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2009 archives

  1. A Creative Way to Become a Technical Writer

  2. If No One Reads the Manual, That's Okay

  3. Podcast on getting a job in technical writing (TW Job)

  4. Volunteer for a position in the STC or other organization (TW Job)

  5. Move to a tech hub city to find a job in technical writing (TW Job)

  6. What You Cannot Do Sitting Down

  7. Start a blog (TW Job)

  8. Top Trends in Technical Communication

  9. Podcast: The Myth of Single Sourcing

  10. Put together a portfolio (TW Job)

  11. Learn some tools (TW Job)

  12. WordPress 2.9 Released

  13. Get real experience doing technical writing (TW Job)

  14. Removing ice from a driveway is like .... everything

  15. Learn the basics of technical writing (TW Job)

  16. Trying Out Picture in Picture in Screencasts

  17. PowerPoint from Screencasting Webinar

  18. Upcoming Webinar on Screencasting

  19. WordPress Tip: How to Transfer WordPress to a New Web Host

  20. Design Fixations with Mediawiki Skins

  21. Collaborative Authoring Trends and Costs

  22. Adding the Human Element in Screencasts

  23. Ramping Up on Mediawiki

  24. About My New Site Redesign

  25. Site Critiques and WordPress Q&A -- Community Leaders Webinar Jan 28

  26. What's the Best Microphone for Screencasting?

  27. My Upcoming STC Webinar on Screencasting

  28. Play Chess Online with ChessJam

  29. A Microcosm of Technical Writing in the Kitchen While Cooking a Banana Cream Pie

  30. Why Help Authoring Tools Will Fade

  31. Contingent Senior Technical Writer Opening at LDS Church's ICS Department in Riverton, Utah

  32. What I'm Presenting on at the Dallas Summit

  33. Embedding Videos into Madcap Flare

  34. Podcast about the Podcast Poll

  35. Combining Cinema with Screencasting

  36. How to Incorporate Twitter into Your Presentation

  37. What I've Been Learning in Flare

  38. Why Is It Important for Video Tutorials to Be User-Led?

  39. Minimizing Documentation

  40. 21% of Intermountain Chapter Members Planning to Renew STC Membership

  41. Design Reviews and Posting Without Answers

  42. How Microsoft Visual Studio Is Doing Help

  43. Podcast Roundtable for PodcampSLC Series

  44. Theme Parks and External and Internal Input

  45. Podcast on the seven deadly sins of blogging

  46. The Long Tail of Online Profitability

  47. Wikis and the Holy Grail of Content Independence

  48. Reinventing Yourself Through Your Blog

  49. NaNoWriMo and NaBloPoMo Start Nov 1

  50. WordPress Tip: Install WordPress Locally

  51. Being inattentive (Sins of blogging)

  52. A Few Surprises in Using a Wiki for Documentation

  53. Being unfindable (Sins of blogging)

  54. Being irresponsible (Sins of blogging)

  55. Being unreadable (Sins of blogging)

  56. Forms of Play

  57. Survey about Framemaker and EMC Documentum Integration

  58. Podcast from BYU Idaho Professional Writing Panel

  59. Being boring (Sins of blogging)

  60. Technical Writer Ranks #5 in Least Stressful Jobs; Also, CNN Money Total Jobs Count Screwy

  61. Choosing Between Academic and Corporate Life: Did I Make the Wrong Choice?

  62. An Interview About Technical Writing

  63. Being irrelevant (Sins of blogging)

  64. My STC Summit Blogging Presentation Is Free

  65. Chrysler Drops Long Car Manuals in Favor of Short Guides + Video

  66. WordPress Tip: Section Widget and Advanced XML Export -- wordpress Plugin Winner and Runner Up

  67. Google Releases Sidewiki and Adds to the Growing Trend of Conversation

  68. Duct Tape Technical Writers

  69. Smashing Magazine Lists 10 Web Usability Guidelines

  70. Dallas STC Summit Proposals Due Oct 5

  71. New Content Strategy SIG

  72. STC 2008 Salary Database -- See Salaries for Technical Writers in Your State

  73. Tips to Get Around Age Discrimination

  74. Information Overload -- Conversation with Ricardo Amigo

  75. Introduction to getting a job in technical writing (TW Job)

  76. "Tell me a story" -- Advice from Writers

  77. Being fake (Sins of blogging)

  78. The Appeal of Adobe InDesign

  79. STC: Quo Vadis? Mike Hughes gets introspective about the STC situation

  80. The Content Wrangler Moves to WordPress

  81. How Do Blogs and Wikis Fit Together?

  82. NY Times criticized for letting Pogue maintain Apple bias

  83. WordPress Tip: WordPress Worm Requires Upgrade to 2.8.4

  84. Writing as Conversation -- Brainsparks Podcast with Ginny Redish

  85. The best time to publish your blog posts

  86. Creativity in the Workplace

  87. Avoiding the Shut Down Mode

  88. STC's Online Certificate Courses

  89. Clive Thompson on the New Literacy

  90. An argument for slowing down in an age of rapid online exchanges

  91. Why teens don't use Twitter

  92. Podcast with Anne Gentle about her Conversation and Community book

  93. Review of Conversation and Community: The Social Web for Documentation

  94. Converting Lurkers into Contributors in Online Communities -- Nielsen's 90-9-1 Rule

  95. A Refreshing Angle on the Name of our Profession

  96. Making Spaces in Cluttered Houses and Cluttered Lives

  97. A Few Software Tips to Make Technical Writing Easier

  98. Humor essay about a car manual's diction

  99. "Social Documentation" -- Cool but Problematic

  100. The Importance of LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook in Job Searches

  101. Students Engaged by Discussion, Not Smart Classrooms

  102. Three Books on DITA

  103. Convert RSS Feeds into a Magazine Format with Zinepal

  104. The Link Between Creativity and Organization

  105. Productivity Tip: Paper Number Piles

  106. Carcast: Friday Thoughts on Reading, Publish2, and Writer River

  107. Applying Strunk and White's "Omit Needless Words" to Life

  108. New Intermountain-STC Chapter Site

  109. All About Technical Writing -- The Writing Show

  110. Every piece of content matters - an interview with Gerry McGovern | Information & Design

  111. Apple blogger makes living from blog

  112. Writing Style Guides and Your Parenting Style

  113. Exporting Documentation to Wikis

  114. Write When Inspired, Rest When Tired

  115. Finding Business Models in the Economics of Free

  116. Why Free Is the Future of Business

  117. Stephen Fry iTunes Festival Keynote on Copyright and Music Piracy

  118. Exactly How Much Does a Wordcamp Cost?

  119. Tech Comm Lobotomies

  120. Discovering Relationship Tables

  121. Blogging as an Outlet for Technical Writers

  122. Perks About Working in an Office Instead of Working from Home

  123. Lying in a Hammock, or, Having a Single Goal without a Purpose

  124. Are You Irrelevant? Engaging, Provocative Video

  125. Screen Captures May Not Make Sense

  126. Tip for Usability in Context-Sensitive Help

  127. UAX (User Assistance Experience): Online vs. on-line

  128. Maker's Schedule, Manager's Schedule

  129. Read This If You Hate Meetings - Freakonomics Blog -

  130. Daring Fireball: Charging for Access to News Sites

  131. My STC Live Webinar on Blogging This Wednesday at 1pm

  132. Podcast on Content Strategy: Interview with Rahel Bailie

  133. Moving Towards a Manifesto About Online Versus Print Formats

  134. Become a Link Journalist for Writer River

  135. What can Technical Authors learn from celebrity chefs and musicians? Cherryleaf Technical Authors Blog

  136. Toward Content Quality :: UXmatters

  137. Content Strategy: The Philosophy of Data - Boxes and Arrows: The design behind the design

  138. My Guest Post on Unstoppability for DMN Communications

  139. Three Questions to Start Thinking Like a Content Strategist

  140. Insight into the theory of mind

  141. New York Times Starts a “What We're Reading” Section

  142. A List Apart: Articles: Content-tious Strategy

  143. Content Strategy - a knol by Jeffrey MacIntyre

  144. Best Practices For Effective Design Of "About me"-Pages | Design Showcase | Smashing Magazine

  145. Is This Meeting Really Necessary?

  146. The Paris Review - Gay Talese: The Art of Nonfiction No. 2

  147. InDesignSecrets » Learn InDesign One Feature at a Time

  148. Keys to Being a Trusted Source of Information: Gryphon Mountain Journals

  149. If You're a Writer, Write

  150. STC's wiki is also scheduled for demolition :: TechCommDood

  151. What Users Don't Care About

  152. Get Set Up

  153. Content Theory: Sheep and Chaos — MK Anderson

  154. A Mile Wide and 30 Seconds Deep: A Metaphor for Help from Mike Hughes

  155. Two New Tools I'm Learning

  156. Biking to Work – A Good Idea, But …

  157. How the Web and the Weblog have changed Writing

  158. Interactive Google Map of Where I Work

  159. Feedburner Add Customizable Subject Lines to Email Subscriptions

  160. Mind Hacks: In our wildest dreams

  161. Implementing a Department Wiki? A Writer Shares Some Dos and Don'ts (Guest Post)

  162. Palimpsest: This is the future of technical communication

  163. I Need Your Human Aggregated Content

  164. Secrecy versus openness in communication

  165. Write Articles, Not Blog Postings (Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox)

  166. PDF Manuals: The Wrong Paradigm for an Online Experience

  167. Can You Get Fit in Six Minutes a Week? - Well Blog -

  168. 50 Free Resources That Will Improve Your Writing Skills | Developers Toolbox | Smashing Magazine

  169. How Google Does Help

  170. Real Projects for Entry-Level Writers Trying to Build Their Portfolios

  171. Page Layout and Design Tips from Jean-luc Doumont's Trees, maps, and theorems

  172. Outsourcing vs. offshoring, and how U.S.-based technical writers can stay competitive « Your Writing Dept Blog

  173. "What I'm Reading": A New Feature on My Site and a Tweak of Writer River

  174. Core Dump: STC Floundering?

  175. Technically Speaking » The STC Crisis: the take of a “young” writer

  176. Generation B - Mr. Mom, Father's Day Edition -

  177. Identity and Authority. Why the Foundation of Documentation is Changing. | The LugIron Software Blog

  178. 4J's Group - THE CONTENT POOL: It's STC not STW

  179. Seeing the World in Clearer, Simpler Ways

  180. It's Time to Shoot Your Blog | Copyblogger

  181. Fictitious Documentation

  182. Inkscape: the free alternative to Adobe Illustrator

  183. The Blockhead Blog: Does the STC deserve to survive?

  184. In Which I Comment on the STC Issue — MK Anderson

  185. Lifelines to the STC

  186. Forms that Work – Interview with Caroline Jarrett (podcast)

  187. Palimpsest: Whither STC?

  188. Speakers and fees: an insiders view | Speaker Confessions

  189. 10 Sites That Produce Quality WordPress Content — Nathan Rice

  190. WordPress Single Post Templates — Nathan Rice

  191. Palimpsest: Flare 5 DITA feature review Part 1: Overview and map files

  192. Extracting Images from Visio and Inserting Them in Indesign

  193. Cartoon 12 [The Twelve Days of Christmas Giveaway]

  194. How to Avoid Extinction as a Technical Communicator

  195. Cartoon 11 [The Twelve Days of Christmas Giveaway]

  196. Blogging, Podcasting, and Screencasting: Eight Characteristics to Attract Devoted Followers [Part 2]

  197. Blogging, Podcasting, and Screencasting: Eight Characteristics to Attract Devoted Followers [Part I]

  198. Cartoon 10 [The Twelve Days of Christmas Giveaway]

  199. Quick reference guide slides from the Transalpine Conference

  200. Social Networks and the TransAlpine Conference

  201. Cartoon 9 [The Twelve Days of Christmas Giveaway]

  202. Day 8 Cartoon [The Twelve Days of Christmas in June Giveaway]

  203. Add Links Using the Publish2 Bookmarklet

  204. Day 7 Cartoon [The Twelve Days of Christmas in June Giveaway]

  205. Day 6 Cartoon [The 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway]

  206. Day 5 Cartoon [Christmas in June Giveaway]

  207. Thinking About Vienna and the Legacy of Mozart

  208. Day 4 Cartoon [Christmas in June Giveaway]

  209. WordPress Tip: “Crunching” and “Burning”

  210. Day 3 Cartoon [12 Days of Christmas in June Giveaway]

  211. Day 2 Cartoon [The Twelve Days of Christmas in June Giveaway]

  212. Day 1 Cartoon -- [The Twelve Days of Christmas in June Giveaway]

  213. 12 Days of Christmas in June Giveaway

  214. Free video soft: video converter, ipod converter, mp4 converter

  215. Having Fun with Snagit

  216. WordPress Tip: Implement WordPress's Threaded Comments

  217. WordPress Tip: 10 Reasons Why I Like WordPress

  218. Anne Gentle on her Forthcoming Book, Conversation and Community: The Social Web for Documentation

  219. Following the NBA Can Make You a Better Technical Writer

  220. Your WordPress Site Can Get Hacked If You Don't Have This

  221. STC Toronto's New Five-and-Five Chapter Model

  222. Richard Hamilton's XML Press Imprint

  223. Converting Readers from Casual Subscribers to Devoted Followers

  224. Sailboats and Cruise Ships, or, How My Work Podcast Was Dwarfed by a Mega Work Podcast

  225. Madcap's Flare-DITA Solution (podcast)

  226. The State of Structured Authoring in Technical Communication (podcast)

  227. Drawing as a Tool for Thinking: The Back of the Napkin

  228. The Best Thing I Did This Week

  229. John Hedtke on Disaster Preparedness and Book Publishing

  230. Starting Points with Quick Reference Guides: Gathering Before Designing

  231. GUI Magnets -- Prototyping User Interfaces with Simple Magnets

  232. Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers and the Real Reason You Are a Successful Writer

  233. James Bond: The History of the Illustrated 007 (Podcast with Alan Porter)

  234. Mother-in-Law Tip for Reading Manuals

  235. STC Summit Atlanta Adventures: The Agony and Ecstasy of Presenting

  236. Ginny Redish -- Letting Go of the Words (Podcast Interview at STC Summit)

  237. Personal Branding: You Are What You Write About

  238. Two Stories About How to Write Help

  239. Going to Atlanta, #stc09

  240. Documentation Usability: A Few Things I've Learned from Watching Users

  241. WordPress Tip: Recording of WordPress Webinar

  242. Can Others Do Your Job?

  243. Making Money from Blogging

  244. The Wind and A Lot of Thoughts About Pessimism and Optimism

  245. Telecommuting into Nonexistent Worlds

  246. Anne Gentle to Give Virtual Presentation on Wikis on Thursday, April 23

  247. What to Blog/Write About

  248. Quick Reference Guides: Short and Sweet Documentation

  249. Quick Reference Guides Right Where You Need Them

  250. Blogging: A New Role for Technical Communicators

  251. Why Most Designers Will Be Freelancers Within 20 Years | Freelance Folder

  252. How Video Can Turn Your Career Around

  253. The Corporate Blogger Story

  254. AP Article Leads to "Helping Husbands and Fathers" Photo Project

  255. Site Name Change

  256. Adobe InDesign and Transparent Images on Color Backgrounds

  257. Have Notebook Will Travel

  258. Some Notes from Podcamp

  259. Interviews that Shaped My Podcasting Style and Approach

  260. InDesignSecrets » Blog Archive » Eliminating YDB (Yucky Discolored Box) Syndrome

  261. Check Your Site's Loading Time

  262. Survey About Technical Writers' Training Needs for 2009

  263. Introduction to Technical Writing (podcast)

  264. Managing Writers: Interview with Richard Hamilton (podcast)

  265. What To Do When You're Not Picked to Be America's Next Top Tech Writer

  266. New Feature: Regular Guest Posts

  267. Why I Don't Take Freelance Writing Jobs Anymore

  268. WordPress Tip: Introduction to WordPress -- Webinar, April 14

  269. Jane's Presentation, Twitter for Business (podcast)

  270. Examples of Perfect Screencasts

  271. "Like My Own Personal Brand of Heroin"

  272. HD Screencast Example

  273. Managing Your Social Media Profiles and Badges

  274. The Importance of Validation (video)

  275. Notes Watching Senior Users at the Computer

  276. Podcamp Salt Lake City, March 27 -- "Interviewing Remote and Local Guests for Podcasts"

  277. Podcast -- Blogging for Technical Communicators Webinar (Part 2)

  278. Podcast -- Blogging for Technical Communicators Webinar (Part 1)

  279. STC Speaker's Registry | Find experts fast

  280. Emotional States of Computer Users in Times of Frustration

  281. Lessons Learned with Quick Reference Guides: Timing and Truth

  282. STC Presentation this Thursday: "Quick Reference Guides: Short and Sweet Technical Documentation"

  283. Translating with the New Madcap Lingo V2

  284. CSS-Tricks #1: Converting a Photoshop Mockup (part 1 of 3)

  285. InDesignSecrets

  286. Trends in Web Design Involving WordPress

  287. WordPress Tip: Rotating Flash Tag Clouds

  288. Blogging Webinar Thursday Evening

  289. WordPress Tip: Podcasts on WordPress: WordPress Weekly from the WordPress Tavern

  290. Communication Preferences and Jane's Voicemail Message

  291. "You know what .chms need? More bling-bling. More flash..."

  292. :: Blog :: Collapsing Pages

  293. Tip: Automatically Push Your Latest Blog Posts Across Twitter

  294. Can SharePoint 2007 Be Used as a Help Authoring Tool?

  295. Embedding HD Quality Screencasts in Your Blog

  296. WordPress Tip: Merging Worlds: DITA and WordPress

  297. Free Screen Sharing Software: Adobe Connect

  298. Documentation Review Techniques (videocast)

  299. TiltViewer - About

  300. Structured Authoring Survey from Scriptorium

  301. 10 Things I Learned from My Last Podcast

  302. Podcast: Make Your Help Indispensable, Safeguard Your Job

  303. A Five-Click Solution to Publishing and Uploading Screen Videos to SharePoint

  304. Customizing a SharePoint Site

  305. Added a Blog Wall to my site

  306. DITA Topics Tutorial

  307. Embracing Opportunity

  308. Premium WordPress Themes, WordPress 2.5 Premium Themes, Premium Wordpress Blog Templates | Blog Oh Blog

  309. Web Design WordPress function list

  310. Where I Stand on DITA

  311. Styling Category Levels in WordPress (video)

  312. Below the Line: Podcasters report their top 3 podcasting tips - part 1

  313. Coding Horror: The Two Types of Browser Zoom

  314. Great Books by Writers Who Aren't Dead Yet

  315. Upcoming Presentations, or, Blogging and Increased Visibility

  316. Thoughts on Troubleshooting and Problem Solving

  317. WordPress TV Launches -- The Appeal of Video Continues to Expand

  318. Screencasting -- Workflow and Presentation, by Collin Turner (Podcast)

  319. Twittering Tips for Beginners - Pogue's Posts Blog -

  320. A Technical Writer with Extra Privileges? Responding to a Question about Roles (Videocast)

  321. Poll: What blogging software is available for use at your work?

  322. Top Technical Communication News for January 2009

  323. WritersUA Salary Survey, Tools Survey, and Upcoming Conference

  324. My STC Intercom Article about Writer River and Community-Driven Websites

  325. Tech Comm Toolbox: a Directory of Tools, Consultants, and Conferences

  326. Dilbert animated shorts from your favorite comic strips

  327. Flare Context Sensitive Help – Focusing the Minimized Help Window Back on Top

  328. WordPress Tip: Questions I'm Often Asked About WordPress and Blogging

  329. Wrapping up 2008 – Successes, Failures, and Goals for the Next Year

  330. Tech Comm Toolbox

  331. Podcast: Help Authoring with Doc-To-Help 2009, Interview with Nicky Bleiel

  332. Good Designs Have Strong Contrast

  333. The Pleasure of Language -- Essential Listening for Hyper-corrective Grammarians

  334. How to Create Columns with CSS Float |

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.