Thursday, October 11, 2007

Worst. Command reference, EVER.

For those that do not know, I am a technical writer. What does that mean? The manual that came when you bought your modem that you just threw in the garbage? Yeah. I write those things. 'Splaining to people how to use hardware and software is what I do.

This week at work has been updating and old old old old old document. For an analog modem. A very expensive, still well-selling modem. And the main information in the guide hasn't been updated in several years. And it's bad.

There are a lot of types of tech writers in the world. There are far too many that just slap the company logo on a document someone else gave them and call it a day. There are those that will argue and set up meaning after meeting arguing over fonts and text colors. Various ways you can easily "pretty up" a document without adding any value.

I like to think I'm one of the writers who likes to add value to things. Like the recent incident of our mind-blowingly bad troubleshooting. Yeah, it identifies a lot of problems and tells you to do a lot of things, but for years it all went without someone looking at it and realizing it never brought you to "if that didn't work, do this" type statements. Left far too many assumptions (a bad thing... since if they knew it that well, would they be looking at troubleshooting anyway???)

In the case of command reference-type information, a lot of tech writers don't really look at the information, it is a case of making it pretty and at least use formats consistiently. The doc I'm working on now doesn't even go that far. And it's hurting my brain.

Not to mention, I've not only got to update it in English... I've got to then do it in six other languages. Oh the fun.

Dinner tonight was a sleezy favorite.... chili omelete. The second trip to Vegas that the hubby and I made, we got in early, left our bags at the Monte Carlo and went walking. We ended up in the Miracle Mile shops at the (then) Aladdin, and ended up at Cheeseburgers to grab a bite since we were both famished. I was all over the macadamia nut waffels (or was it pancakes?) until I saw the omelete. We're both HUGE suckers for anything chili cheese, and we both ordered the chili cheese omelete. And oh my lord.... I am so glad we did. It was fantastic. If there was a place around here that served those at 2am as drunk food, I'd weigh 300 pounds.

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