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Comment: So this is why I can't get Outline View? (Score 1) 240

by Tsu Dho Nimh (#46029001) Attached to: Code Is Not Literature

This may explain why the incredibly ancient feature request for an "Outline View" in OpenOffice has gone over a decade (Reported: 2002-04-10) with no resolution.

The mental mapping of code for programmers and the mental mapping of text to those of us who write literature and non-fiction is totally different. They can't visualize how an outline and headings and the cues fonts give readers differs from all the "mind maps", "document navigators", and other inadequate replacements they keep suggesting will fill the need.

Comment: Re:BD, DT, and wrote TFMs it'snot rocket surgery (Score 1) 211

by Tsu Dho Nimh (#44818639) Attached to: Writing Documentation: Teach, Don't Tell

At the base of Pike's Peak, 6th Thursday in November. Drive the vehicle of your choice. Hogs will be provided.

First person to haul an aggregate weight of 1250K in hogs to the top wins. There is no limit on the number of trips, but all hogs must arrive at the toip for the vet inspection in good health.

Comment: Re:Um, no (Score 1) 211

by Tsu Dho Nimh (#44752199) Attached to: Writing Documentation: Teach, Don't Tell

From TFA: The purpose of technical documentation is to take someone who has never seen your project, teach them to be an expert user of it, and support them once they become an expert.

Definitely NO, and even HELL NO! It's to make it possible for them to use the product at the level they were hired to use it at, or for the purpose they bought it for. My auto's user manual is a USER manual, not a service manual and not an automotive engineering textbook.

Comment: BD, DT, and wrote TFMs it'snot rocket surgery (Score 2) 211

by Tsu Dho Nimh (#44752171) Attached to: Writing Documentation: Teach, Don't Tell

I've been writing technical documents since the early 1970s.

You can't expect one piece of documentation to serve everyone ... it's like buying a "vehicle" and trying to use it to race, haul hogs, and climb Pikes Peak.

A - Ordinary users don't give a shit how the stuff works, they want it to do something for them ... tell them how to make whatever it is work as a tool for them. Run through the common use cases, screen by screen, showing them how to make the widget-smasher do it's thing.

Start with things the way they should work, then give them some basic troubleshooting, maintenance, etc.

B - Administrative users: They need all of "A", and how to handle the other users. Add, remove and monitor users.

Start with things the way they should work, then give them some basic troubleshooting, maintenance, etc. for the added functions.

C- Service techs, sysadmins, and those who will touch the sacred code: All of A and B (be reference to the appropriat4e manual or section thereof) and then feel free to pile on the technocrapobabble.

Each detailed explanation should start with a very brief "statement of purpose" ... when will this command be needed, or what does the bit of machine do. Why would you use it?

Then explain how to use it, and the expected results if you used it right, the expected results if you screwed up, and how to recover from an error.

You need to explain for each level of user what happens to a transaction, or data, or a part being manufactured, as it passes through the process or the proigram ... chronologically, what touches it and what is supposed to happen?

What will you see if there is a failure?

How do you recover from the failure?

It's not difficult, you just have to make sure that each level of user can get their task done efficiently.

Comment: BUSTED! And on AOL! (Score 1) 103

by Tsu Dho Nimh (#44481467) Attached to: Project Anonymizes Your Writing Style To Hide Your Identity

Way back, in the dim, distant past of the bucolic walled gardens that preceded the Internet as we know it ... there was AOL. AOL had walled predator-free gardens within gardens, where only teens younger than 18 were supposed to be communicating.

There were rumors that evil pedophiles were lurking in these gardens, so I made a sub-account for a totally bogus 16-year old boy named Alex. And Alex went forth to play.

All was going well, Alex was quite a popular young man amongst his peers and had lured ZERO pedophiles when he got this e-mail from a fellow writer: "Alex, are you Tsu?"

BUSTED ... not because of subject matter or vocabulary, but because of a @#$&%^ liking for compound, complex sentences and other arcane constructions ... and using them accurately.

Comment: Good grief - The BBC as Sensatonalist as Fox News! (Score 1) 243

by Tsu Dho Nimh (#44311005) Attached to: The City Where People Are Afraid To Breathe

Coccidiomycosis is all over the southwest, it's not incurable, and it's no flipping mystery why the incidence is increasing ... A couple of wet winters, some dry dusty summers and an influx of new residents with the attendant construction kicking up the dirt where the spores are ... and probably an easier diagnostic test. Instant epidemic. We had a surge of cases every fall in Phoenix if the dust storms had been severe.

2/3 of the people who have antibodies against it thought they had a slight cold or had no symptoms. A large chunk of the remaining 1/3 have a mild cough and mild to moderate fatigue ... I had it and it was fatigue of the "stop and rest three times going up one flight of stairs" kind. A serious damper on my college life for a couple of months.

It's been known for decades (since before I took Mycology in the late 60s) that certain groups were more prone to have severe cases: African Americans, Asians (especially Filipinos), Women in their 3rd trimester of pregnancy, People with weak immune systems, including those with an organ transplant or who have HIV/AIDS

Moving a group of people out of an area where they are extremely likely to get a disease that will make them sicker makes economic sense ... fewer cases of the illness means fewer resources needed to take care of them. But I'd screen them for antibodies first, because only the non-immunes need to be moved. I'd bet that over half to prisoners they plan to move are already immune.

A vaccine was under development during WWII, but the project stopped when the war ended. There have been noises about reviviing the project, but no funding.

Comment: Re:"one, two, three, four,...." (Score 1) 189

It's not just "let's get started, folks". There are intra-song cues and signals coming from the conductor's baton that must be detected - instructing a small group of instruments or voices to start and stop independently of the rest of the group, instructions to hold and fade a note, instructions to chop off a long finale ... it's a complex and almost entirely gesture-based communication.

Comment: discrimination and detection needed (Score 3, Informative) 189

However, when it comes to the very moment of starting, or the change of tempi, my start will always come too late.

Ah .. the trauma of remembering band practice:

Every conductor has a different style. The signal to start your part of a song that has already begun may be a small flick or pointing of the baton in your general direction, barely interrupting the overall tempo of the conducting, or if you have a dramatic conductor it can be a two-handed "picador going over the horns" gesture ... or no gesture at all.

Because the baton may be signalling to someone near the OP - in front or behind - but not the OP, the problem is discrimination as much as detection.

Also, it's not always a down beat. Changes of volume, extended notes and the final cut off of a long final note may be sweeping or tiny gestures sideways or straight towards the choir or orchestra.

Very few conductors will make big changes in tempo from what was practiced. No good will come of it.

In short, it might be more practical to start on the second note and drop out on the next to last note, paying attention to the parts of the production that immediately precede your bits so you are ready for it.

Comment: Re:Oh, crap, it's a wiki (Score 3, Informative) 299

by Tsu Dho Nimh (#41509103) Attached to: WTFM: Write the Freaking Manual

When I was working in aerospace, we would often write the manual first, then implement. This forces developers to deal with ugly problems cleanly, rather than having some elaborate after-the-fact explanation of how to work around some limitation.

I used to get paid to WTFMs. If there was a good functional specification for the hardware or software, I could have the first draft done about the same time the early testing started, and much of it was lifted from the specs. You don't have to see it working to describe what it is supposed to do.

If I had to WTFM for something with a bad spec or no spec, something that was being developed ad hoc ... it took a lot longer.

Comment: Re:WHY (Score 2) 130

by Tsu Dho Nimh (#38324388) Attached to: Amazon Is Recruiting Authors For Its eBook Library

There needs to be independent editors that will work for a set fee or on contingency...
And Amazon needs to promote these editors and get them to work with the authors to bring up the quality of the works being sold on there.

I'll edit books for pay if you have the money up-front, but if I were expected to work on contingency (not being paid until the book sells, and only getting a portion of the sales) I would reject all books that didn't have a chance at making it ... just like a real publisher. If Amazon were paying me to edit books, they would want me to reject books that are unfixable, those books that wouldn't make enough money to pay for the cost of my editing services and their overhead ... just like a real publisher.

So how will your deal with rejection?

Comment: Re:WHY (Score 1) 130

by Tsu Dho Nimh (#38324276) Attached to: Amazon Is Recruiting Authors For Its eBook Library

This is the 21st century. Why do we still have book publishing?! Everything should by indie and self marketed.

Have you read what's on and in the Amazon self-pubIished sections?

I buy books from real publishing houses because their editors have slogged through the piles of badly written crap for me and picked out books with an interesting plot.


+ - Is Etsy the Next Spamazon? ->

Submitted by
Tsu Dho Nimh
Tsu Dho Nimh writes "Mikeynice, the public face of Etsy's management team, posted this in his blog under the title "Improving Etsy Emails": Starting this week, we're going to be trying something new for members who make their first purchase. A portion of these members will receive a "Thank You" email a few days after their purchase. In this email, we'll invite them to connect with Etsy via Facebook and Twitter and tell them about some shopping newsletters. We'll also suggest other items they might like, based on what they've previously purchased. ... "

Great shades of vintage Spamazon! To encourage people to come back, they'll send them a letter telling them that they are being tracked because they made a purchase. Creepy!"

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Never trust an operating system.