It's been quite a while since I posted anything here (about a month). To be honest, I have a legit excuse when I say "I've been busy". I've been doing work for Telligent, writing the documentation for the 2.0 release of Community Server. You might think that just "writing documentation" would be a pretty simple, straightforward job (like I did originally) but it's turned out to provide several challenges. Because Community Server has grown into such a robust product, there is a lot of stuff to write about. Blogs, Forums, Photo Galleries, File Galleries, RSS Readers, Security Settings, and on and on and on. I'm only about half-way done with the documentation so far and I've probably got 250+ screenshots of the product.
It's not enough to just "document" the product and it's features, either. I have to think about how to organize the content so that it can answer people's questions in as few clicks as possible. Then there's the glossary, and the index. The table of contents. Keyword indexing. Fortunately, RoboHelp makes most of it pretty automated but it's still time consuming.
The awesome side-effect of documenting Community Server is that I'd say my knowledge of the product has increased by about 2000 %. The guys at Telligent are kidding either when they say that 2.0 is going to be a major improvement over their 1.x releases. It keeps getting better with every week.
I definitely am not going to be able to make my Jan 1, 2006 goal for the DevCampus beta, either (unfortunately). I think once the work with Telligent slows down/stops I'll be able to take a "break" and finish up the site for beta testing.
I've seen many blog posts by people where they completely flame the customer support provided by a company like Dell, HP, Sony, Best Buy, etc. Well, I had a very good customer service experience today so I though, to be fair, I should share the other side of the story.
One of my LCD's at home (a 21" Samsung SyncMaster) started displaying some very thin (1 to 2 pixels wide) lines (about 7 or 8 of them) that ran vertically across my screen (from the very bottom to the very top). I paid pretty good money for this LCD so I wasn't about to just let this problem remain. So I called up Samsung's customer support and after providing a little personal information the Samsung rep gave me some troubleshooting steps to take in order to ensure it wasn't the DVI cable or the video card which, it wasn't. After that, things couldn't have been easier.
Since my LCD was still under warranty (3 years, parts & labor) Samsung is going to send me a replacement LCD, and they're paying for the shipping on the defective one I'll be sending back to them. 7 to 14 business days and I'll be back on a brand new LCD. Thanks Samsung!
I attended a one-day course by Edward Tufte in San Francisco today where he discussed his ideas about information display. It was very thought-provoking and he is an excellent speaker. As an added bonus, all attendees got to take home his 3 books, which I plan on digging into soon, they look really interesting. If you ever get the chance to attend his courses, I would highly recommend them. All I can really say is that he's changed the way I look at statistical data and data presentation in general. Definitely worth the time and effort it took to attend. Has anyone else been to a Tufte course? His PowerPoint discussion was just brilliant.