Someone on TECHWR-L posted a link to this paper (under the paradoxical title "The Cupertino Effect"), which is about how Excel's autocorrect feature can corrupt statistical analysis of genetic data if/when Excel "makes the wrong assumption" about an entry based on how it looks:
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I've seen far too much of the attitude around that programmers should write the documentation, because the programmers know the application best (as if that's a particularly good criterion by which to create documentation!), and IME that really only accomplishes two things: It makes your programmers (who'd rather be programming, quelle surprise) cranky, and it pisses off your user base, when the documentation reads like something that has been hacked together by someone who doesn't know the first thing or care a whit about documentation. Brilliant.
Now, if someone were serious about getting technical writing students involved in F/OSS projects, I'd recommend contacting these folks: Cooperative Education and Career Services at the University of Waterloo, and the Rhetoric and Professional Writing and Rhetoric and Communication Design programme people. They do co-ops at both the graduate and undergraduate levels in those programmes, and, at least when I was there, seem to be quite open to unconventional project ideas...
I sent her an angry e-mail because she'd managed to fill up my disk quota (and boy was that a royal PITA to clean up), and she said, "I don't know why you got all those copies. You should have only gotten three. It kept getting returned, so I tried sending it again." *headdesk headdesk headdesk*
I should probably also mention that she sent this message to about 20 people at the same time.
I really don't know what to do about a case like that. Perfessor Multigeek suggested locking her in a room with a computer and a bunch of reference materials and not letting her out until she'd learnt to program, but I'm not hopeful... Strangulation with a length of CAT-5 cable?
(Get your minds out of the gutter. The big ones, in this case, would be MS Word and FrameMaker...)
Boy, it's been a long summer. I spent quite a while hashing out something about streetcars and dealing with my injured arm, then ran out of money and had to spend quite a while herding bureaucrats. The bureaucrats in question were NGO-type bureaucrats, which are definitely the more malignant kind. (Governmental bureaucrats are relatively benign, for whatever reason, largely I think because their funding sources don't depend on how many butts they can cram into whatever
Rustin, if you're out there, please get in touch. I've got about a hundred questions I need to ask you.
Anybody who knows where Rustin is, could you please grab him by the ear and get him to call me, collect is ok. If he doesn't have my number, e-mail me at shgstewart at gmail dot com.