMS style of your document, you
>simply redefine all the VAXVMS styles to be _not_ hidden. (Be sure to
>save the document under a different name so that you don't overwrite
>your base document. You'll probably need to repaginate as well.) And
>you'd proceed in the same way for each platform.

>You might well choose to write a macro to make those changes for you.
>You'll need to use CountStyle() to tell how many styles there are,
>StyleName$() to get the name of each style, Right$() to test the style
>name against your platform name, and FormatStyle and FormatFont to
>change the definition of the style. (See online help or, better,
>_Hacker's Guide to Word for Windows_ for details.)

>Since Word 6 introduced character styles, this approach can be used
>for varying words or phrases within a common paragraph, as well as
>paragraphs that appear only for one platform. If a paragraph appears
>for multiple platforms but not for all, you can either duplicate the
>text or use an insert field to pull the text in from a separate file.

>Regards,
>Stan Brown, Oak Road Systems Cleveland, Ohio USA +1 216 371-0043
>email: stbrown -at- nacs -dot- net Web: http://www.nacs.net/~stbrown

>------------------------------

>Date: Sun, 28 Jan 1996 09:05:50 UNDEFINED
>From: Herman Holtz <holtz -at- PALTECH -dot- COM>
>Subject: New nose count

> This solicitation has aroused a good bit of inteerst, judging by the
>responses. It's becoming clear that there is a significant amount of hardware
>documentation--operating, installation, and maintenance manuals--still done,
>at least some of it by writers who also document software.

> The evidence that a large percentage of tech writers handle a
variety of
>assignments continues to grow. I am also finding responses from writers in
>organizations that support a large number of tech writers--about 35, in at
>least one case.

> Some of those posting responses are also making their status--staff
versus
>independent--known, in belated response to my original survey, but the ratio
>of 60-40 (staffers to contractors) still holds pretty well.

> The diversity of work assigned to and undertaken by what appears to
be most
>tech writers appears to be a general characteristic and reflects to me, in the
>retrospect of my own years of full-time techwriting--fifties and early
>sixties--evidence of a still growing career field. - Herm

> Herman Holtz [holtz -at- paltech -dot- com] -dot- Consulting & custom services
> for marketing/writing needs: brochures, direct mail, ghosting,
> proposals, manuals, other. Write, call for free estimates.
> PO Box 1731, Wheaton, MD 20915; 301-649-2499; FAX 301-649-5745.

>------------------------------

>Date: Sun, 28 Jan 1996 16:00:20 +0000
>From: Richard Foley <richard -at- INGLE -dot- DEMON -dot- CO -dot- UK>
>Subject: Re: Any Web Page Designers Out There?

>Karen,

>The RFI site has some variety on it; technical illustration, an FAQ,
>sample images, italian connections, web site authoring, misc. useful
>links:

>http://www.rfitech.com/index.html

>Please browse, and I welcome comments from anyone.

>Regards
>Richard

><Karen_Mayer -dot- TOUCH_TECHNOLOGY -at- notes -dot- compuserve -dot- com> wrote:

>> I missed most of the discussions of HTML, so I don't which Tech
>> Whirlers are into designing web pages. It's an area I'm really interested
>> in breaking into and have started designing my own set of web pages.
>>
>> Have you designed a web page for yourself or your company? Would you
>> email me the URL? I'd like to get a feel for what other people are doing
>> WRT design and layout. If others show interest, I'll post a list of
>> subscribers' web pages.
>>
>> Thanks!
>>
>> -- karen


>--
>Richard Foley, RFI Ingleton, LA63AN, UK richard -at- rfitech -dot- com
>Maintainer of the Technical Illustration FAQ doc: "Techill-FAQ"
>http://rfitech.com/index.html

>------------------------------

>Date: Mon, 29 Jan 1996 08:35:17 +0800
>From: Ian Macdonald <imacd -at- PC -dot- JARING -dot- MY>
>Subject: Re: What To Call the Next Decade

>At 02:25 PM 28/1/96 IST, Mark Levinson wrote:
>>Any suggestions?
>>
>>** Are you on the naming committee? I'd like to suggest
>> calling the years from 2000 to 2009 the double-Os.
>>
>> Mark L.
>>
>>

>or maybe the 2000 to 2009 Period could be OOP(s)!



>Ian Macdonald
>imacd -at- pc -dot- jaring -dot- my

>------------------------------

>Date: Mon, 29 Jan 1996 10:31:33 +0900
>From: Brad DeMond <bdemond -at- SUMS -dot- SHIGA-MED -dot- AC -dot- JP>
>Subject: bioavailability [thanks]

>Thanks to everyone who answered my question regarding bioavailability in
>pharmaceuticals. You provided much more information and appropriate context
>for use of the term than the dictionary even came close to. [note: due
>apologies to wordsmiths who abhor ending a sentence with a preposition.
>Remember the rule: "Never use a preposition to end a sentence with!]

>Best regards,
>Brad DeMond

>------------------------------

>Date: Mon, 29 Jan 1996 10:35:41 +0900
>From: Brad DeMond <bdemond -at- SUMS -dot- SHIGA-MED -dot- AC -dot- JP>
>Subject: alpha burst activity [medical]

>I've been going over an article entitled "Sleepiness in long distance truck
>driving: an ambulatory EEG study of night driving." In the study, the
>"alpha burst" activity of subjects is measured as, it seems form the
>context, an indicator of wakefulness. Can anyone tell me what alpha burst
>activity is? It's clearly brainwave activity, but if it indicates
>wakefulness, then what would indicate drowsiness? Is there such a thing a
>"beta" activity?

>Any help appricated.

>Brad DeMond

>------------------------------

>Date: Sun, 28 Jan 1996 12:25:00 +0100
>From: Alexander Von_obert <avobert -at- TWH -dot- MSN -dot- SUB -dot- ORG>
>Subject: Thumbnail/preview TIFF images

>Hello Andrew,


>* Antwort auf eine Nachricht von Andrew Woodhouse an All am 24.01.96

>AW> From: Andrew Woodhouse <awoodhou -at- mpc-uk -dot- com>

>AW> What we need really is to find some way of creating thumbnails
>AW> of the images in
>AW> each directory, showing a small version of the graphic along
>AW> with the filename.
>AW> It's such a pain to have to open each graphic in a tool such as
>AW> XV or the Sun
>AW> Imagetool to find out what it is...

>I don't know what your UNIX guru recommends, but in the MS-Windows world I
> would try the shareware program Paintshop Pro (PSP311.ZIP on many FTP
> servers). Paintshop Pro knows about LOTS of graphics formats. May be even your
> variant of TIFF.


>Greetinggs from Germany,
>Alexander

>--
>|Fidonet: Alexander Von_obert 2:2490/1719
>|Internet: avobert -at- twh -dot- msn -dot- sub -dot- org
>|
>| Standard disclaimer: The views of this user are strictly his own.

>------------------------------

>Date: Sun, 28 Jan 1996 12:34:01 +0100
>From: Alexander Von_obert <avobert -at- TWH -dot- MSN -dot- SUB -dot- ORG>
>Subject: Warning, Will Robinson: Doc-to-Help & McAfee Virus Scan

>Hello Dan,

>* Antwort auf eine Nachricht von Dan Glovier an All am 24.01.96

>DG> From: Dan Glovier <dan -at- coyote -dot- tsh -dot- com>

>DG> Recently, in an effort to practice safe computing, I purchased
>DG> and installed
>DG> McAfee Virus Scan (version 2.2.7). They have an "Anti-Macro
>DG> Virus" portion
>DG> to it as well (mvtool10.exe).

>This tool does NOT work with the German Winword 6 version.

>BTW: I could not install Doc to Help while my machine was running under
> Novell-DOS 7. I had to change back to MS-DOS.


>Greetings from Germany,
>Alexander

>--
>|Fidonet: Alexander Von_obert 2:2490/1719
>|Internet: avobert -at- twh -dot- msn -dot- sub -dot- org
>|
>| Standard disclaimer: The views of this user are strictly his own.

>------------------------------

>Date: Sun, 28 Jan 1996 20:43:00 PST
>From: John Gear <catalyst -at- PACIFIER -dot- COM>
>Subject: Superfluous modifier contest

>Someone wrote:

>>That's my last word on this subject. Now, how about the overuse of implement
>>and/or utilize and very unique (can there possibly be grades of unique?),
>>open trench (what other kind is there?), etc.

>Announcing the 1996 Techwr Superfluous Modifier Contest!

>Grand Prize: Transitory fame, fleeting glory ... (cash value: zip-point-...)

>Judges: List members who care ... or who don't care but comment anyway

>How to play: Send in examples of the most memorable useless modifiers from
>your own work or the work of others. Authors may remain anonymous to
>protect the guilty.

>Deadline: by consensus

>First entry: " . . . female radiation workers who are pregnant are required
>to . . ." (anon.)


>John Gear (catalyst -at- pacifier -dot- com)

>The Bill of Rights -- The ORIGINAL Contract with America
>Beware of Imitations. Accept No Substitutes. Insist on the Genuine Articles.

>------------------------------

>End of TECHWR-L Digest - 27 Jan 1996 to 28 Jan 1996
>***************************************************


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