Writing samples

Writing samples page updated for Geneity on 09/05/2012. Will be reverted to the generic version in a week or so.
Link to zipped samples

Open University

My main contribution at the Open University was to help with the user interface for the SocialLearn project, inclusing writing some UI design guidelines for the developers, and a selection of trivial user-facing documents such as a glossary. I did write some user guides, but these could not be finalised because parts of the user interface were still in flux. Nevertheless I would expects parts of what I wrote to remain when the site goes fully live - which in May 2012 must be imminent. But back then, key parts of the SocialLearn application were still being written, and the user interface was subject to many (mostly minor) refinements according to what I and my co-worker suggested.


I wrote quite a lot of material for Steel. The sample document I have from them is a work in progress version of a 'master project scope' intended for use as a template for Steel's viral marketing campaigns. It was designed to cover most eventualities, and the bits needing customising or deleting were colour-coded green. The idea was as far as possible to standardise the scoping document and thereby ensure that no important areas got overlooked. A typical project scope as seen by the client would typically be a third to half the size of the master, because only the most ambitious projects needed all those areas considered. The document's design approach was to start with everything we normally needed and then delete unneeded sections en masse, rather than starting with a skeleton document and growing it. The latter way carried a slightly greater risk of omitting something important.

Air Fayre

As with Steel, Air Fayre were quite happy for me to take away a couple of sample documents, but did not want to let me take copies of everything I'd written. I picked a couple of representative samples and the table of contents document for the entire project to show the variety of material covered overall. Most of these procedures were short - 3-5 pages, and the longest were slightly over 20 pages. These were formally controlled documents, and were released to the users as PDFs rather than Word format to prevent casual tampering.


The technical material I wrote at InterSystems was mostly done through informal channels, generally via email. I don't retain copies of this material. One formally-written piece which may be of interest is my job description, which I redrafted prior to the company's hiring a second sysadmin. This job description fits both of us; the new admin was more unix-focussed, while my main skills were in the Windows NT/2000/2003 area. The original version of this document was written by an employment consultant, but the bulk of the material in the current version was written by me.


The material I have written for personal amusement varies wildly. It includes humour, science fiction, music, book and film reviews, technical notes on aspects of Windows or other software, bug reports for games and various other oddments that don't currently spring to mind.

Some game-related content includes a typography style guide for the Battle for Wesnoth game, a playing guide for an add-on to Open Transport Tycoon (both open source projects), and variety of hints and tips for Minecraft. These articles are on the games' respective wikis, which means others have added to them since I last touched them, but on the whole the articles linked haven't been altered very much since I wrote them. Even where they are slightly out of date, I know from feedback received that all these articles are actually used, which is the main thing. Those aren't my only contributions to the games, but they are the most self-contained samples of what I have written.

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