Thursday, May 19, 2005

Save the Republic

It doesn't happen that much, but today made me smile:

"Today, Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith opens at theaters nation-wide. And weirdly enough, the plot of what will undoubtedly be one of the biggest films in movie history revolves around a scheming senator who, seduced by visions of absolute power, transforms a democratic republic into an empire."

Check it out.

Good Looks, Sensitive, Charming, and Genuinely Sincere

That's me, it appears.

Several months ago, someone in the office came in with a Mr. Wonderful doll. Soon after, women started sauntering by my cubicle, staring. I do love being at the center of attention, but I also like to know why.

Turns out that Mr. Wonderful and I share a look. And a sense of style.
Mr. Wonderful is 12" tall and dressed in khakis and a blue, button-down oxford. When you squeeze his hand, he always says the right thing:

  • "You know, Honey, why don't you just relax and let me make dinner tonight."
  • "Why don't we go to the mall. Didn't you want some new shoes?"
  • "Let's just cuddle."
  • Here, you take the remote. As long as I'm with you, I don't care what we watch.

So my profile photo now represents the true me...

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Microsoft is to Darwin as Apple...

Direct from the mouths of indexers: "There's still a lot of unfindable information."

Now there's a statement that the creationists, er intelligent designers, might jump all over. "If it's unfindable, how do you know it was ever there?" And speaking of school boards, Microsoft may indeed be Darwin. If so, Apple is the Intelligent Designer.

Microsoft and the Origin of the Index
Microsoft has a new operating system coming out to replace XP. It's code-named "Longhorn," and with it, Microsoft proves that evolution is the way, the light, and the truth. Longhorn will have a new help system. Microft has been heard to say that its help system will not have an index, only a search engine. That's because "no one uses" indexes, or so Microsoft thinks. Its index is dying out from underuse.

Apple doesn't think so. Apple's next help engine will include a new form of indexing. Indexing is big with them.

Technical writers have to think about help systems when designing help. They design and write help to work with the system supported by the operating system. The kinds of things that a help system supports cause tech writers to stay up nights and write in their blogs.

Seek, and Ye Shall Get A Lot of Hits
Searching is all we need, right? Google rocks (much to the dismay of Microsoft's MSN, by the way). People tout their abilities to find anything in the universe in no more than two Google searches.

I don't think search is the human to the ape of an index. Ever been frustrated by a search engine? Ever given up trying to find something in a help file because the 17,452 results you got were a bit too many? Why do some bloggers categorize their entries? Too much time on their hands, perhaps? Doubt it.

No, I didn't Read the Book. I'm Waiting for the Index
Jan Wright has an article about the future of indexing called, appropriately, The Future of Indexing. In it, she states that "It's about aboutness." It still takes humans to help provide context so you can find what you want. I found it interesting.

I believe in the index. I love a good index. Buy Apple. Save the index!

Vintage Paperback Art

I'm fascinated with with J-Walk Blog (from the guy who brought us the Google Content Blocker and caused me to pen a theme song)

He has a link from his blog to the BookScans project, whose goal, "is to provide a visual catalog of ALL vintage American paperbacks... printed before 1960 and/or having a 25¢ cover price."

Perry Mason rocks

Pocket Books

By the way. Did you know that the kangaroo that adorns Pocket Books was named "Gertrude" after the publisher's mother-in-law? Back story. Back story. I want the back story!

Act Now

Send 50 scans from your personal library of vintage paperbacks and receive a free CD of the entire collection from BookScans!

Monday, May 16, 2005

"What's this blog thingamajig?"

If you are like me, you have a mother who doesn't understand blogging.

Amy Gahran posted a piece that may help you explain blogs to Mom, mine or yours, or it may help you understand blogs yourself.

Among other things, Amy notes that blogs are simply Web sites that are united by these characteristics:

  • Format (newest stuff is at the top)
  • Linkability (I can get back to this)
  • Content management tools (blogging tools)
  • Common features (comments, archives, searches, etc.)

I like it when people de-mystify things. Blogging, trackbacks, permalinks -- they're just fancy names for boring things. How about "my thoughts," "people who liked my thoughts," "a bookmark for a specific thought" -- these don't sound so scary to me, and maybe not to other people.