Monday, September 29, 2008

Now everyone can read my work!

Until my latest job transition, I have always worked for companies that normal people have never heard of.

Ampex - Extremely important company in early television and audio recording. The older of you may have heard of them since they actually made high-end consumer and pro video and audio recorders and a variety of video and audio tape. Plotnik and his audio background has most definitely heard of them. He's probably sworn at them. Actually, Mrs Notthat has also heard of them since it was while working there that I met her.

Abekas - Founded by three guys who left Ampex. This was my first job where at least part of my duties involved writing technical manuals.

Accom - Founded by one of the guys who founded Abekas. This job involved no technical writing at all, but I got to watch a puppet scratch himself in a way that could not be broadcast in a children's TV show.

Spruce Technologies - My first job where technical writing was my primary job. They made DVD authoring software. Normal people did not know what "DVD authoring" was,  but they at least knew what a DVD was.

Apple - My current company. Pure technical writing, although that is getting polluted a bit with a variety of weird bit-head type things. Everyone has heard of them. Even Forrest Gump got rich from their stock. It's the first company I've worked for where tourist busses show up so people can get their pictures taken in front of the sign. Where people used to look at me when I walked out of the main building, wondering if I was somebody. (The answer: no. By the way, none of this happens anymore since we're now out in an obscure corner of Cupertino.) 

In any case, the group I work in has done something today that makes my technical writing accessible to normal people for the first time - they flipped the switch on a public website. (Previously, if you wanted to read my manual, you had to shell out $1000 for the software. Not even my mom would do that.)

Assuming that link works, you can click Final Cut Server Setup and Administration Guide. I wrote this. Click through it a bit. This is a section I'm not sure I really understand even now.

The first thing you'll notice is that this all looks marvelous. A lot of talented people spent a lot of time getting it that way.

The second thing you'll notice is that it is amazingly boring. I will never get famous from this thing (or any of the many others I've been involved in - more will start showing up at this site eventually - sorry).

So. Just like that I've got something I can point people to when they ask what I do. They'll say "Hmmmm" and "This looks nice." And then ask if I can get them a discount on an iPod.

That's it - move along... 

7 comments:

notthatlucas said...

I should have mentioned, if you are part Neanderthal and still use Internet Explorer, you will have issues viewing this site. Use Safari or Firefox for best results.

DAK said...

I have now persued the site. I have a little bit of an idea of what's going on, but only a little bit. You are one technical dude, this is for sure. Oh, yes, I remember how much it used to cost for a reel of 2" Ampex tape. People just used them, erased them, used them, erased them, used them again. Each time the tape sounded worse.

NCN said...

how did you update it on Oct. 1 2008? That is Wednesday

notthatlucas said...

NCN - we're just messin' with you. We do not have time travel perfected. That you know about.

(Actually, this is a good question that I'm sure has a very good answer. It might involve zucchini and weird hair though.)

notthatlucas said...

NCN - it turns out that that was a good catch. It has generated lots of emails, some funny and some not so much.

The end result is I'm sticking with the time travel thing. This will probably be fine by tomorrow.

mary ann said...

I always wondered what you did/do when not pursuing your sports career...

Anonymous said...

This is great Allen. I am sitting at home, not connected to any Apple secure server and I can read your manual. Wow . . . . times they are a changing.