: “Every report you ever write from this day until the day you die should start out by saying something nice about the product or service you are reviewing. Then you can get down to business.” Tog —How to Deliver a Report Without Getting Lynched
. Painfully funny small-town satire from The Onion. —Wal-Mart Opens Store in Winesburg, Ohio
“If anything, the recent expansion of literacy and educational opportunities has increased our access to literature and our enjoyment of it.” J. Peder Zane —What Good is Literature?
“Today, I’m one of the world’s leading anthropologists, an accomplished archaeologist, and an award-winning novelist. And, at 41, I’m only now becoming aware of the globetrotting rut I’ve been in my entire life. Looking back on everything I’ve seen and done, I can’t help but ask, ‘Is that all there is?’” more satire from The Onion. —There’s More to Life…
Microsoft Word requires at least 30% more keystrokes and 100% more mouse moves to accomplish certain editing tasks than would an optimal word processor. Forbes —Bad Design Can Be Costly
“We are the Gist Generation. We have acquired a taste for hit-and-run, cut-and-paste knowledge. We expect a home page or e-mail correspondence to give us the gist and only the gist—time is money and you’re a click away from an iconographic trash can, so get to the point.” Jeff Barbian
This computer game tries something new. “If a character tells you he’ll call you tomorrow, he’s not kidding. You’ll have to wait a day to get his information. Faxes may arrive without warning, and instant messages may pop up onscreen when you least expect them — maybe even while you’re at work.” Wired.com —“Majestic” Invades Your World
“Organized religion was a primary target of every one of the twentieth century’s regimes of terror. But as is evident in Nazi and Communist terrors alike, organized irreligion (to put it in Royal’s sharp formulation) has proved far more dangerous than organized religion ever was.” Alicia Mosier
You might assume there could not be a worse time for a field calling itself “Internet studies.” You would be wrong. The Chronicle of Higher Education
“Lambert received the e-mail in December, a piece of scrap in the vast electronic junkyard that is the World Wide Web. Regrettably, she says now, she removed the letter’s forwarding markers and unintentionally put her name at the bottom, making it appear that she was the author.” Washington Post —Don’t forward that e-mail just yet!
“[W]hat could be more scholarly than a nice, authoritative statistic, quoted from a professional journal in the student’s field?” The Chronicle of Higher Education —Telling the Truth About Damned Lies and Statistics
The longer the company’s annual report, the less successful the company. This isn’t really a technical writing issue — usually companies with bad news to report need a lot of words to explaining themselves. But if this is what it takes to get some pinhead CEOs to appreciate brevity, so be it. Wired
Danielle Preston —You Know You’re a Technical Writer When…
A student of mine makes comments on interactive fiction, garish colors, and dancing text. Jan Carroll —Just For the Record
learns something from my freshman comp students. On March 13, 2000, I e-mailed web guru Jakob Nielsen to tell him that six of my freshmen spent 8-30 minutes on his site without finding a plain-text “search” link on the home page. A week or so later, I noticed that Nielsen changed his page, making the search feature much more visible. (See: before and after search option improvement.) About a year later, Nielsen reported that the change had increased use of his search box by 91%. —Jakob Nielsen
“[W]hen it comes to writing, whether you’re a seventh grader, a college student, a professor, a beginning copywriter, or an accomplished novelist, a B isn’t good enough.” Kathy Henning —For Writers, Writing Is Never a Waste of Time: Part 2
“[A] society without literature, or a society in which literature has been relegated–like some hidden vice–to the margins of social and personal life, and transformed into something like a sectarian cult, is a society condemned to become spiritually barbaric, and even to jeopardize its freedom.” Mario Vargas Llosa
The creator of Cliffs Notes has died. Here’s his obituary — although I know you probably won’t bother to read the whole thing.
On the tasteless side, but still very funny: “Some Features You May Need on Your Computer“
“It is our duty, as responsible citizens, to stop the rot. Next time someone touches base with you or moves your goal posts, punch them in the face.” Clint Witchalls —Business and the English Language