Jan 22, 2013

Speak to me in a language I can understand

“It’s an English world after all.” In his blog, commentator Gwynne Dyer refers to John Adams, second president of the United States, who declared that “English will be the most respectable language in the world and the most universally spoken.” As evidence that the prediction has come true, Dyer describes the Politecnico di Milano, whose new policy is to teach only in English. English has become the language that the world uses to converse. Well and good. But what about when we are talking to ourselves? Sometimes when we’re learning something new or trying to figure something out, we just… Read more

Jan 9, 2013

Help! Help!

Back when I started technical writing, back when workstations were coal-fired and mean leads wouldn’t buy you a printed dictionary or a new coal scuttle, there was such a thing as WinHelp. It was the alternative to the printed user manual, the static, dog-eared brick that might hold the answer to your problem, if it didn’t first put you into a coma. WinHelp was hardly the first online documentation. That honor goes to UNIX and its man or manual pages, first introduced in the early 1970’s.  Apple also produced the highly linked program HyperCard, which was the first widely available… Read more