Three Books on DITA

Eddie VanArsdall reviews three books on DITA in his post, Slouching Toward Ditaville. If you're interested in adopting DITA, or even if you just want to borrow some of its best practices, check out one of these books -- by Rockley, Vazquez, and Comtech.

Convert RSS Feeds into a Magazine Format with Zinepal

Zinepal is a service that takes your RSS feed and automatically converts it into newsletter/magazine-like PDF or Kindle format. This would be great for chapters who still send out paper newsletters that pull content from their blogs.

The Link Between Creativity and Organization

This podcast interview with a professional organizer is fascinating. In Hebrew, the word "create" is the same as the word "organize." Organization clears your mind and enables you to be more creative. Listening to this podcast made me want to clean my house and organize my closets.

Productivity Tip: Paper Number Piles

Last week I discovered a technique for increasing productivity at work. It's so simple it's almost funny, but it is working. I tore up an index card into 10 little squares, numbering them one through ten. In the morning, before I launch into the work of the day, I write down the top ten tasks I want to accomplish for that day. As I finish the first task, I take the paper square number 1 and move it to a pile on the right. When I finish th...

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

Listen here: I recorded a carcast on the way home this evening. In the carcast, I explain how I've changed Writer River to incorporate's link sharing technology. Using Publish2, you add links to your blog, twitter account, and a technical communication newsgroup at the same time. Publish2 provides a robust platform for managing and publishing your links. I also talk about why I'm interested in Writer River a...

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

A writer takes William Strunk's advice to "omit needless words" and applies it to his life to omit needless things. I so need to do this. (Thanks Collin Turner for the link.)

New Intermountain-STC Chapter Site

We launched a new website for the STC-Intermountain chapter this week. We're using WordPress as the platform. The theme is Streamline from Studio Press. One of the more interesting parts of the site is our Member List page, which shows every registered site user. Usually WordPress only allows you to generate a list of site authors. Authors are people who have written a post. But with the Member List plugin, you can show users of any role....

All About Technical Writing -- The Writing Show

This is an informative intro-to-technical writing podcast by Alistair Christie. Great for writers trying to determine whether technical writing is a field they should pursue. It's always refreshing to hear Alistair's perspectives.

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

Listened to this podcast last night and this morning. Gerry McGovern talks about the importance of "care words" on a website. These words are the content people are looking for but aren't using in the search engines. He says finding the right words to match what the customer is looking for can make a huge impact on how the customer interprets the relevance of the site. For those non-podcast listeners, Gaffney transcribes the podcast too. ...

Apple blogger makes living from blog

When I read about guys like John Gruber, who make their living from their blog, it fills me with envy. I want to do that. Not sure if tech comm's audience is large enough, but perhaps someday.

Writing Style Guides and Your Parenting Style

A lot of departments think that a team needs a style guide and a unified approach, if you want the audience to experience a consistent, professional branded experience. I used to think the same. In fact, just last week, we started discussing whether to use greater than symbols (>) or pipes (|) or nothing at all to indicate menu hierarchy and subtabs. I admit that a team needs to be on the same general page. And in a lot of situations, ...

Exporting Documentation to Wikis

Mary Connor talks about the latest tools for exporting documentation to wikis. She seems to prefer Webworks ePublisher for its ability to export to Confluence, a wiki that supports authoring for future releases.

Write When Inspired, Rest When Tired

I loved this essay on writing. I always hear advice from writers that you must write daily no matter what. Zeldman takes another perspective on this idea, and encourages you to "write when inspired; rest when tired." Very eloquent prose throughout.

Finding Business Models in the Economics of Free

On the web, the standard economic model is to give products away for free -- from storage to email, music, news, access, and other information. For companies to survive in an economy of free, they have to spin their business models in creative ways, finding profits indirectly, such as through lite/pro versions, cross-subsidies, advertising, or appeals to the attention economy. In the economics of free, writers face particular challenges b...

Why Free Is the Future of Business

Chris Anderson's analysis about the economy of free (or "freeconomics") is about the most fascinating thing I've read in a long time. Everything on the web is trending toward free -- how are companies turning free into a business model? Anderson explores various reasons for the zero cost trends and lists several strategies companies are using to turn free into a profit.