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Subject:Re: Where do 'old' techwriters go to die? From:Jean Hollis Weber <jean -at- wrevenge -dot- com -dot- au> To:"TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com> Date:Wed, 08 Dec 1999 07:31:25 +1000
On 12/6/99, John Eldard asked,
>For those of you who have been techwriting for over ten years, what are you
>doing for challenges? Especially those working in corporate America?
I left America (corporate and otherwise) 25 years ago and have been writing
and editing in Australia ever since -- though I admit to contracting, off
and on, for IBM Australia for the past 10 years.
Last year, after having had far too much of cities, I moved to a lovely
town in northern Australia, 135 km from the nearest traffic light. Now my
partner and I have bought a large 4WD motorhome and are heading off next
year into the outback. [If you're interested, you can go to my travel site
(see sig) and click the link to "our vehicle." From there you can find
links to some other stuff about us and what we're doing. Pics of the view
from my current office are on my Technical Editors' site (also in sig).]
We're going into emailed newsletter and web design (pages designed for
people without the latest hardware and software and with slow or expensive
connections -- that is, most people outside the capital cities). For
challenges we'll be running our computers off solar panels on the roof (or
the generator when we're forced to) and trying to communicate via mobile
phone and satellite connections when we're many kilometres from anything
resembling a city. (Then writing up how we did it and selling the articles
to relevant publications.)
Those of you who are on development teams for products intended to be sold
world-wide (into small business and home situations, especially) would do
well to nag your superiors into taking a serious look at the way the rest
of the world uses computers... often old ones, with old software and small
monitors (or older laptops), often with graphics turned off when using the
Internet because of bandwidth or speed problems. There's a BIG market for
Web pages, for example, that don't require a browser with every modern
bell-and-whistle, and don't require a long wait for pages to load.
You can expect to see notes and articles from me from "the bush" over the
next couple of years. I expect my work will be more interesting, not to
mention challenging, than writing software user docs or hardware manuals or
corporate procedures or any of the other stuff I've been doing for many
years. (Perhaps if I'd been working on cutting-edge stuff, rather than
in-house corporate software, I'd have a different perspective.)