RE: Baseline Skillset for Technical Writers?

Subject: RE: Baseline Skillset for Technical Writers?
From: "Harry Bacheler" <hbacheler -at- geo -dot- census -dot- gov>
To: "Tracy Boyington" <tracy_boyington -at- okvotech -dot- org>, "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 17 Dec 1999 14:40:36 -0500

One of the things that I have found, since I started with PC's in 1985 was
that there are three things that people understand makes up the 'pc'.

(Tongue in cheek).

The keyboard, the monitor, and the 'hard drive'.

Not to mention that memory is the space on the hard drive. (Comment) "If you
don't have enough memory, take some of the garbage you have stored on your
hard drive off and make room for something else." (When you have a 6.4 gig
Hard Drive, with only 1 gig used.

"And by the way, I copied the files to the C:\ drive and I can't get to any
of them." (Observation: The files all got put in c:\ (root), with all of
the other stuff).

It is helpful as an exercise, to describe the process of taking the computer
apart and putting it back together again. It definitely helps you to
understand that 'excruciating' detail may sometimes be necessary.

The word pictures that we sometimes have to paint in order for someone to
understand some things often take a circuitous course. And then you get
"NOW I understand what you were trying to say."

Just some observations

Harry M. Bacheler, Jr.
VGS, Inc.

"The thoughts, ideas, and opinions expressed in my portion of this email are
mine and mine alone. They are not the thoughts, ideas, and/or opinions of
any past, present, or future employers, or any group that I might belong

> -----Original Message-----
> From: bounce-techwr-l-20951 -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
> [mailto:bounce-techwr-l-20951 -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com]On Behalf Of Tracy
> Boyington
> Sent: Friday, 17 December, 1999 2:11 PM
> Subject: Re: Baseline Skillset for Technical Writers?
> Sharon Burton-Hardin wrote:
> > The ability to take their computer apart to the boards and put the parts
> > back together again. Seriously. I am working on an article right now
> > the fact that for the several years (4?) I have been teaching Frame and
> > RoboHELP, 20% of my students cannot create a directory and copy
> the contents of a floppy to the directory.
> I don't see the connection. Is taking a computer apart and putting it back
> together really necessary? I don't think so. I've never done it, but that
> doesn't affect my ability to pick up and learn any software I want/need to
> learn. That's like saying I couldn't drive a taxi for a living
> because I can't take an engine apart and put it back together. Or am I
missing the joke?
> I agree that basic computer skills are extremely important. I know someone
> made it through her first year of a graduate program in tech writing
> ever touching a computer (and would have gone all the way through
> if she hadn't accepted a job where they taught her to use a computer).
Scary, isn't it?

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