SpaceX Falcon 9 ocean landing video

July 23rd, 2014

Here’s video of the SpaceX Falcon 9 first stage landing in the ocean after the last launch. Good video this time, but they need wipers for the camera lens. I can’t wait to see them bring one back to the Cape.

One small step

July 20th, 2014

July 20, 1969.


Free ebooks from Scriptorium

July 17th, 2014

As well as offering various content strategy services, Scriptorium Publishing have been publishing a series of books about aspects of technical communication. Several of these are now available as free ebooks in EPUB format. You can download copies of Technical Writing 101, DITA Style Guide and a couple of others. Print versions are available for some of the editions through Amazon and other vendors.

Kudos to Scriptorium for making these available for free.

Been there, done that

July 15th, 2014

In Why I hate negotiating my telecom package, Rob Carrick describes the annual ordeal of trying to shave a few dollars off his cable bill by spending hours online with a cable company customer retention representative. Honestly, I could have written that article – it’s uncanny how his experiences mirror mine.

If you enjoy buying new cars and setting up mortgages at the bank, then you’ll love negotiating your cable, Internet or smartphone package. Me, I dislike the tedious back and forth, the posturing over what can and can’t be offered and the obvious agenda of trying to get you to bundle all your business with one company, thereby cutting off all future negotiating leverage. Most of all, I dislike the mystery about whether I’m getting a good deal or not.

Cable TV, Internet and cellphones can easily cost a family of four between $200 and $400 per month. That’s enough to vie with property taxes as the second-largest household expense after mortgage payments. Any opportunity to cut telecom spending must be explored.

Digital First Aid Kit

July 14th, 2014

It’s nasty out there: malware, trojans, botnets, drive-by phishing sites, viruses – and that’s just the stuff from the bad guys. (The good guys, NSA, CSIS, etc. deserve a separate post).

The Electronic Frontier Foundation and a group of NGOs have created a Digital First Aid Kit to help you cope with all the nastiness.

The Digital First Aid Kit includes a secure communications layer, as well as sections on hacked accounts, DoS, seizure of devices and malware attacks on your site and network. You can modify and share the kit, downloading it from github, where it carries a Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike license.

Displaced Persons preview

July 9th, 2014

Several years ago, I was an advance reader for Derek McCulloch’s Displaced Persons, a graphic novel that spans three generations in San Francisco. I’ve enjoyed Derek’s other books (Stagger Lee, Pug, Gone to Amerikay), but I was blown away by Displaced Persons, to put it mildly. Unfortunately, the publication ran into a series of delays, and got held up for years. But it’s coming out next month with a different artist and from a different publisher. If you want to see what it’s like, Image Comics has put a 21-page preview up on the web. Check it out, and then place your order. You won’t regret it.

Displaced Persons