Archive for November, 2009


All sorts of JavaScript tooltips

November 30, 2009

Do you want to add a bit of variety to your tooltips? Then take a look at the range of free JavaScript tooltip offerings available in a downloadable file from the people at Dynamic Web Coding:

The example below shows a tooltip with an image, something you can’t do with standard tooltips:

[Links last checked November 2009; thanks to @dmnguys for Tweeting about this site]


There are no words for the stupidity of this

November 29, 2009

Seen on Amazon (

A laptop shelf for your steering wheel... What were they thinking?

The tongue-in-cheek (I hope!) customer reviews on the Amazon page for this product are hilarious, and some wags have — rightly — added photos of major vehicular pile-ups. I wonder when Amazon will take this down?

[Link last checked November 2009]


Kathy Sierra on readable user manuals

November 28, 2009

This was tweeted around the world about a week ago. Says it all really…

(Translation for those who aren’t tech writers: RTFM = Read The F****** Manual)

[Originally seen here:]


Very cool Google image tool

November 27, 2009

I was meandering the Google Labs (as you do…), and came across Google Image Swirl (, a new image search tool from Google.

Now, I LOVE Google’s image search, but the biggest problem is that when you enter a keyword, you get all sorts of stuff and you have to hunt through many pages of images to find what you really want. Google Image Swirl, however, categorizes the images and puts like images together. As you click on a category, you get shown all related images.

For example, I did a search for ‘note’. Here’s the main page of results:

Initial results for 'note'

When I clicked on the notepaper image (top left), I got this:

Results after selecting the notepaper image

I could keep drilling on down through related images, or click back into the ‘home’ image on the right.

I can see this saving me a lot of time! Way cool!

[Links last checked November 2009]


Looking for a new camera?

November 26, 2009

Then look no further than Flickr! Flickr? Yes, Flickr!

Why? Because Flickr has a Camera Finder (look under Explore > Camera Finder, or go direct to “Big deal”, you might say. “How can this help me find a new camera?”

Well, you may already have some idea of the camera brand and model you want. So once you get to that page, you can see which cameras are most popular on Flickr, but more importantly, you can check out thousands of photos taken with those cameras.

You can drill down by brand and model, then when you’re at a model, go to the Now Showing drop-down list and select from a range of photos taken under different conditions — portraits, landscapes, night shots, macros etc.

If you’ve done all your research and have narrowed the field down to a few brands and models, this unbiased Flickr option might be a great way to help you make your decision.

However, don’t forget that a good photograph is more than the result of a good camera — the person behind the lens plays a big part too, in framing the shot, selecting the lighting conditions etc.

[Links last checked November 2009]


Vista: Create FTP shortcut with login details

November 25, 2009

Warnings and Disclaimers:

  • Do not do this on a public computer.
  • Be aware that putting your username and password into any saved setting may compromise your computer security.

Do you need to quickly upload a file to your website or an FTP site, but don’t want the hassle of opening your FTP program, going through the connection steps, etc.? Well, you can set up a shortcut in Vista — with your credentials already populated — so all you have to do is click the link on your desktop and you’re in.

Here’s how:

  1. Open the Computer folder (Start > Computer [on the right panel]).
  2. Right-click anywhere in a blank space, then select Add a Network Location.
  3. Click Next on the first page of the Add Network Location wizard.
  4. Select Choose a custom network location, then click Next.
  5. Enter the following into the Internet or Network Address field, substituting your own username, password and FTP address as appropriate:
  6. Click Next. Give the FTP address a more meaningful name, if required, then click Next.
  7. Click Finish.

This network location will now appear in your Computer folder.

You can create a desktop shortcut for it too — just right-click on the new network location, then select Send to > Desktop (create shortcut).

Now, if you need to quickly upload a file, you just need to double-click on the shortcut and you’re in!

Note: This trick probably works in Windows 7 too (I don’t have Windows 7 installed on any of my computers yet), but I couldn’t get it to work in Windows XP.

[Thanks to Australian Personal Computer, October 2009 for alerting me to this shortcut trick.]


2009 WritersUA Annual Skills and Technologies Survey

November 24, 2009

The 2009 WritersUA Skills and Technologies Survey is in progress:

This popular survey is designed to provide a snapshot of the skills and technologies we most value in our software development work. If you’re a technical communicator please contribute your experiences to help improve the value of the results. And tell your colleagues.

No login is required. You can answer as much or as little of the survey as you choose. When compiled, the results will be freely available on the WritersUA website.

[Link last checked November 2009]