Have you ever noticed that many computer books are over two inches
thick but, by the time you finish reading them, you could swear there was only
about 3/4 of an inch of information in there? This is because all computer
books tend to be excessively verbose when describing how to achieve some task.
I have seen books take over two pages just to explain how to set a couple of
settings in a simple dialog box. Many authors go crazy cutting and pasting
hundreds of copies of various almost identical sets of instructions throughout
their books. After a while of trying to plow through all this verbosity,
hoping to glean a few morsels of actual new information, I often give up in
As a former network manager and frequent Usenet poster, I found myself
doing the same thing. Repeating the same instructions over and over again for
fear that the user would not be familiar with the same instructions I had given
elsewhere. Even when I was taking notes for myself, I was forced to write out
all these instructions and it was hard for me to go back and quickly see what I
had meant by what I had written.
So, being the lazy bum that I am, I started using an abbreviated
notation for all these instructions. The organizational freak in me soon took
over and found a way to standardize those abbreviations into a cohesive system
and GCGUINS - it rhymes with penguins - was born. Why something like this has
not caught on already is totally beyond me.