Christmas Presents for Geeks

I guess it’s that time of year when I ought to acknowledge that the festive season is upon us. You can always tell when Christmas is on the way because computer magazines are full of “ideas for presents for computer users”. I don’t know about you, but a 2GB USB memory stick doesn’t really seem…

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Under Compression

Last week I was creating short introduction videos for our Architecture Guide project. You’d assume that this would be easy enough – write some slides and record the commentary, and then generate a WMV file from the recording. I used Camtasia, which integrates with PowerPoint and makes it really easy to create the recording and…

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Head in the Clouds

What is it with airports? I mean, if I built an airport in the town called Mansfield, I would probably seriously consider calling it “Mansfield Airport”. It seems a good name since it identifies where the airport is, and what region or area it serves. The island of Madeira has only one airport (which, I…

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Time Flies Like An Arrow, But Not At Frankfurt Airport

As a writer, I enjoy the weirdness of words. In the English (and US English) language, and particularly in technical writing, words often mean something distinctly different from their initially apparent meaning. When I’m looking at text provided by other members of the teams I work with, such as developers and architects, I often come…

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On The Road To Nowhere?

Back in June, when I signed my life away and made my pact with the blue badge, it seemed like a good idea to restrain my exuberance in one or two areas. Wandering aimlessly around the world attending conferences, and pleading with Web site editors to buy my articles, were obvious first steps. And a…

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Take Two Aspirins And Call Me In The Morning

I seem to have spent a large proportion of my time this month worrying about health. OK, so a week of that was spent in the US where, every time I turned on the TV, it scared me to death to see all the adverts for drugs to cure the incredible range of illnesses I…

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Top 10 Tips for New or Nervous Computer Users

It may seem like this week’s disjointed ramblings follows on from last week’s topic, in some lexographically eerie and unexpected way. I can assure you that this wasn’t intentional – the capability to avoid straying off topic during the course of a single short article has so far always eluded me, and I see no…

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Rusty 0s and Broken 1s

So I was on-site at a dev shop the other day watching three guys fighting with a printer. It seems they needed some particular project report to send to a customer, and the printer was refusing to play ball. I watched them try various combinations of “press-and-hold” buttons on the printer, check the network cable,…

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Tragile Documentation

I just discovered last week that I’m supposed to be able to “move quickly and lightly”, be “as sleek and agile as a gymnast”, and be “fleet of foot”. Either that or I’m supposed to be an X-ray and Gamma ray astronomical satellite belonging to the Italian Space Agency. Not much hope of any of…

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Oending Letters

Oh dear, could it be that my brief career as a documentation engineer is about to come to an abrupt and unexpected end? Has my recent sin been so dreadful that I will be thoughtlessly cast aside, and once again reduced to wandering aimlessly around conference circuits and local dev shops with all my worldly…

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