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

Tech Comm Toolbox is a brilliant website by Char James Tanny that provides a directory of tools, consultants, and conferences. The site offers several ways to find what you're looking for: by category, by alphabetical name, or by search. Char used WordPress to create the site, relying heavily upon categories to organize the information. Users can submit entries to be added, and they can comment on everything that's listed. The next time y...

Dilbert animated shorts from your favorite comic strips

Dilbert animated shorts from your favorite comic strips. I love Dilbert -- I never realized there were animated Dilbert cartoons. It's addictive to sit there and watch these -- watch out.

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

Context-sensitive help in Madcap Flare is pretty easy to set up – you just follow the steps in Flare's context-sensitive help instructions. However, there's a usability problem that you must work around for the context-sensitive help to be successful. Let me explain. When the user clicks a context-sensitive help link, a help window appears, as it should. But suppose the user doesn't close the help window, but instead clicks back to the ap...

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

Common questions I receive about WordPress blogs My WordPress consulting side business has been getting a lot of attention lately. In fact, I've been struggling to keep up. (I do this, by the way, mainly on the weekends.) Over the last several projects, I've noticed a common trend of questions about WordPress and blogging. Here's what everyone asks. I already have a site. How can I add a WordPress blog to it? Although it's possible to cus...

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

As 2008 ended, I neglected to write a year-end wrap-up post because it seemed so trendy and cliché at the time, but now that 2009 has started, my muse has been prodding me to write it. A lot of good things happened in 2008. We bought a house in Eagle Mountain, moving from an apartment to a two-story home that fits our little family of five perfectly. Shannon started blogging more frequently, writing witty, engaging posts about so many thi...

Tech Comm Toolbox

Tech Comm Toolbox

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

Listen here: ComponentOne recently released Doc-To-Help 2009, which introduces a complete redesign of their user interface. In this podcast, I talk with Nicky Bleiel, who works for ComponentOne, in depth about Doc-To-Help. Nicky has been a technical communicator for fourteen years and is now a director at large for the STC. I've met Nicky several times at Doc Train and STC conferences, and have interviewed her for othe...

Good Designs Have Strong Contrast

Since I've been reading The Non-Designers Design Book: Design and Typographic Principles for the Novice, I've started to see the importance of contrast everywhere. The author, Robin Williams, argues that contrast is one of the four pillars of design, and that most people don't include enough of it. As a result, rather than contrast, they end up with conflict. Williams writes: A design is in conflict when you set two or more typefaces on t...

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

Stephen Fry on the pleasure of language This podcast from Stephen Fry on language is one of the most entertaining, thought-provoking, well-read essays on language I've ever heard. In the podcast, Fry says he often encounters people who consider themselves high-minded grammarians, who assume he is on their side when they express their disgust of common grammar errors, such as "12 Items or Less" signs in grocery stories (rather than "fewer"...

How to Create Columns with CSS Float | eHow.com

How to Create Columns with CSS Float | eHow.com I see so many sites that structure everything with tables. News flash: tables are out. Divs and floats are in.

Quick Reference Guide Formats -- Tips for Finding Attractive Layouts

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" ...

Generational tech guilt?

Who is to blame? In one of Alistair Christie's recent podcasts, he interviews his 70-year-old mother about how she uses computers. Although they cover many topics in the interview, her tech guilt is the most salient part of the discussion. She blames herself for not understanding how to work computers and navigate websites. When she can't locate certain features on an interface (for example, Paypal), her first inclination isn't to blame t...

WordPress Tip: Integrate WordPress into an Existing Website

I integrated a WordPress blog into another website this weekend. The original site, pictured below, was http://tamarabonet.com. Original site (built in Dreamweaver) Here's the WordPress blog I customized (http://tamarabonet.com/blog) to look identical to the existing site: WordPres Blog (created to match original) This is my third blog design in which I ported over an existing html site into a WordPress theme. I'm getting better at it, ...

A Tech Writer's World: A Killer Manual

A Tech Writer's World: A Killer Manual.

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

Listen here: In this podcast, I interview Alyssa Fox, an information development manager at NetIQ, about technical writing in agile environments. Agile environments involve short iterations of product development, such as three to six weeks to complete a release, rather than the longer one to two years of product development before releases. Writing in an agile environment requires a different authoring methodology. On A...