I think my idea for the teaching the “mouse-less” Windows is great, as discussed in Get That Mouse Out Your House And Let The Cats In The Window! and I’ve been looking for ways of developing it further. Then, the other day, whilst discussing PowerPoint with a delegate on a training course he said “Animation in PowerPoint is tacky“. Well, that was all I needed to hear – challenge ON! Continue reading
“Can I draw?
No, not really but I do like to give it a go and The Indecisive Eejit’s Cartoon Craziness Challenge couldn’t have came at a more perfect time!
Why? Well, as you can see from the challenge she is challenging us to draw a cartoon cat which on it’s own doesn’t sound like perfect timing for anything. But, at work, I was challenged with producing and delivering a one hour training session on an introduction to using Windows and Microsoft Office…without using the mouse… Continue reading
I have discovered that most people are not using the search function within Outlook to its full power.
I could talk for hours about how images have so much more impact in a PowerPoint presentation or in a Microsoft Word document (other applications for slide shows and word processing are also available) than text.
You’ve been working in Microsoft Word (other word processing applications are available) and you have either…
For example, you could be working in a table in Microsoft Word and need to merge two cells on many different rows. You can’t do them all at once because that won’t work and Microsoft Word will have a meltdown. So, you have to highlight them, click merge, move on to the next and do the same process over and over. Well, you don’t really, thanks to this guy… Continue reading
I have been reflecting on my blog design over the past few days and it has become very obvious I have developed a particular theme. I don’t mean theme as in visual styling of the blog, more the way that I title my posts, write my posts and even the title of my blog itself – “Steve Says…”
It’s happened more by accident than by design but I use “…” in almost every single post’s title and often within the posts themselves.
Is this grammatically correct? What does it mean? I wanted to find out more…
I call it “dotdotdot” which upon further investigation isn’t really that inaccurate. Although, when I hear it inside my head it’s more like this which is probably inaccurate on so many levels.
The correct terminology is Ellipsis, plural Elipses (apologies in advance if I get some of the tense wrong – I’m not an English teacher) and refers to a series of dots that usually indicates an intentional omission of a word, sentence, or whole section from a text without altering its original meaning.
That isn’t really why I have been using them as I don’t remove text, I add text and the dots to me are leading, trying to draw the reader into the rest of my writing.
So, reading that ellipses can also indicate an unfinished thought, a slight pause, and nervous or awkward silence fits more with why I am using them. More so the unfinished thought and slight pause rather than the nervous or awkward silence.
The ellipses can also inspire a feeling of melancholy or longing. I’m not 100% sure what melancholy means but I know it isn’t good so I don’t want that. Longing? Yes I would love to think that readers are longing to read the rest of my post.
Elipses can be used in the form of Aposiopesis which means you trail off into silence…
Aposiopesis are no use to me as who would want to read silence?
Ellipses were used in 20th-century fiction to denote expletives that would otherwise have been censored but when I use expletives I find it much more fun to use all the f*&$ing symbols I can find on my keyboard. They are also used in writing to build tension. Yes, that’s what I’m trying to do – build my post up for readers to click on and then no doubt be disappointed…(that’s melancholy with a hint of asposiopesis)
You can use them to say one thing but really imply something totally different without actually saying it. For example when Count Dracula says “I never drink …wine” the implication is that he does drink something else or when Justin Bieber says “I never smoke…cigarettes”. I don’t use them for that, I’m not a liar, vampire or d*&$ of a pop star.
I then read how ellipses are used in maths, on computer interfaces, in computer language and I got bored. The only thing I was interested about in terms of computers was “is there a keyboard shortcut?” and praise the Lord, there is! On most writing applications such as Microsoft Word if you hold down [CTRL] [ALT] & [.] you magically get the three dots. The fact that it doesn’t work in WordPress and it’s probably quicker just typing the three dots is irrelevant – it’s a keyboard shortcut and I love them all!
That’s the punctuation side of ellipses but the internet being the minefield of information that it is I soon went off on another little journey…(I’m leading you, come with me – it’s fun I promise)
I came across the term Three Dot Journalism which was coined by Herb Caen – a journalist for the San Francisco Chronicle - to describe his style of writing. I wondered what his style of writing was and this paragraph summed it up best for me:
Herb Caen would talk about politics, then … then a trip to the symphony … then a guy who he ran into at lunch that asked him a question he had to think about until he got back to the office and wrote about it then … then something else entirely. Everything was different, every day was different, but the three dots held it all together. It was the glue that made it a newsworthy column and not just the ramblings of boy from Sacramento who was enthralled with the city of San Francisco.
I thought of my own blog posts and how different one could be from the next and decided that I liked Herb Caen’s style of writing and I shall continues to use my Ellipses…now let’s finish on a song…
I read this article on the BBC News website today.
“Last year, some of the art world’s biggest names handed out career advice in a series of article for the BBC News website.
Author PD James, designer Emma Bridgewater, Oscar-nominated screenwriter Tony Gilroy and Jason Bell, who photographed the christening of Prince George, all listed their top 10 tips for people hoping to emulate their successes.
They spoke of the benefits of hard work, valuing criticism, leaving your comfort zone and even going to the pub…”
I then thought that I would give this a go and give my top ten tips for why I think I am good at being an IT Productivity Coach…
1. It’s not just Doctors that need patience…
I’ve been told on many occasions by people that they can’t believe how patient I am.
They tell me that if they had to try to train someone like themselves then they would be grabbing the computer mouse from under their hands and using it as a weapon until they understood what was they were trying to be shown.
What do I have to say to that? Well firstly violence doesn’t get you anywhere and secondly “keep calm and carry on” – you get to the same end result but you will get there easier, quicker and with acceptable blood pressure levels if you just have a little…patience.
2. Share the knowledge not your problems…
I love sharing information with people. Information that will help them and make their life easier that is. They don’t really want to know if I’m trying for a baby or if my pet hamster just died. They might pretend that they do but they don’t really. Don’t treat people like “agony aunts” and just tell them what they need to know and save the rest for down the pub.
People may not want to hear my worries and problems but that doesn’t mean that they don’t to share theirs.
That’s fine with me – sometimes people need a “sounding off board” and for someone just to listen, occasionally tilt their head and nod.
If I can make someone feel better just by being quiet while they talk and talk….and talk. Surely that’s money for nothing?
4. Treat everyone the same…
From tea boys to the big boys and office secretaries to state secretaries – treat everyone the same.
At the end of the day if they can’t use Microsoft Word then they can’t use Microsoft Word and it doesn’t matter if they are running the country or running to collect the lunch orders.
Everyone is equal in my eyes.
5. I don’t want to know everything…
I’ve got a very small brain and I can’t possibly know everything. I also wouldn’t particularly want to know everything. If I don’t know something then I’ll be honest and say “I don’t know…but I can find out and let you know”. There’s no point in pretending you know when you actually don’t. If you step in dog s*** people can smell it, if you talk bull s*** people can smell it no matter how much sugar you sprinkle on the top of it.
6. Ask and you will receive…
I’ve never been the type of person who volunteers information about their life. Some people on the other hand are all “I’ve done this, I’ve done that blah blah blah”. Yeah? Who cares? If people want to get information about me, from me, then they have to ask. Once they do then it’s like a flood gate has opened and they might wish that they hadn’t asked but since they have invited out the information then they can’t complain when I’m talking about me.
7. Prepare…but don’t over prepare…
If you are delivering a presentation or a training session – prepare, prepare, prepare. Know your subject, know what questions people might ask and know that things can and probably will go wrong. On the other hand, there are some things that you simply can’t prepare for. You could spend hours trying to prejudge a situation then it turns out to be something different entirely and all that time you spent surmising rather than preparing was wasted time. Look at the Roadrunner cartoons, the Coyote would spend ages preparing something ridiculous without knowing for sure the Roadunner’s plans and he pretty much always ended up blowing himself into smithereens. Don’t be the Coyote, be the Roadrunner.
8. Sit on the fence…
Never offer an opinion. People might tell you this about that person and that person will tell you this about another person and so on and so on.
You might get a few splinters in your ass or a cold butt, however, it is definitely much safer sitting up on top of that big fence than getting involved in office politics.
9. Laugh at yourself…
Make yourself out to be more stupid than you actually are. In my case that’s not really too difficult (see, I just done it without even realising).
Make yourself the butt of the joke.
If someone does something ridiculous, a simple “oh, I do that all the time” puts them at ease and immediately diffuses the situation. Obviously this depends on the stupidity of their actions – even I have my limits.
10. Have fun…
Since we spend most of our day at work then if you don’t have fun when you are there then you really need to look for a new job!
A few years ago I had to give a presentation in which I was trying to get the point across that when giving/receiving tasks, people need to make more of an effort to:
(1) Listen properly
(2) Check understanding
(3) Ask questions
I discovered a really good anecdote for getting this message across and it worked very well. I read it aloud, word for word…
“A new employee is hired at the Tickle Me Elmo (a cuddly toy which laughs when tickled) factory. The Personnel Manager explains her duties and tells her to report to work promptly at 8.00am.
The next day at 8.45am there is a knock at the Personnel Manager’s door. The assembly line foreman comes in and starts ranting about this new employee. He says she is incredibly slow and the whole line is backing up. The foreman takes the Personnel Manager down to the factory floor to show him the problem.
Sure enough, Elmos are backed up all over the place. At the end of the line is the new employee. She has a roll of material used for the Elmos and a big bag of marbles. They both watch as she cuts a little piece of fabric, wraps it around two marbles and starts sewing the little package between Elmo’s legs.
The Personnel Manager starts laughing hysterically. After several minutes he pulls himself together, walks over to the woman and says “I am sorry, I guess you misunderstood me yesterday, I said, your job is to give Elmo “two test tickles.”
I still find it as amusing as it is true. If only the new employee had asked questions. If only the personnel manager had checked the new employee’s understanding of their duties.
I’m now going to Google to see if I can find myself one of those Elmos with balls…