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

April 2009 Update: You can watch a recording of the webinar here. I'm giving a webinar to the STC Suncoast chapter on WordPress on April 14, if you're interested. The title of the webinar is "Introduction to WordPress."  Here's the description: If you're a writer, chances are you already have a blog or are thinking of starting one. And if you work in technology, most likely you're thinking of using WordPress, the preferred blogging platfo...

Jane's Presentation, Twitter for Business (podcast)

Listen here: Last week Jane presented on Twitter to a group of business students at Brigham Young University -- Provo. This podcast is a recording of her presentation. For more information (beyond the podcast), see her online handout. Twitter for Business Resources about Jane Jane's blog: http://whataboutmomblog.com Jane on Twitter: http://twitter.com/whataboutmom Jane's email: [email protected]

Examples of Perfect Screencasts

Michael Pick's screencasts on WordPress.tv are, in my opinion, perfect screencasts. They're the best I've seen -- and I'm not just saying this because the video quality is crisp and the audio is rich. Pick blends filmography techniques with screencasting. Instead of the typical screencast that focuses almost entirely on the screen, with a disembodied voice narrating at length around a cursor's boring movement, Pick fills his screencasts w...

"Like My Own Personal Brand of Heroin"

The other night Shannon and I saw Twilight. It wasn't my first choice, but it's not bad, especially for a vampire movie. Actually, Edward Cullen's phrase, "You're like my own personal brand of heroin," which he uses to describe Bella (who isn't a vampire), stuck in my mind. Here's the scene: Today I was thinking of this heroin phrase in relation to a couple of emails people sent me about technical writing. A bank teller tells me he fin...

HD Screencast Example

Embedding HD video screencasts into a WordPress blog is something I've been trying to figure out. The HD quality is key because it allows me to compress the file into a small space without the video looking fuzzy -- a necessity for screencasts with small text. I also like the idea of showing video content directly where the reader is, rather than displaying the video in a popup or secondary window. I learned that if you upgrade your space...

Managing Your Social Media Profiles and Badges

Each social media site has its own badge. If you participate in a handful of them -- Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Tripit, etc -- it can be cumbersome to manage all your social media profiles and badges. DandyID.org is a site that helps you manage your social identities. It contains a list of 300+ social media services with profile fields for each. DandyID You enter your profile links for the services you participate in. Then you simply a...

The Importance of Validation (video)

This short film on youtube called "Validation" mesmerized me. If we applied these "validation" techniques to our interactions with SMEs, designers, and project managers, our world would certainly be different. The lead actor in the short film is TJ Thyne, the chemist on Bones.

Notes Watching Senior Users at the Computer

Sometimes the audience for my help consists of seniors in the range of 60 to 85 years old. The other night I attended an orientation session with users to introduce them to a new application we were releasing. As part of the orientation, I observed first-hand the challenges that seniors have with computers. Here are a few user interface problems: Calendar picker tools are tough to navigate, since the forward and back links are small. In...

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

If you're in Utah, come check out Podcamp SLC on Friday, March 27 at Neumont University, South Jordan. I'll be presenting on "Interviewing Remote and Local Guests for Podcasts." Here's a description of my presentation: Interviewing is an art — one that can enable you to generate high-quality content for your podcast with little effort on your part, if you can find the right guest and ask the right questions. Connecting with another profe...

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

Listen here: This is the second half of the Blogging for Technical Communicators webinar that I gave to the STC-Rocky Mountain chapter on February 19, 2009. Here's the accompanying PowerPoint visual. Note: Make sure you listen to Part 1 first. Otherwise you'll come into this podcast in media res. Topics covered in this half of the podcast include the following: How Your Audience Consumes Blog Information Key Elements of...

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

Listen here: This podcast is a recording of the Blogging for Technical Communicators webinar that I gave to the STC-Rocky Mountain chapter on February 19, 2009. I split the recording into two parts due to length. This first half covers the following four topics: The Blog as an Expected Format Why Bother to Blog? Search Engine Optimization: The #1 Perceived Value of Blogging The Most Difficult Part of Blogging: Generati...

STC Speaker's Registry | Find experts fast

STC Speaker's Registry | Find experts fast. Cool new database of speakers that chapters can use to find speakers for their chapter meetings. Note that this is a prototype only. I don't know if the information it contains will be migrated to the released version or what.

Emotional States of Computer Users in Times of Frustration

Frustration The other day I came home to find Jane rather frustrated at the computer. She'd just ordered $40 worth of books from Half.com, but realized -- two weeks after completing the order -- that they were sent to an old email address with an unknown shipping address. The half.com address was apparently a Windows Live ID, but she couldn't remember any login information about it, nor could she retrieve the password, so she was having a...

Lessons Learned with Quick Reference Guides: Timing and Truth

One of the fundamental aspects of quick reference guides is knowing when to create them. A few weeks ago I was assigned to a small project team working on a relatively simple application, and I pitched the idea of several role-based quick reference guides for the help content. I showed samples from other projects, and the project team agreed it was what they wanted. Soon after, I started designing the help content for the application. I b...

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

Quick reference guides 1.0 Quick Reference Guides: The Poetry of Technical Writing 1.1 Quick Reference Guide Formats -- Tips for Finding Attractive Layouts 1.2 → STC Presentation this Thursday: "Quick Reference Guides: Short and Sweet Technical Documentation" ...