Equipment Needs

Subject: Equipment Needs
From: "USA::MU17692" <MU17692%USA -dot- decnet -at- USAV01 -dot- GLAXO -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 9 Nov 1994 15:27:00 EDT

My esteemed colleagues,

The technical writer market is larger and more competitive
than ever. There are many reasons why technical communicators
should *own* modern computer equipment:

1. Ownership demonstrates to colleagues, employers, and
potential employers your commitment to continuing
education, self-improvement, and adaptibility to the
changing profession. (You can try to use a pencil and
paper to write documentation or scripts, or whatever;
and you can also be unemployed. Speed and image are
factors close to the importance of quality.)*

2. You learn a great deal in the process of researching
and purchasing the tools of our trade.

3. You can communicate more effectively with colleagues
when you have a fast modem and access to online

4. You can produce resumes, cover letters, etc. and work
from home when you have a capable, at-home system.
For example, I am working on an online resume for
myself. To do that, I needed modern software. (I am
not into scraping together shareware and embedding
all of the codes myself. My time is too valuable:
better to buy an Authoring tool.)

5. If you have children, they can take advantage of the
new, excellent CD-ROM programs out there.

Professionals who invest in their tools and education demonstrate
a commitment to their profession. My advice is, don't be penny wise
and pound foolish.

If you buy obsolete equipment to start, you save money but gain
little else. No matter what you do with it, buy the best computer
equipment you can afford. Often times, a good computer presents
opportunities you didn't anticipate. Obsolete equipment often presents
obstacles you didn't anticipate.

*I used to writer video script for business-to-business video
productions and the clients loved my slick-looking scripts. I
produced them on a Mac Plus and was able to use all kinds of
visual cues for the producer. Even though most of these bells
and whistles were valueless to the producer and video editor,
the customer told us my scripts "looked better" than those of
competing companies. That was good enough for us to keep doing
it that way.

-Mike Uhl (uhl~m -at- glaxo -dot- com)
Glaxo Inc. Research Institute
Research Triangle Park, NC

"Francis Bacon told us that ' power.' This can now
be translated into contemporary terms. In our social setting,
'Knowledge is change'--and accelerating knowledge-acquisition, fueling
the great engine of technology, means accelerating change."
-Alvin Toffler, _Future Shock_ (1970)

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