Category Archives: general

Thirteen life hacks

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The other day I ran across a post detailing 46 brilliant life hacks. Since then I’ve been mulling over a few of my own life hacks and wanted to share them here. The following are a few tips that have worked for me. They are totally random, covering “life” in general, but I’ll share them Continue Reading »

Benefits of tool diversity, part II

In my previous post, Is tool fragmentation a good thing?, I lamented the trend toward tool fragmentation in the tech comm community, noting several disadvantages that fragmentation brings: fragmentation of community and knowledge sharing increased overhead of learning new tools frustration with HR departments who expect strong knowledge of their chosen tool (among hundreds) I Continue Reading »

Strategies for content re-use in Confluence

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I’ve been knee-deep in Atlassian Confluence lately, analyzing the best way to re-use content. In this post, I’ll describe a fictitious scenario that resembles an advanced content re-use situation and then explore various strategies for re-use. The scenario Suppose you’re creating a bicycle manual for a Trek 7.3 FX (which happens to be the exact bike I recently bought). Continue Reading »

10 technical writing principles to live by

Image by James Butler (Flickr)

As I started my new job, I’ve been thinking about the most important technical writing principles I’ve learned in the past. The following are 10 principles to live by when doing technical writing. 1. Always test out the instructions yourself. Unless you can walk through the instructions and perform the tasks yourself, it will be Continue Reading »

Information Development World and the Customer Experience — A Podcast with Scott Abel and Val Swisher

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Length: 26 min. Download MP3 (right-click and select Save As) In this podcast, I talk with Scott Abel and Val Swisher, organizers for the Information Development World conference, about the technical writer’s role in the customer experience. The customer experience is a major focus of the Information Development World conference. The Information Development World conference Continue Reading »

Started a new job

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I started a new job last Monday at a company called The 41st Parameter in San Jose. I’m pretty excited about it. 41st’s main product helps prevent online fraud with transactions; another product helps with identity resolution for advertising technologies. I’ll be creating developer documentation for products that include C++, Java, .NET, and REST. I’ll Continue Reading »

DITA hierarchical links, related links, short descriptions, and one-folder organization

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I’m continuing with my series about DITA. In this post, I explain parent-child page links, content re-use when the content exists in different elements, a one-folder-for-all-files organization, and a better workaround to transferring relative links to Drupal. Short descriptions and parent-child pages When you arrange pages hierarchically, the parent pages (that is, pages that have Continue Reading »

My DITA journey begins

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I have decided to try out DITA in a more extensive way. I think it will work for my situation, and it’s always fun to experiment with a new method for authoring help material. A few people have asked that I keep them updated on my progress. While the details of my foray into DITA Continue Reading »