RE: Total Waste of Time

Subject: RE: Total Waste of Time
From: Dave Neufeld <Dave_Neufeld -at- spectrumsignal -dot- com>
To: "'Andrew Plato'" <intrepid_es -at- yahoo -dot- com>, TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 21 Dec 1999 10:42:45 -0800

aah. Andrew, you've clarified your position ever so slightly to the point
where I'm back to the point of agreeing with most of your inciteful [sic]

BEFORE: "Accuracy" uber Alles
NOW: "organization, accuracy, and technical detail level" uber Alles
und Gott mit Uns

oops, getting carried away. (sorry no umlauts, too lazy to figure out how to
put them in...)

I was worried that your initial rant 'bout including bundles of accuracy was
going to encourage some writers to continue writing verbose convolutional
tomes on simple things. That's my pet peeve of the month. I've seen
amazingly long and complicated manuals that look like a lot of work, but are
in fact fluff with negligible content. It's nothing the reader needs, and
everything they don't need. And it gives the customers of the
client/employer a real bad impression of the product, if not a migraine.

These writers then go to whoever pays them and say:

"See what good work I do. As you can see, the product I wrote about is
incredibly complicated and I still managed to produce a manual. It's quite
big, but with some fascinating inventiveness, I have created new forms of
textual navigational aids to steer the reader through this complicated maze.
It was an incredible challenge. This product is sooo complicated, even I
don't understand it. But by using my newly acquired and unique powers as a
format Creator-God I can overcome..."

Jeez, have you been there? It can usually be compressed down by a third,
while adding important missing detail, and delivered with consistent formats
that the reader is already familiar with. Oh yeah, and there's not really
any maze to navigate anymore.

BTW I caught your act at the Seattle STC regional meeting. It was one of the
better ones. You know, the one with the handout with the picture of a
fistful of money. I was guy in the black baseball hat who kept telling you
to not get ahead of yourself when you were going over your points in that
amazingly detailed and tenderly formatted methodology you produced.
Fascinatingly ironic.


David Neufeld
Technical Publications
Spectrum Signal Processing, Inc.
dave_neufeld -at- spectrumsignal -dot- com
"no matter where you go..... there you are." -- Buckaroo Banzai

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