Apr 302015


Future book writers... this.

Aug 272013

Last week I talked about an overview of  the registration process and the different phases for the Avaya IP Phone registration process. This week my contribution to the company blog covers the essential information needed to deploy any IP phone. Understanding IP Phone deployment, essential information needed for all deployment scenarios. Part two of a six part series.

Getting started

I start with the assumption that you already know a little bit about the CS1000 architecture and programming– I tried to keep this article to 600-800 words, and even discounting some of the captures I put in the article it still came out to almost double the size. To do a really in depth review of this topic you need a lot more than just a six part series. But, I have plenty of other topics that need attention and while IP Phone deployment is an interesting topic (to me, because of the number of features available compared to those that are implemented in most sites) as a topic, it’s just one of many. Writing white papers is best left to people who have that as a job– amiright?

Unlike completely creative writing, the technical writing comes very easily. The problem with creative writing is always figuring out the answers that you don’t even really understand the questions to– if X happens, how does Y feel about it, how do they react, etc. When a writer gets stuck, often the problem is that either they’re not able to answer the question, or they may not even realize what question they need to answer. But, with technical writing, all you have to be is knowledgeable about your topic and have time to flip through the documentation.

Trimming the fat

But, I removed a lot of in depth detail that I started to slide into the original blog article and instead referenced the documentation. I figure I trimmed at least another 800 words from the article that gave a lot more detail on the use of the Nortel-i2004-A string, as well as a few other B-string mnemonic that I really like when I’m in charge of IP Phone deployment (or tasked with consulting with a customer.)

Trimming takes at least two passes.

Fact checking

Speaking of documentation, it was a challenge getting some of this history straight. I was around during the UNIStim 1.x days (we’re at 5.4 now), but the documentation doesn’t really talk about when features were implemented, changed or removed.

For instance, it wasn’t until 2.2-2.3 that the new Nortel-i2004-B string was introduced, but the latest UNIStim 5.4 documentation doesn’t say when it was introduced. This is important because if you’re on firmware prior to 2.3, you might not be able to support the B string format (I know this is unlikely– but I know of customers that are still on Meridian-1 software that was released before I got into Telecom in 1999.)

In addition to filling in the facts that I could validate through documentation, I also had to make sure that I hadn’t introduced any errors through typos or omissions. Being thorough takes a couple of passes.


Selecting images to fill out a blog is tough for me– I struggle with the artistic creativity required for selecting images that work with the blog post. And, when I cannot find what I’m looking for (and when a google search fails me), I whip something up in Photoshop. You might think that’s creative, but it doesn’t feel that way.

Then, it’s on to getting the text formatting right. Another couple of passes there. Headers are properly coded with the correct H1,H2,H3 tag, words and phrases get the correct bold/underline/italics emphasis. Colored text, when used, can convey information subtly. (e.g., On my company blog articles, I use a dark green bolded text format to represent terms which are universal and not specific to the subject of my blog.)


Then I submit the blog post to the company approval process and if it gets approved, we schedule it for posting.


And thus, Part 2, IP Phone deployment, essential information goes live.


The full series will be:

  • Part 1, IP Phone registration process overviewA review of the basic registration process, the phases, a couple of tips and some hints of topics to come.
  • Part 2, Manual IP deployment, Partial and Full DCHP deployment – the essential information needed for all phone deployment scenarios.
  • Part 3, Full DHCP in more detail – the power of DHCP and auto configuration.
  • Part 4, integrating switch level registration – creating efficiencies in phone registration using LLDP/ADAC.
  • Part 5, Using TFTP provisioning for security and redundancy – advanced IP phone deployment techniques using TFTP provisioning.
  • Part 6, remote worker scenarios, NAT, VPN, Firewalls – advanced networking scenarios.


Feb 122013

I know, I sound unsympathetic — trust me, it’s the opposite. I’m completely sympathetic. I’ve been there. I’m sometimes there still. It doesn’t change the cold, hard fact that all the power lies with you. In your brain. In your hands. Nobody ever said it was going to be easy. Did you want it to be easy? What fun is easy? Easy is a value of zero. And surely you want more than nothing? Writing makes you pay. In blood and tears and frustration. You do it because you love it. Not because it’s a warm bed at your back but because it’s sharp stones under your feet spurring you forward.

via The Hardest Writerly Truth Of Them All « terribleminds: chuck wendig.

I’ve always preferred the hard truth over the gentle truth.

Jan 192013

Grammar: the difference between knowing your shit and knowing you're shit.

via: https://plus.google.com/108452683105392863460/posts/GjryjPFCb7r

Jul 092012

I don’t have a tumblr account, so I post my comments here instead:

I knew someone like the Cullens in high school. He was gone from school 2-3 days a week (not just when the weather was nice), but he consistantly turned in his school work and showed up for tests. I happened to meet his family one year, and both parents were healthy. So, unless he had a family member (grandparent, aunt/uncle, etc.) who had been in the hospital who he never mentioned, he had even less reason for even worse truancy.

But the teachers all seemed to love him, and he got better grades than I did. (Of course, I refused to do homework in high school unless I needed it to understand the material– which meant I did sciency homework, but never did the math until I got into Algebra 2 and Trig. So my grades were patchy based on my interest and need to study to in order to understand the presented material.)

My point being: I don’t find it so difficult to imagine the Cullen’s getting a free pass from the Academics of Forks High School. Academics (in my experience) tend towards using grades to enforce desired behavior, rather than as a real measure of the acquisition of knowledge. Knowing that Vamp-meyer breath is intoxicating to humans (Edward tried to use it on one of the staff people the first day he met Bella), it’s not much of a stretch to think that they could talk their way out of just about anything.

And yes, I know I’m late in responding- I’m catching up finally.

Feb 292012

The Story of “Keep Calm and Carry On” — An Iconic Poster Almost Lost Forever « The Scholarly Kitchen.

Via Kat Richardson

Feb 282012

Feb 272012

Word Choice

In most modern writing, the character will be a viewpoint character who’s actually part in the scene. However, the principle still applies in stories told from a viewpoint outside the story (e.g. the famed third-person omniscient narrator). Even a disembodied anonymous narrator has a persona, revealed by what details are presented. You get a sense of the narrator by where (s)he “aims the camera” and what words the narrator chooses to use.


Let me point out something else important about the descriptions I’ve quoted. Effie gets two sentences; Miss Wonderly gets two paragraphs. That’s an example of what I call wordspace. Here’s my rule of thumb: The more important something is, the more words it should be given so that it registers in the reader’s mind with appropriate strength.

Pacing, Not Padding

Devoting more words to something important isn’t padding, it’s pacing: building up something so that it doesn’t go by too quickly. Readers need time to absorb and appreciate what’s going on; otherwise, they don’t have a sense of the relative importance of your story’s elements (e.g. Miss Wonderly is much more important than Effie).

Of course, there can be exceptions. Sometimes you may want to brush quickly past something important so the reader doesn’t pay much attention. This is common in mystery stories, where crucial clues may be downplayed in order to sneak under the reader’s radar. Sometimes too you may choose to hit the reader with a passage that’s short and brutal rather than drawn out: you smack the reader’s mind with a hard sharp impact.

Still, most of your writing will follow the general principle: more words, more importance; few words, more forgettable. It’s comparable to the use of slow-motion in movies—when the hero finally punches out the villain, you don’t just let the punch fly past at full speed, over and done with in a fraction of a second. You slow it down; you show the impact and the villain being knocked backward; maybe you show it several times from several different angles. You show that this punch is The One that every other punch was leading up to. To do that, you have to give it enough time to happen.

via The Skill List Project: Word Choice and Wordspace at SF Novelists.

Feb 242012

My wife asked me to help her understand a question on a questionnaire she had to fill out. The question reads: “Name two methods in which patients are encouraged to communicate concerns about safety.”

I decided to try my hand at sentence diagramming (using the Reed-Kellogg system).

I’ve never diagrammed a sentence before, so I’m going to talk about how I did it. If I’m wrong, hopefully someone will correct me. If I’m right, hopefully it helps one of my readers.

  1. So I started with the sentence:
    “Name two methods in which patients are encouraged to communicate concerns about safety.”
  2. Looking at this sentence, it occurs to me that the instructive verb is “Name” and the object is “methods”. I briefly toyed with the notion that “to communicate” was the verb, but I discarded that when I considered what “Name” would be if “to communicate” became the verb.
  3. Then I tried to evaluate what methods were desired. The crux of the question is whether the methods are ways that patients “are encouraged” or methods “to communicate”. For that determines where “to communicate” hangs from. I went with the interpretation that the “in which patients are encourage” was an unpunctuated commathetical.
    “Name two methods, in which patients are encouraged, to communicate concerns about safety.”
    This makes the sentence:
    “Name two methods to communicate concerns about safety.”
  4. Every verb, noun or pornoun gets a horizontal bar. Every adjective and preposition gets a diagnal bar. (Conjuctions, Subjects aren’t shown here, so we’ll skip over how they’re handled.)

This is what I ended up with.

Needless to say, the sentence drags like a barge.