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My trees and this blog are one year old

In August last year, I planted two trees at about the same time as I started this blog. Now the trees and this blog are just over a year old. A good opportunity for some stats 🙂


WordPress says that ffeathers has:

  • 62 posts
  • 184 tags (hmm, interesting but meaningless coincidence)
  • 17,216 total views
  • 7,584 blocked spam comments (thank you Akismet)

The most popular post is The agile technical writer with 1,247 views.

Today, someone found ffeathers by Googling for:

“your mouse has moved” error

I hope you found what you were looking for 🙂

Prickly Paperbark

Yesterday, another person came here searching for:

paperbark tree information on growth

So in your honour, here’s some idea of what a Paperbark tree does in a year.

The Prickly Paperbark was a tube, about 40cm high, when I planted it in August last year. Now it’s nearly 2 metres high and quite robust. (It needs to be robust, to survive the onslaught of weeds, floods, cold and heat that our garden inflicts upon it.)

Prickly Paperbark a year ago, at 40cm

Prickly Paperbark a year ago, at 40cm

Prickly Paperbark now, at 198cm

Prickly Paperbark now, at 198cm

It has a very pretty trunk and bark already. The diameter of the trunk is almost 3cm at its thickest part.

Prickly Paperbark close-up

Prickly Paperbark close-up

Old Man Banksia

The Banksia has not grown much since I last measured it in April this year. It’s approximately one metre tall, and battling an ever-changing environment. Since I planted it, a couple of tree ferns have muscled in on the territory.

Old Man Banksia last year, at 17cm

Old Man Banksia last year, at 17cm

Old Man Banksia now, at approx 1 metre

Old Man Banksia now, at approx 1 metre

Still, it is putting up a gallant fight. Its trunk is almost 2cm in diameter and it always has a lot of new growth, although much of it goes sideways in an attempt to find the sun.

Old Man Banksia close-up

Old Man Banksia close-up

As well as my two favourites, we planted around 20 native trees and shrubs last year. Spring has sprung, and we’ll be shopping for more soon. Death to all agapanthus 😉

My Prickly Paperbark tree

This is a special edition of the ffeathers blog, to report the spectacular growth of my Prickly Paperbark tree since I last blogged about it approximately a month ago.

On 13 April, the tree was 172 cm. Today it’s 188 cm — grown 16 cm in five weeks! It’s now over 6 foot and taller than I am. I planted it in August last year, so it’s about nine months old.

Alas, it’s not only the Paperbark that has been growing. I spent a couple of hours this morning removing the Asthma Weed and Wandering Dew that had draped themselves all over the tree and its neighbourhood. Don’t gardens ever take a rest period in Sydney?

Just to reassure anyone who might be concerned about the Old Man Banksia I planted at the same time as the Paperbark: It’s doing fine too. It hasn’t grown so spectacularly since my last post a month ago, so it doesn’t warrant a special edition 😉

My Prickly Paperbark tree

Here’s a closeup of the trunk, with a peg for perspective:

My Prickly Paperbark tree

Yayyy! Confluence wiki has page ordering

It’s a great week for technical documentation on a wiki. Confluence 2.8 is out and it includes manual page ordering. The technical writers at Atlassian have been vocal lobbyists for this feature for quite a while. I’m sure that many people who voted for the feature are technical writers too.

When you’re writing a documentation set, the sequence of the pages and chapters is very meaningful. It’s nice… well, many would argue that it’s essential to be able to define a logical page order rather than being stuck with an alphabetical order. Up to now in Confluence, we’ve worked around the problem by manually adding chapter numbers and page numbers, like “1. Introduction”, “2. Installation Guide”, “2.1 System Requirements”, and so on. Now take a look at point 2 in the Confluence 2.8 Release Notes. We can just drag and drop the pages and chapters where we want them. They stay there 🙂 and the new order is reflected in the PDF outputs and hierarchical page-tree views. Magic.

Here’s the page-ordering feature request on our JIRA issue tracker — it has 174 votes and 87 watchers (i.e. people who want automatic notification of any developments on the issue). The JIRA voting system certainly helped to get this particular feature into Confluence. It was a non-trivial change, and took a fair bit of effort from the development team.

A big hug for the Confluence team on behalf of technical writers everywhere ♥

Other Atlassians think the new version of the wiki is awesome too. See what Fag on FOSS has to say. There were a number of people involved in getting the release out there, and it’s cool that we’re all so pleased with it.

How are my trees doing?

It’s been a while since I ventured to the top of the garden to check up on my two trees. Some of you many have seen my first post about the trees, way back in August last year, when I planted the trees. Now they’ve been in the ground for eight months. They’re about the same age as this blog.

The Old Man Banksia is now 98cm high, grown from 17cm at planting:

Yayyy! Confluence wiki has page ordering

The Prickly Paperbark has shot up to 172cm, from 40cm at planting. Its trunk is about the girth of my finger. As you can see, the garden around the Paperbark is a bit of a jungle, but the tree is holding its own:

Yayyy! Confluence wiki has page ordering

Found the ‘Web Developer’ add-on for Firefox

Web Developer is an awesome Firefox add-on by Chris Pederick. Here’s what the toolbar looks like:

Web Developer Toolbar

With just two clicks, you can resize your window to 800×600. Or you can choose a custom size. This is a must for conscientious web content writers – after all, we may be working in warpsize screen resolutions, but we still need to cater for people on stone-age systems.

Other useful features in Web Developer:

  • Make the browser draw an outline around various page elements, like frames or headings.
  • View a document outline – a sort of hierarchical list of headings and things, much like you can do with Microsoft Word.
  • Look at the stylesheets.
  • Show image information right on the page.
  • And so on – there’s something for everyone.

Thanks Chris – great stuff.

Back to my little trees

(See my previous blog post.) Hey, the trees are the same age as this blog! My blog is two weeks old today. That’s gotta mean something. Every so often, I’ll compare the blog’s progress with the trees.

We’ve just been out and planted the trees. It’s pouring torrents here in Sydney, so we got drenched. Here are some photos of the baby trees before planting:

Prickly Paperbark Prickly Paperbark – the baby tree with a peg to show relative size.
Prickly Paperbark Prickly Paperbark – close-up of the trunk. It’s pretty even now. When the tree grows, the bark will be silver and very flaky.
Prickly Paperbark Saw Banksia, a keystone source of nectar for birds and animals here in Sydney.
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