Dallas STC Summit Proposals Due Oct 5

If you're thinking about submitting a proposal to present at the next STC Summit in Dallas, Texas, the deadline is October 5. See the proposal site for details. Presenting is a good idea for a number of reasons. Presenting either gives you a discount or free registration to the conference. It gives you something to focus on during the long winter months. And if you're passionate about your topic, you raise the quality of the STC Summit. I...

New Content Strategy SIG

Rahel Bailie has started a new SIG focused on content strategy. SIGs are special interest groups sponsored by the STC, involving other STC members also interested in sharing about the same topic. Rahel writes, We welcome the participation of any STC members who are engaged in content strategy, want to develop the skills to become a content strategist, or simply want to know more about content strategy. Rahel is trying to bring content str...

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

The 2008 Salary Database released by the STC this month provides an impressive amount of salary and industry information in easy-to-read, attractive charts and graphics. It's kind of mind blowing how informative and professional this report is. The depth and quantity of location-specific information available is especially useful to job seekers, employees or consultants negotiating salaries, or technical writers looking to relocate. The s...

Tips to Get Around Age Discrimination

The lead article in the Sep/Oct 2009 issue of the Intercom is Saul Caroliner's "Addessing Implicit Age Discrimination in Your Job Search Activities." This is a well-written article of special interest to older technical communicators looking for jobs. Some of Saul's advice includes omitting an extra degree or two if you seem to have too many omitting experience that makes you too qualified for the position listing the current software y...

Information Overload -- Conversation with Ricardo Amigo

Listen here: Dealing with information overload can be a huge stressor in life. Not only trying to keep up with the constant deluge of information that comes at you daily, but also managing that information in an organized way -- so that you can find and implement it -- can put your sanity in question. In this podcast, I talk with Ricardo Amigo, a translator in Costa Rica, about different ways to manage information overlo...

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

How to get a job in technical writing 1.0 → Introduction to getting a job in technical writing (TW Job) 1.1 Learn the basics of technical writing (TW Job) 1.2 Get real experience doing technical writing (TW Job) 1.3 Learn some tools (TW...

"Tell me a story" -- Advice from Writers

I listened to a good discussion about writing from a group of Mormon writers on episode 7 of Everything Creative, an LDS sponsored podcast. Some parts of this podcast are a little lame -- I hadn't heard of any of the writers, and parts of it are churchy. But the advice is on target. Here are few notes: The things that get in the way of writing are also what provide substance in your writing. A writer explains how one of her friends moved...

Being fake (Sins of blogging)

Seven deadly sins of blogging 1.0 → Being fake (Sins of blogging) 1.1 Being irrelevant (Sins of blogging) 1.2 Being boring (Sins of blogging) 1.3 Being unreadable (Sins of blogging) ...

The Appeal of Adobe InDesign

Have you ever told a project manager that the instructions he plans on releasing with an application -- instructions written by an intern who is here for a three-month stint -- are complete junk and that it would be an embarrassment to the organization to give them to users? When you tell a project manager that, surprise, you win yourself a new documentation project. That's all right, because Joomla, the topic of the instructions, is some...

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

I love it when leaders bare their thoughts in introspective ways on a blog. Hughes has really been grappling with the STC situation and how to handle it. I'm not so interested in possible solutions to the STC problem as I am intrigued by Hughes' use of blogging as a heuristic for thinking. One result is that he gets us on his side, whereas leaders who don't share this same introspective searching don't seem to tap into our support and und...

The Content Wrangler Moves to WordPress

It seems like everyone is moving to WordPress lately. A few months ago, David Farbey moved his blog to WordPress. Scriptorium recently converted their site and blog to WordPress. One die-hard Movable Type interaction designer at my work is moving to WordPress. And now The Content Wrangler has moved to WordPress. I actually helped Scott transition his site from Expression Engine to WordPress. Converting the site was not necessarily easy, b...

How Do Blogs and Wikis Fit Together?

Although many people put blogs and wikis in the same social media category, blogs and wikis are actually quite different. Blogs are individually authored mini-magazines or journals where one author (or sometimes a small authoring group) crank out article after article (or entry after entry) usually with a common theme. After each article is published, the article is considered done and the author moves on to newer pastures, always hunting...

NY Times criticized for letting Pogue maintain Apple bias

Techcrunch says the New York Times' ethics policy of distance and objectivity contradicts their acceptance of David Pogue as an Apple fan boy. Journalists must maintain more distance and objectivity. This criticism reminds me of the case of Chez Pazienza, a CNN blogger fired for expressing views on his blog that contrasted with CNN's more conservative outlook. This is perhaps a subtle danger of blogging: holding views on your personal blo...

WordPress Tip: WordPress Worm Requires Upgrade to 2.8.4

I woke up from my long Sunday nap to see all kinds of commotion about upgrading WordPress to 2.8.4 due to a worm that is currently circulating. The WordPress blog reports: Right now there is a worm making its way around old, unpatched versions of WordPress. This particular worm, like many before it, is clever: it registers a user, uses a security bug (fixed earlier in the year) to allow evaluated code to be executed through the permalink ...

Writing as Conversation -- Brainsparks Podcast with Ginny Redish

In a recent User Interface Engineering Brainsparks podcast, Jared Spool interviews Ginny Redish about her book, Letting Go of the Words: Writing as Conversation, as it applies to interface design. This podcast was one of the best I've listened to all week. In the podcast, Ginny explains how your content should be like the answer to a user's questions. Not styled as an FAQ, but written anticipating and responding to questions the user migh...