The training went better than I expected. That is to say that everything went wrong that I was expecting to go wrong. Lots of technical problems, couldn't use printers, couldn't access systems. The ususal.

In the end although I wasn't satisfied with the training, most of the trainees seem to have been.

Goes to show.

Article in the NS from two weeks ago (that I am reading at the moment) implies that resources for mental effort are limited, and use energy the same way as physical effort - which would explain why going to bed earlier has no effect on alertness, even over several days. As usual NS is careful to limit its conclusions to the very specific subject matter under discussion, which is the notion of willpower overcoming desire for short term gratification.

NS articles are very defensive in this way; they are restricted to drawing conclusions that are within the field under discussion, and I suspect that the writers are obliged by editorial policy to seek dissenting or at the very least doubting views.

This kind of discipline is very useful in any descriptive text. If the writer begins by defining the scope carefully, and remains strictly within it, he protects himself not only from speculation (which is unprofessional), but also from distraction and irrelevance (which is poor style).

The user guide that I am working on at the moment describes a product that engages the user in three ways
  1. via the tasks that the user has to peform 90% of the time
  2. via some common interfaces that are used for several different functions
  3. via the layout and ergonomics of the main interface.
I like to begin with a careful naming of parts, as this makes the writing of instructions much faster, but I'm aware in this case that to begin by naming all the parts will result in it taking a long time to get the user to what he is going to be doing 90% of the time.

Consequently, I've adjusted my scope so that when describing the layout of the main interface limit myself to putting labels to things, with no explanation, so that I can move on as quickly as possible to the common interfaces, which need some explanation AT THE SAME TIME as labelling.

I had to make several attempts before I was happy with the scope of this first section ("getting started" as it were), but now that the scope is clearly written I can get on with a clear and simple description, without distracting either myself, or the reader, with the question of what things are for or how they work, which I have explicitly excluded from the scope of this section.

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