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Super Duper Trough of Information



Super Duper Trough of Information



Published: Sat, 25 Aug 2007 12:16:53 +0000

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And it’s goodbye from him…

Tue, 12 Feb 2013 14:23:44 +0000

Six years ago I realised that I had some thoughts and things to say about the Technical Communications profession. I had just changed jobs and with that came a renewed passion for my career. I started reading more, started interacting with others through their blogs, Twitter and was lucky enough to start attending conferences. I [...]

The post And it’s goodbye from him… appeared first on one man writes.

Six years ago I realised that I had some thoughts and things to say about the Technical Communications profession. I had just changed jobs and with that came a renewed passion for my career. I started reading more, started interacting with others through their blogs, Twitter and was lucky enough to start attending conferences.

I already had a personal blog, and so I wrote a few of my thoughts down and posted them there, never really being comfortable that it was of interest to anyone bar me. The next step seemed pretty obvious and so, One Man Writes was born.

The new position came with a level of latitude that allowed me to take the team in a new direction, I wasn’t tied to a particular methodology or set of deliverables, and so we could look at single sourcing, putting our content on the web, and generally moving away from a document-centric view of the world.

So, almost six years to the day since I started this blog (and whilst the slightly OCD part of me would like to hang on and post this on the 1st of March, I think it’s better to get this over with now) it’s time to bring it to an end.

I have a new career, a focus away from Technical Communications and I know myself well enough to know that this blog will slowly fade away if I don’t make the decision to close it.

I’ve had a lot of fun writing posts for this blog, and I’ve been lucky that it has sparked a lot of fantastic conversations and given me some amazing opportunities to speak at conferences, meet some fascinating and engaging people in the technical communications community and a large part of me is sad to be closing this door.

I’ll be leaving the posts here and the site will stay live for a couple of years at least. I’m still getting traffic to older posts and if there is value there for others than I’m happy to keep it available.

It’s been a blast, see you all on the flip side!!

The post And it’s goodbye from him… appeared first on one man writes.




Time to move

Mon, 11 Feb 2013 13:07:10 +0000

I’m slowly starting to consolidate my online outputs, migrating my other blogs to a new place. I’ll put redirects in place soon enough (once I figure out an elegant solution), but for now it’s fair to say that One Man Blogs has had its time in the sun and that it’s time to move on. [...]

I’m slowly starting to consolidate my online outputs, migrating my other blogs to a new place. I’ll put redirects in place soon enough (once I figure out an elegant solution), but for now it’s fair to say that One Man Blogs has had its time in the sun and that it’s time to move on.

Not massively, and for now I’m not quite sure what direction I’m going in to be honest, but I’m changing so my blogs will start to reflect that.

I’m still building but feel free to head to www.gordonmclean.co.uk to see what’s what.

Or not.

As ever, I do this for me. Not you.




February Resolutions

Mon, 28 Jan 2013 16:59:09 +0000

Partly due to circumstance, partly by choice, I tend to let January just ‘happen’ and avoid any specific resolutions if I can. Admittedly, this month I’ve been getting my head into my new job, handing over previous responsibilities and as I spent last week in Sunnyvale working I’ve not had a routine around which to [...]

Partly due to circumstance, partly by choice, I tend to let January just ‘happen’ and avoid any specific resolutions if I can. Admittedly, this month I’ve been getting my head into my new job, handing over previous responsibilities and as I spent last week in Sunnyvale working I’ve not had a routine around which to structure anything that requires my resolve.

February rolls around and it’s now that I’m looking at what I will be aiming for this year and, as this year I turn 40, I’m determined to continue the slow progress of last year and continue my weight loss. Hopefully I can get back into jogging, even if my knees complain it’ll give me the push to get them sorted properly, and the bike will make more of an appearance for sure.

I didn’t think I was that bothered about my age but now that it’s approaching, the number 40 is looming large. Add in my new role, which will have me working harder, and getting fit is a must. No more excuses.

I’ve started today if I’m honest, a light lunch and some fruit, and I’ll have some rice and vegetables for dinner, but that’s mostly to counteract last week! I’ve yet to step on the scales this year and I’m preparing for the worst, but I know I can do this, if I can just get into a routine.




Space

Fri, 25 Jan 2013 16:18:33 +0000

I’m sitting in a hotel room, it’s 8am, I’ve had breakfast, and we leave for the office in 20 mins. I have a couple of meetings scheduled, but thankfully I’m not too busy today. This is not been the story for the rest of this week. Instead we’ve been leaving at 8am and starting full [...]

I’m sitting in a hotel room, it’s 8am, I’ve had breakfast, and we leave for the office in 20 mins. I have a couple of meetings scheduled, but thankfully I’m not too busy today.

This is not been the story for the rest of this week. Instead we’ve been leaving at 8am and starting full days of meetings and workshops from 8.30 until around 6.30. Then we go out for dinner as a group and get back to the hotel around 10pm. I’d then spend 30 minutes typing up some notes from the day, go to bed and wake around 5am.

I’m not complaining, I enjoy working hard, I enjoy the buzz of bouncing ideas back and forth, the challenges and arguments, and without a doubt this week has been a great success, work-wise.

But it does make me realise how much I need my own space for a few hours. It’s not an every day thing, but other than the flight I’ve not had much more than a few mins in the morning and later at night to gather my thoughts and take a breath.

I always knew I needed a release valve of some sort at times, but this week it’s been brought into sharp focus.

In other news, Sunnyvale is NOT living up to its name! It has been raining for 3 days now.

*disappointedface*




Everything Changes

Mon, 21 Jan 2013 16:33:31 +0000

Everything Changes A new year, a fresh challenge. I’ve been working in the Technical Communications field my entire career. From those first days, stumbling my way around FrameMaker 4 with only a vague idea of what I should be doing (and largely using the FrameMaker User Guide as a sample of both approach and layout) [...]

Everything Changes

A new year, a fresh challenge.

I’ve been working in the Technical Communications field my entire career. From those first days, stumbling my way around FrameMaker 4 with only a vague idea of what I should be doing (and largely using the FrameMaker User Guide as a sample of both approach and layout) to my current incarnation as Product Information Manager which involves running a team of 6 technical writers, looking at what other services we could offer to other parts of the (now) global organisation I’m part of, not to mention running a developer community website and generally advocating a product view wherever possible.

Actually, make that my previous incarnation.

As of today I’m changing roles, with a new job title of Product Operations Manager.

I’ll be working within the Product Management Team dealing with operations issues, planning and so on, and generally helping the Product Managers, and Senior Architects do their day jobs (the phrase ‘herding cats’ has been used on more than one occasion so far).

It’s very exciting, a little bit scary (in a good way), and a big step out of my comfort zone of technical communications. Whilst the principles of managing a team with multiple deliverables and differing focus areas is something I’ve been doing for a while, it’s good to have a new challenge.

The new role will take me away from technical communications, and whilst I’ll still retain a passing interest I know myself well enough that it’s only a matter of time before I lose track of developments and trends altogether. I am a sucker for new things!

I’m not sure what that means for this blog, or my other interactions with the technical communications community, but I’ll figure that out in good time.

Meanwhile, I’ve got a job description, a new boss, new teammates and a whole new world to get my head into and it’s all kicking off this week. Hence why I’m sat in a hotel room in Sunnyvale writing this blog post.

Anyway, first things first.

Breakfast.




Everything Changes

Mon, 21 Jan 2013 16:33:26 +0000

A new year, a fresh challenge. I’ve been working in the Technical Communications field my entire career. From those first days, stumbling my way around FrameMaker 4 with only a vague idea of what I should be doing (and largely using the FrameMaker User Guide as a sample of both approach and layout) to my [...]

The post Everything Changes appeared first on one man writes.

A new year, a fresh challenge.

I’ve been working in the Technical Communications field my entire career. From those first days, stumbling my way around FrameMaker 4 with only a vague idea of what I should be doing (and largely using the FrameMaker User Guide as a sample of both approach and layout) to my current incarnation as Product Information Manager which involves running a team of 6 technical writers, looking at what other services we could offer to other parts of the (now) global organisation I’m part of, not to mention running a developer community website and generally advocating a product view wherever possible.

Actually, make that my previous incarnation.

As of today I’m changing roles, with a new job title of Product Operations Manager.

I’ll be working within the Product Management Team dealing with operations issues, planning and so on, and generally helping the Product Managers, and Senior Architects do their day jobs (the phrase ‘herding cats’ has been used on more than one occasion so far).

It’s very exciting, a little bit scary (in a good way), and a big step out of my comfort zone of technical communications. Whilst the principles of managing a team with multiple deliverables and differing focus areas is something I’ve been doing for a while, it’s good to have a new challenge.

The new role will take me away from technical communications, and whilst I’ll still retain a passing interest I know myself well enough that it’s only a matter of time before I lose track of developments and trends altogether. I am a sucker for new things!

I’m not sure what that means for this blog, or my other interactions with the technical communications community, but I’ll figure that out in good time.

Meanwhile, I’ve got a job description, a new boss, new teammates and a whole new world to get my head into and it’s all kicking off this week. Hence why I’m sat in a hotel room in Sunnyvale writing this blog post.

Anyway, first things first.

Breakfast.

The post Everything Changes appeared first on one man writes.




Faith less

Sun, 13 Jan 2013 20:19:39 +0000

I can’t get no sleep. That was pretty much the story of last week, with a million and one thoughts rushing through my head. I’d go to bed, read to relax and drop off, only to awaken a couple of hours later, wide awake. Sometimes I’d get back to sleep after a couple of hours [...]

I can’t get no sleep.

That was pretty much the story of last week, with a million and one thoughts rushing through my head. I’d go to bed, read to relax and drop off, only to awaken a couple of hours later, wide awake. Sometimes I’d get back to sleep after a couple of hours of tossing and turning, sometimes I wouldn’t and so I’d try and be productive, mostly in an effort to empty my head as much as possible.

I hadn’t actually realised that was I suffer from in this instances, for they happen every now and then, is insomnia.

I always thought that was purely for those that couldn’t sleep at all, not for people like me who, now and then, would have periods where they couldn’t stay asleep.

Insomnia, or sleeplessness, is a sleep disorder in which there is an inability to fall asleep or to stay asleep as long as desired [source]

I’ve had this in the past, but it’s only recently I’ve realised that it usually occurs when there is a lot going on and that it’s partly driven by my fear of forgetting something. My memory is awful at the best of times, so when there are a few things going on I think my brain resorts to keeping me awake to get me to write things down…

Thankfully it’s passed, the last couple of nights have been mostly unbroken. Here’s to a few more as it’s gonna be another busy week.

I’ve just finished doing a couple of hours work today, and that deliverable needs to be ready for Tuesday for a big milestone in our current project. On Wednesday I’m off to Belfast for the day, my first time, although I doubt I’ll get to see much of it as we fly in at 9.20 and leave at 4.30. A few more busy days then on Sunday morning, bright and breezy, I’m off to California for a week, again with work.

No rest for the wicked it seems, quite literally in my case at times!




Going Global

Wed, 09 Jan 2013 13:13:49 +0000

One of the challenges the team will face this year is how to coordinate the creation of product documentation with geographically dispersed teams, across different product lines. At present we have engineering teams in Glasgow, Belfast, Limerick, Jakarta, Sunnyvale CA, and Bedford NH, building four products and maintaining five other legacy applications. Currently we have six technical [...]The post Going Global appeared first on one man writes. One of the challenges the team will face this year is how to coordinate the creation of product documentation with geographically dispersed teams, across different product lines. At present we have engineering teams in Glasgow, Belfast, Limerick, Jakarta, Sunnyvale CA, and Bedford NH, building four products and maintaining five other legacy applications. Currently we have six technical writers in Glasgow and one in Belfast. Initial assessments suggest there is a bit of a resourcing gap (a separate issue I’m dealing with) but beyond that the main challenge will be figuring out how to best work with these disparate teams. I have asked this question in a couple of places and had some excellent responses. Some cover things we had already considered but there were some gems borne of real life experience that I was lucky enough to have shared with me. Many thanks to Tom Marshall, David Farbey, Cheri Mullins, Larry Kunz, Alan Bowman, and Kay Winter and others for their suggestions. First things first though, and it will be important to discuss and agree on responsibilities, tasks, and roles. Naturally there will be a level of autonomy, so it makes sense to have sensible agreements on what issues require escalation and so on. Part of these early discussions will also need to include tooling agreement, writing styles and output formats. Ideally these can just be extend from what the team currently uses but that will have an impact on both sides. The timezone is an obvious issue which could have a dramatic impact on communications between the teams. Case in point, the teams in Bedford and Jakarta have a 12 hour difference! So one of the first things we will need to do is consider, as we won’t have the luxury of immediacy, is a ‘rules of engagement’ or contract between teams as to how we will correspond, talk, meet and share information. Nothing too formal, but setting out expectations will do no harm. For example, when sending out an email should you expect an acknowledgement? Or should everyone have ‘read receipts’ enabled? Some of the challenges we may face we already have solutions for; we use Google Docs for collaboration, we have conference lines ready, our engineers use a common JIRA install. Thankfully there are numerous technologies that can help us with communications: Everyday – Instant Messaging – for a quick question or two, and as a way to see who is available (and how you are working with), IM is a useful tool. Add in file sharing and it becomes a little more powerful. Information Sharing – WIKI and Google Docs – for collaboration we’ve had good success with Google Docs, but there is no reason a WIKI couldn’t fulfil the same role. Meetings – Skype or Google Hangouts – Skype nicely doubles as an instant messaging app, which also allows you to send files and of course you can host conference calls there. Recently I’ve seen some friends have success with Google Hangouts (part of Google+) which, as most laptops come equipped with a webcam these days, might be a good option too. Not to forget the trusted old telephone! Ideal for [...]



Happy New Year

Wed, 02 Jan 2013 09:11:39 +0000

Looking forward is always a good thing, but I’m going to start this year by looking back at the lessons to be learned. Things I will need to improve upon include better planning of work, there is one big project that I will head up that needs to be delivered by September, so I’ll be [...]

The post Happy New Year appeared first on one man writes.

Looking forward is always a good thing, but I’m going to start this year by looking back at the lessons to be learned.

Things I will need to improve upon include better planning of work, there is one big project that I will head up that needs to be delivered by September, so I’ll be looking at how to get a better handle on that. One thing I learned last year was to rely more on my colleagues, to look to their strengths to compensate for my weaknesses; attention to detail is something I can struggle with so I’ll be getting some help with that by getting my plans reviewed by a couple of people before I present them to others.

Delegating the right things is something else I didn’t quite get right last year, there are some things I do need to keep tabs on but the rest of the work I can, and should, delegate to the rest of the team. They have proven they can deliver so I need to trust them to do so again (and they will, because as I may have mentioned, I am very lucky to work with some excellent people!).

However, it is a new year so let us look forward.

I’m going to keep on writing here, suggestions for topics or questions you’d like me to tackle are welcomed, and I’ll hopefully get back to the Technical Communications Conference again next year. I’ve got plenty of things to do for the ISTC website and at some point will be assessing a new authoring environment for the team which, possibly, will expand to include resource overseas.

Plenty of challenges then, which is just how I like it!

The post Happy New Year appeared first on one man writes.




Merry Holidays!

Tue, 25 Dec 2012 01:00:07 +0000

I hope the holiday season finds you all well, thank you for visiting and reading, and all the best for 2013! Gordon

The post Merry Holidays! appeared first on one man writes.

I hope the holiday season finds you all well, thank you for visiting and reading, and all the best for 2013!

Gordon

The post Merry Holidays! appeared first on one man writes.




Bike Rack 1

Fri, 30 Mar 2012 22:20:54 +0000

gmclean posted a photo:

(image)

This was a weekend project for dad and the kids. We measured the bikes and wheels; worked out the angles, lengths and spacings; sawed up some timber and nailed it all together. Now the four family bikes take up less space in the garage and are easier to get in and out (see next photo).




Bike Rack 2

Fri, 30 Mar 2012 22:19:53 +0000

gmclean posted a photo:

(image)




Braided Loaves

Mon, 17 Oct 2011 02:44:49 +0000

gmclean posted a photo:

(image)

Thomas and Gran thought they'd try making plaited bread.




Wellington without the fog

Sun, 27 Jun 2010 02:18:49 +0000

gmclean posted a photo:

(image)

This is the companion photo for: Wellington Fog




Icing the muffins

Sun, 27 Jun 2010 01:09:08 +0000

gmclean posted a photo:

(image)

Emily applies the finishing touch to her double chocolate muffins - purple icing!




Icing the muffins

Sun, 27 Jun 2010 01:07:13 +0000

gmclean posted a photo:

(image)

Because everyone wants purple icing on their chocolate muffins - right?




Bottom of the drive

Fri, 05 Mar 2010 07:27:45 +0000

gmclean posted a photo:

(image)

The offending 'stick' upon which I impaled my eye :-(




Wellington City Art Gallery

Fri, 05 Mar 2010 07:21:31 +0000

gmclean posted a photo:

(image)

If you were thinking "that looks like a pile of rusting steel" - you were right. This building is begging to be covered in ivy. I'd vote for that.




Window Cleaners Part 2

Fri, 05 Mar 2010 07:19:26 +0000

gmclean posted a photo:

(image)

Four abseiling window cleaners about to begin their descent.




Window Cleaners Part 1

Fri, 05 Mar 2010 07:18:59 +0000

gmclean posted a photo:

(image)

Four abseiling window cleaners about to begin their descent.




Clouds

Mon, 01 Feb 2010 09:29:31 +0000

gmclean posted a photo:

(image)

Wispy clouds over the sea of Paekakariki beach




Sunset over Pukerua Bay

Mon, 01 Feb 2010 09:27:25 +0000

gmclean posted a photo:

(image)

Taken from Paekakariki beach looking back towards Pukerua Bay




Wellington Fog

Thu, 28 Jan 2010 08:18:40 +0000

gmclean posted a photo:

(image)

The Eastbourne ferry glides in to dock through an eerie fog. See also Wellington without the Fog




Wellington Fog

Thu, 28 Jan 2010 08:16:36 +0000

gmclean posted a photo:

(image)

Sunlight reflects off the Majestic Tower through the dissapating fog




Fort Vex - Pimp my cubicle

Wed, 27 Jan 2010 20:13:24 +0000

gmclean posted a photo:

(image)

Sysadmins are a creative lot.




Fort Vex - Pimp my cubicle

Wed, 27 Jan 2010 20:13:21 +0000

gmclean posted a photo:

(image)

Sysadmins are a creative lot.




LCA2010 Hackoff Event

Fri, 22 Jan 2010 00:02:15 +0000

gmclean posted a photo:

(image)




LCA2010 Hackoff Event

Fri, 22 Jan 2010 00:01:54 +0000

gmclean posted a photo:

(image)




LCA2010 Hackoff Event

Fri, 22 Jan 2010 00:01:34 +0000

gmclean posted a photo:

(image)




Directing Traffic

Sat, 16 Jan 2010 00:44:19 +0000

gmclean posted a photo:

(image)

Thomas was helping direct traffic during our garage sale. The flax bush provided excellent protection against the howling southerlies and rain.