Archive for February, 2007

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New Section: Motivation

February 27, 2007

I just posted a new section on motivation. It’s a bit longer than some, but motivation’s a juicy topic. As usual, I encourage you to comment.

Thanks are due to Larry Rowland, who introduced me to the quote that heads the section.

Here’s a pointer to the new section: Motivation

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Models

February 23, 2007

Over the last week I’ve been working on two new sections, one on motivation and one on planning. The first is nearly ready, but is still giving me heartburn, and the second needs a lot of work.

This note is to let you all know that I haven’t disappeared, I’m just not comfortable posting what I have ready today. You can expect a new section in the next few days.

In an unrelated vein, I had an interesting email conversation with a friend and former colleague who asked me if I had an overall vision for the kind of book this would be (beyond what the title implies). He went on to suggest that I consider what kinds of books might be good models. Here’s a piece of my reply to him. I’d be interested in any thoughts on it:

Until you mentioned it, I hadn’t thought very much about models. After thinking about it for a while yesterday, I think one interesting model would be “The Elements of Style,” by Strunk and White, even though it’s nothing like what I’ve written so far. S&W is short, contains a lot of information, and holds up to regular re-reading. Kernighan and Plauger’s “Elements of Programming Style,” itself an homage to S&W, is another example I like. An example in a different style is Malcolm Gladwell’s “The Tipping Point,” which makes many of its points through stories.

When I started writing this, I had a long conversation with a friend who teaches at at CSU (Colorado State U). He ran a study where they tried to see how effective stories were in teaching.

They got a top expert in the Quick Sort algorithm to videotape a lecture describing the Quick Sort. Then, using the same slide set, they videotaped someone using a story about a princess who wants to sort her belongings to describe the algorithm. They found that students who learned the algorithm from the story did better in a post-test than the group that got it straight from the expert.

When I told him about this project, his suggestion was to use stories extensively, both for the ultimate audience and for the audience of folks reading this as I write it. He thought that stories would draw people in and keep them coming back for more each week.

Now, while I don’t plan to make up stories about princesses, I do want to make the book interesting, so I’ve taken his suggestion at least in part and am using stories where they make sense.

That’s it for now. As always, comments are welcome. Have a great weekend.

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New Section: Human Resources

February 15, 2007

I just posted a new draft section titled, “Everything you wanted to know about HR, but were afraid to ask.”

I don’t know if I’ll stick with the cutesy titles, in fact I’d appreciate input on whether they’re ok or not, but for now I’ll leave this one as is.

Generally, I like the overall feel of this section, but I think there’s more that could be added. If anyone has suggestions for HR related topics that I should cover, please leave a note. And as usual, I’d like to get your input.

Here is a link:Everything you wanted to know about HR, but were afraid to ask

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New Section: Power of the Pen

February 12, 2007

I just posted a new section for review. A major theme of this book is power and influence. This section talks about formal and informal authority and gives an example that some of you may recognize. Here’s a link:

The Power of the Pen

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Getting Updates

February 8, 2007

I got a question asking how to use RSS to receive a notification when new information is posted on the blog. It turns out there are a boatload of ways to do that. I’ve added links to handle a few of them in the “Feeds” section at the bottom of the right hand column. Here’s a quick description:

  1. RSS Feed: If your browser supports RSS, just click on the RSS Feed link and you’ll be in business. Some browsers also automatically detect feeds and let you sign up (look for this icon in the browser’s toolbar: ).
  2. My Yahoo or Google: If you have a personalized My Yahoo or Google page, there are links for each.
  3. Other aggregators: You can directly use the feed link, (https://rlhamilton.wordpress.com/feed) in a feed aggregator like Bloglines.
  4. FeedBurner: If you’re using a pure RSS feed, the RSS link is the best way to go, but if you prefer FeedBurner for some reason, I have the following RSS feed there:
    http://feeds.feedburner.com/ManagingTechnicalDocumentation.
  5. Technorati: If you use Technorati, there’s a link to add this blog to your Technorati favorites.
  6. Email Updates: If you’d like email updates, there’s a link that will bring up a form for you to enter your email address to get an automatic update when something is posted (you should get no more than one update/day, and then only on days when there’s a change).

I hope that helps; if you have any trouble subscribing for updates, post a comment or send me email.