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fwc
05-11-2013, 06:51 PM
Hi,
I wanted to ask if anyone here had a clue how to write in a technical style. I have to troubleshoot and record problems, and this is the basic way I write:
>The user was disconnected from the Internet
>Had user check their wireless configuration
>Had user reconnect LAN cables
>Restarted the computer
>Restarted the router and had user re-enter their password
>Opened the network diagnostic tool and did a troubleshooting session
>Asked user to change their IP configuration back to Automatic IP configuration rather than a static configuration and they were able to reconnect to the internet

Is this sufficient in an environment where you may get a phone call every 15 minutes in a tech support environment?

Maryn
05-11-2013, 09:45 PM
I'm not an expert, but what seems absent to me is the basic subject-verb connection, often in favor of understood subject (I) and a past perfect verb that's just taking up space.

It seems to me if it's clear who the subject is and the verb is an active verb, there's less possibility of misinterpretation or missing information.

>The user was disconnected from the Internet
[Passive voice; active would be User lost Internet connection]
>Had user check their wireless configuration
[User checked wireless configuration]
>Had user reconnect LAN cables
[User reconnected LAN cables]
>Restarted the computer
[User restarted computer]
>Restarted the router and had user re-enter their password
[User restarted router and re-entered password]
>Opened the network diagnostic tool and did a troubleshooting session
[User opened network diagnostic tool and did troubleshooting session][In the original, it was not clear to me who opened the tool and ran the session.]
>Asked user to change their IP configuration back to Automatic IP configuration rather than a static configuration and they were able to reconnect to the internet
[On tech's request, user restored Automatic IP configuration rather than static configuration. User successfully reconnects to internet.]

Hm, that's interesting. By inserting a subject, eliminating the "had" and some articles (a, the), the entries are shorter, too.

I'm not at all sure your method is wrong, just that it's different than how I'd do it if I knew a thing about tech support, which I don't.

Maryn, not sure this is helpful, but what the hell, eh?

Cliff Face
05-12-2013, 12:03 AM
Where you've got "Opened diagnostic tool and did troubleshooting", that bit made me think, "Well, is there any more information?"

I mean, the rest of the lines seemed to fully cover what was happening (like restarting something, typing a password, etc.) but that line made me go, "What happened in the troubleshooting?"

Even if it's just the standard end-result of using troubleshooting, a few words on the subject couldn't hurt, I guess.

(Keep in mind, I'm not really a tech person.)

Just my 2c.

Cornelius Gault
05-12-2013, 04:35 AM
Hi,
I wanted to ask if anyone here had a clue how to write in a technical style. I have to troubleshoot and record problems, and this is the basic way I write:
>The user was disconnected from the Internet
>Had user check their wireless configuration
>Had user reconnect LAN cables
>Restarted the computer
>Restarted the router and had user re-enter their password
>Opened the network diagnostic tool and did a troubleshooting session
>Asked user to change their IP configuration back to Automatic IP configuration rather than a static configuration and they were able to reconnect to the internet

Is this sufficient in an environment where you may get a phone call every 15 minutes in a tech support environment?
You didn't say much about the situation you were writing about, aside from "writing in a technical style".


If you are writing a story about yourself or a biography or someone who is in customer support, then I guess your original list is OK.

If this is a fiction or science fiction story, though, here are my thoughts:

I suppose there is nothing wrong with the above if you are writing about something that is happening *now* (2013).

I think that being too specific about the details will date the story. We don't know what will happen to the Internet in 5 or 10 years or even if it will even be *called* the Internet in 15 years. We may not be using a mouse, keyboard, physical display screen, laptop, desktop, IP addresses, hard drives, etc. Look how dated the movies look where everyone is using "advanced" computers which having dozens of banks of spinning tape drives - LORDY! Such a trope!

Also, some people that aren't computer geeks might not enjoy wading through geeky terminology they don't understand (BTW: I am a computer geek and I say this with the nicest intentions - although I might personally understand those technical details, showing too many terms might make it seem like an InfoDump and it won't necessarily enhance the story to give too many details).

Sometimes, it might be better to write in a "summary mode" instead of giving all the little details. After all, is it better to say, "John sped off in his car" or "John opened the door, entered the car, put the key in the ignition, started the car and sped off"? Summary mode ... better.

So, depending on your situation, I might recommend a few things to make which would, IMHO, address a few of the issues I indicated above:

>The user was disconnected from the Internet network
>Had user check their wireless network configuration
>Had user reconnect LAN network cables
>Restarted the computer - OK
>Restarted the router and had user re-enter their password - drop
>Opened the network diagnostic tool and did a troubleshooting session => Started the network diagnostic tool
>Asked user to change their IP configuration back to Automatic IP configuration rather than a static configuration and they were able to reconnect to the internet => too geeky, => Try Reset their network configuration

Just my 2 cents worth ...

Cliff Face
05-12-2013, 04:40 AM
If this is a fiction or science fiction story, though, here are my thoughts:

Pretty sure the OP is talking about his actual job. That was my take from the quote below.


I have to troubleshoot and record problems, and this is the basic way I write: