Fresh back from Tekom’s TCWorld event, Chris covers the difference between different types of tech writers, fantasy maps, running D&D campaigns with inconsistent players, is dark mode a myth, and why do so many cultures think Greek is so complicated?


  1. Would you watch live documenting / tech writing?
  2. Have you ever run a West marches campaign?
  3. Do you like dark mode? Why?

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Welcome to the weekly squeak. Your weekly geeky squeak with me Chris Chichilla. I have been quite busy this week at the Teckom TC world conference in Stuttgart. I have never been to stoke up before. Um, I don’t really have very much to say. I spent most of my time in the kind of airport area, not necessarily the best representation of a city, but I found it quite interesting. [00:00:26] I have been very active in the right, the docks tic where to community for some time, but that is a community that is very much. Well, no, no. This is fairly dedicated to but is dominated, shall we say by a lot of people from software, maybe from open source and smaller startup projects and things like that. [00:00:43] And tech is a German association for technical writers that is very much heavier on the enterprise side, although. That said, they are also starting to welcome kind of right, the DocStar people, which is why I have popped up at a few events recently. They asked me to run two meetups. I ran a meet up, a sort of structured conversation, I guess on, um, on interactivity, in documentation, images, videos, playgrounds, that sort of thing. [00:01:11] And I ran a meetup on testing documentation, two subjects I love to play around with. I think on the whole experience, quite interesting. It’s a very different world to me. I stepped into the vendor hall and saw a whole lot of companies that were completely unfamiliar to me using or selling tools that I have not used. [00:01:31] I’m mostly using open source tools. I have touched Dita a, a sort of popular XML based documentation, um, mock up format I guess. Um, briefly. But very briefly and seeing all these different tools and CMS is, and proprietary tools was quite interesting for me. And I learnt a lot from the people who use them. [00:01:54] Um, and I have always tended to look for open source options for everything I do. But seeing what’s available commercially and hearing people’s experiences was quite an interesting experience for me as well. And I learned a lot and I hope people learn from me. I hope. [00:02:12] So in addition to that, I have a couple of links for use. No interviews. I do have some definitely coming for you very soon. I keep promising this, but they are definitely in progress. Mostly a little bit on the geeky, nerdy side, not so much on the tech side, so if any of you gamers out there, this will be a good episode. [00:02:30] But first is one from Jeremy Morgan on dev dot. Two called getting started with live coding. This is something I had been thinking about. Actually, what I have been thinking about is doing a live documentation writing. And I wondered how interesting that would be to people. I suppose I feel like that they would get an insight into this Mehta process of me figuring out how and why. [00:02:51] I think a certain concept should be explained the particular way, and I’m going to give it an experiment soon, maybe in combination with doing kind of online office hours. So I’d be playing around with setups and cameras and things to see how this works and getting comfortable with the setup. And I might give it a go soon, but in the meantime, I’d be interested in knowing. [00:03:09] Do you think that’s something people would be interested in? I’m very sure we shall try and we should see what the interest is. Bearing in mind that technical writing is, of course, a niche area. So I don’t expect hundreds of thousands, but you never know. You never know. Next is an article from Laurie Clark on wired actually from a few months ago. [00:03:27] I think it popped up because they’d been reading a little bit of, um, sort of wellbeing stuff recently. And this is called dark mode isn’t as good for your eyes as you believe the article. Maybe it doesn’t go a little bit into as depth as I would have liked, but it goes into a little bit of depth around, um, why this may be the case or may not be the case. [00:03:49] But I think we’ve all been sold that dark mood is better for our eyes. And there are definitely some things where it. It’s claimed. It helps concentration. It definitely helps your computer’s health, that’s for sure. Um, but is it actually as good for our eyes as we think? Is it just that screens are generally just bad? [00:04:07] Are we just lessening a problem that is really quite a bad problem? I had been experimented with thought mode. I am still not completely sold on it. I actually tend to use the auto mode on the devices I use in that. I like it lights when it’s light and then it switches to dark when the sun goes down. [00:04:24] So relatively early in the day at the moment, but of course later in summer, and this mostly works for me if I’m in low light environments. So for example, I was on a train yesterday and I tend to switch into dark mode again. Or sometimes if I want to save battery, I switch into dark mode. Or sometimes I just feel like it. [00:04:44] Um, but it, it’s interesting how we’ve gone down this trend without necessarily being completely sure that everything we are told is true. And, but of course, if you just prefer it, then that needs no evidence. You just prefer it. How have you found dark mode? I’d be interested to know. Does it work for you? [00:04:58] Do you like it? Do you prefer it? Let me know. It is a post from a publication that keeps popping up on mine a lot recently from Atlas Obscura from Dan Again from a couple of months ago. I don’t know sometimes why the algorithms give you things. Well, maybe I do know. But anyway, this is called, it’s all Greek to you and me. [00:05:19] So what is it to the Greeks? This is a, uh, mostly English phrase, but apparently actually more common in other languages. And then you think about how when a English speakers often say they don’t understand something, they say it’s all Greek to me. And the article talks about the origins of it. [00:05:34] The rumor is that it comes from when monks used to do translations and most of them spoke Latin and they would say it’s Greek. I don’t understand. And it kind of just pass down from there. But often I think just because are a lot of people, Greek seems UN UN UN understandable. That’s a word, a language. [00:05:53] Um, I’m not sure if that’s strictly true. I would say probably languages like Finnish and Hungarian are far more complicated. So. Uh, I guess Greek just has a more universality, especially in the past, and it still does in many Latin languages as well. But the article also asks what, what do other people say? [00:06:09] And not every country says Greeks, and what are the Greek say? And apparently the Greek say it’s all Chinese, which makes it a little bit more sense. And according to a lot of, um, surveys of the complexity of non native speakers to learn, Chinese is pretty much at the top. So actually the Greeks probably have it right. [00:06:29] And maybe we should be saying it’s all Chinese to me. But I’m, I’m not entirely sure if geopolitics would, uh, we’d like that right now. Who knows? Um, and the Baltic countries apparently think Spanish is impenetrable. They say it’s all Spanish to me, which is interesting cause most people say Spanish is. [00:06:45] Relatively easy in the grand scheme of things to limb. I suppose Greek also uses its own alphabet, but so does Russian and other Cyrillic based languages. So I guess a lot of it is down to this fact that we used to use a lot of Greek and things have just come down through history. So this reminds me of reading a book called the entomologists. [00:07:02] I think I mentioned it a few months back where sometimes it’s fascinating to know the origins of catchphrases and sometimes they are very new and newer than you think, and sometimes they’re a lot older than you think. And I get the feeling this is one of those cases where it’s a lot older than you think. [00:07:15] Next, getting deep down, a nerdy, this is actually a blog from the pro fantasy, a blog, a blog post from the pro fantasy blog who make a fantasy mapping software. Yes, I know campaign cartographer, and then software like that. Well, they had an article that captivated my attention. Um, I’ve always loved maps, so making fancy maps is something that’s appealed to me. [00:07:39] I bought their software in a bundle and I still haven’t really got around to using it. It’s a little bit of an odd interface. But anyway, this is an article on about how to integrate those maps you’ve created into software. So if you’re paying virtual role play games, and when I say that, I mean playing Dungeons and dragons with people online, not playing like a computer game. [00:07:58] And how you can integrate your maps into these digital platforms, which sometimes is a little bit of a misnomer in my mind. I sort of like to escape the digital when I play games. But still a lot of people use them, especially people who don’t live in big cities. And it’s just interesting to, it’s Brent with these things. [00:08:14] So this a, this post details, various services that accept your maps and how to add them. And I’m actually quite excited, nerdy excitement about trying some of them very soon. And finally, in a similar vein, this is a, a post from Oz Ludy. It’s actually not a new post at all. It’s quite old. And also related to Toms and dragons or roleplaying generally. [00:08:37] But someone mentioned the idea to me and I just got fascinated with it. And anyone who is a more experienced role player will probably, there’s a police sound familiar to you, the West marches. Uh, this is the idea of a campaign where you have lots of people who are not always available. And this happens to me a lot in a town like Berlin. [00:08:56] But you want to kind of keep a regularity in your sessions. So what do you do? And this, the, the West marches is an idea of having this kind of isolated location that’s very unexplored. And you may be, have a rough map of what things are there and where fitting nicely with our, with our last article, and you just let groups of players, so the GM was, has to be available. [00:09:20] Of course. That group of players just to go out and explore areas and they pass bits of information back to each other. When I was building up an idea of the area. So you don’t always have to have everybody available, but you have a communication mechanism so they can exchange any information and it all sounds quite fascinating and something I really want to actually try. [00:09:37] I may even investigate trying it in a different system. And a OSL UDI is one of, is the person who actually came up with the idea and there’s a whole bunch of posts on his blog about, um. About how to do this. Sounds like a lot of prep work, but that can be interesting in itself. An excuse to crack out this mapping software, but yeah, I’m going to give it a go. [00:09:58] I’d be interested to know from anybody else who has tried this and tell me, tell me how you found it. I’d be interested to hear, that is my links for the week. I hope you enjoyed getting deep and nerdy with me. What’s happening over the next few weeks. I got I think two more events for the year, but I’m already started to confirm quite a lot for next year. [00:10:20] Actually, I’ll have three events. One isn’t my website yet. I am going to be at the data natives sort of data science conference here in Berlin for the 25th two inches from the 25th to the 26th hopefully taking part in the hackathon as well. Then I will be back at five G tech Rytary learning about five G I guess as the name would imply. [00:10:41] And then from the 10th to the 12th of December, I will be at Devereaux con in London, learning about some developer relations and developer community management, all those good things. So a couple more places you can meet me this year and hopefully early next year I’m going to be in the U S for a few months button more than that to come. [00:11:01] If you have enjoyed what you’ve heard and want to reach out to me on any of the topics covered, you can find my contact details on Twitter, Facebook, and other avenues. Email if you’d like. I’d love to hear from you. I’d love to hear opinions on some of the ideas discussed here. [00:11:19] If you have been. Thank you very much for listening.