Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Death and Tech Doc

Death and Tech Doc

A weird post today, friends.

Dealing with both Death and Technical Documentation.

If you design any product, software, whatever, and fail to include easy, Blogger 1-2-3 type step by step instructions...

...your product is doomed to die.

Technical Documentation is vital to the success, the very life of any product or service.

Death is a Killer

Someone close to me is fading away, and with them goes a huge chunk of me.

Stop and think about what life will be like when someone you know dies. Older or younger, it doesn't matter. People die every day. You could be next. Or I.

Life Itself has some usability problems that we humans cannot solve. It does no good to say that we have the seasons to symbolize birth decay death cycle. The heart grieves regardless of platitudes and infinitudes.

To watch someone suffer helplessly, swiftly moving along with a current no one can control, speeding rapidly to Death, this is horrible. The pain, the anguished eyes looking to me to do something, but not much can be done.

Many faiths and philosophies speak of death. I hope we can all discover the truth about life and death and whatever may be after. I have my private beliefs about all this, and they are some comfort, but not much.

Is it me that is hurt by the death of others...or do I weep for them and their suffering too? Some psychologists feel we cannot mourn anything but our being deprived of their presence. Whatever. I do know that I can partially emphasize, imagine being in that person's predicament.

When the whole world is dissolving for a person, as they begin to go down the path to exit this world, new thoughts occur. What do dying people think about? How can they refuse to seek the Creator, even if they can't "prove" one exists?

Tech Doc Problems

I'm having tons of problems with software that fails to include well written technical documentation. Going round and round in user forums and Help files to resolve certain issues relevant to my personal hobbies and to this blog.

Audacity, with which I create electronic ambient music, cannot directly convert files to MP3, which is a proprietary product. So I'm instructed to use LAME, but I'm having trouble with that, opening the MP3 encoding file.

So I'm trying to use iTunes to convert songs from a CD, or actually, more precisely, a Playlist of WAV files that I can burn directly to a CD, to MP3.

I'm closer to posting MP3s of my original music compositions, instrumental electronic works, here at Vaspers the Grate. I finally discovered how to convert CD audio WAV files to MP3 in iTunes.

Edit > Preferences > Advanced > Importing > Import Using > MP3 Encoder > OK

This is the task path.

But it took me a few days to nail it down, being new to digital audio processing.

It's been a while since I wrote anything on Technical Documentation Techniques, but all this frustration is forcing me to revisit this hugely important skill.

Never assume that users "already know" anything. Users can be seniors new to computers or IT guys and gals at big corporations.

You must never assume that users "already know" any key steps to accomplishing a goal. Think "how could someone misinterpret this?" or "what should I tell them not to do, or avoid doing, as I tell them what to do?"

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate



carrie said...

interesting comments about death.
when i start to get obsessively sad about my loss (mainly my dad) i am beginning to remember that he did not want to be here anymore. so it is selfish of me to wish he still was.

steven edward streight said...

When it comes to life and death, my favorite text is Ecclesiastes.

"All is vanity, feeding on wind, boredom, useless, meaningless...when seen from viewpoint of mortality. So just enjoy your pathetically short life and work here on earth."

A Buddhist text said that when entities live less than 100 years, or more than 1,000 years, they gravitate to evil.

The super short life slogan: "Life is short, so grab all the pleasure you can."

The super long life motto: "Life is long, so you have plenty of time to reform and walk a spiritual path."

Gurdonark said...

I ran across this old post because it had the words "ambient music" and "McKinney, texas" in it.

I had such a hassle with mp3 conversion at first, too, but then I found a bit of 20 dollar shareware that did the trick.

Your post here resonated for me because I have so much good freeware but also some freeware I've downloaded would have been great not good, if only 2500 words or so of text were easily readable about how to work it!

steven edward streight said...

Thanks for explaining how you arrived at this post, Gurdonark.

I also feel that "beta versions" of software are simply cheap ass companies bypassing usability evaluations and user observation testing.

"Beta testers" are free usability analysts. But they are also negative PR buzz agents.