John Green, Technical Author
Interested in eventual remote and part-time working
I have written about a wide variety of application software, using a selection of graphics, video and writing tools (with MadCap Flare being a favourite). To cut straight to a full work history, please download my résumé.
Also included on the site are the my attempts to debunk a few popular concepts (refer to Sacred Cows).
John Robert Green
UK born and bred. UK passport holder.
Eston Ltd. (Full-time Course) - February to August, 1984
This was the first specialist Software Documentation course in the country. Following various coding and writing assignments, I took the City and Guilds in 'Technical Communication Techniques', and passed with Merit.
Post-Graduate Bilingual Secretarial Diploma
University of Central Lancashire (Full-Time Course) - September 1979 to June 1980
Post-Graduate Diploma for Bilingual Secretaries, with individual Royal Society of Arts exam passes in French (Advanced), Spanish (Intermediate), Office Supervision (Stage III), Typing (Stage III), Shorthand (80 wpm). I also took, and passed, the Diplôme de la Chambre de Commerce de Paris en français commercial.
Oxford University (Four Year Course) - Left after Three Years
BA Languages course in French and Latin, scheduled from October 1971 until June 1974.
Recent Work Experience
Technical Author: February 2019-Present
Contract at Research England in Bristol (part of UK Research and Innovation) to create documentation for the REF submission system that will be used to assess the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. I am using the latest version of MadCap Flare to create both online help and PDFs.
I underwent security clearance for the role, which can be transferred to other government positions.
It is refreshing to find an organisation that treats a Technical Author with respect and decency, and involves the role in the collaborative Agile process.
Yospace (now a wholly-owned subsidiary of SpotX, continuing to provide dynamic server-side ad insertion technology).
Technical Writer: March 2018-January 2019
In conjunction with the Web and Mobile Developers, I created the user documents describing how to use the SDKs and APIs designed to support Yospace’s core SaaS platform. (The SDKs are particularly crucial for monetization in that these allow the generation of client-side ad analytics for SSAI.)
I also modified and updated the back end yospaceCDS platform documents that describe how to set up and administer the broadcast streams. The user documents were originally written in Google Docs, but I transferred them over to a structured documentation tool (Paligo), which allows for re-use and the generation of both PDFs and HTML5 from a single source.
Perforce (formerly Programming Research/PRQA)
Technical Writer: February 2017-February 2018
Assignment to update the PRQA help for Developers of embedded software, within the legacy LaTeX system, at the same time as migrating it to MadCap Flare. I liaised with the Project Managers, Developers and Support Engineers to rewrite the documentation that is specific to the C and C++ components, and to the PRQA Framework GUI on which the components run. The aim was to provide a consistent, integrated, easily modifiable MadCap Flare source (in U.S. English) from which multi-format output could be generated.
Technical Author: Jan 2010-Apr 2012
Initially, I created DITA XML-compliant documentation for the 3.2 release of the WPS analytics platform, including the user guide for the Workbench GUI (used to run SAS language programs). I also acted as head of the translation team responsible for localisation into French and Spanish (I did much of the French, and some of the Spanish, myself). I then worked closely with the Developers on the API-based 3.3 documentation for the WPS Matrix Programming module released at the end of 2016.
ice insure tech. ltd.
Technical Author: January 2014-February 2015
I worked with both the Marketing and Development teams to create the documents to aid the bidding process, including the end user worfklows for the Claims, Policy, Finance and Rating modules. I also created a back end Policy configuration guide. I introduced MadCap Flare to the Company, and persuaded them that Technical Authoring should form part of the Agile process. I used JIRA to raise defects.
Technical Author: January 2013-January 2014
Working in a remote but Agile environment, I helped to design the new interface for Version 6 of ChangeBASE. I explained the setup and basics of this interface by creating and narrating the Training and Marketing videos using Adobe Captivate, and then uploading them to Dell’s Learning Management System following approval. I also used MadCap Flare to create a conditioned single source user guide, and, from this source, generated all the required types of output (PDFs, CHMs, and HTML5.)
My position was part of a worldwide Dell redundancy programme.
90% CompleteCommunication 90%
90% CompleteOrganisation 90%
85% CompleteAgile Methodology 70%
90% CompleteMadCap Flare 90%
70% CompleteDITA 70%
40% CompleteLaTeX 40%
80% CompleteHTML5 / CSS3 80%
70% CompleteXML 70%
Some Work Examples out there in the Public Domain
BREXIT is boring
I was browsing through the Saturday newspapers today (6th April 2019), and a disillusioned guy wearily stated that he was not going to buy one as they were all full of "Brexit b******s". I stated that I felt the opposite and enjoyed reading about it. As Henning Wehn said on 'Have I Got News For You' the previous evening: "He who is tired of Brexit, is tired of life." He was not being serious of course, but I am endlessly fascinated by this unfolding "Shakespearean sh**storm". It has also brought out some of the best work from our journalists, most notably the excellent Jonathan Freedland of 'The Guardian'. I did buy the newspaper to which he contributed on that day (6th April), and he was indeed on fire. Here are a few pearls: (For the full article, click The lesson of this Brexit ordeal? The EU is a club worth belonging to.)
On MPs speaking absolute rubbish: "Jacob Rees-Mogg, suggesting that if the UK is forced to stay inside the EU by the long extension reportedly sought by Donald Tusk, then it should be as difficult as possible. "We could veto any increase in the budget, obstruct the putative EU army and block Mr Macron’s integrationist schemes," he tweeted. It fell to Nicola Sturgeon to point out the obvious defect in this reasoning: "Isn’t this the same guy who said the UK had no power to do any of these things in the EU and that’s why we had to leave?"
On the EU unity from which the UK might benefit: "Put 22 British cabinet ministers in a room, and they can’t agree on anything. But, despite the Brexiteer predictions that the EU27 would rapidly turn on each other and look out only for themselves – Germans cutting a deal to help their carmakers, Italians breaking away for the sake of their prosecco producers – they have maintained total discipline."
The Result of the 2016 Brexit Referendum must be respected
I am tired of hearing politicians say that they "respect" this result. Even if they do not believe it, they feel compelled to say it, for fear of being seen as enemies of democracy. This was fair enough at the time of the referendum, and for a while afterwards, but knowing what we know now in 2018/2019, I would love to hear some of them say, that, far from "respecting" it, they reject it and will do everything in their power to overturn it.
This is not being élitist - it is necessary in order to protect the UK, both economically and in terms of national security. As Jonathan Freedland said, writing in the 'Guardian' on 25 January 2019: "We are a man taking off his socks, bracing himself to walk barefoot across hot coals – for no better reason than he promised he would." (For the full article, click will-of-the-people-brexit-june-2016-leavers.) If it becomes obvious that, to "follow the will of the people" would put the country in a worse position, then it is the duty of the country's leaders to pull back and deal with any voter fallout - not just stagger blindly on until disaster strikes, and then turn round and say: "Well, this is what you voted for".
Brexit is, and always has been, about solving the internal problems of the Tory party. That's why the vote was called in the first place. The hard right of the party just cannot accept the EU and never has been able to. It's caused the demise of Prime Minister after Prime Minister. It is ludicrous to expect the EU to fix these internal problems for us. The solution is to stay in the EU, tell the Ress-Moggs of this world to bugger off back to the 18th Century, tell the Corbyns of this world to bugger off back to the 1970s, and to form a centrist, collaborative, forward-looking government (maybe under the Independent Group?) that can start to make this country a bearable place to live in once more.
The BBC is Excellent Value for Money
The BBC is totally self-regarding, thinking that it has more power, influence and importance than it actually has. The substantial majority of people in this country no longer sit down together to watch terrestrial TV.
The sad thing is that, instead of addressing the core reasons for this waning of its power, it simply keeps gazing at its own navel and trumpeting its so-called achievements. As Libby Purves, the former Radio 4 presenter observed: "A new 'Doctor Who' is greeted like a Nobel Prize announcement, ‘Strictly' is like a cup final, and a bit of forgettable fiction like 'The Bodyguard' sparks chin-stroking discussion on [Radio 4’s] 'Today', for all the world as if something in the real world had happened. There's a fine line between civil, informative announcements and needy self-congratulation."
Why does the BBC constantly need to keep advertising its programmes, whether it's on TV or radio? We know the station to which we're tuned in, we know who's on air, and who's on air tomorrow. And don't get me started on the advertising of their tedious podcasts.
So, if the BBC doesn't start showing some humility and a sense of reality, there's no chance of it keeping up with the many streaming services that are now showing comparable, and often superior, content.
No wonder many viewers are not renewing their TV licences.
Social Media is Still a 'force for Good'
During the mid-2000s, social media started to completely change the way in which we communicated and shared information with one another. It was the force behind many subsequent revolutions, including ‘Occupy Wall Street’ and the Arab Spring. On a more mundane level, we could follow the lives of old friends that we hadn’t physically seen in years.
However, now, we see too much. And we can't stop ourselves, It's addictive, and the major platforms know it is, and start feeding us distorted versions of the truth to capitalise on our addiction. How do you think the 'Take Back Control' message perpetrated by the Brexiteers got out there? I still hear politicians parrotting that phrase - it's a form of brainwashing.
Not only that, it's also bad for mental health. For many years, we have had to put a 'gameface' on when going to work. Now we have to put a 'social media face' on as well, to tell all our followers that our lives are a roaring success. The resultant strain is ridiculous and unnecessary,
We just need to get the focus back on what's real and important. Having downloaded your favourite ad-blocking software, start creating your own truth.