Re: Ideal Tools of the Trade

Subject: Re: Ideal Tools of the Trade
From: Jon Leer <jleer -at- LTC -dot- MV -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 16 Mar 1998 11:17:00 -0500

Brenda Ruetschi recently wrote in response to my query about tools:
> I'll bet you get flooded with responses to this question. I can't
> imagine anyone on the list being completely satisfied with what is out
> there.

Actually, I am hoping that I
get flooded with responses. Why? Currently I am a writer like most of you
on this list.
There are days when I think I will go nuts with the crap we have to put up
with... between the tools the customer expects us (contractors) or
employers provide to do the job, and what the tool manufacturers provide.

The company hiring the work dictates the tools to use based on what they
have inhouse. As is usually the case, these tools are selected by
non-writers and are most often reluctantly supported (or upgraded). So the
poor professional writer has to work in the "pre-industrial era" instead of
what is available in the marketplace.

Whereas, the manufacturers are simply trying to get another release out the
door to make revenue by the end of the month/quarter to keep investors
happy and cash flow positive. Once the writer gets used to the bugs and
peculiarities of the current version, a new one arrives with replacement
bugs and issues. Not to mention the incompatibilies with other
applications. (In the pre-computer era, writers - whether technical or
otherwise - had their cherished typewriter, which only required an upgraded

For once I wish I could tell the employer that:
- I will be doing the work my way,
- I will be using my tools,
- I will own the book,
- I will manage all future changes,
- I will earn REVENUE on my book, and
- You (the employer) must follow my schedule to completing the work.

Of course, what will all this accomplish? Probably get me replaced by
another slave who's willing to work for less and use whatever tools are
hanging around.

Jon Leer
Leer Technical Communications
603-644-8627, 644-8628 (fax)
jleer -at- ltc -dot- mv -dot- com

Better Communication Means Better Business

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