Press "Enter" to skip to content

Tag: communication

What are you trying to obfuscate?

I found two excellent posts on Paul Bradshaw’s Online Journalism blog that I had to share. (Unless you’ve already read them, in which case, great!) In one post, he asks the £10,000 question: who benefits most from a tax threshold change? What wonderful real-life examples. Go read the article and see whether you can spot the difference in these charts. Take heed of his point about making the raw data available. The other post discusses the means of presenting data. This builds on lessons learned from Dan Roam’s “The Back of the Napkin” and Stephen Few’s “Now You See It”. A rough summary reads: just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Remember to think about the content. The content. What are you trying to tell the reader? What is appropriate or suitable for the situation? Are you actually trying to confuse them? Really?? Paul Bradshaw updated his article with…

Comments closed

That’s Just Nuts! – Speaking Out About the Unspoken

A dear friend of mine shared a cute gimmick of a bag of peanuts stapled to a peanut-shaped card. The photo shows the front and back of this card, which is from a 2005 campaign by the Mood Disorders Association of Ontario, Canada. I think mental health is an invisible disability that gets too little coverage. I know people who have serious mood disorders and who are (fortunately) getting regular help. Is that person who “acts funny” or behaves “differently” an eccentric person or someone who needs care and attention? I like knowing about the serious problems because I feel it makes me more capable of helping out when they are in serious trouble. You can help them remember to take their medications or contact someone who is equipped to help them properly. People who walk away from a “crazy person” make me sad – they can compound the issue…

Comments closed

Making the Future

Reading about the augmented future of technical communication triggered a memory. Many years ago, when I worked at Computer Associates, they produced a product called CA-7/OLC. (I think that was the abbreviation.) It was an enhancement to their CA-7 software, which is still used for scheduling jobs on big old mainframe computers. The interface for CA-7 was, of course, the good old green screen – green text on a black background. The software came on – are you ready, kiddies – magnetic tapes. CA-7/OLC was different. The demo included a large piece of hardware that played a 12-inch laserdisk. (Gee, I forget the names of all the parts after all these years.) The product was on a PC using 3.5-inch diskettes, and the laserdisk had some additional magic not possible on the PC back then. When you ran the program, you saw the usual green-screen interface. Slightly boring, with a…

1 Comment