Who Will Win the Online Movie Rental War

Who Will Win the Online Movie Rental War

Online DVD rentals are becoming more and more popular with consumers as people move away from VHS, become more comfortable generally with buying online, get sick and tired of paying for higher and higher movie ticket prices.

Online DVD rentals are both a fast and convenient way to rent movies. Online DVD film rental companies allow a person to rent and buy DVD movies online through the mail. Normally, a customer interacts with the DVD rental company via the Internet and receives the films ordered via regular mail.

<b>How DVD film rental works</b>

DVD film rental companies operate on the following model: A new customer joins the DVD rental service and creates a list of good movies they will like to rent, This is called there Q or Queue, and next the DVD rental company sends movies from the customers list by regular mail, finally the customer receives the films, views them and sends them back and receives another film from list.

The two top companies right now are Blockbuster & Netflix. Both of them have there avenges and offer basically the same thing. But in my option I love Blockbuster, just for the mere sake that after I watch the online rentals I can go to the Blockbuster right across the street and exchange them for more movies or games.

But for more details you should check out both of them and decide which one is will meet your needs better.
Both Blockbuster & Netflix offer a free DVD film rental trail, but at the end of this article I’m show you how to try the free trial.

<b>Blockbuster DVD Film Rental</b>

Although the first online rental company has to be Netfilx. Netflix quickly became popular with the renting movies by mail, but when Blockbuster start there movies by mail service, they quickly over took Netflix. By offering an easy to use, quick and affordable solution to Netflix.

<b>My 3 Reasons Why</b>

The reason I don’t use Netflix and won’t advice anyone to use its service is because their service is expensive, DVD delivery is slow and they don’t provide coupons as often as Blockbuster does.

Another reason I use Blockbuster to rent and buy DVD movies on-line is because they provide free movie and game rental coupons to users each month.

The last reason I love Blockbuster’s service is their fast and efficient delivery of DVD rentals, they have an arrangement with USPS that enables Blockbuster to electronically register DVD’s refund before they actually arrive their office. This saves time for both Blockbuster and their users benefit from greater turn-around time for their next DVD rental.

If you are looking for an efficient, reliable and affordable Online DVD film rental service, I highly recommend Blockbuster online DVD rental.

Love in Development of the Social Self Environment

Love in Development of the Social Self Environment

-Loving Each Other In Joy

The only thing worth having in life is a sense of humor. Joy is the greatest achievement to humans. It shows the total personality of one self to the outside world. No one can be happy unless they believe they are.

Relationships are impossible without a sense of humor ;laughter and joy. Life should never be taken likely. This is serious business. To a certain degree this is true. This gives even more reason to have a sense of humor. It takes courage to laugh in a world where there is rape; killings; and so much hurt toward others.

There are many people that actually feel guilty when they’re happy. Often one may feel as if they are going to be punished for sharing a roaring laugh. Just look at all the comics that are hired to make people laugh. This has probably save many people from the straight jacket. Life is a wonderful joke and humans are actually the center of it.

Joy; laughter; and humor are all wonderful in bringing comfort into a relationship. This helps in relieving tension. Joy can actual help in aiding digestion. It tends to stimulate the heart and strengthens muscles.

Joy and happiness are simply states of the mind. This is good in finding creative solutions. When one is full of joy, they are more open to enjoying life. You are prone to seeing things clearer and able to handle daily tension. When one laughs it secretes a hormone that tends to act as a natural painkiller. If you are too lazy to jog , simply laugh . This causes all the vital organs to vibrate and jostle.

When you have nothing to do, no one to love , and it seems you have no one to love, joy will come into your life. You should always love completely. Never relinquish your dreams. These things will help you , but joy will only be yours when you choose it to be. Most people are only as happy as one makes up their mind to be. Many relationships have been saved by a good belly laugh.

Often one may seem to carry the weight of the world on their shoulders, never fear an ounce of joy can remove that weight. Ever so often, one needs to create a level of freedom and risk. This should include an active environment full of surprises and a sense of humor. It is very easy to bond in an environment of joy.

It is rather weird that the happiest people are those that seem to have no particular reason to rejoice. They are just simply happy. You can sense the willingness to risk; and the ability to fail but let go. Truly they believe in themselves. This shows the unique resource of creativity and the ability to hold on to their dreams.

Everyone is responsible for his or her own happiness. You may define your happiness in a unique way. No one can tell you what makes you happy, even though there are some people that will try.
Only a fool would expect to find happiness continuously and try to hold on to it. Happiness occurs as an n action to some feeling. Very seldom does one realize that all this joy and happiness comes from within one self.

Human beings are very comical and life has given everyone the opportunity to enjoy laughter and joy. All that is necessary is the need to laugh again. Laughter is the youthful side of repentance and of misunderstanding. Laughter is probably the closest distance that two people will share. So if you need something to bring you together in a relationship , laughter is sure way. Laughter is brought on spontaneous and brings much joy to one self.

Celebrities and their Sunglasses

Celebrities and their Sunglasses

Every celebrity out there knows the real value of a pair of designer sunglasses. Whether it’s to hide the effects of a late night out on the town or an effort to blend in on the street, a pair of quality sunglasses is absolutely indispensable. We’ve seen a lot of trends come and go, but a great pair of sunglasses will always transcend the passing fads of the day.

With the summer just around the corner, we have begun our fashion trend spotting efforts for 2006. Like years passed, celebrities are on the forefront of eyewear fashion. One of my favorite pastimes is to monitor the fashion trends of my favorite celebrities. As with last season, big sunglasses are all the rage for the ladies. God bless you, Jackie O!

Carmen Electra is one of my favorite celebrities, and one of the most stylish women in entertainment. While I could do without another season of her dreadful "reality" television show, I am dying to get my hands on a pair of the Missoni shades she was recently spotted in. They are oversized and oh-so-glamorous!

Catherine Zeta-Jones may have a thing for old, outdated actors but her fashion sense is as fresh as a spring breeze. I recently saw her sporting a pair of Dolce & Gabbana glasses that were out of this world! I suspect they were the utterly amazing "4005" model. They were black, with the D&G logo designed into the arms of the glasses. The shades are big, bold, and beautiful!

Heidi Klum, our favorite supermodel and partygirl, has incredible fashion sense. I saw a picture of her earlier this week wearing a classic pair of Aviator shades. While a number of people in the fashion industry have been lamenting the prevalence of Aviator shades, I couldn’t imagine a world without them. Heidi was wearing a pair made by Ray Ban, and they were absolutely fabulous!

Speaking of partygirls, how could I go on without mentioning Paris Hilton? I adore Paris. She may not be taken seriously as an actress or singer, but she reigns supreme over the fashion world. She was recently spotted wearing a pair of the new Oakley glasses for women. That’s right, kids. Oakley just launched a new line of shades exclusively for women, and they are the must-have item for this fashion year. Believe the Hype!

Free iPod Music Downloads: Legal and Safe

Free iPod Music Downloads: Legal and Safe

Apple iPod is not only trendy but it also helps make music revolution in the new era. This new technology from Apple Computers has brought a new order of musical pleasure to many people. That is why it has spread widely and its music widely shared around the world. You can have a wide array of choices from the downloadable music in the Internet for your Ipod.

You can choose from millions of songs and download what you want and when you want it. Effortless free iPod music downloads are also available in the Internet of which music can be kept for as long as you want.

There are free iPod music downloads in the Internet where thousands of music tracks are stored for legal sharing. And if you find a song you like, you can download it effortlessly and legally. There are many questions still about the legality of free iPod music downloads.

International and domestic iPod music downloads are bombarded with questions of legality in accordance to the Recording Industry Association of America or RIAA. There are still a handful of websites that offer legal free iPod music downloads including:














and iTunes Music Store

Free iPod music download websites above have great blog-style listings of free iPod compatible MP3 songs by record artists and labels, and mainstream and independent artists. Some will give you a free two-week trial period to check on the services provided by these websites that offer free iPod music downloads.

There are specialized websites too that give free iPod music downloads for young listeners. These are clean, professionally designed interface to give free iPod music downloads where you can download free iPod music across all major genres. There are more than hundreds of thousands of songs that are free for iPod music downloads.

If you find it hard to look for the songs you like, you can always go to iTunes Music Store. It is not as cheap as other iPod music download stores but it is completely safe and legal way to get access to one million songs.

Websites that offer free iPod music downloads can also update you to new cool accessories about your iPod and Apple computer that can help you and your gadgets achieve maximum performance. Accessories include car chargers, pocketdock firewire, pocketdock line out firewire, pocketdock combo, pocketdock line out USB, earbuddy and more. Websites that offer free iPod music downloads also feature not only songs but entire albums as well as updates on which songs and artists are becoming popular and hitting the charts.

From these featured free iPod music downloads in the Internet, you can easily locate the songs you want to have on your iPod. You can find the songs you like by browsing through the store’s library by finding it by genre. Or you find too many results; you can make it easier by searching by artist, album or song title. For songs that are very popular for the moment, there are lists of songs that are topping charts around the world that will make the search easier.

Free iPod music downloads on different genres of music include alternative, indie and punk, Broadway, children’s music, classical, country, dance and DJ, folk, international, jazz, Latin, miscellaneous, new age, Opera, pop, rap and hip-hop, rock, R&B and soul, and soundtracks.

There are many websites that offer free iPod music downloads but some people who have iPods do not know where to begin. The best way to search for these free iPod music downloads is through search engines like MSN, Google and Yahoo. Once you have found the websites you are looking for, you can click on them one by one and start by looking for the songs you wish to download for free.

After completing the downloading process of free iPod music, the songs you want are already stored in your computer which you can easily transfer to you iPod. Take note about where you saved the iPod music you downloaded for free for easy access later.

With free iPod music downloads, there is no need for you to break the law and join illegal files sharing communities in the Internet. If you cannot afford to buy new music downloads, you can maximize the use of free iPod music download websites today.

Go Fly a Kite!!

Go Fly a Kite!!

Frugal family fun is easy to find. Enjoying an outing doesn’t need to cost a lot of money. Below I list several ideas for frugal outing for the family. Pick one, or even all of them, and enjoy.
*Be patient and wait to see new movies on video. Some communities even offer free video rentals at local libraries and will order new movies if library patrons request a certain title.
*Check to see if there are any discount movie theaters in your area. Most of these places show movies just before they’re released to video. A family of four can go out for an evening at the movies and spend less than five dollars for a fun family outing. Keep a list of movies you want to see, and then check the discount theater listings each week. These theaters often keep the movies for just one or two weeks, so stay alert to what’s playing.
*Go to the first show of the day at first-run theaters for the best prices (and shortest lines!).
*Check your area for free days at museums, zoos, etc.
*Check for free concerts, plays, and other live family entertainment in local parks.
*Call and find out if your local college stage production group, ballet or orchestra will let you watch them rehearse for free.
*If you want to eat at an expensive restaurant, go for lunch rather than dinner. The menu is usually the same, but the prices are often half.
*When dining out, drink water only. Ask for a lemon or lime wedge if you want to make your drink seem special. This trick can easily cut $10 off your family’s total dining bill, which could mean the difference between going out for a fun meal or staying home eating frozen egg rolls again.
* Go fly a kite. Literally!

5 Must-Have Techniques For Creating Unbelievably Productive Copy

5 Must-Have Techniques For Creating Unbelievably Productive Copy

1. Get Specific
Nothing can spell out BORING quicker than bland claims that really say nothing. "My clients make more money!" is a perfect example of poor copy that could use a little life. What happens when you change it to, "My clients increased their sales by 23.5% in the first 30 days!" Now that is kicking! It’s specific and exciting.

Be sure that your claims sound believable, no matter how unbelievable they are. People are skeptical of "too good to be true" claims. It’s better to tone it down, and let them be surprised when it exceeds their expectation.

2. Keep It Short and Sweet
Long paragraphs and complex sentences look too much like work to read. Yeah, readers get bored quickly and easily. Chop it up, and break it up. Don’t use paragraphs of more than 7 lines or sentences longer that 18 words. Find ways to shorten it up, and you’ll keep the readers attention.

How many long words are in your copy? Replace them with short common words to create a reader-friendly appeal. Let your copy speak to them in the language they are used to hearing. Well, if your readers don’t like to spend a lot of time reading… it pays to choose your words carefully.

3. Keep it Active
Eliminate dull passive phrases. They do little, except bore the heck out of your readers. Dig them out and replace them highly active words that will motivate the reader to get up out of his easy chair and DO something.

The call to action is the most important part of any advertisment. Call, subscribe, join, order, buy… make them hear the call loud enough that they do something – NOW.

4. Skip the Humor
In the right place, and at the right time, humor is an effective tool. Written sales copy just isn’t it. Ads are short, concise and to the point. Humor tends to get in the way and distract.

Real life stories captivate readers. They relate to them. The human interest of these stories draws the reader into the message, whereas humor distracts them for the point.

5. Us A Powerful P.S.
A P.S. can be a powerful way to emphasize your product, highlight the points of benefit, or dramatize effects of the purchase. It’s the perfect way to summarize your page.

The P.S. is most powerful on Web pages. Surfers often read the headlines and skim to the P.S. where they look to get an idea of what’s on the page, and if it’s worth their time to read it. Put some effort into making your P.S. captivating.

Hollywood’s fascination with Celebrity High Rollers

Hollywood’s fascination with Celebrity High Rollers

The elusive world of poker has come a long way from its seedy roots of shady, Mafioso-type characters playing no limit holdem’s in dingy, underground gambling dens. Today, it is very much a part of everyday life, sexed up with a peppering of celebrity and television coverage. Thanks to the internet this old game has also managed to reinvent itself and appeal to a broader and younger generation with the likes of Ben Affleck, Toby Maguire and Leonardo DiCaprio all helping to propel poker’s profile into the stratosphere. Quite literally, the face of poker has now been replaced by college kids in their dorm rooms or women in their pyjamas playing poker, all influenced by the glamorous image poker now has.

Today, it’s easier to list the celebrities who aren’t playing poker than the ones who are. Whether the stars are playing for charity or for added publicity, millions watch games such as Bravo’s Celebrity Poker Showdown, now in its fifth season. While many question these stars’ poker-playing abilities, few doubt that these celebrity poker shows contribute to the poker craze as well as the uptake of poker online.

Not only is the music world cashing in on Poker but Hollywood has also come –a – knocking. Forget about private jets, vintage sports cars and dinky little pooches, if you’re an A-list movie star with money to burn there’s only one game in town: No Limit Texas Holdem. That’s right, poker has come to Hollywood and no Friday night is complete without a high-profile celebrity tournament taking place somewhere in Beverly Hills.

So far, George Clooney, Jennifer Aniston and David Schwimmer have all hosted poker parties at their homes, but the game everyone wants to be in is the one organised by the actor James Woods on a weekly basis. Players have to ante up $5,000 to be included in Woods’s magic circle, but that hasn’t deterred Ben Affleck, among others, from beating a path to his door.
One of the reasons movie stars are so keen on poker is that the odds are stacked in their favour. Chris Weitz, the director of American Pie and About A Boy, recounted a Hollywood poker tournament he’d taken part in recently in which the winners of various heats got to compete at a top table for a prize of $50,000. However, when it came to the celebrities, the rules didn’t apply. "They got to sit at the big table, even if they failed to win their heat," he said.

Even playing with a stacked deck, some celebrities still manage to lose. Earlier this year, James Woods sailed to the Mexican Riviera to compete in a million-dollar tournament organised by the Travel Channel. But lady luck deserted him. "They took all my money," he said, referring to the professional card-players he was up against. "I have nothing left." It seems that lady luck has got a tight leash on celebrities and it’s apparent that Hollywood have become enamoured with Poker and in turn we have become infatuated with this sexed up image.

Even more celebrity poker? You bet. E! Hollywood Hold’Em let’s viewers enter celebrities’ homes as they and their friends, some famous and others not-so-famous, play hands of poker until someone wins the $10K pot. Intended to emulate the home games most amateur players are familiar with, this show enables viewers to see how the other half plays poker. When comparing E! Hollywood Hold’Em to the other celebrity poker shows, most poker enthusiasts agree that this show illustrates the worst in terms of actual poker-playing ability. When watching, one cannot help but think that these "poker players" have too much free time and too much Monopoly money to play with. Publicity stunts aside, tuning in to an episode of Hold’em Hollywood style does prove to be entertaining and as long as the celebrities are doing it, poker will continue to appeal to the masses.

Use Sheet Music To Play Your Instrument

Use Sheet Music To Play Your Instrument

If you look all over the internet you will find that many sites offer free sheet music for just about every instrument. When looking for sheet music especially piano sheet music there are many different genres to choose from and this makes finding the music much easier. As the turn of the century arrived piano sheet music became very popular among young adults, many people were playing the piano and parlor music became the new trend to sweep the country, this made sheet music very popular. So much so, that every home had a piano and more often than not at least one member of the family could play it.

Sometimes it is hard to read sheet music, this is not because it is hard in general it just takes practice, the more you practice reading the sheet music the better you will becomes at it. When learning any instrument and you want to learn like a pro you need to learn the sheet music, understand it and process it.

Music directors and other musicians use sheet music for different songs and it covers many different vocal ranges and instruments. It will only teach you how to play songs and compositions by rote. Nonetheless, not everyone is blessed with the ability to play songs by ear. Musicians back then publish their songs in these unbound sheets of paper. Going back to the 19th century most of the songs in the USA became popular by sheet music. In the past not all songs were written down so most of the popular might have been lost.

If you are looking to improve your musical talents a create resource is the internet, you can download free sheet music and this will benefit you in many ways because it allows you to play other pieces of music. Musicians that are struggling musicians find it much easier to find sheet music, most of the time they can download it from the internet for free. Today, sheet music is found on many music sites on the Internet with some giving an option of free downloads.

The Internet has brought forth many resources for musicians, from one-click access to research of songs, pieces and bands, to easy access to catalogues full of thousands of instruments and other products that can be ordered and shipped directly to them with a few simple clicks. As pieces of music get complicated for the person playing it the notation of the music becomes more complicated and the difficulty to the compose the music becomes harder, because of all this you will learn how to write the music as you go along. There are literally thousands, if not millions of musical pieces for violinists to play.

To have a good grasp of the notes for a guitar a good suggestion is that you learn them slowly and with concentration. Most violin music is written in the middle C so when producing notes they are written on the treble clef. When you learn a piece of music with traditional sheet music you are not just learning the notes you are also learning another language.

Tips When Choosing a Movie Download Site

Tips When Choosing a Movie Download Site

The Internet is swamped by numerous Websites today that are offering tons of videos. Yes, watching videos is now made possible because the speed and power of the online media continues to rise. Have you heard about downloading and watching movies online? Many users are now using the Internet because of the countless movie download sites.

Are you confused because there are just too many movie download sites today? Have you tried some of them and end up being just disappointed and frustrated? You should be very discerning and careful when choosing a movie download site, most especially if you are paying for required memberships and subscriptions. Here are several guidelines that could help you do so.
Choose a movie download site that is offering unlimited downloads. Many Websites are offering membership options for numerous or unlimited downloads. Doing so would be very beneficial in the long run especially if you are addicted to downloading and viewing movies through the Internet. However, take note that most of movie download sites that offer unlimited downloads are charging much more compared to those that are charging on limited downloads.

Many Internet users are misled by the price difference between sites that offer limited and unlimited movie downloads. First of all, sites that offer limited downloads for a certain period would naturally charge less compared to those that are offering unlimited downloads. If you are not into downloading and watching movies across the Internet, the limited option would be right for you. If you intend to watch one or just a handful of titles, you are better off in such memberships. However, if you are into regularly watching movie downloads the unlimited option would be the best. It would cost you much more if you download movies beyond the limits in limited memberships.

Make sure the movie download site you chose is offering a wide array of movie titles. It is always best to enjoy the widest selections of titles, and even games, music, and television shows. It would be appropriate if you would first check on a site’s portfolio or list of movies before you finally decide to secure a membership. You should be sure that you would not be stuck in a membership that you would not actually enjoy. You have all the right to do the necessary checking. The best movie download sites are those with the biggest portfolio of titles and those that are at the same time committed to expanding their range.

Lastly, take note of the video or movie quality. The best are those sites that offer DVD-quality movies. However, be careful because most membership Websites know this. Thus, they promise DVD-quality movies. It is only after you finalized membership that you would realize that such sites are only offering substandard quality of movies. It is just frustrating to wait long hours downloading a movie file and then getting disappointed with the video quality.

There is nothing better than staying at home and watching your favorite movies. If you are a home buddy and you value company of your family, patronizing movie download sites’ services would be best for you. There is no more need to spend too much for buying and renting DVDs or getting to movie houses to watch a movie.

Great Technical Writing: The Two-edged Sword Of Reader Experience

Great Technical Writing: The Two-edged Sword Of Reader Experience


When we write User Documents we rely on our Reader’s/User’s experience to simplify our work. This can cause problems for the Reader. This article will discuss the effects of Reader experience and how to minimize the negative effects of incompatible experience, and how to handle the writer’s assumptions about the Reader.

Writer’s Benefits: Relying on Reader Experience

When we write, we rely on our Reader’s experience to give us a "starting point" for our User Document. Often we make hidden assumptions about our Reader’s experience.

Here are some examples where relying on our Reader’s experience makes things easy (and causes problems) for us as writers:

Example: Using a Computer’s Mouse

In writing User Documentation for Graphical User Interface-based computer products (such as the Windows or Mac User interface), we assume that the the Reader knows how to use a mouse to click on items, drag, etc. This saves much background writing.

Example: Cooking: How to Measure Ingredients; Terms

Cook books save space by (usually correctly) assuming that a Reader can perform basic cooking operations (such as measuring ingredients), and terms (such as puree or slice).

Example: Common Acronyms

We rely on "common" acronyms such as AM and PM to simplify our writing lives. However, many Readers use a 24 hour clock, and thus AM and PM are meaningless to them.

Beware of any acronyms that you assume that your Reader knows. It is best to define acronyms in line (perhaps in parentheses) when they are first presented in that part of the User Document.

You cannot define them only the first time they appear in the User Document. This assumes — incorrectly — that Users read your User Document from start to finish.

Problems Writers Cause When Assuming User Experience

Our assumptions as writers can get us into trouble.

Example: Unfamiliar Words

Here’s a gardening example: Acme’s (a fictitious company) Illustrated Guide to Gardening in Canada (1979) makes an incorrect assumption about its Readers:

In one of their definitions they use a term, "the axil of a leaf" to define another term. "Axil of a leaf" is not listed in the book’s index, and there is no glossary in the book. Clearly this book assumes that the Reader understands the term "the axil of a leaf." I don’t, and am therefore unhappy with the presentation.

Solution: Provide a glossary of gardening terms or a reference to a page in the book where the term is defined.

Example: Assuming Students’ Experience

Here is an example where an (unstated) assumption by a training company rendered one of their courses useless.

In order to do the exercises in a computer programming course, students had to be able to use an editor (a simple word processor) to program the system. The only editor available on the course machines was a UNIX editor known as vi.

Unfortunately, the students were not told that they needed to use the vi editor. The course presenters assumed that the students knew vi. The students did not, and they spent half the course time trying to learn and deal with vi.

The hidden assumption by the training company resulted in a failed learning experience (the students never needed to use vi again). It wasted two days of the four-day course time.

Don’t Present Assumptions in a Sneaky Way

If the training company had said that, "We train on UNIX systems," then they leave a way out for themselves when they disappoint students who do not know the vi editor. When confronted, the company could respond with, "We told you it was a UNIX system. You should know that vi is the editor available on that system."

This sneaky statement of the assumption is foolish. It will result in a lose-lose situation.

The Bottom Line

As writers, we to make assumptions about our Reader’s experience. However, if you make assumptions, then make sure that you tell the Reader what you assume about him/her.

Think about the assumptions that you make about your Reader. Are these assumptions valid (that is, can you really expect your Readers to meet your assumptions)? If there is any doubt in your mind, include information explaining the terms and procedures that you assume.

Make sure that when you state assumptions, that you present them in a way that the Reader (student) can understand what the assumption means to them. Don’t be sneaky about presenting the assumptions.

User Experience Can Cause Trouble for Writers

Your Reader’s experience can cause confusion. Here are some examples:

Example: Shampoo/Conditioner Product

One of my favorite examples is a combined hair shampoo and conditioner product. If a User has experience with the separate products, then their experience is to:

* Shampoo: Wet thenhair. Massage shampoo into the hair, then rinse it out.
* Conditioner: Wash the hair. Massage conditioner into the wet hair, leave in the hair for two or three minutes, then rinse it out.

The problem arises with the combined product. Should the User leave the product in the hair for two or three minutes (as done with the conditioner), or rinse it immediately (as done with the shampoo)?

The User Document (product label) for a combined shampoo-conditioner should tell the User how to use the two-in-one product. Most such labels do not.

Example: Words Used in Unexpected Ways

Your writing can set the expectations of the Reader, resulting in confusion when words are used unexpectedly.

An article in the Technology Section (of a newspaper on June 10, 2004, page B14) described, "How the little guy can back up computer data". The article was about computers. When I came to the sentence: "Let’s face it: backups are boring and a hassle to boot." I wondered about the phrase "to boot."

In computer jargon, "boot" is the process where the computer starts up ("lifts itself by its bootstraps"…by a program originally called a "bootstrap loader"). Does the author’s quote about "hassle to boot" mean that if I do backups, then my computer will be slower ("boring") and require more work from me to start up ("hassle to boot")?

The use of the phrase "to boot" is inappropriate in this article, given that "to boot" has multiple meanings. The author used it as slang for "in addition to." Since the article was about computers, I thought of the computer meaning of "to boot." The sentence would be less confusing if the author left out "to boot," as: "Let’s face it: backups are boring and a hassle." We’ll return to this example shortly.

Example: Functional Fixedness

An object’s function is fixed in a person’s mind. For example, a hammer’s function is to pound things. Experiments have demonstrated that people have a hard time using a hammer for an unusual function, such as a paperweight, a prop, or a lever. This is called functional fixedness.

Functional fixedness can limit the usefulness of your product. Your User Document should attempt to overcome functional fixedness. Perhaps this example will show how critical I am of User Documents.

I have a wrist global positioning satellite (GPS) device that keeps track of my long walks. Sweaters and heavy coats, needed for walking in the winter, make it difficult to wear the GPS device on the wrist. But it is a WRIST device. Functional fixedness arises, causing me struggle to use the GPS on my wrist. But it turns out that the GPS works well when used in a pocket.

The GPS User Document should mention this (obvious?) capability, thus reducing the functional fixedness associated with the WRIST GPS. In my defense: I am not sure that putting the wrist GPS in a pocket is more obvious than using a hammer as a paperweight.

Example: Humor

Humor relies on:

. a subtle knowledge of the language (for example a pun)
. or a knowledge of an event (perhaps a current event or entertainment event)

on which the humor is based. Here’s an example, from an old joke:

"You’re so funny, you should be on a stage. There’s one leaving in 15 minutes."

This joke relies on the Reader’s knowing the two meanings of "stage": (1) a place for performing, and (2) transportation used in the western United States in the 1800′s. Most Readers might not know the second meaning, rendering the humor a confusing waste of words.

Earlier we examined the sentence: "Let’s face it: backups are boring and a hassle to boot." The author used the phrase "to boot" as some form of folksy talk or humor. It confused the Reader.

Eliminate Humor from Your User Document

. Humor will only confuse Users who do not understand it.
. Humor is difficult, if not impossible, to translate into other languages.

I suggest that you use a writing style that is informal and conversational, but with no attempts at humor. Remove attempts at humor when you review and revise your writing.

If you want to write humor, do it elsewhere (you should be on a stage). User Documents are no place to practice your humor.

The Bottom Line


Be careful about what you assume about your Reader. When in doubt whether or not a Reader knows something:

. State your assumptions about your Reader
State the assumptions in a way that the Reader can relate to
. When in doubt, add the information that you assume, or
. Tell your Reader where to find the assumed information
By providing or pointing to this assumed information, you increase your audience

Readers’ Experience

Be aware of how your Reader’s experience influences how he/she interprets your User Document or uses your product. If necessary add material to your User Document to counter your Reader’s incompatible experience.