Monday, February 20, 2017

Sighing as I'm Missing Sting




Once Upon Consistency

These sentences are from the same website with the same type of page-level table of contents following the text. I include them here because it sure would have been easier to create a snippet with one of the three versions and then simply refer to that snippet on the three different pages. I favor that strategy over writing the same sentence 3 different times.



FOUR HOURS REQUIRED!!! if you watch "Metallica's 30th Anniversary (2011) [Compilation]"

Holy Sh!t Holy Sh!t Holy Sh!t - Vol 13

Awesome Episode

Cobain Would be 50 Today

Instead of having Nirvana tunes playing in the background, there is some weird & annoying crap. You probably will want to mute this video.

Life at Another Employer was like THIS

At a previous employer (10/2010 - 4/2011), I was in the same type of position as Zev Levi, the originator of the thread below, except that I wasn't about working in a different country. In my situation, it was about:
  • explaining to product managers and developers and a co-worker why their documentation ideas [were] troublesome 
  • defending my 15 years, 8 months, 5 days of experience against terrible technical writing practices, chief among them being to manually type a table of contents for a ~150 page user guide, printing it, verifying the page number in the table of contents matches the actual page, fixing, reprinting, and repeating that process. 
  • biting my tongue when, after showing my co-worker that an automatic table of contents could be generated from headings in the Adobe InDesign file (just like Microsoft Word), doing so was dismissed as "too complicated."
Thus, when Peter Neilson wrote "Attitude Adjustment being inappropriate, the solution devolves to doing an end run, never showing the final version to the SME until it is too late for enemy action. If the SME outranks you substantially, be ready to take a job elsewhere, preferably in an entirely different profession", I smiled and replaced the word "profession" with "industry" as that's exactly what I ended up doing.

In fact, 5 years, 10 months ago today, I left the medical devices industry. An incredibly long 1 month, 2 weeks, 4 days later, I began working in the education industry. I worked in that industry for 4 years, 7 months, 3 weeks, 5 days, which is when I had to begin Job Search 2016. Ultimately, though, I landed up.

And that is ALL that matters today. Below is the thread on Techwr-L that instigated the brief trip down memory lane.

-----Original Message-----
From: Peter Neilson
Sent: Monday, February 20, 2017 8:15 AM
To: techwr-l@lists.techwr-l.com
Subject: Re: Nightmare Library

I've answered this at incredible length in a private note to Zev.
Basically it is attitude and audience. I think that Zev's colleagues believe they are themselves the audience. I also suspect that they are possessed of Ample Attitude.

The problem is akin to writing a popular article about some aspect of mathematics, and showing it to a mathematician. He (the mathematician) will find plenty of things "totally wrong" about what you wrote, as well as finding things wrong with YOU and with your dreadful lack of understanding in mathematics. And that's just for starters. (Done there, been that!)

Attitude Adjustment being inappropriate, the solution devolves to doing an end run, never showing the final version to the SME until it is too late for enemy action. If the SME outranks you substantially, be ready to take a job elsewhere, preferably in an entirely different profession.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: techwr-l-bounces+lynne.wright=kronos.com@lists.techwr-l.com
> [mailto:techwr-l-bounces+lynne.wright=kronos.com@lists.techwr-l.com]
> On Behalf Of Zev Levi
> Sent: February-20-17 2:24 AM
> To: techwr-l
> Subject: Nightmare Library
>
> Hi all,
>
> I work in a country where English is spoken as a second language (if
> at
> all) and I often find myself explaining to product managers and
> developers why their documentation ideas are troublesome. ("Yes, the
> sentence you changed is clear to you but, as it's now five lines long,
> it is confusing to readers. We must explain ideas using shorter
> sentences.")
>
> Is anyone aware of a virtual library of bad-documentation examples (a
> library of tech-doc nightmares)? I'd like to search for *long
> sentences* and find examples of unclear documentation.
>
> It would be easier to convince PMs of writing guidelines if they tried
> reading a doc that didn't follow them.
>
> I haven't had any luck googling these terms; I'm looking for
> documentation examples and google generally returns links to forums.
>
> Cheers
>
> Zev

Amazing!

http://www.msofficeforums.com/word-vba/12803-find-replace.html#post34254
This is going to help me some day!

Question: 

Is it possible to have MS Word 2003 find and replace text between a certain text? For instance, my document has many lines with text like:

"Warehouse: city 1, Store: Area 1, Address: Avenue 1, PIPE: 15412."
"Warehouse: city 3, Store: Area 5, Address: Avenue 5, IT: 15412."
"Warehouse: city 8, Store: Area 2, Address: Street 4, GATE: 15412."

Notice that first word (Warehouse) and the last text (15412) remain identical in all the lines.
I want to replace everything between 'Warehouse' and '15412' in every line so the end result may look like:
"Warehouse: Village 31, Store: Zone DC, Address: Part 1, CIR: 15412."
"Warehouse: Town 4, Chain: Zone D2C, email: Blvd 5, CIK: 15412."
"Warehouse: Locality A, Grocer: County 7E, snailmail: Building 4, DIMD: 15412."

Answer: 

Given that you want to process multiple documents, try the following macro. Basically, all you need to do is to create an Excel workbook with the Find & Replace strings in columns A & B, respectively, then run the macro and point it to the folder containing the files to be processed. All documents in that folder will be searched and updated. You will need to:
  1. supply your own workbook name for the 'StrWkBkNm' variable, 
  2. your own worksheet name for the 'StrWkSht' variable 
  3. some or all of the path

Sub BulkFindReplace()
Application.ScreenUpdating = False
Dim strFolder As String, strFile As String, strDocNm As String, wdDoc As Document
Dim xlApp As Object, xlWkBk As Object, StrWkBkNm As String, StrWkSht As String
Dim iDataRow As Long, xlFList As String, xlRList As String, i As Long
StrWkBkNm = "C:\Users\" & Environ("Username") & "\Downloads\BulkFindReplace.xlsx"
StrWkSht = "Sheet1": strDocNm = ActiveDocument.FullName
If Dir(StrWkBkNm) = "" Then
MsgBox "Cannot find the designated workbook: " & StrWkBkNm, vbExclamation
Exit Sub
End If
On Error Resume Next
'Start Excel
Set xlApp = CreateObject("Excel.Application")
If xlApp Is Nothing Then
MsgBox "Can't start Excel.", vbExclamation
Exit Sub
End If
On Error GoTo 0
With xlApp
'Hide our Excel session
.Visible = False
' The file is available, so open it.
Set xlWkBk = .Workbooks.Open(FileName:=StrWkBkNm, ReadOnly:=True, AddToMru:=False)
If xlWkBk Is Nothing Then
MsgBox "Cannot open:" & vbCr & StrWkBkNm, vbExclamation
.Quit: Set xlApp = Nothing: Exit Sub
End If
' Process the workbook.
With xlWkBk
'Ensure the worksheet exists
If SheetExists(xlWkBk, StrWkSht) = True Then
With .Worksheets(StrWkSht)
' Find the last-used row in column A.
iDataRow = .Cells(.Rows.Count, 1).End(-4162).Row ' -4162 = xlUp
' Capture the F/R data.
For i = 1 To iDataRow
' Skip over empty fields to preserve the underlying cell contents.
If Trim(.Range("A" & i)) <> vbNullString Then
xlFList = xlFList & "|" & Trim(.Range("A" & i))
xlRList = xlRList & "|" & Trim(.Range("B" & i))
End If
Next
End With
Else
MsgBox "Cannot find the designated worksheet: " & StrWkSht, vbExclamation
End If
.Close False
End With
.Quit
End With
' Release Excel object memory
Set xlWkBk = Nothing: Set xlApp = Nothing
'Exit if there are no data
If xlFList = "" Then Exit Sub
'Get the folder to process
strFolder = GetFolder
If strFolder = "" Then Exit Sub
strFile = Dir(strFolder & "\*.doc", vbNormal)
'Process each document in the folder
While strFile <> ""
If strFolder & "\" & strFile <> strDocNm Then
Set wdDoc = Documents.Open(FileName:=strFolder & "\" & strFile, AddToRecentFiles:=False, Visible:=False)
'Process each word from the F/R List
With wdDoc
With .Range.Find
.ClearFormatting
.Replacement.ClearFormatting
.MatchWholeWord = True
.MatchCase = True
.Wrap = wdFindContinue
For i = 1 To UBound(Split(xlFList, "|"))
.Text = Split(xlFList, "|")(i)
.Replacement.Text = Split(xlRList, "|")(i)
.Execute Replace:=wdReplaceAll
Next
End With
'Close the document
.Close SaveChanges:=True
End With
End If
'Get the next document
strFile = Dir()
Wend
Set wdDoc = Nothing
Application.ScreenUpdating = True
End Sub

Function GetFolder() As String
Dim oFolder As Object
GetFolder = ""
Set oFolder = CreateObject("Shell.Application").BrowseForFolder(0, "Choose a folder", 0)
If (Not oFolder Is Nothing) Then GetFolder = oFolder.Items.Item.Path
Set oFolder = Nothing
End Function

Function SheetExists(xlWkBk As Object, SheetName As String) As Boolean
Dim i As Long: SheetExists = False
With xlWkBk
For i = 1 To .Sheets.Count
If .Sheets(i).Name = SheetName Then
SheetExists = True: Exit For
End If
Next
End With
End Function

Not the Results Expected

We MUST defend our home court and that wasn't done on Saturday.


The next home game is Tuesday against Indiana.

Port-Haak-Smit

All of these videos could have been a standalone post on their own merits, but they're collected as one because there is a common thread that unites them. See below the 5th video for the reason these 3 drummers belong together.

As for the drummers themselves, two need no introduction: Mike Portnoy and Chad Smith. The third, Tomas Haake does. He is the drummer for Meshuggah, a band that is playing on the Friday night of Chicago Open Air 2017 in July 2017. There are many bands I need to bone up on prior to July 2017 and Meshuggah is one of those bands.






The reason these 3 drummers belong together is that they are all Sabian cymbal endorsers.
And here's another fun fact. If I had seen the video below, I likely would not have sought to hear any Meshuggah tunes.

Editor's Note: Because of embedding the two videos of Tomas Haake playing drums, the "Meshuggah" tag has been added to this blog. Because of embedding the video of Mike Portnoy playing an Adrenaline Mob tune, the "Adrenaline Mob" tag has been added to this blog.

I Need Help

Death Truly Sucks Dirt

On 2/19/2010, a family's life changed forever. I can never forget what I felt like when I heard that my co-worker's daughter had passed. She posted the following on her Facebook page yesterday:


Great Marketing Writing

I like the marketing angle for this ad:

"You can never have enough space, and 8 terabytes is really a lot of data, but if you need that much this hard drive is being offered for $40 off list price."

I agree with that!


Inspirational Monday Sayings

The challenge is to take a break from the busy live that consumes my dawn to dusk and remember things like the following:



Friday, February 17, 2017

Thinking about the Future

While I recently purchased CrashPlan as my backup solution, I still think about a solution like this one:


Tim, my co-worker, has this type of a backup solution instead of a service like CrashPlan. 4 x 2 TB is a lot of storage room and would certainly be able to handle my CDs to MP3 files. I also think that the files that result from my cassette to MP3 conversion as(I think), and my videos to digital (I think). Of course, maybe I'm going against the trend: Are consumers returning to non-digital technology?

Apology Accepted. Move Along.

http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2017/02/16/grammy-producer-apologizes-for-metallica-glitch.html

Must be Buried

Sepultura is another band that has members going their separate ways and waging war in the press. In this video, guitarist Andreas Kisser fires a shot at former bandmates Max and Igor Cavalera and their plans to perform the entire "Roots" album with the declaration that they 'are not doing anything new' in this article on Blabbermouth.net.

Sepultura is just like Kiss which is just like Ratt which is just like Metallica which is just like Megadeth which is just like Dream Theater. Instead of resolving differences in-person, each of these bands makes less than flattering comments to sites like Blabbermouth.net, thinking it will somehow resolve their issues. When a band member leaves a band, it's similar to a divorce where fans feel they have to pick a side. Are you on Andreas Kisser's side or Max Calavera's side? I mean, my God, it was 1996, the year Megan was born, when Max left Sepultura after the rest of the band fired his wife Gloria as their manager. That'll be 21 years in August and yet, the questions are asked of Kisser.

Life is too short. All these bands with former members still active in the music business need to adopt a code. The code is this. When you are asked by the media, "What do you think of your former member's current music?" you need to answer one of two ways:
  1. If you've heard the music, you say, "I think [name of former member] is doing what he/she needed to do and I'm happy they found an outlet. I respect their time in our band and I wish them nothing but the best."
  2. If you haven't heard the music, you say, "I haven't had a chance to check it out yet. I respect their time in our band and I wish them nothing but the best."
Here Kisser break that code in the video below.


Bladesaw

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Got on a CB Trip







New LP Released

Alex sent me a text to find the new Linkin Park tune "Heavy" and I found it on this page. To me, the word "heavy" means "heavy metal" and, as you will hear when you listen to it, the song is NOT heavy metal.


That said, I do like the tune.

Enter Information Development World

It was 2012 - nearly 5 years ago - when I attended WinWriters in Memphis. When I see conferences like this one - Information Development World (IDG), I can't help but be taken back to 2012. It was such an awesome time in Memphis with Karen, Mark, and Susie - we still refer to some of the funny things said and done on that trip.

Here's information about the IDG conference:

Information Development World (IDW) is the conference for technical, marketing, and product information managers—the folks responsible for managing the people, processes, and technologies involved in creating exceptional customer experiences with content. IDW takes place May 15-17 at the Quadrus Conference Center in Menlo Park, California, the heart of Silicon Valley venture-capital land.

To read more details about the conference, refer to the Schedule.

That's the Point

Censorship sucks and it sucks worse when it fails. Consider this panel from an article that was reviewing an issue of The Walking Dead comic book. The f-word is blurred out 4 times, which is great. Except there are five instances of the f-word:


It made me laugh.

Goals? Of course I Have Goals

These are the goals I submitted to Bob to discuss for the next year.
What is your specific goal? (typically 3-5 goals, may include a professional development goal)
  1. Enhance existing relationships and establish additional relationship with all teams that are responsible for the 16 critical HCIS systems
  2. Establish additional processes related to how I do my work such as automating the compilation of the RoboHelp project to generate the required 3 deliverables (CHM file, PDF, and browser-based) and setting up how these deliverables would be available when a disaster happens. This also includes advanced MS Word practices related to templates and updating boilerplate text across the 16 critical HCIS system Word docs by updating the template.
  3. Integrate all relevant knowledge I learn by working on the disaster recovery documentation with the Cherwell project.
  4. provide editorial and writing guidance for HCIS co-workers
  5. provide guidance for HCIS co-workers who have questions about how to use the tools I use on a daily basis

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Styles in Text

I have been fighting with Microsoft Word styles for what feels like an eternity. In each of my files that are linked to my Disaster Recovery project in RoboHelp, I started running Macmillan Tools > Style Report, which generates a text file but to better analyze what I have, I wanted to combine the text files into a single file, but I also wanted to know the file name and have some sort of a divider between the files.

Enter google. I entered


which led to this page:


I read this, which, yes, it is hard to read:


which has this answer:


Because I may want to use the commands within the DOS batch file in the answer, here it is:

@echo off
for /r %%i in (*.txt) do (
if not %%~nxi == output.txt (
echo %%~nxi >> output.txt
type "%%i" >> output.txt
echo. >> output.txt
echo =================================================================== >> output.txt
)
)

I also downloaded the mentioned text file merging tool - txtcollector because I have a lot of text files on my external hard drive that I would like to combine using it.

But not right now.

Right now, I need to focus. My status review meeting with my manager is at 1 today and I need to get some work done with some of the Word documents so I can show him my progress.

Finding Remote Technical Writing Gigs



Tip from Will Husa, a Technical Writer on the Techwr-L list:
For obtaining remote work, I've had a fair amount of success with upwork.com. Basically, you bid for projects.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Megadeth

Megadeth is one of the bands I will see at Chicago Open Air 2017 in July. I am eager to hear these tunes:


Published on Oct 18, 2015

KILLING IS MY BUSINESS...AND BUSINESS IS GOOD! [1985]
1. "Loved To Death" 0:00
2. "Killing Is My Business" 3:46
3. "The Skull Beneath The Skin" 06:40
PEACE SELLS...BUT WHO'S BYING? [1986]
4. "Wake Up Dead" 10:24
5. "The Conjuring" 14:01
6. "Peace Sells" 19:03
7. "Devil's Island" 23:05
8. "My Last Words" 28:09
SO FAR, SO GOOD...SO WHAT! [1988]
9. "Set The World Afire" 32:56
10. "In My Darkest Hour" 38:27
11. "Hook In Mouth" 44:53
RUST IN PEACE [1990]
12. "Holy Wars...The Punishment Due" 49:33
13. "Hangar 18" 56:05
14. "Take No Prisoners" 1:01:16
15. "Five Magics" 1:04:43
16. "Tornado Of Souls" 1:10:22
COUNTDOWN TO EXTINCTION [1992]
17. "Skin O' My Teeth" 1:15:41
18. "Symphony Of Destruction" 1:18:56
19. "Sweating Bullets" 1:22:47
21. "High Speed Dirt" 1:28:13
22. "Ashes In Your Mouth" 1:32:35
YOUTHANASIA [1994]
24. "Reckoning Day" 1:38:41
25. "Train Of Consequences" 1:43:15
25. "À Tout Le Monde" 1:46:47
26. "Youthanasia" 1:51:09
CRYPTIC WRITINGS [1997]
27. "Trust" 1:55:16
28. "She-Wolf" 2:00:28
THE WORLD NEEDS A HERO [2001]
29. "1000 Times Goodbye" (Live) 2:04:05
30. "Dread And The Fugitive Mind" (Live) 2:09:57
THE SYSTEM HAS FAILED [2004]
31. "Blackmail The Universe" 2:14:05
32. "Kick The Chair" 2:18:35
33. "Something That I'm Not" 2:22:31
UNITED ABOMINATIONS [2007]
34. "Sleepwalker" 2:27:38
35. "Washington Is Next!" 2:33:31
36. "Play For Blood" 2:38:43
37. "Burnt Ice" 2:42:31
ENDGAME [2009]
38. "Dialectic Chaos/This Days We Fight!" 2:46:18
39. "1,320" 2:52:12
40. "Headcrusher" 2:56:01
41. "How The Story Ends" 2:59:28
TH1RT3EN [2011]
42. "Sudden Death" 3:03:57
43. "Public Enemy No.1" 3:09:04
44. "New World Order" 3:13:20
45. "Black Swan" 3:17:16
- BONUS TRACKS -
1. "99 Ways To Die" 3:21:27
2. "Addicted To Chaos" 3:25:24
3. "Angry Again" 3:30:51

Drummer Available in ChiTown

On the Chicago Craigslist page, there is this ad:

I'm a drummer in the far south suburb of South Chicago Heights seeking "Musical Situations". I'm open to a variety of suggestions. I am primarily a rock drummer. Hit me with an email or a phone call with your idea and let's see what we can do for each other.

which is then followed by 24 pictures of his drums! Talk about overkill! One picture would have been plenty! I was going to include them but... they're not "good" pictures - fuzzy, bad angle, or just dumb. Trust me, I'm doing a good thing.

Developing Sadness

A father and son died in an early morning fire in Benton County while a daughter was able to jump out a window.

Catch Up

I didn't write about it when it happened, but there was a group in downtown Iowa City that were protesting Donald Trump by burning an American flag. There happened to be a Federal Express (FE) worker nearby and he went up to the group and stopped them. Since then, social media (Facebook mainly) has been very supportive of the FE worker, advocating for him to receive recognition for what he did to stop the American flag from burning. After the event, FE announced that an internal investigation had been completed and that the FE worker was not going to lose his job.

This morning, just a few minutes ago, I saw this story and it warmed my heart when I read what the FE worker said:

"I just couldn't let it happen," he said. "In my head my morals told me that I had to stand up for it and I did."

Good for him.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Apparently Brady Plays Basketball

If Tom Brady does not play basketball for the Golden State Warriors in the NBA, then someone put the wrong picture with the story about Tom Brady.


Nope

Despite my mental & metal telepathy powers, Metallica is not playing in Iowa on their summer 2017 tour. There's no stop at Kinnick Stadium or at the UNI-Dome or even Des Moines or Moline. I had told Alex that my ideal world would be that Metallica plays in Chicago the day after the final day of Chicago Open Air (July 17), but they don't have a gig that day in Chicago. Here are the dates:
  1. May 10 – Baltimore, MD – M&T Bank Stadium
  2. May 12 – Philadelphia, PA – Lincoln Financial Field
  3. May 14 – East Rutherford, NJ – MetLife Stadium
  4. May 17 – Uniondale, NY – The New Coliseum Presented by NYCB
  5. May 19 – Foxborough, MA – Gillette Stadium
  6. May 21 – Columbus, OH – Rock On The Range @ MAPFRE Stadium
  7. June 4 – St. Louis, MO – Busch Stadium <== Day after Alex's graduation party
  8. June 7 – Denver, CO – Sports Authority Field at Mile High
  9. June 11 – Houston, TX – NRG Stadium
  10. June 14 – San Antonio, TX – Alamodome
  11. June 16 – Dallas, TX – AT&T Stadium
  12. June 18 – Chicago, IL – Soldier Field <== Father's Day!!!!
  13. July 5 – Orlando, FL – Camping World Stadium
  14. July 7 – Miami, FL – Hard Rock Stadium
  15. July 9 – Atlanta, GA – SunTrust Park
  16. June 12 – Detroit, MI – Comerica Park
  17. July 14 - Quebec City, QC – Festival D'Ete de Quebec
  18. June 16 – Toronto, ON – Rogers Centre
  19. July 19 – Montreal, QC – Parc Jean-Drapeau
  20. July 29 – Los Angeles, CA – Rose Bowl
  21. August 4 – Phoenix, AZ – University of Phoenix Stadium
  22. August 6 – San Diego, CA – Petco Park
  23. August 9 – Seattle, WA – CenturyLink Field
  24. August 14 – Vancouver, BC – BC Place
  25. August 16 – Edmonton, AB – Commonwealth Stadium

Walking Dead & WWE Results

WWE Elimination Chamber Results

http://teamstre.am/2lbruVL


Review of The Walking Dead NEW Episode

The first time I watched the new episode, I saw the shadow in the backseat of Father Gabriel's car, but Alex didn't, likely because he was on his cell phone.




Weirdness At the Grammys

Someone at the Grammys needs to be fired. First, when Megadeth walk to the stage, the house band is playing Metallica's "Master of Puppets." Wow. That's like AWFUL...


Read the whole account here.

The second thing that happened is the Metallica & Lady Gaga collaboration.

Now, before you watch that, know that I am a fan of Metallica and have been for many years. In fact, 2019 will be 30 years of spouting how awesome Metallica are to anyone that will listen. That said, their performance at the Grammy's last night was awful. I am fine with the way Lady Gaga integrated with the band, but the problem with James Hetfield's mic is just terrible. You can watch Metallica Struggle Through ‘Moth Into Flame’ With Lady Gaga at the Grammys here and then watch 2 different versions of the performance below. The first one is the "mic" feed. Does it showcase how much Metallica relies on Hetfield for keeping the band together?




Sunday, February 12, 2017

7 Months Ago

So, back in July 2016, there was a lot of uncertainty about the men's basketball team at the University of Iowa. I didn't capture all the articles that asked questions about the different positions but here are a few:
I'm setting the publication date for this post to be 7 months from the day this article was published with the hope that by 2/12/2017, all of the questions raised in this article have been answered.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Anniversary of My Career

My interview for a Quality Assurance Tester position at Network Data Processing (NDP) in downtown Cedar Rapids was on 2/10/1995 at 8 AM. I remember talking to the following people that day:
  • Ed Arkema
  • Karen Barth
  • Vickie Estringer (now Vickie Wyatt)
  • Mike Scanlon
  • Paulette ... can't recall her last name
I think it was during my time with Paulette that I noticed she was looking at a piece of paper. When I inquired what she was referring to, she showed me a job description for a Documentation Specialist, which was (more or less) a Technical Writer position.

To make a long story short, I ended up in John Millard's office, where he offered me a position with a starting salary of $17,500. I asked for $18,000, and he gave it to me, with the stipulation that I would "have to work hard" for that extra $500. I signed my letter of acceptance before noon.

I remember the conversation I had with Karen when I called her to tell her I had a job. She said to me, "Now we can have a baby." Yes, she said other things on the phone, but those words are what resonate in my mind today, 22 years later. Megan was born on 8/14/1996, while I was still employed at NDP.

Three years to the day, I left NDP to go work at Jordan Systems with my friend from college, Rick Whitaker, but that's a story for another day. Today is purely about the anniversary of being hired at NDP, which was my first-ever technical writer position.

Back to the Front!

When I read this article IBM's Marissa Mayer moment: Staff ordered to work in one of 6 main offices – or face the axe - Marketing told to sit 'shoulder to shoulder' or else, I thought of the chorus in Metallica's "Disposable Heroes" from Master of Puppets.



Back to the front
you will do what I say, when I say
back to the front

<snip>
back to the front
you coward
you servant
you blindman

Just Don't Throw Them Out

When I read an article like this one, whose headline proclaims "Digitize Your CDs and Reclaim Your Closet," I usually think one key point is missing. Often enough to notice a trend, there is a permutation of this idea
I have a closet full of compact discs (some out of print) that I’m not quite ready to part with, yet they take up way too much room
which leads to the conclusion that if you rip your CDs to MP3, you can sell / trash / donate your CDs and no longer own them.

DO NOT DO THAT! DO NOT GET RID OF YOUR CDs IF YOU RIP THEM TO MP3!

Why scream that in red font and all caps? Do you not read this blog on a regular basis? Do you not see the Reconversion (Music_Shell folder stats) and CDs to MP3 Documentation links on the side of the page? My experience is that once you think you are "done" with a CD to MP3 conversion, your external hard drive will understand that you feel good about your accomplishment and then decide you do not deserve happiness. And die. No problem, you will think. Buy another external hard drive and repeat the conversion. Again, your external hard drive will understand that you feel good about your accomplishment and then decide you do not deserve happiness. And die.

If you rip your CDs to MP3, you can sell / trash / donate your CDs and no longer own them, but you should not. Ever.

I am lucky to now have an "in" with the local police department. They purchase spindles of 100 DVDs and burn dashboard camera footage to DVDs for archiving and, every so often, I stop by and get those spindles. In fact, I now have 10 x 100 CD capacity spindles, plus a 1 x 50 capacity spindle in the den closet. Since I just recently picked up those spindles, it's likely I won't stop by the local police department until May or even June. At this point, I don't care that I don't have CDs to fill those spindles and I don't care that those additional spindles will not fit on my bookcase unless I dedicate another shelf to them. I've already dedicated the top of the bookcase. In total, I have 5 shelves of 10 x 100 CD capacity spindles. That's 5000 CDs, and if I fill the empty 10 x 100 CD capacity spindles, plus a 1 x 50 capacity spindle, I will have 6500 CDs.

That's a lot of music!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Calling Attention to a Recently Added Political Opinion

On my "Get Your Political Opinions Here" page, I just added the following text:
  1. Shoker! Rediculous chocker Trump attaks and dishoners English with ever-dummer spellings.
    • Now I've seen it all. When the liberal press runs out of things to complain about, they go after Trump's spelling errors on social media. By definition, there are no spelling rules on Twitter, Facebook, and all the other types / classifications of social media. It's that simple. People drop vowels and create acronyms like "ISO" or "INO" (In Search Of, In Need Of, respectively) and no one cares. Trump misspells "honor" as "honer" in a tweet and he becomes severely unfit and unworthy to be president. It's a good thing The Washington Post never makes any spelling errors in any of their articles!
      • The people who comment are hilarious. For example:
        • Like many Americans I was shocked as his poor spelling and appalling grammar, but I am comforted now that Betsy DeVos is Sec. of Education. Perhaps she can spend some extra tutorial sessions in the White House with Old Orange Hair. Hope she uses university examination Blue Books, they would be a nice addition and some color to his lack-luster desk.
      • Someone who posts: 
        • I was shocked as his poor spelling and appalling grammar 
          • and 
        • Hope she uses university examination Blue Books, they would be a nice addition and some color to his lack-luster desk 
      • in the same comment has zero credibility to complain about the president's writing skills. 
Editor's Note: As a rule, posts with political themes should not be posts. However, because the article in question was addressing a topic that is fair-game for a post (writing), it is reluctantly a deviation from the established rule.

Cena v. Orton... But Different This Time

From last night's Smackdown episode, the headline screams, "WWE champion John Cena defeated Royal Rumble winner Randy Orton Tuesday night on SmackDown Live" and even without watching the episode, I have some thoughts. This feud has been done before.

And before.

And before.

Orton & Cena have battled each other in numerous PPV matches. Each & every time they feud, I think of the way pro wrestling has a long history of finding two wrestlers that work well together in the ring, finding a way to get the fans to care about the outcome, and running with it, sometimes beyond when they should. The "classic" battles between Ric Flair & Sting, Hulk Hogan & Roddy Piper, and, oh, say, The Undertaker & Kane. Each of those couples went through being bitter rivals to being allies and then back to bitter rivals.

Back to Orton & Cena, the history between is quite interesting. In previous clashes, Cena has been the face and Orton has been the heel. This time, when Cena won, he won with an assist from Luke Harper, who is aligned with Bray Wyatt, who is aligned with Randy Orton BUT... Harper & Orton do not like each other. I didn't see the match last night to be able to judge better, but I'm wondering if Orton, with the hugely popular Bray Wyatt, are going to assume the face role in this go-round and if that puts Cena, with the underdeveloped character of Luke Harper, as the heel role. That flip-flop of their usual roles might actually make this feud interesting.

The likelihood of Cena successfully defending his title against AJ Styles, Bray Wyatt, The Miz, Baron Corbin and Dean Ambrose in an Elimination Chamber match Sunday at the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view is very high. Cena may not have an alliance with any of his opponents, but his opponents also don't like each other much. My prediction would be that Styles & The Miz battle each other in order to set up a Wrestlemania match between them. I see Dean Ambrose as needing a fresh feud and Baron Corbin fits the bill. That leaves Cena's main opponent to be Bray Wyatt, which when they feuded, it was quite memorable. Of course, Cena "won" that feud - he always "wins" the feuds in which he is involved. The wildcard in the match on Sunday, of course, is Randy Orton. If I were booking the match, since Orton & Wyatt are allies, I would have Orton not help Bray Wyatt win in order to build up the "Orton is the Viper and the Viper wants Cena at Wrestlemania" - it would make sense. Orton has had many battles with Wyatt in the past so it would be quite the twist to have Orton choose Cena as his feud - to redeem himself for the times that Cena has defeated him - and ditch his ally Wyatt. That would, of course, set up a match on the next Smackdown of Orton v. Wyatt. Maybe. I don't know.

Booking the WWE would be an ideal job if I could do it without all the travel.

Editor's Note: The above post was composed prior to reading the complete Smackdown results here.

Ability to be a Strong Technical Writer

Look closely at these requirements for a job that showed up in my feed that looks for "technical writer" in "Iowa"


Why was that a match? Is the programming wrong? No. Here's why:


Obviously, no. I'm not applying! Just for kicks, here's the entire ad:


Some Rasslin' and Some Dead





Tall Tasks Even from a 1000000 Foot Ladder

Zach, my lone drum student, has to learn this drum solo for competition. Yikes! I admit intimidation when I hear it!


The competition is in "a couple of weeks," per Zach. Here's a second video of it:


And here's another video:


And one more:


I am going to pick up a copy of the sheet music tonight as I'm really going to have to do my homework in order to teach Zach!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

State on Saturday

Because of my less-than-best effort and lack of natural talent, I never swam at an Iowa high school state swim meet. I could go on and on about my lack of dedication, my lack of endurance, and my lack of talent, but, instead, I'd rather focus on the Area State Championship Qualifiers.

By the way, I think the content for that story were pasted into the story from 2016. The URL has "2016" but the story is (obviously) about "2017" since it is, uh, 2017.


Editor's Note: Sorry the print is so small in the URL.

Updates on TV

This is the Super Bowl commercial that will stick out in my mind. I think what makes it so good is that a stain on a shirt is a real issue for people and it showcases that Tide (the pitched product) can solve the issue. I'm going to associate "Tide" with "remove stain on shirt" for the foreseeable future.



And, after the Super Bowl, I watched the first episode of "24:Legacy." I honestly cannot say I remember a specific episode of "24" (the original series). Kind of like "Prison Break" (which is also making a return to TV soon), "Alias," and "Lost," all the episodes melt together into a favorable impression.

It's not that way for some TV series, though.

I remember very specific details about "M*A*S*H*" and "Cheers" and "Breaking Bad."

All said and done, I recorded the second episode (Monday, 2/6) on the DVR last night so I hope I can watch it tonight. I had a long day yesterday and didn't even stay up for the Monday Night Raw main event of Roman Reigns v. Samoa Joe, even though I like Samoa Joe as a pro wrestling talent.





Monday, February 6, 2017

Bummed I couldn’t play - I’m better than them

Love the last line in this article: “I’m bummed I couldn’t play,” she told NBC 4. “I’m better than them.”

Read the whole thing here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/02/06/she-wants-to-play-basketball-with-the-boys-her-catholic-school-said-no-then-expelled-her-when-her-parents-sued

Another Awesome Victory Just Happened

Alex & I went to the NE v. IA men's basketball game yesterday with Jackson & Brian Gravel. Earlier in the season, when IA played at NE, the game went to double overtime before IA lost. Yesterday, the margin was 81-70 and didn't go to overtime.
Hawkeye's hot hand burns shoe-holding Husker

53 Year Drought Ends

Back in my time, there was a single swim team in the Cedar Rapids metro area that anyone cared about: Washington. The swimmers on that team, including its current coach Chris Cruise, were dominant. Between Cruise, the DeBooms, Stefan Frishkorn, Matt Parker, Wade Feller, and a great diver by the name of Donnie Bear, Washington was "it" when it came to high school swimming. Linn Mar, in Marion, didn't have a swim program or, if they did, I don't remember it. I remember there was a girl swimmer at Prairie, but I can't recall any boys from Linn Mar. And yet, now in 2017, Linn Mar is the program that takes down a 53 year dominance by 6.5 points. That's totally awesome!

Linn-Mar breaks Cedar Rapids Washington's 53-year boys' swimming district title streak Lions edge Warriors by 6.5 points at Coe

Summary of the Best Super Bowl EVER

Super Bowl LI Was the Best Ever
I appreciated this humorous tweet:


In case you don't "get" it, these are tags used when coding websites with CSS.
I would use the following tags for a numbered list: 
OL is the tag used for Ordered List;
LI is the tag used for each List Item.
which would look like this:
< ol >
< li > The first item.< / li >
< li > The second item. < /li >
< / ol >

I would use the following tags for an unordered list:
UL is the tag used for Unordered List.
LI is the tag used for each List Item.
which would like like this:
< ul >
< li > The first bullet item.< / li >
< li > The second bullet item. < /li >
< / ul >

That's why Eric Meyer's tweet is funny. You cannot have a LI without a OL or UL. Eric Meyer is a CSS guru & this is his website. More than being a CSS guru, Meyer is human, as evidenced by this touching essay which begins:

For a number of reasons, I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the two and a half months between Rebecca’s second tumor being discovered and her death.

To read more, click here.

SSD

Prior to purchasing a laptop for Alex on Sunday, 1/29/2017, I attempted to persuade Karen we should spend the extra money and purchase a laptop with a SSD hard drive.

Alex's laptop does not have a SSD hard drive.

In the future, I want to remember this article - Upgrading to an SSD is a Great Idea but Spinning Hard Drives are Still Better for Storing Data (for Now)/ - so I can replace his current hard drive with a SSD in his laptop.

Here's What Happens To Negan In The Comics!

The second half of season 7 of The Walking Dead premiers on Sunday, February 12, 2017, at 8 PM. I am SOOOO looking forward to 8 PM on Sunday, February 12, 2017!



Someday, I need to read the comic book upon which the TV series is based.

Had to Be

I was sitting in the Riverside Casino, watching MD versus Purdue men's basketball. It was tied at 34 with less than a minute left in the first half. I had put $5 in a slot machine and cashed out with $.30. I took that as a sign. No blackjack tables were open, except the $25 minimum bet table, which is one table I know I will never play. The plan was to meet up at noon.


Great Storyline

Relieved

This looked funny, but I have been frustrated by good trailers = dumb.


Answer the Question

http://dailysignal.com/2017/02/01/the-question-the-left-wont-answer-on-abortion

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Wellness

Funny 1

Funny 2

Transition to Rock

Lady Gaga will headline the Super Bowl LI halftime show Tonight

From: http://www.thejambar.com/press-box-perspective-nfl-gets-wrong-selecting-super-bowl-halftime-act/

I have but one question to pose today. Why? Why is the NFL now routinely booking pop acts for the biggest one-day sporting event of the year’s halftime show when there are so many great rock and heavy metal acts out there?

Friday, February 3, 2017

It's Like Whatevr in a Nickel Way

New tunes. First, the first single from Nickelback's upcoming album, then two tunes from Super Whatevr.







Nickelback is playing at the Jones County Fair in summer 2017.

Investigating "No Scrubs" for No Particular Reason

I didn't know what "No Scrubs" sounded like. Now I do.



What's Behind the Curtain isn't all that Interesting

Here's a sneak peek at my writing process for a blog post.
  1. Get an idea for a post. This can come from anywhere or anything. Some common examples are:
    • I remember a band I've not listened to and go find my favorite song on youtube.com and remembering how much I like the band blam-o! I create a post with that video embedded.
    • I can click a link in one of the many daily emails I receive and read an article about some topic that interests me and blam-o! I create a post with a link to that article.
  2. Access Blogger.com and do the mechanical steps to create a blog post. I've already decided I want to create a post by the time I reach blogger.com and I may even have a link or a snippet of text in my clipboard. If I do, I immediately paste a link or a snippet of text associated with the idea into the new blog post. Sometimes, I will have a title before anything else - something will come to me and before I know the theme of a post, I have a catchy phrase that is a first draft of a title.
  3. Let me share my thought process for this specific post. I subscribe to many Google alerts and receive daily emails. For my Metallica Google alert, there is a headline, and if it is an article, the headline is followed by the first few words of the article. It's typically enough to hook me into clicking the link and reading the article. That's what happened today. I read these words
    When you think of the heave metal rock band Metallica gothic fashion and the Black album may come to mind
    and clicked the link. When I got to the article, I immediately selected the text, went to blogger.com, created this post and pasted that text, as shown below:
  4. What interested me about this text is the clumsiness of the writing.
    • Regardless of your opinion of Metallica, the phrase "heavy metal rock" is odd.
      • The writer should have selected one adjective - either "heavy metal" or "rock" - and stuck with it.
  5. I have no idea what possessed the writer to choose "gothic fashion" as a first thought about the band.
    • As shown in the screenshot above "gothic" tripped the blogger.com spellchecker. It wanted to replace "gothic" with "Gothic" which, since it's being used as a proper noun these days, I'm okay with.
    • If the writer was using "Gothic fashion" to refer to the Load / ReLoad era, then that reference might have been better served to go in chronological order instead of reverse chronological order. The Black album was released in 1991; Load was released in 1996. How do I retain that information in my brain? It was released the year Megan was born and I had a review of it published in ICON, which was the weekly newspaper I was lucky enough to have publishing my music reviews.
  6. With a new post created and a small germ of an idea in my mind, I begin to compose the post. The writing process begins. Depending upon the reason for creating the post, the writing process can last a few seconds, a few minutes, or several minutes. If I'm simply embedding a video from youtube.com, I may only actually write a sentence that explains why I embedded the video. When I created the post with the Asia video earlier this week, I didn't want to write much.
  7. After I proofread - yes, I proofread my posts - I click Publish and release the post to the wild.
  8. If I have a snarky comment, I use my imaginary editor to add an "Editor's Note" so that it appears I am not the author of the snarkiness. Another use for this strategy is to add a comment that reflects a change in 'something' related to the post after it was originally published. Maybe I was misinformed about a subject and after learning I was wrong, I will update the post reflecting my new information.
To read the article that generated this post, read the article here.