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2008 archives

  1. Quick Reference Guide Formats -- Tips for Finding Attractive Layouts

  2. Generational tech guilt?

  3. WordPress Tip: Integrate WordPress into an Existing Website

  4. A Tech Writer's World: A Killer Manual

  5. Podcast: Technical Writing in Agile Environments -- Interview with Alyssa Fox

  6. Documentation Honesty and Poor User Interfaces -- An Ethical Dilemma?

  7. What I See -- James Hall's Essays and Florida

  8. The Podfading Roller Coaster

  9. Podcast: What Is the Technical Writer's Role in Interface Design? Interview with Bogo Vatovec

  10. WordPress 2.7 Released - XML-RPC and AtomPub Changes || Joseph Scott

  11. When Trust Becomes a Characteristic Flaw in a Project

  12. Twitter Hashtags and Virtual Gatherings

  13. Generations Change, But Help Formats Remain the Same?

  14. Helpful Little Tips for Life

  15. Writers See Stories Where Others Don't

  16. Twitter Part II –- One Step Deeper

  17. The Name of Your Department Does Matter

  18. EServer TC Library: The Most Popular Technical Communication Website in the World

  19. Does Twitter Fit into Your Branding Strategy?

  20. Top 10 Gag Christmas Gifts for Technical Writers

  21. Guy Kawasaki's Alltop Site Now Includes Technical Writing

  22. Snippets Toward a Philosophy of Life

  23. The Problem with Speaking Conversationally in Video Tutorials

  24. What Constitutes "Intelligent Content"? Interview with Ann Rockley

  25. Transitioning from Literary Studies to Technical Communication

  26. User Assistance: Will Write for Metamucil

  27. My Tip for Productivity: Tear Up the To-Do List

  28. Usability Newsletter Interview – I'd Rather Be Writing – The Man Behind the Words

  29. Does Design Matter in Comparison to Content?

  30. Finding a Conversational Voice in Video Tutorials

  31. Details About the STC Summit Recording -- Interview with Lloyd Tucker

  32. Dawn or Dusk -- Considering the Advantages of Early Morning

  33. You Can Now Advertise on My Blog

  34. Author-it Launches a Blog -- An Interview About the Who, Why, and How

  35. 'Lost the Fire – How to Rekindle It' – A Second Response

  36. My Recommended Training for Corporate Bloggers: Live with a Mommy Blogger

  37. Guest Post: Tech Writing Careers -- The Raw, Unvarnished Truth

  38. Podcast: Debunking the Boredom Myth of Technical Writing

  39. Guest Post: Real Writers in Virtual Worlds

  40. Podcast: Personalities of Technical Communicators -- Interview with Deborah (Shapiro) Hemstreet

  41. Two-Minute Video to Convince Others of the Value of Technical Documentation

  42. Interview with Scott Abel, Conference Organizer Extraordinaire

  43. 10/23 Intermountain STC Meeting: An Informal Discussion of Any Tech Comm Challenges You're Facing

  44. Seamlessly Integrating a Blog into Your Non-Blog Website

  45. Caught in the Current of Writer River: Building and Participating in Community-Driven Websites

  46. 10 Ways to Gather Feedback from Users

  47. What We Learn from Help Authoring Tool Surveys

  48. Like Father, Like Daughter

  49. Becoming a Writer -- Reflections on a Trip to Idaho

  50. Results for My 10 Technical Writing Stereotypes Survey

  51. Answering Reader's Questions: 'My Desire to Write Burns in My Heart Daily'

  52. HelpScribe: Why software is the best technical writing field

  53. Ingenious Technique for Helping Your Child Learn to Ride a Bike

  54. Free Ticket to DITA Tech/Comm Conference in North Carolina Nov 3-6

  55. Ten Technical Writing Stereotypes

  56. WordPress Tip: Using WordPress as a CMS -- Wordcamp Utah

  57. SEO Tips for Your Blog -- Wordcamp Utah

  58. WordPress Tip: WordPress and Podcasting — Wordcamp Utah

  59. WordPress Tip: WordPress 2.7 and Beyond – Keynote by Matt Mullenweg at Wordcamp Utah 2008

  60. Free Doc Train East Ticket

  61. Leaning Towards Longer Topics and Shorter TOCs

  62. Recommended Podcast: "The Enforcers" from This American Life

  63. Podcast: Repurposing Content for Multichannel Publishing (Single Sourcing)

  64. Users Read Help Manuals Like an Encyclopedia, Not a Novel

  65. Tip: Search Engine Optimize Your Blog Posts to Increase Your Readership

  66. WordPress Tip: Limau-Orange Theme with Navigation Bar from Contempt

  67. STC-Intermountain Meeting Tonight

  68. Watch What Happens When You Copy from Word into a Blog Post

  69. Thinking About an STC Proposal to Submit

  70. What's Convenient Gets Used -- a General Principle That Applies to Nearly Everything

  71. Wordcamp Utah -- Sept 27 in Provo, Utah

  72. How I Create Video Tutorials

  73. Prove My Help Authoring Tools Survey Wrong

  74. Help Authoring Tool Survey: Who, What, and How

  75. How Much Should You Document? Everything? Strategies for an Agile Environment

  76. Podcast: Flare 4 -- Ten New Features, Interview with Sharon Burton

  77. A New Wiki Help Authoring/Publishing Tool Hybrid

  78. Podcast: What's New in the Field of Technical Communication?

  79. Why I Hate Camping -- And Then an Epiphany

  80. Flare 4 Giveway — Enter to Win a Free Copy by Commenting on This Post | I'd Rather Be Writing - Tom Johnson

  81. Explain what you feel is an important feature for a help authoring tool and why (Flare Giveaway)

  82. Everything That Happened Today, or, The Busy Lives We Lead

  83. Utah Technical Writers Group -- Finding the Technical Writing Community in Utah

  84. Resources for Single Sourcing Projects

  85. Comprehensive Podcast Index -- A List of All My Podcasts

  86. On Podcasts -- Reasons for the Break and Plans for the Future

  87. WordPress Tip: WordPress as a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Application

  88. Corporate Migration to the Blogosphere

  89. Another Collaborative Site: Read Scriptures Together

  90. How to Listen to Podcasts

  91. Too Connected – Utopias and Dystopias of Communication

  92. With All This Fuss About Tools, Three Best Practice Attitudes

  93. User Assistance: Why I Hate PDFs

  94. WordCamp Utah Registration Is Now Open - Joseph Scott's Blog

  95. Word Macro for Resizing Images that Have a Specific Style

  96. Tapping your creative juices Interesting ...

  97. An Article That Changed My Approach to Help

  98. Instructional Text in the User Interface: Some Counterintuitive Implications of User Behaviors :: UXmatters

  99. Trends in Technical Communication: a review [TechScribe software documentation]

  100. Free PDF Alternatives -- Save Yourself $700 and a Headache

  101. A History of Tech Comm Tools. This is a ...

  102. Echoes from the past: DITA, Help, Single-Sourcing tools -- Looking from the 60s to today

  103. Get Training in Technical Writing

  104. A Career in Technical Writing: End of Part One : Writer's Resource Center

  105. Thank You Silahsiz Kuvvetler for Showing Me the Light

  106. Personal Essays on a Technical Writing Career -- by John Hewitt

  107. The Myth of Simplicity and Complexity in Help Authoring

  108. WordPress Tip: Show the Latest Post in Full, Then Summaries of the Other Posts

  109. WordPress Tip: WordPress' Biggest Mistake

  110. Reader Question: Creating Online Help for Touch-Screen Applications?

  111. New Site Policy About How I Respond to Questions

  112. Organizing Large Photo Collections Online -- Use the NextGen Gallery WordPress Plugin

  113. When you don't feel like blogging, is it time to blog?

  114. Tips for Distributing the Workload Among Your Team -- Answering a Reader's Question

  115. Venn Diagram of What a Blog Should Be About

  116. When can I say "janky" in my on-screen text?

  117. WordPress Training This Saturday 9 am to Noon

  118. WordPress Tip: WordPress Image Galleries — Give Your Photo Galleries a Lightbox/Slideshowesque Display

  119. WordPress Tip: Woopra — Enough Live Site Stats to Write a Dissertation

  120. Quick Reference Guides: The Poetry of Technical Writing

  121. The Intersection of the Personal and Professional, or, Why My Attempts at Nonfiction Essays in Grad School Bombed

  122. Approaching Help as Solutions to Problems — An Interesting Format from the CSS Cookbook

  123. Interview with Me in TechCraft

  124. "What's Next?" -- A Nice Way to End Help Topics

  125. 14 Widespread Myths about Technical Writing

  126. My Compromise with SharePoint -- What Works and What Doesn't

  127. My WordPress Site Was Hacked

  128. Customizing Your SharePoint Site? Read These 10 Concepts/Gotchas First

  129. Podcast: Five Books to Add to Your Technical Communication Library

  130. The Kind of Documentation Users Really Want

  131. "How can I become a successful TECHNICAL WRITER?"

  132. Systems that Get Better the More People Use Them

  133. Announcing, a Digg-like Social News Site for Technical Communicators

  134. Technical Writer as Conversation Stopper, and Other Notes from the STC Summit in Philadelphia

  135. My First Guest Post -- And Best Writing Tip

  136. Playing with Sound -- Adding Downbeat Tempo to a Discourse on Shakespeare

  137. Follow the STC Conference Twitterers at

  138. Marketing Yourself and Your Experience to Others in a Web 2.0 World

  139. Podcast: Using Video in Training and Documentation, Interview with Todd O'Neill

  140. Podcast: Analyzing Your Users and Needs Before Creating the Help Deliverables; Interview with Nicky Bleiel

  141. My STC Summit Presentation and Panel -- "The Art of the Podcast" and Marketing Yourself in a Web 2.0 World

  142. Podcast: How to Create User-Centered Documentation, Interview with Joe Sokohl

  143. Exploring Web 2.0 Possibilities in a SharePoint-Endorsed Environment

  144. Integrating All Library Content into One

  145. Thinking About a More Personal Style of Podcasting

  146. Podcast: Workspaces, Collaboration, and Information Sharing -- Interview with Emma Hamer

  147. Podcast: Why Content Management Projects Fail, Interview with Rahel Bailie

  148. Podcast: How XML Enables Information Sharing and Reuse -- Interview with Joe Gollner

  149. Feedback on the Podcast From a German Listener

  150. Poewar Giving Away $250 to the Guest Blogger Who Brings in the Most Traffic

  151. Scott Nesbitt Interview with Stewart Mader on Wikis

  152. Musings of a Tech Writer Podcast -- Mark in Canada Reflects on The Content Wrangler Versus the STC

  153. Podcast: XSL, Flash, and Live Blogging -- Interview with Sarah O'Keefe

  154. Podcast: Document Engineering, Interview with Robert Glushko

  155. SharePoint Wikis: Both Liberating and Frustrating

  156. Giving a Virtual Presentation to STC-Phoenix on Tuesday, May 13

  157. Post Doc-Train Thoughts While Sitting in the Vancouver Airport

  158. Podcast: Living Multiple Lives -- The New Technical Communicator, Interview with Noz Urbina

  159. Podcast: Embracing Wikis -- Interview with Stewart Mader

  160. Changing the Rules of the Game for the Benefit of the User

  161. Social Media 101: Now Everyone's a Technical Writer

  162. Podcast: Moving 50,000 Pages of Unstructured Content to DITA

  163. The 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint That I Wish Everyone Followed

  164. Podcast: Leading Your Company into the Wikis, Blogs, and Social Networks of Web 2.0

  165. WordPress Tip: Using WordPress to Build Websites Instead of Blogs

  166. WordPress Tip: My WordPress Quick Start Guide — Now Available on the WordPress Codex

  167. WordPress for Beginners Course

  168. The Broken STC Model -- and What's Replacing It

  169. Updated Date and Time for WordPress Course -- Wednesday Evening, April 30

  170. Madcap Blaze's Topic Review Feature: A First-of-a Kind Feature with an Interesting Workflow

  171. Podcast -- DITA: From the Perspective of Someone Actually Using It

  172. WordPress for Beginners Course -- Wednesday Evening, April 30

  173. Why Software Applications Need Product Blogs, and Why They Don't Get Them

  174. How Much Time Do You Spend in Web 2.0 -- Interesting Article from the Read/Write Web

  175. Find a Way to Have Fun in Your Writing

  176. Looking for Corporate Examples of Web 2.0 Engagement

  177. Podcast -- Social Networking and the Value of User Communities for Technical Communicators

  178. Guest Post -- From Blogging Veterans: Three Keys to Successful Blogging

  179. The Right Way and Wrong Way to Teach People WordPress: Notes from a Wordcamp Utah Planning Meeting at Applebees

  180. Podcaster Meetup at Doc Train West Conference in Vancouver

  181. Technical Writing -- Worth it? Interesting? Creative? Well-Paid? Hours? Answering a Few Questions from Saudi Arabia

  182. Keep an Open Mind: Detention Without Amanda Jones Isn't Necessarily Bad

  183. NY Times Article Suggests Effects of Blogging = Weight Loss/Gain, Sleep Disorder, Exhaustion, Heart Disease, and Nervous Breakdown

  184. How to Get Your Blog Mentioned in the Society for Technical Communication's Intercom: Include the Word "Technical Communicator"

  185. A Recipe for More Engaging Software Demos

  186. Podcast -- Transitioning from Technical Writing into Usability

  187. My Podcast in iTunes -- The iTunes Gods Have Granted Me Mercy

  188. The Question No One Asked Me at the Career Advice Panel, Thank Goodness

  189. The Best and Worst of Times with a Hard Headed Woman

  190. Twitter Tools and Uses: The Most Comprehensive Listing of Twitter Resources I've Seen

  191. A Creepy Widget I Absolutely Had to Add to My Blog

  192. I Enjoy a Good Alien Podcast Now and Then

  193. How to Get Everyone and Their Dog/Family/Friends Reading and Subscribing to Your Blog -- 10 Tips

  194. What's the Best Thing You've Done to Grow Your Career?

  195. I'm Planning to Offer WordPress Training -- Are You Interested?

  196. Four Simple Ways to Avoid Totally Botching an Interview

  197. Podcast -- Tackling Godzilla: A Writer/Usability Consultant Reflects on the Largest Project of her Career

  198. Virtual Meetings: A Lofty Yet Impractical and Unwanted Ideal? or Exactly What We Need?

  199. Seven Reasons Why I'm Twittering -- Especially During Conference Time

  200. Are You One of the 824 Technical Communicators on Ning Yet?

  201. Uncooperative Subjects: A Comparison of Two Failed Interviews and How to Turn Them Around

  202. Body Hacks and Optimization

  203. 10 Alternate Tests for Evaluating Technical Writing Job Candidates -- A List for Hiring Managers

  204. Six Ways I'm Using the H4 Zoom Recorder to Do Technical-Writing Related Things

  205. Lots of 2008 SXSW Podcasts Now Available

  206. My 5 Pet Peeves with Reading Blogs (mostly surrounding comments and feeds)

  207. Deciding When to Speak Up and When to Shut Up

  208. Two Types of Posts in the Blogosphere: Knowledge Posts and Creative Posts

  209. Recording SME Demos -- It's Easier Than You Think

  210. How to Record Live Presentations with the Zoom H4 Digital Recorder

  211. My Blogging and Podcasting Presentation -- the MP3 and Video Recording

  212. Stoking the Creative Muse: How Finding Ideas to Write About Is Similar to Remembering Your Dreams

  213. How My BlackBerry May Benefit You

  214. A blogging family

  215. Eight stitches for Susan

  216. CNN Producer Fired for His Blog -- A Growing Discontent for Mainstream Media

  217. 10 Ways to Bomb Your Presentation

  218. My Love Affair with Drop-Down Hotspots Ends

  219. Have a Blog? a Podcast? Want one? Come learn everything you need to know

  220. Why You Should Send Me (and Other Bloggers) Your Products for Free

  221. A Glimpse into the World of Agile Technical Writing, a.k.a. Extreme Technical Writing (XTW)

  222. Welcoming Camtasia Studio as a New Blog Sponsor

  223. Two New Blogs to Add to Your Reader: Craig Haiss' Helpscribe and Sharon Burton's Madcap Blog

  224. "Selection Beats Damping": A Compelling Argument About Why Blogs Trump Print Media

  225. Technical Writing Careers -- Answering 13 Questions about Technical Writing Jobs

  226. Top 10 Workspace Configurations for Technical Writers

  227. Free Doc Train Ticket ($899) for Your Response to a Question About Innovation

  228. Survey Results: How I'm Changing My Blog Based on Your Responses

  229. Jing Screencast: Getting Up and Running with Jing

  230. Are Gerunds in Topic Titles Problematic in Search Results?

  231. How Jing Can Benefit Technical Writers

  232. Will you take my short survey?

  233. Answering Questions on the "Practicalities of Blogging"

  234. A Web 2.0 Documentation Idea Gone Wrong

  235. I wish all companies provided tech support like this

  236. Blogger Compiles Extensive Examples of Unnecessary Quotation Marks

  237. Interview with STC President Linda Oestreich: Directions the STC Is Heading

  238. Notes from My First WordPress Meetup

  239. Camtasia Versus Captivate: Thinking About Screen Real Estate Problems in Video Captures

  240. Madcap Flare Review: 45 Things I Love About Flare, 31 Things I Hate About It

  241. 2008 WritersUA Salary Survey Published: $76K Is Average

  242. Going Beyond Technical Writing: Practical Advice for Diversifying Your Skillset -- Podcast Interview with Mark Hanigan

  243. Blogging Jobs for Technical How-to Articles

  244. A New Information Resource for Podcasters

  245. President Hinckley Passes

  246. Clearplay: An Ingenious DVD Player That Filters Movies Without Altering Them

  247. WordPress Meetup in Salt Lake City with Matt Mullenweg

  248. Upcoming PodCamp in Salt Lake City on March 15

  249. The Art of Interviewing — 10 Tips for Perfecting the Most Important Element of Podcasting

  250. Innovation in Technology -- During Research, Unexpected Findings Lead You Down New Paths

  251. All About Madcap Flare: Podcast Interview with Paul Pehrson, MVP in Madcap Software Forums

  252. How to Share Everything with Everyone (well, a few things anyway)

  253. How to Get Out of a Slump, and Handle Pressure Situations Calmly

  254. The Impact of Social Media on Technical Communication -- Podcast Interview with Bill Albing

  255. "Regular Sloggers Trying to Make a Living"

  256. Three Notable Characteristics of Top 10 Posts: Lists, Headings, Images

  257. Malcolmn Gladwell's Blink: Your First Impression Is Usually Correct in Complex Situations

  258. Why Some Leaders Don't Blog: The Untold Story

  259. The #1 Reason Why People Fail at Their Goals

About Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson

I'm an API technical writer based in the Seattle area. On this blog, I write about topics related to technical writing and communication — such as software documentation, API documentation, AI, information architecture, content strategy, writing processes, plain language, tech comm careers, and more. Check out my API documentation course if you're looking for more info about documenting APIs. Or see my posts on AI and AI course section for more on the latest in AI and tech comm.

If you're a technical writer and want to keep on top of the latest trends in the tech comm, be sure to subscribe to email updates below. You can also learn more about me or contact me. Finally, note that the opinions I express on my blog are my own points of view, not that of my employer.