Author: Michael Kwan

Keep Marketing Away From the Manuals

Darren Barefoot, a prominent Vancouver blogger and “technologist”, recently commented on the difference between a technical writer and one that works in the marketing department. His was a response to a post by another commentator (out there in the wide world of the interweb) who stated that she would like to see more marketing elements and funding put into the making of user manuals. Instruction booklets are too dry, she said. They’re not compelling enough, she went on. Darren shot her down, and I’m on his side on this one. I posted up a brief comment up on Darren’s blog and it reads as follows: I agree with you Darren. The most important aspect of a manual is ease of use. No one will read an instruction book from cover to cover; they might read the introduction and the getting started sections, but more likely than not, they won’t delve into any other part of the manual until they’re stumped. At this point, two things must happen: 1) The information must be easily found. This is where a good table of contents, a comprehensive index, and a well-designed categorization/section system comes up. If I’m having trouble figuring out how to download pictures off of my camera phone, I shouldn’t have too much trouble going to a specific page in the manual for that particular task. 2) The information must...

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Chilli House Thai Bistro

Okay, so I lied. I didn’t come back right after the Panther Paintball entry to talk about the festivities for that evening. So sue me. (Actually, please don’t. I’m but a lowly freelance writer struggling to afford an extra value meal at the golden arches. I want to get a McChicken, please. Fries’d be nice too) Anyways, getting back to my cousin’s stag this past weekend, after we finished up with the Pain Game in South Surrey, everyone went back to their respective homes to shower, clean up, and get ourselves all pretty for the Chilli House Thai Bistro, located in Downtown Vancouver. More specifically, the Chilli House is right along the north shores of False Creek, tucked in along the pedestrian-only walkway just south of Yaletown. This is the same neighbourhood, approximately, as you would find StoneGrill, C Restaurant, and Marmalade Bar and Lounge. My brother (yes, the same brother as my now famous So a crow flies into my house story) and I were one of the first to arrive, so we thought we’d help ourselves to a couple of drinks. Heading upstairs to the private lounge upstairs where the bachelor party would be held, we found a personal bartender who would be helping us for the rest of the evening. While they had some more exotic drinks (with a distinct spicy Thai influence), my brother and...

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Panther Paintball and “The Pain Game”

This past weekend went by faster than a teenager on methamphetamines for me. More often that not, I try to enjoy my days off by sleeping until noon, relaxing in front of the boob tube, and maybe heading out for a game of tennis or two. Of course, playing my Nintendo DS Lite is usually factored into the equation as well. This past weekend, however, was quite different. Want to find out about my (mis)adventures? Then keep reading… It was my cousin’s stag party on Saturday and it was an all-day event. I partook in two-third’s of the day’s festivities, skipping out on the ubiquitous strip bar / lap dance portion. I know, I know, I should have gone, but I was dead tired and… wait, I don’t need to explain myself to you, so I’ll just stop there. Anyways, the day started by meeting at my cousin’s place so that we could carpool to event number one: Panther Paintball in South Surrey. The drive from Lougheed Highway and Willingdon Avenue to the location took us a full 40-45 minutes, much longer than I was expecting, considering we were only a hop and a skip away for the Trans Canada Highway as he embarked on our journey. Upon arrival, we signed our lives away with a waiver form, taking on full responsibility for the following four hours. If one...

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FS: Gamecube games, DVDs, books, etc

Okay, here’s a shameless use of my webspace to pawn off some of the junk (good junk, I might add) kicking around the house. I live in the Vancouver (British Columbia, Canada) area, so if you’re around here, that’d be the ideal situation for me to give you the stuff and for you to give me the money. Otherwise, you can just PayPal me the funds (adding in the shipping cost) and I’ll send it your way. Anyways, here’s what I have for sale. ‘Tis best that you send me an email at michael@michaelkwan.com if you’re interesting. Prices are obo (or best offer), and I’m probably up for appropriate trades as well. Nintendo GameCube games – $10 each Both come with original instruction booklet, case, insert, etc. and are in immaculate condition – Madden NFL Football 2006 – Product Number 03 (sometimes listed as P.N.03) Movie DVDs – $7 each Legitimate (not copied) and complete with original case and insert, unless otherwise noted – Bourne Supremacy (Matt Damon) *disc only* – Out of Time (Denzel Washington) – One Hour Photo (Robin Williams) – Rain Man (Tom Cruise) – Moscow on the Hudson (Robin Williams) Books – open to offers – Mankind Have a Nice Day (WWF) – The Rock Says (WWF) – Drew Carey: Dirty Jokes and Beer – Airframe (Michael Crichton) – Student Entrepreneurs – Big Book of...

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Must Have Nintendo DS Games

With the recent (oh, I guess not that recent anymore) release of the Nintendo DS Lite, Shigeru Miyamoto and crew have found themselves at the forefront of video gaming again, having sat under the shadow of Sony and their PlayStation, PlayStation 2, and — to a lesser extent — PlayStation Portable. The DS Lite brings iPod-like glossy appeal to the video game arena, and when coupled with Nintendo’s innovative dual display set up (one of which is a touchscreen) and incredible gameplay, the DS Lite is quite the winner. Speaking of great games, here are just a handful of titles available for the Nintendo DS that should be a part of every gamer’s library, regardless of genre preferences. Action junkies, RPG lovers, and simulation aficionados should all have a nice long gander at these titles. Mario Kart DS: This is the “killer app” for the Nintendo DS (Lite). It is an absolute must-have title, not only because it brings such a long tradition behind it, but the compilation is an absolute masterpiece. The gameplay mechanics are second to none, the graphics are vibrant and colourful, and who can resist the appeal of hucking a red shell at Donkey Kong as he drifts around the corner on a goofy-looking 150cc go-kart. Veterans of the series will find themselves right at home, as many of the tracks are direct translations of...

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Week in Review: Automotive News

With the car show season just over the horizon (the Paris Motor Show kicks off next month), automotive news is slowly starting to trickle in with some new models, fresh takes on older cars, and some incredibly innovative concepts that may not even have working prototypes yet. It’s hard to keep up sometimes, so here is a short summary of the week for the world of cars, trucks, motorcycles, sport utility vehicles, and a variety of other people-movers. The University of Minnesota has joined forces with Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science, and they’re working on a vehicle that can literally run on water. This technique will mostly be deployed in a fuel cell-powered car to generate hydrogen fuel. The goal is to have a working prototype by 2009. If high-powered, lightweight roadsters are more your foray, then take a look at the R1 from Javan Sports Cars. The British automaker has put together a 1,430 pound car with 220 horsepower, a 0-60 time of 3.6 seconds, and a 12.2 second quarter mile. By 2015, Ford predicts that we will no longer be able to buy a car with a four speed automatic transmission, finding continuously variable transmissions (CVTs) and 6-speed auto gearboxes instead. Ford is also working on a gas cap-less solution for the 2008 model year. We could be the cusp of seeing the official launch of the...

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Time sure flies…

Either I’m getting older or time has accelerated since my younger days, but it sure seems like summer is passing me by. I remember as a kid when the two months we’d get off from school would seem like an eternity, granted it was a very nice eternity filled with the Mario Bros, Metroid, and whatever other games happened to grace my library that summer. But as I type this, it is already the second week of August with the PNE just around the corner, an exhibition that marks the end of the summer and the return to the grind, except in my case, I’ve never really left the grind. I’ve been working full-time for quite a while now, not including the three months I took off between my last co-op term at Enterprise Rent-A-Car and my five month stint at Puti Meditation College These days, I spend my waking hours bashing my fingers on a keyboard and trying to make a decent living (interestingly, I’m making more today than I did putting in 40 hours at Puti). It certainly is a different experience, but I do put in some rather odd hours. I usually don’t get to bed until 2am, but — at the same time — I don’t start working until around 10am the next day. I am grateful I don’t have a half-hour commute to the...

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REVIEW: Telus Mobile Radio, Powered by XM Canada

Telus Mobile Radio is a way for you to receive some of the best XM Satellite Radio programming straight on your high speed-ready cell phone. I had the chance to review the service for Mobile Magazine, and here are my thoughts: XM Satellite Radio isn’t reserved for those standalone units anymore. No longer are you restricted to carrying around an XM-only device to play in your car, while strolling down the street, or even at home… at least if you fall within Telus’ service area in Canada. I had the chance to try out their new Telus Mobile Radio service, powered by XM Canada, and while it was a worthwhile experience, the service isn’t without its faults…. Check out the full review...

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Wii Video: Tony Hawk’s Downhill Jam

I’m going to keep this short and sweet. I can’t wait for the Nintendo Wii to hit the market later this year, as evidenced by the several posts I’ve written on the matter. While promotional videos are fairly abundant, here is an actual in-game, real-time video (sort of) of one of the launch titles — Tony Hawk’s Downhill Jam. As you can probably guess, navigating the courses in this downhill skateboarding game is done by tilting and turning the Wii-mote (as it is affectionately known), much in the same way that you’ll be controlling your vehicles in ExciteTruck and Need for Speed: Carbon. Anyways, here’s the vid. The resolution is kind of crappy, but it gives you a good idea of what Tony Hawk’s Downhill Jam for the Nintendo Wii is going to look like when it hits shelves in October November sometime in Q4 of this...

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Mortal Kombat Armageddon: Character selection screen

Mortal Kombat Armageddon is meant to draw to a close this chapter of the Mortal Kombat story, wrapping up all the loose ends brought on my all past incarnations of the popular (and bloody) fighting game. In this way, all of the characters you know and love are back, from classic Sub-Zero, Scorpion, and Kano to newer characters like Bo’ Rai Cho, Li Mei, and Mavado. Second perhaps only to the legendary Street Fighter series, Mortal Kombat is probably one of the most popular video game series out there when it comes to the standard one-on-one beat ’em up....

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About

Michael Kwan
Hi, I'm Michael. By day, I'm a freelance writer. By night, I'm still a freelance writer. I'm also a proud father, a voracious foodie, an avid traveler, a gadget geek, and a thinker who thinks he might be thinking too much. Beyond the Rhetoric is a reflection of my eclectic entrepreneurial life.

Read more about me and what I can do for you.

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