Keep Me Writing! Thanks, Keith

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Daily Word: Clear (as it applies to IT)



Dear Friends and Visitors:

Today's Daily Word is "clear", as it applies to the world of Information Technology. Usually we think of "clear" as in the image displayed above - clear railroad tracks or a clear sky. The roads might be clear. The path might be clear or unobstructed ahead for our journey.

These are general uses of "clear".

Yet, in the world of IT (Information Technology), clear is a verb (verbal instruction) telling the user how to undo something he or she has done. It has a very specific use. For example, if a user checks a "check box", and needs to undo the check, the proper terminology is "clear".

Example:

You can clear the check in the checkbox by clicking on it again.

Example:

You can clear the text in the textbox by using Control-A and then pressing the Delete key on your keyboard.


Happy Wednesday,

Keith Charles Johnson, MBA, MS Education
Senior Tech Writer and Software Trainer
Hollywood, Florida, USA
Author, The Google Productivity Guide
Author, The Affirmations Productivity Guide
Author, Musings of a Tech Writer 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Daily Word: CD (Compact Disc)



Dear Friends and Visitors:

Today's daily word is "CD" which is an acronym for Compact Disc.

Generally, you do not have to spell out the two words "compact" and "disc" because this term is used across the world and is commonplace in many languages above and beyond the English language. However, if there is any question of cultural reference, you are free to spell out the two words.

CD technology emerged in the 1980s and became mainstream in about 1990. CDs are great vehicles to store and play music due to their physical resilience. CDs are also great ways to store computer files, programs, and data. Walking my dog one day, I crossed a street that had an abandoned CD on the hot asphalt. So, I picked it up, cleaned it off, and tested it out in my computer's CD drive. It played just fine. Probably, many cars drove over this CD and it's music files still played well. CDs are truly amazing technology and even though we have purely electronic means to record and play music today, the compact disc will stand the test of time and endure, in my humble opinion.

Keep on rockin!

Cheers and Happy Wednesday.

Keith Charles Johnson, MBA, MS Education
Senior Tech Writer and Software Trainer
Hollywood, Florida, USA
Author, The Google Productivity Guide
Author, The Affirmations Productivity Guide
Author, Musings of a Tech Writer 


Note: CD image is creative commons from Wikimedia. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Yogi Berra: Five Lessons on Team Spirit



Dear Friends and Visitors:

Yogi Berra recently departed from this world and has left us all not only several great sayings about baseball and life but also valuable lessons on team spirit. The New York Yankees were great beneficiaries of his professional baseball tenure with them. Here are five lessons I personally have learned from watching Yogi as both a player and coach.

1. Strategy is key. Strategy is important because each individual player on the team must understand what he or she must do and in this way the team operates at full performance.

2. Practice is key. Whether a baseball player is playing catch or hitting the ball in the batting cage, it is practice which can then be translated to on-the-field performance.

3. Communication is key. On the field, when shagging a fly ball, the player absolutely must yell out "I got it" or "mine". In this way, two players will not collide trying to catch the ball. One will yield to the other who has claimed the fly ball and will make the catch.

4. Warmup is key. Warmup in baseball is stretching, doing some jumping jacks, doing some short sprints, swinging your bat, and playing some basic catch with team mates. In this way, your body is ready to go for the game.

5. Hustle is key. I contend that Yogi Berra - as much as Pete Rose - should be called Charlie Hustle. Hustle is that spirit of needed aggression to make sure you get the ball when it comes your way. You do not stop and wait for another player to get it. You use every cell in your body to get the ball. If you are in in-fielder, you get that ball and throw it to first base to get the batter out. If you are an outfielder, you run hard and fast to shag the fly ball, also to get the batter out.

Thanks for your life, teachings, sayings, and more Yogi Berra.

Rest in Peace to you always.


Keith Charles Johnson
Senior Tech Writer and Software Trainer
Author, The Google Productivity Guide
Author, The Affirmations Productivity Guide
Author, Musings of a Technical Writer 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Daily Word: Tread


Dear Friends and Visitors:

Today's Daily Word is "tread" which is an intransitive verb that means "to walk on or to walk over". There is a flag that is a historical one that goes back many years to early America. This flag says "don't tread on me" and is a message of the new American people to England from which America established its freedom. Today, in rock and roll circles, the "don't tread on me" flag and symbol has been adopted by bands like Metallica (Black album) as a message of defiance against authority.

Tread, however, can be used in a positive way too, as in the statement...

"May you have a great journey, but in some places, tread with caution". Here, the person supports the traveler but uses the word "tread" in supportive yet cautionary way.

In general, tread is a neutral verb and it is the context of use that determines its impact in the sentence.

Cheers and Happy Monday,

Keith Charles Johnson, MBA, MS Education
Senior Tech Writer and Software Trainer
Author, The Google Productivity Guide
Author, The Affirmations Productivity Guide 


Thursday, October 8, 2015

Bartending and Tech Writing: Five Similarities



Dear Friends and Visitors:

After college, I worked in Boston as a bartender at the back bay Marriott Hotel for about three years. It was a great experience. I learned much about people, product, and process from this job. I also was able to save up enough money to take an expensive IBM computer programming class that would then launch me into a long-standing career in IT (Information Technology). You might think that bartending is different than my current path of Tech Writing. Well, perhaps a bit. But, still, there are some common points that  - when understood - will take you far in your career as well.

Here they are.

1. People matter. Whether you are preparing a drink or writing a user guide, you are helping others. You are focusing your time and energy and helping your customer or client to a better life experience, whether it be through a great drink or a great guide.

2. You develop great listening skills. Bartenders MUST listen closely to the drink requests of patrons. That is key. Otherwise, you will make a drink that he or she will reject. The same holds true for Tech Writers. You MUST listen closely to the specs for the document you are about to write. In this way, you will deliver a user guide or training manual that rocks and impresses your reader.

3. Practice makes perfect. It takes time to learn the many drinks that patrons request at the bar. Also, you need to make it fast, with style, and sometimes right there in front of your patron. Practice, especially through a sense of mindfulness, will take you far and help you to really become a great server. This is the path to great tips. Tech Writing is the same. The more you write, the more you will become proficient at your trade and skill. You will soon be able to see documents in - say - one of ten general document categories; then you can deliver per that expectation.

4. Cleanliness is godliness. Unless you work at a dive, your manager will demand that you keep your bar clean. Why? This is to attract patrons. Similarly, in technology, with all of its complications, you will want to deliver clean and presentable documents. Why? This is so that people will actually read (e.g. consume) the document.

5. Patience is a virtue. Sometimes, a simple six hour shift behind the bar can seem like a long time. You might get buried with customers and you might be the only bartender on duty. So, it is time to rock and roll, as they say. You will have to persevere with a sense of patience and perseverance. This will get you through the yells and screams of patrons. Yet, you will meet your mark and deliver and hopefully do well in tips. Tech Writing is the same here. Sometimes you will have a tough document to write. Sometimes you will have several deliverables on your plate at the same time. Your SMEs might fail you. Your document server might be down. Your ability to really deliver the essence of the information might be a struggle. But, again, through patience, you can refine your work until it meets a great standard and becomes one that your boss will embrace.

Cheers.

Keith Charles Johnson, MBA, MS Education
Senior Tech Writer and Software Trainer
Author, The Google Productivity Guide
Author, The Affirmations Productivity Guide
Author, Musings of a Technical Writer



Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Daily Word: Flourish


Dear Friends and Visitors:

Today's daily word is "flourish" which is a verb meaning "abound" and "prosper". Mind you, this word must be used and taken in context with the content of the sentence.

Example: Mangoes generally flourish is tropical areas where it is warm, sunny, and moist.

Example: His career is flourishing now because he just finished working at Google.

Example: Her cake baking business is flourishing now because June is graduation month.

Cheers.

Keith Charles Johnson, MBA, MS Education
Senior Tech Writer and Software Trainer
Author, The Google Productivity Guide
Author, The Affirmations Productivity Guide
Author, Musings of a Technical Writer



Friday, October 2, 2015

Anchoring in OM Meditation



Dear Friends and Visitors:

Today's world - as well as yesterday's world and tomorrow's world - is characterized by change and change alone. There is the famous saying that "the only thing that does not change...is change itself". I agree with this statement 99.99 percent. However, there is one small tiny error of contention regarding this saying ... and this is because of the longstanding spiritual teaching about the timeless presence of what I like to call, as Dr. Wayne Dyer has called and named, our Divine Source, the Eternal and Timeless Transcendental Presence. My favorite way to access this presence is the practice of OM Meditation. The Himalayan Yogis (Meditation Masters) teach that OM is the timeless sound vibration that is the result of the Timeless Divine Presence, our True Source of Being. So, by chanting OM  - you connect directly with your Divine Source.

OM Meditation is free and easy. I highly recommend this practice for peace, renewal, happiness, detachment, insight, and more. All great masters of the past have identified with the OM in some way. According to the late Hindu Saint Ramakrishna, OM meditation honors our Divine Source in both avatar (form) and conceptual (formless) ways. So, in this way, the OM chant and OM meditation thought is complete unto itself. Cheers, Happy Meditating, Keith


Keith Charles Johnson, MBA, MS Education
Senior Technical Writer & Software Trainer
Senior OM Meditation Practitioner
Hollywood, Florida, USA
Author, SOS: Sayings of Shiva
Author, The Affirmations Productivity Guide