Category Archives: Technology

What Adobe Should Put in Framemaker 10

If you’re fortunate enough not to use Word, it seems the only other decent choice for technical writing is Adobe’s Framemaker. However, some of Frame’s quirks make Word look almost welcoming. Here’s a running list of the things I’d like to see in the next release of Frame, in no particular order:

  • Find and Replace with more functions. How come I can find a marker, but can’t replace it with a different kind of marker?
  • Dialog boxes and palettes that you can close with the Esc key.
  • More intuitive keyboard shortcuts. All of these Esc functions hearken back to UNIX, and when’s the last time anyone used Frame on UNIX?
  • Drag and drop text. C’mon, this was a new feature to users back in, what, 1990?
  • I can’t believe I’m writing this, but Macintosh support. Seriously, I’d give the Mac another look if Frame ran on it natively. Emulation doesn’t count. Yes, I’m aware of Boot Camp and Parallels.
  • Full OpenType support. All of Adobe’s fonts are now OpenType, with ligatures and special characters, but yet we tech writers get the typographical shaft.
  • Word processing features, like AutoCorrect, spellcheck as you type, and all of those everyday functions that Word has, but writing in Word is so bad that you refuse to go back.
  • How about Ctrl-backspace to delete a word before the cursor, just as Ctrl-delete works great for deleting the word before a cursor. Again, this was a feature of, let’s say, Word 2.0?
  • Support for transparent PNGs.
  • How about a more usable “missing file” dialog box? If you type in the path to the file, Frame doesn’t change to that directory, it accepts that as the filename!
  • Much better style management. How come I can import styles across a book, but they don’t always update? Why can’t I delete unused styles? Argh.
  • A reasonable upgrade price commensurate with the new features. All DITA, all the time, isn’t worth $400.

Check back often for updates to this list, since I find something that drives me insane pretty regularly.

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Day after Xmas… at werk.

I came in today thinking i’d be feeling creative and write a post. Well, here I am at 12:30 EST with no such creativity, but at least I’m writing. I plan to blog more in 2009, but then again, I think “Write more” was my resolution for 2008, and that went basically nowhere.

there are three other people in my group here today with me. I think there are maybe another 5-10 people here in addition. Makes sense to open the office for alllllll of those people, eh?

i got a new flash for my camera for xmas … Nikon SB-600. i don’t know what i’m doing with it, yet. guess this also locks me into Nikon, not that it’s a bad thing. the grass is always greener over at Canon…

my girlfriend is out shopping for her family’s party tomorrow. i’m sitting in the office freezing with the other people, all of whom are wearing jackets or other heavy attire. it’s current 39 outside in NYC.

i plan to brew on Sunday – an imperial stout. my last porter didn’t come out so great. a bit lacking in body, a bit too much alcohol burn, not enough vanilla. still very drinkable, just not fantastic. 5/10.

my inbox is barren, facebook is dead, no one’s on twitter, and even my rss feeds aren’t entertaining me.

why is it that we’re here today? i guess this is the entitlement society i keep hearing about. even Hale and Hearty doesn’t have a full selection of soups today.

yes, i’m bitter. and cold.

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The Airing of the Grievances

Yea, it is time that we put up the Festivus Pole, engage in feats of strength, and air the year’s grievances. So we call upon Our Lord Frank Costanza, and shout Serenity Now! Here are my grievances for 2008:

  1. To unhelpful RSS feeds that don’t display the content of a post. A headline only is generally not enough information to make me want to click through to your site.
  2. To Adobe, for charging ridiculous upgrade fees. $499 to upgrade, when I just spent that much less than 18 months ago, on products that are mature and stable?
  3. To the GOP, for ignoring our environmental issues, screwing up government oversight, our worldwide status, the Iraq War, and everything else over the past eight years.
  4. To my current employer, for not giving us off the day after Thanksgiving and Xmas. This year both holidays fall on a Thursday, so wouldn’t it be nice to enjoy a long weekend? Nope, if you have vacation days left, you have to take them. if you don’t, guess where you’ll be? Here in the office, which leads me to…
  5. The building managment company, as well as my current employer, for turning the heat down enough on weekends that Mondays are freezing. I bought cashmere socks just for Monday mornings. If you walk around the office, you’ll see people wearing hats, scarves, and jackets. Winter jackets.
  6. To Kevin Kalkhoven and Gerry Forsythe, co-owners of the now defunct Champ Car World Series, which merged with the Indy Racing League (IRL) earlier this year. When I say merged, I mean sold the fuck up the river a few weeks before the season was due to start. This is a topic very dear to me, as I followed Indy/Champ Car since I was a wee high schooler, and the Meadowlands Grand Prix came to town in the mid-to-late-80s. I could take up six months’ worth of posts on this topic, so i’ll leave it at that.
  7. To Tony George, who fucked it all up to start with.

There are certainly more, but these are the ones that are nagging at me. Check back in case there are more grievances!

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Happy Little Errors

So I’m working on designing buttons, icons, and interface items for a new release. The buttons I’ve created looked… nice, but still not what I wanted them to look like.

Somehow along the process, I cropped the template file a little too judiciously in Photoshop. Buttons I created a week ago were taller by six pixels. I’m still not sure how I did this, as all the guides were in the same place, and making the button taller changed the alignment of text.

While playing around, trying to figure out WTF I did, I ended up using a clipping mask with an existing layer – and it looks great! The only downside, of course, is now I have to recreate approximately 50 buttons. But, I’m happy now they finally look good!

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