1 thought on “Longevity”

  1. I believe I’ve seen similar play out in engineering as the personal computer came in to replace the personal assistant. Well we all didn’t have personal assistants but even as a starting engineer there was a group secretary who took your written information and turned it into the typewritten version, on occasion. Then the early pc’s and basic functionality of the pc as a more efficient typewriter arrived. Much easier for the lay typist to create content, less typing skill required as the delete and backspace keys replaced white-out and correction tape. Technical content could be more easily created, what a boon to the content developer. But somehow, even with this greater ease, less attention to detail could evolve with it. Next we got the flash-bang phenomena of a graphical window based operating system and the beginning ease of adding pictures to documents. Thank you? Apple. This was embraced by all of us up and coming technical writers. I seem to remember arguments about GUI based documents to be very pretty but more vacuous than their simulated typewriter produced counterparts. Well we know such stereotyping is itself ugly and not necessarily correct, but it seems to highlight a concern. Eventually though, this capability was overwhelmingly popular and all systems evolved their GUI capabilities. Tech papers used to have about an 8-10 page limit, be two column with tiny pictures, and many words. Now the 40 page paper is not uncommon. I think there is a place for 40 page papers, perhaps as a special company document referenced from a technical paper. Certainly a good one is treasured in providing a wealth of useable reference, or project technical information. But I think the limited version tech paper can provide great content and the interested reader may learn much more about a field of interest from multiple well crafted shorter papers than from a lesser number of tombs. Where am I at with this? I love the new technologies and have embraced them as best I could along the way. Certainly I’m a victim of PowerPoint engineering on this path as well, but I appreciate being reminded to focus on the art with whatever your path to its creation is.

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