Re: TECHWR-L Digest - 28 Jan 1996 to 29 Jan 1996

Subject: Re: TECHWR-L Digest - 28 Jan 1996 to 29 Jan 1996
From: SUZANNE PYLE <comline -at- STAR -dot- NET>
Date: Tue, 30 Jan 1996 23:12:34 -0500

Can anyone help me out? I'm trying to subscribe to get the *individual*
messages ---not the digest version! Any help much appreciated, thanks!

Suzane


At 12:00 AM 1/30/96 -0600, you wrote:
>There are 64 messages totalling 3017 lines in this issue.

>Topics of the day:

> 1. Optimal Page Sizes
> 2. Thumbnail/preview TIFF images
> 3. interesting terminology puzzles
> 4. Any Web Page Designers Out There?
> 5. Screen Capture in DOS
> 6. Product Liability - Brief Survey
> 7. Framemaker vs wordperfect? (2)
> 8. rates in md
> 9. Why We Need Good Software Manuals (2)
> 10. Obviscate. Huh? (3)
> 11. What to Call the Next Decade
> 12. DEC & Data General, Book About (3)
> 13. What's with the new docs?
> 14. What To Call the Next Decade (6)
> 15. HTML list (2)
> 16. ISO9000 (3)
> 17. Turn of the century, millenium, etc.
> 18. Frame List...
> 19. Manuals on CD-ROM
> 20. Superfluous modifier contest (7)
> 21. WinWord and Anti-Virus Macros
> 22. Meaning of "user-friendly" (2)
> 23. Year 2000 problems - WAS What to call the Next Decade (2)
> 24. Superfluous Modifier Contest (2)
> 25. Delivery Failed Message in Error
> 26. ISO 9000
> 27. Passive Voice
> 28. Name the Decade
> 29. Turn of the century, millennium, etc
> 30. Job Announcement
> 31. Redundancy ("Our product is...") (2)
> 32. Responses on Optimum Page Size Question
> 33. Engineers Inside Documentation Group
> 34. alpha burst activity [medical]
> 35. Instructions for Conditional Text in Word
> 36. user-friendly manuals
> 37. Time to party
> 38. Re. 7 plus or minus 2
> 39. SGML Author Editor
> 40. Where should I buy Frame?

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

>Date: Mon, 29 Jan 1996 13:04:56 +0800
>From: Stuart Burnfield <slb -at- FS -dot- COM -dot- AU>
>Subject: Re: Optimal Page Sizes

>Sue Gallagher (sgallagher -at- expersoft -dot- com) said:

>> ...there are some generalized industry-wide myths:
> ^^^^^
>"myth n. a story about superhuman beings of an earlier age, usually of how
> natural phenomena, social customs, etc., came into existence."

>Is this a veiled reference to Artfully Senior Tech Writers?

>> * Big books take up too much room on the desktop.
>> * Loose-leaf binders tend to come apart too easily.
>> * Reference books are more convenient if they can be made to lay flat.

>I support all these myths. We chose wire binding because it's likely that
>users will want to type as they they read. Our manuals lay flat in all
>industry standard laps.

>In my experience, perfect-bound manuals of about 200 - 300 pages won't lay
>flat in the first or last quarter of the book. If these comprised 'read
>only' material -- introduction, overview, index, glossary, etc. -- I don't
>think there'd be a problem with perfect binding. If there were a fair
>amount of 'type while you read' material in this first and last quarter,
>I would always favour wire wrap.

>We are changing from A5 to 9"x7.5", as A5 was just a little too narrow and
>caused us some problems with page layout. A4 is too big.

>Regards
>---
>Stuart Burnfield (slb -at- fs -dot- com -dot- au) Voice: +61 9 328 8288
>Functional Software Fax: +61 9 328 8616
>PO Box 192
>Leederville, Western Australia, 6903

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

>Date: Mon, 29 Jan 1996 09:03:10 GMT
>From: Andrew Woodhouse <awoodhou -at- MPC-UK -dot- COM>
>Subject: Re: Thumbnail/preview TIFF images

>> 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.

>Thanks to Alexander and Stuart Burnfield for replying, but I have found a
>freeware tool called ImageMagick that does *exactly* what I want. It comes as
>source code and has to be built, so can be used on whatever flavour of UNIX you
>use.

>If anybody else uses UNIX workstations for documentation and has lots of
>images/screendumps, etc. I heartily recommend it's use. It can, from the
command
>line, amongst many other fancy things, create "Visual Image Directories" with
>configurable thumbnails of all files in a directory (it works out the file type
>automagically). These can then be copied to a different directory (we have set
>up a catalogues directory) and then displayed, the original images opened and
>edited, etc.

>If anyone's interested, I can mail them the help documentation (HTML) so they
>can find out if they could use it.

>Regards

>Andrew Woodhouse
>Technical Writer
>US WEST ISG
>Borehamwood, UK
>awoodhou -at- mpc-uk -dot- com

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

>Date: Mon, 29 Jan 1996 16:17:20 +0800
>From: Stuart Burnfield <slb -at- FS -dot- COM -dot- AU>
>Subject: interesting terminology puzzles

>Brad Connatser <concom -at- USIT -dot- NET> wrote:
>> What To Call the Next Decade

>the alt.usage.english newsgroup is the home of interesting terminology
>puzzles. This question has come up there more than once.

>Other techwr-l perennials to be found in the alt.usage.english FAQ:

> split infinitive
> "between you and I"
> "different to", "different than"
> preposition at end
> "shall" vs "will", "would" vs "should"
> "that" vs "which"
> "." after abbreviations
> ," vs ",
> "A, B and C" vs "A, B, and C"
> "a"/"an" before abbreviations
> "rule of thumb"
> "-ize" vs "-ise" spelling

>It's not that a.u.e. has the definitive answer to any of these, but it
>usually throws up every alternative and shade of opnion.

>Regards
>---
>Stuart Burnfield (slb -at- fs -dot- com -dot- au) Voice: +61 9 328 8288
>Functional Software Fax: +61 9 328 8616
>PO Box 192
>Leederville, Western Australia, 6903

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

>Date: Mon, 29 Jan 1996 20:35:18 1000
>From: loryn <loryn -at- OZEMAIL -dot- COM -dot- AU>
>Subject: Re: Any Web Page Designers Out There?

>I got ten or twenty copies of this in my mail box Richard.

>If you have a problem posting, please correct it soon

>Loryn Jenkins
>CONTRACT TECHNICAL WRITER
>TEKRITE LIMITED


>----------
>From: Richard Foley <richard -at- ingle -dot- demon -dot- co -dot- uk>
>Sent: Monday, January 29, 1996 2:00
>To: Multiple recipients of list TECHWR-L <TECHWR-L -at- listserv -dot- okstate -dot- edu>
>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 07:33:01 EDT
>From: Karen Gwynn/Datatel <Karen_Gwynn -at- DATATEL -dot- COM>
>Subject: Re: Screen Capture in DOS

>Hijaak still does DOS screen captures. Don't know about your question regarding
>print screen (I hardly ever use it).

>Karen
>kwg -at- datatel -dot- com

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

>Date: Mon, 29 Jan 1996 07:58:45 EST
>From: "Thomas R. Tigani" <ttigani -at- SUNGARD -dot- COM>
>Subject: Product Liability - Brief Survey

> Greetings,

> I will be presenting a paper at this year's Southwest/Texas Popular
> Culture Association-American Culture Association conference in about
> two weeks, and I was looking for your opinions, stories, thoughts
> about the following topic:


> 1. What does Product Liability mean to you?



> 2. In your documents, what steps have or had you taken to protect
> you and your company from product liability litigation?



> In addition, if you've answered the first two, please answer these
> additional questions:


> 1. What is your profession?


> 2. What product does your company produce?



> Thanks for your help! A summary version of your answers will be
> posted during the week of February 12.


> Tom Tigani
> 29JAN96

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

>Date: Mon, 29 Jan 1996 23:22:00 EDT
>From: Cathy Gray <cgray -at- MPX -dot- COM -dot- AU>
>Subject: Framemaker vs wordperfect?

>Hello all

>As a bit of a new chum on this list, I've been a bit shy about leaping in,
>foot in mouth. But the discussion of Framemaker vs Ventura (and Word) has
>struck a chord too resonant to resist.

>I'm interested in people's views on *WordPerfect* and its relationship with
>Framemaker.

>The situation is this:

>I'm a freelance writer/editor working for a government department on a
>manual for stormwater (urban runoff) management. It's developing into a
>rather large beast, probably three volumes, maybe 500 pages total, and the
>structure is along the lines of 'this is the process you should use', 'here
>are some models to show you how it might work' and 'here's some information
>to help you do it', ie with extensive cross-referencing. I'd also like to be
>able to use auto numbering on at least some of the heading levels.

>A draft for comment (from both technical experts and potential users, but
>mainly the former) is being produced first, and I'd like this to have at
>least some of the 'feel' of the final, particularly when it comes to the way
>we use the typography and design to help people take advantage of the
>'process/models/info resources' structure. There will also be some graphics
>needed at this stage - diagrams and line drawings, probably scanned in.

>We were originally going to produce this draft using WordPerfect for Windows
>6.1 and then the publications section of the department would take over and
>put it through a DTP package for the final design stage (we were saving the
>decision about Frame vs Ventura etc until then).

>But....after reading people's comments on Framemaker vs Word, it seems we
>might be wasting our time. Are we mad? Should we go straight to Framemaker?
>Does WordPerfect handle long documents better than Word? What about its
>master document function?
>Are WordPerfect files as great a pain to convert into Framemaker as Word files?
>How much easier would it be to do the job in Framemaker than WordPerfect
>anyway, irrespective of conversion hassles?

>(To compound the problem, I am actually a Word user myself, and am basically
>being forced into WordPerfect because that's what the client uses.)

>If Framemaker is the way to go, we'll have to make a case to my client's
>boss so any advice you can give would be appreciated.

>Thanks heaps



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

>Catherine Gray
>PO Box 563
>Potts Point NSW Australia 2011

>Phone/fax: +61 2 358 1294
>E-mail: cgray -at- mpx -dot- com -dot- au

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

>Date: Mon, 29 Jan 1996 08:57:24 -0500
>From: Debbi Leipold <debbi -at- MCCABE -dot- COM>
>Subject: rates in md

>Anybody willing to volunteer going freelance rates in the MD area,
especially Baltimore. The figures i have been seeing of late (40-50 per
hour) seem a bit higher than what i am being told. Just wanted some real
quotes from technical writers in the area.

>Thanks in Advance,

>Debbi L.

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

>Date: Mon, 29 Jan 1996 08:54:17 EDT
>From: Karen Gwynn/Datatel <Karen_Gwynn -at- DATATEL -dot- COM>
>Subject: Re: Framemaker vs wordperfect?

>Catherine--
>If the decision has been made to go use FrameMaker as the DTP tool, I would
>suggest that you try to start with that as your writing tool. FrameMaker's text
>editing is easy to use and works as well as a word processor and you will save
>the publishing department *loads* of time if they don't have to go back and do
>the cross-references and add items like tables.

>If the FrameMaker templates are set up (all the paragraph tags, character tags,
>page layout, cross-reference formats, etc.), then your job will be a lot
>easier. We have a new writer in our group who worked in FrameMaker for several
>months before receiving formal training (which all our new writers receive) and
>she was productive with very little informal training. We have our chapter
>templates and everything already designed so all she had to do was learn what
>the tags were for and a few basics and voila! she was off and running.

>Importing into FrameMaker from Word works, but you will have to do duplicate
>effort to minimize the amount of rework that would be needed in FrameMaker (for
>example, defining paragraph tags with the same name in Word so that the
>paragraphs have the right tags when you import). Plus, I don't think
>cross-references, tables, and some other "advanced" features will import at
>all. In addition, trying to manage a large project like you are dealing with in
>a word processor is not a nice thing.

>Good luck.

>Karen Gwynn
>kwg -at- datatel -dot- com

>**********************************
>Original posting:
>**********************************
>Hello all

>As a bit of a new chum on this list, I've been a bit shy about leaping in,
>foot in mouth. But the discussion of Framemaker vs Ventura (and Word) has
>struck a chord too resonant to resist.

>I'm interested in people's views on *WordPerfect* and its relationship with
>Framemaker.

>The situation is this:

>I'm a freelance writer/editor working for a government department on a
>manual for stormwater (urban runoff) management. It's developing into a
>rather large beast, probably three volumes, maybe 500 pages total, and the
>structure is along the lines of 'this is the process you should use', 'here
>are some models to show you how it might work' and 'here's some information
>to help you do it', ie with extensive cross-referencing. I'd also like to be
>able to use auto numbering on at least some of the heading levels.

>A draft for comment (from both technical experts and potential users, but
>mainly the former) is being produced first, and I'd like this to have at
>least some of the 'feel' of the final, particularly when it comes to the way
>we use the typography and design to help people take advantage of the
>'process/models/info resources' structure. There will also be some graphics
>needed at this stage - diagrams and line drawings, probably scanned in.

>We were originally going to produce this draft using WordPerfect for Windows
>6.1 and then the publications section of the department would take over and
>put it through a DTP package for the final design stage (we were saving the
>decision about Frame vs Ventura etc until then).

>But....after reading people's comments on Framemaker vs Word, it seems we
>might be wasting our time. Are we mad? Should we go straight to Framemaker?
>Does WordPerfect handle long documents better than Word? What about its
>master document function?
>Are WordPerfect files as great a pain to convert into Framemaker as Word files?
>How much easier would it be to do the job in Framemaker than WordPerfect
>anyway, irrespective of conversion hassles?

>(To compound the problem, I am actually a Word user myself, and am basically
>being forced into WordPerfect because that's what the client uses.)

>If Framemaker is the way to go, we'll have to make a case to my client's
>boss so any advice you can give would be appreciated.

>Thanks heaps
> -----------------------------

>Catherine Gray
>PO Box 563
>Potts Point NSW Australia 2011

>Phone/fax: +61 2 358 1294
>E-mail: cgray -at- mpx -dot- com -dot- au

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

>Date: Mon, 29 Jan 1996 09:43:42 -0500
>From: "Huber, Mike" <Mike -dot- Huber -at- SOFTWARE -dot- ROCKWELL -dot- COM>
>Subject: Re: Why We Need Good Software Manuals

>I was out at a training class (not about writing - I was the only
>writer there) and the guy at the next desk, out of the blue, started
>complaining about Microsoft manuals that have exactly the same
>information (down to the examples) as the help screens.

>In my experience, readers (except for the odd ones who read the
>manual before jumping into the software) have already searched the
>help by the time they open the manual. The reader wants
>something more, or at least a different angle. Basically, when the
>manual is open, the help has failed. Your coordinates are wrong -
>do not fire again.

>I enjoy it when people gripe to me about manuals, I think it makes
>me a better writer.

> ----------
>From: Starr, Mike[SMTP:Mike -dot- Starr -at- software -dot- rockwell -dot- com]
>Sent: Monday, January 22, 1996 10:58 AM
>To: Multiple recipients of list TEC
>Subject: Re: Why We Need Good Software Manuals

>I firmly believe that both the online help and the manual should be as
>thorough and comprehensive as possible and that they both should contain
>essentially the same information. I also believe that both should contain
>both task-based and reference data. IMO, anything less than that is a
>disservice to the user. Some users are more comfortable with online help,
>others are more comfortable with paper documents. We should be providing
>documentation for the end user in a form that he or she is comfortable
>using. It may cost a bit more, but I think those costs are offset by
>goodwill from satisfied customers.

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

>Date: Mon, 29 Jan 1996 08:56:00 -0600
>From: Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- JCI -dot- COM
>Subject: Re: Obviscate. Huh?

> Dear WandaJane: What did you mean by obviscate?

>Just a guess, but probably "obfuscate."


>Have fun,
>Arlen
>Chief Managing Director In Charge, Department of Redundancy Department
>DNRC 124

>Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- JCI -dot- Com
>----------------------------------------------
>In God we trust; all others must provide data.
>----------------------------------------------
>Opinions expressed are mine and mine alone.
>If JCI had an opinion on this, they'd hire someone else to deliver it.

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

>Date: Mon, 29 Jan 1996 10:20:51 -0500
>From: Patrick O'Connell <titanide -at- MICRO -dot- ORG>
>Subject: Re: What to Call the Next Decade

>I guarantee that whether we want them to or not, the media will call it
>"the millienium decade." It's not a half-bad name for us poor, average,
>non-hair-spray-soaked folks, either.

>Very likely something like "the O's" will come into common usage --
>whatever it is, it'll be short. Whatever is shortest and catchiest will
>become the accepted norm. That much we can predict, I think.

>I am thankful to the Fates that I will live as the millenium changes --
>wouldn't it be something if every crackpot prediction made by the crazies
>and fringeoids about the year 2000 came true -- ALL of 'em? Wee-HOOOOO!
>Talk about yer brave new world!


>:-)
>PatO'
>titanide -at- micro -dot- org

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

>Date: Mon, 29 Jan 1996 10:28:38 -0800
>From: Michael Andrew Uhl <uhl -at- VISLAB -dot- EPA -dot- GOV>
>Subject: DEC & Data General, Book About

>TECHWR-Lers,

>I vaguely recall reading a book years ago about the history
>of Data General or Digital Equipment Corporation or both. Do
>any of you recall such a book? I am interested in learning more
>about Data General and their products. I'd appreciate any help
>you could offer with this.

>TIA.

>-Mike
>--

>Michael Andrew Uhl, Lead Technical Writer (uhl -at- vislab -dot- epa -dot- gov)
>Lockheed Martin, Primary Support Contractor to US EPA
>National Environmental Supercomputing Center (NESC)

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

>Date: Mon, 29 Jan 1996 10:37:44 -0500
>From: "Huber, Mike" <Mike -dot- Huber -at- SOFTWARE -dot- ROCKWELL -dot- COM>
>Subject: Re: What's with the new docs?

>An anonymous commentator wrote:
>************************************************************************
>If you can post this anomously - I'd appreciate it.

>My boss has just filled me in on our new product direction (if funded by
>our
>parent company) that will go as far into the web as we might imagine,
>gateways, java etc. His interesting comment was, "the role of the writer
>and the developer will become very "blurred". After all you are
>perfectly
>capable of HTML, JAVA and maybe even VRML. So why not have you do it."
> I
>am holding my breath and crossing my fingers for
>the funding....sounds like a whole bunch of fun.

>But the key comment is "role of the writer and developer is becoming
>blurred".
>I agree....
>*************************************************************************

>Having spent the last week at a Visual Basic class myself, I agree. It
>appears
>that I have an opportunity to do some work on the front end of the
>software I'm
>documenting. This fits in very well with my view of the software world:
>the most
>important part of the documentation is the user interface. (I developed
>this view,
>along with my penchant for using too many parenthesis, when I was a
>programmer in the 1980's.)

>Software has to communicate with people. When the software fails to
>communicate, the person falls back on (ideally) the help system. When
>that
>fails, the person falls back (again, ideally) on the manual, and then the
>tech
>support line.

>So I have this great opportunity to jump into the front of the process,
>and keep
>people out of the help files!

>With a little luck and effort, I may be able to steer the terminology
>toward
>regular English from the other side of the screen. Maybe even prevent
>adding
>yet another new meaning to the word "database".

> ---
>Mike Huber

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

>Date: Mon, 29 Jan 1996 11:41:22 EST
>From: DFIERRO <DFIERRO -at- LANIER -dot- COM>
>Subject: Re: What To Call the Next Decade

> 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?

> Um, how about turn of the century?

> Or don't I get it?

> Dan Fierro
> dfierro -at- lanier -dot- com

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

>Date: Mon, 29 Jan 1996 10:50:03 -0500
>From: "Dana B. Mackonis" <writer -at- HANDEL -dot- JLC -dot- NET>
>Subject: HTML list

>Can someone email me the addresses for subscribing to the HTML
>mailing list? In a switch of internet providers, this is the one list that
>didn't survive the list. Thanks.



> Dana B. Mackonis The Write Way
> writer -at- handel -dot- jlc -dot- net (603) 672-4307
> "My dog! the difference between thee and me
> knows only our creator.." Lamartine

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

>Date: Mon, 29 Jan 1996 09:52:15 EST
>From: rjl -at- BOSTECH -dot- COM
>Subject: Re: What To Call the Next Decade

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

>Turn of the century?

>Although, technically, as we're now five years away from the big event,
>when you read the words "turn of the century" realize that it could mean
>"right now."

>Rick Lippincott
>Boston Technology
>Wakefield, MA
>rjl -at- bostech -dot- com

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

>Date: Mon, 29 Jan 1996 11:09:10 EST
>From: Karen_Mayer -dot- TOUCH_TECHNOLOGY -at- NOTES -dot- COMPUSERVE -dot- COM
>Subject: Re: What To Call the Next Decade

> If the years 1920-1929 are the 1920s, are the years 1910-1919 the 1910s?
> Obviously, calling years 1900-1909 "the 1900s" would be too confusing
> (since the entire century is referred to that way), how about "the first
> decade of the 1900s?" Kinda long, but it's accurate. Same goes for
> 2000-2009 -- first decade of the -- what, 2000s? Of course, even if we
> came up with a great label for those years, there's no guarantee it will
> catch on. Whatever the masses call it is what it will be. (Who woulda
> thought people would ever say "way cool?")

> Speaking of which, I read somewhere that the 21st century doesn't
> officially begin until 2001, not 2000 as most people believe. Can someone
> verify or refute this with a reference? (I really don't remember where I
> read it, but it surprised me.)

> -- karen

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

>Date: Mon, 29 Jan 1996 12:00:03 -0500
>From: Jim House <JEH89 -at- AOL -dot- COM>
>Subject: ISO9000

>I need some information on what ISO9000, ISO9001, ISO9002, etc..is. I have
>absolutely no idea what it is and I don't know where to begin. All
>information would be helpful. Thank you.

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

>Date: Mon, 29 Jan 1996 11:04:00 CST
>From: David Fisher <DAF -dot- DSKPO27B -at- DSKBGW1 -dot- ITG -dot- TI -dot- COM>
>Subject: Turn of the century, millenium, etc.

>In technical documentation do you refer to the turn of the century at Jan. 1,
>2000 or Jan. 1, 2001? If the first year A.D. was 1, then it follows that the
>first year of the 21st century will be 2001. Many pundits are touting the year
>2000 because with all those zeroes it must be important, but what is correct?

>Just wondering,

>David Fisher
>dfisher2 -at- ti -dot- com

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

>Date: Mon, 29 Jan 1996 10:55:00 -0600
>From: Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- JCI -dot- COM
>Subject: Re: DEC & Data General, Book About

> I vaguely recall reading a book years ago about the history
> of Data General or Digital Equipment Corporation or both. Do
> any of you recall such a book? I am interested in learning more
> about Data General and their products. I'd appreciate any help
> you could offer with this.

>A book that touches a little bit on this subject is "The Soul of a New Machine"
>by Tracy Kidder. It's primary subject is the team that designed the Eagle
>supermini from Data General (it was their answer to DEC's VAX line) but it
>covers a little bit of the history of DG and DEC as well.

>It's an excellent read, BTW.

>Have fun,
>Arlen
>Chief Managing Director In Charge, Department of Redundancy Department
>DNRC 124

>Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- JCI -dot- Com
>----------------------------------------------
>In God we trust; all others must provide data.
>----------------------------------------------
>Opinions expressed are mine and mine alone.
>If JCI had an opinion on this, they'd hire someone else to deliver it.

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

>Date: Mon, 29 Jan 1996 11:27:03 -0600
>From: Bill Bledsoe <bill -at- ENVISION -dot- COM>
>Subject: Frame List...

>I have a question about Frame Compatibility that I want to post to the frame
>list.
>Can someone give me the address(frame-L?) and or offer their frame knowledge
>off-list?

>Remember, OFF-LIST so we don't clog mailboxes.

>Thanks!
>-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
>Bill Bledsoe "Junk moved on line is still junk. You can
>Documentation Specialist bet that if they didn't read the printed
>Envision version, they won't read the online version
>bill -at- envision -dot- com either." Dr. Conrad Gottfredson, online
>or documentation guru-guy
>intlidocs -at- mo -dot- net
>-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

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

>Date: Mon, 29 Jan 1996 11:33:00 PST
>From: Kent Newton <KentN -at- METRIX-INC -dot- COM>
>Subject: Re: Manuals on CD-ROM

>A week ago, I posted on this list that the company I work for was
>planning to convert its paper documentation to CD-ROM, and I asked the
>list members for any advice, suggestions, or insights. Seventeen people
>responded. Two mentioned they were going through the same process and
>asked me to pass along any information I discovered; fifteen offered the
>information I sought and asked me to keep them posted on the results of
>my research. So...I thought I'd compile the information and present it
>to the list.

>The responses ranged from a single paragraph telling me what the
>respondent's company did to a multiple page list of suggested tools for a
>variety of development platforms with guidelines for selecting the
>correct tool and suggestions on how to proceed. The information falls
>into these categories: Tools the Respondents Use, Lists of Available
>Tools, and General Considerations.

>TOOLS THE RESPONDENTS USE
> -----------------------------------------------

>Of the fifteen people who responded, two had not yet undergone the
>transition from paper to CD-ROM and six did not mention the product they
>themselves were using. The seven who did identify the products they were
>using break down like this:

>> PDF files and Adobe Acrobat (5 users)
>> FrameMaker and FrameViewer (1 user)
>> SGML and DynaText (1 user)
>> WinHelp 4.0 (1 user)

>(Note: This adds up to eight users because one respondent uses two
>tools: one for third-party documentation that she distributes and one for
>her own documentation.)

>LISTS OF AVAILABLE TOOLS
> -----------------------------------------

>In addition to identifying the tools that the respondents actually use,
>several took the time to identify other tools that are available. Some
>also listed advantages and disadvantages of the tools they mentioned.
> (Note that these are the advantages and disadvantages as the respondents
>perceived them: others might not agree with the assessment.) This list
>is in descending order of references.

>Adobe Acrobat (9 references). Adobe Acrobat is, by far, the leader.
> Even those respondents who do not use it mentioned it as a possible
>tool.
>Advantages: you can use the files on CD-ROM and the WWW (Netscape plans
>to bundle Acrobat Reader), you can use postscript files from any writing
>tool, you can build hypertext links and TOC inside of Acrobat, you can
>add on-screen color, you do not have to ship source files, you can view
>the document on screen or print it, you can distribute Acrobat
>Reader/Viewer free of charge, and it can be used on PCs, Mac, and Unix.
>Disadvantages: Acrobat Pro costs about $700 above the cost of your
>writing tool, it has the same usage restrictions of paper manuals, it is
>difficult to read because of its print-oriented output, and the PDF files
>are "big. Really big."
>Additional Resources: http://www.adobe.com (Adobe home page),
>http://www.adobe.com/Acrobat/Acrobat0.html (Adobe Acrobat page),
>http://w3.ag.uiuc.edu/AIM/SLOAN/tutorials/Acrobat/index.html (Acrobat
>tutorial).

>SGML and DynaText (4 references). This is the distant second leading
>option. While only one respondent said he used it, three others mentioned
>it as a viable option--especially if we plan to distribute our documents
>on the web.
>Advantages: it is cross platform (virtually any tool and platform, like
>Acrobat) and cross media (WWW, print, postscript, CD-ROM, again, like
>Acrobat).
>Disadvantages: none cited.
>Additional Resources: http://www.brainlink.com/~ben/sgml (introduction
>to SGML), http://www.arbortext.com/wp.html (getting started with SGML),
>http://www.ebt.com (Electronic Book Technologies home page for DynaText),

>comp.text.sgml (SGML newsgroup).

>Interleaf and World View (3 references): This is the third leading
>option. None of the respondents used it, but one did say that his sister
>company used it, and he warned me to steer clear of it "like the plague."


>Advantages: available on multiple platforms.
>Disadvantages: difficult to use.
>Additional Resources: http://www.ileaf.com/wvds.html (Interleaf World
>Viewer)

>FrameMaker and FrameViewer (2 references). This tied for the fourth
>leading option (with IBM BookManager, below).
>Advantages: No additional cost to develop the files; provides the user
>with the book, viewer, and installation instructions in one package; you
>use one tool to write the documentation, print paper manuals, and develop
>the electronic manual; provides users with the source files that they can
>use to develop their own training manuals or customer-specific user
>manuals (could also be a disadvantage -- it depends on your point of
>view); and works on Mac, PC, and Unix.
>Disadvantage: either you must pay a per-use distribution fee for
>FrameViewer or the user must download a royalty-free version of
>FrameReader from Adobe.
>Additional Resources: 1-800-U4-FRAME (sales line),
>http://www.frame.com (Frame home page),
>comp.text.frame (Frame newsgroup)

>IBM BookManager (2 references). This tied for the fourth leading option
>(with FrameMaker/FrameViewer, above).
>Advantages: none cited.
>Disadvantages: restricted to IBM mainframes and mid-range computers.
>Additional Resources: none cited.

>Word and Media Viewer (1 reference). Tied for last place.
>Advantages: works on Mac or PC.
>Disadvantages: works only on Mac or PC.
>Additional Resources: http://www.microsoft.com/devnews/mvw1_41.htm.

>Word and Word Viewer (1 reference). Tied for last place.
>Advantages: works on Mac or PC.
>Disadvantages: works only on Mac or PC.
>Additional Resources:
> http://www.microsoft.com/msoffice/freestuf/msword/download/viewers/

>WinHelp 4.0 (1 reference). Tied for last place.
>Advantages: none cited.
>Disadvantages: works only on Windows.
>Additional Resources: none cited.

>DynaWeb (1 reference). Tied for last place.
>Advantages: none cited.
>Disadvantages: none cited.
>Additional Resources: http://www.ebt.com (Electronic Book Technologies
>home page)

>Envoy (1 reference). Tied for last place.
>Advantages: none cited.
>Disadvantages: none cited.
>Additional Resources: none cited.

>SmartText (1 reference). Tied for last place.
>Advantages: none cited.
>Disadvantages: none cited.
>Additional Resources: none cited.

>OpenText (1 reference). Tied for last place.
>Advantages: none cited.
>Disadvantages: none cited.
>Additional Resources: none cited.

>Folio (1 reference). Tied for last place.
>Advantages: none cited.
>Disadvantages: none cited.
>Additional Resources: none cited

>MS Viewer (1 reference). Tied for last place.
>Advantages: none cited.
>Disadvantages: none cited.
>Additional Resources: none cited.

>KnowledgeSet Retrieval Systems (1 reference). Tied for last place.
>Advantages: none cited.
>Disadvantages: none cited.
>Additional Resources: none cited.

>GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS
> ------------------------------------------

>In addition to mentioning the available tools, several respondents
>provided suggestions on how to decide which tool I should pick. I've
>summarized those remarks below.

>1. Survey your customers to determine how they use the software, what
>software they use, what platforms they use, and what they would like to
>see on a CD. This information will help you develop a product the
>customers will actually use.

>2. Determine whether you are restricted to developing the documentation
>on a specific system or platform. This will dictate which tools you can
>select.

>3. Decide whether you want to make source files available or restrict
>users to view-only files. This will dictate which tools you can use.

>4. Determine your development cycle, processes, and budget.

>5. If you translate your manuals, determine whether you want to provide
>translations on CD and whether the tool you want to use is available
>world wide. This could knock a contending tool out of the running.
> (Don't commit to providing translations on first CD.)

>6. Determine whether the CD will be the only source of information or
>whether there will be additional sources such as on-line help or paper
>manuals. This will help you decide the final form of the documentation
>on the CD (electronic copy of paper manual or multimedia on-line
>system).

>7. Determine whether the CD will be run from the CD drive or installed
>on the hard drive and whether it will be used locally or over the
>network.

>8. Determine which development steps you will do (writing, linking,
>etc.) and which steps you will send to a third party (pressing the CDs,
>distribution, etc.).

>9. After you've narrowed your selections, create and distribute several
>prototypes and survey your customers to determine which ones they like
>and why. While you are developing the prototype, document the process
>with each tool to compare pros and cons. Weigh the customer's likes and
>dislikes against the development processes to determine which tool you
>will ultimately use.

>10. If possible, pick a tool that will provide output in a multitude of
>media (print, CD-ROM, WWW) so you reduce the development costs by
>preparing for future distribution needs.

>I also received suggestions on how to proceed once I've selected the
>tool. In general, the suggestions were to take a phased approach.

>Phase 1: Release your current documentation in view-only format on CDs.
> This is a major accomplishment in itself.

>Phase 2: Spice up the current documentation with hypertext links,
>hypertext TOC, and hypertext index and release that iteration.

>Phase 3: Redesign the manual for on-line viewing. This will be the most
>difficult, time-consuming phase because it requires you to break the
>linear way of thinking and use a web structure, which requires a total
>reorganization of the way you view documentation.

>Finally, I received several general comments about moving to on-line
>documentation and CD-ROM distribution.

>1. It will save your company money since pressing and shipping CDs is
>less expensive than printing and shipping paper documentation.

>2. Switching to CD-ROM-based documentation will take a major culture
>shift for both your readers and your company. It will require the
>support of both your company's management and your customer's management.

>3. Even when customer's receive CD-ROM documentation, they will, on
>average, print 3 to 4 documentation sets each year (usually piecemeal).

>AFTERWORD AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
> -----------------------------------------------------------

>If you've made it to this point, thank you. I apologize if this post too
>large. I received a lot of responses and I tried to boil it down as best
>I could, but I felt that this topic is valuable to all of us and wanted
>to share the information I received. I hope you found it as valuable as
>I did.

>To the fifteen people who responded to my post, thank you. Several of
>you not only sent one message to me, but you took additional time to
>follow up with additional information when I had questions or when you
>discovered more information after your initial post. I appreciate your
>extra effort. If I misrepresented any of your comments (or if I
>plagiarized your words), I apologize.

>Finally, I want to comment on how helpful the people on this list are.
> I've been mostly isolated in my profession, and it's been refreshing to
>be able to communicate with others in my trade. It is heartening to know
>that I am not alone in the trials I (we) face in trying to develop
>documents that our users find clear and helpful. I enjoy the discussions
>and I look forward to participating as my time, resources, and knowledge
>allows.Kent Newton
>Senior Technical Writer
>Metrix, Inc.
>kentn -at- metrix-inc -dot- com

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

>Date: Mon, 29 Jan 1996 08:51:50 -0800
>From: Robert Plamondon <robert -at- PLAMONDON -dot- COM>
>Subject: Re: Superfluous modifier contest

>Criminal lawyers.

> -- 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: Mon, 29 Jan 1996 09:35:00 PST
>From: Beryl Doane <BDoane -at- ENGPO -dot- MSMAILGW -dot- INTERMEC -dot- COM>
>Subject: Re: WinWord and Anti-Virus Macros

>In response to my post, Paul Nagai wrote:

>>This is fine so long as you are aware that you are vulnerable to attack
>from
>>a WinWord virus (or trojan horse if you want to be technical about it) that
>>is not as benign as the Prank macro.
>>
>>You run the risk of losing data to a new WinWord macro virus that deletes
>>files, formats hard drives, or, worse, corrupts data files without raising
>>any red flags ... perhaps escaping undetected long enough to survive a
>>backup cycle.
>>
>>I'm not that trusting.


>Yes, without the protection macros, I am vulnerable to new (potentially
>deadly)
>viruses. However, in my daily work flow, I work more with *my own* files,
>that
>I have already scanned, than I do with someone else's files. Everyone in my
>department has also run the protection macros. For my own sanity and
>productivity, I need my macros more than I need pseudo-protection.

>I choose to use my software tools to fit my working style, not to adapt
>myself
>to a lame protection scheme. I can easily rerun the protection macro


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