Starting Your Own Blog: Tips for Non-profits

Someone wrote me with the following question: Do you have any links you can send me regarding best practices, research, etc for starting/running a non-profit blog? A writer who works for me has a non-profit foundation and would like to start a blog. We could just start one, but I think we should define our goals and find out what differences (if any) exist between blog-types. Any direction you can provide is appreciated. I divided my resp...

Free Podcasts at Open Culture: Informational Podcasts on Almost Everything

Free podcasts over at http://www.oculture.com/weblog/. (Actually, 99% of podcasts are free, but it's an adjective that never hurts.) The sheer volume of worthwhile, information podcasts listed on this Open Culture is amazing. I'm going to be spending a few hours just grabbing all the podcast feeds into my FeedDemon newsreader. Wish they had a big OPML file sitting over there. There are also good podcast recommendations in the comments sec...

Looking at the Past; Exploring Directions for the Future

Paul Colligan, a well-known podcaster behind the site Podcasttools.com, explores where we've been and where we're going with podcasting. He also made me think about where I've been with podcasting and just where I'm going. Paul says podcasting exploded with the desire for people to be their own publishers. In the beginning, the process of creating, publishing, and distributing podcasts stretched your technical abilities. It was a hassle, ...

Number One Issue for Technical Writers Today: Keeping Pace with Rapidly Evolving Technology

From our virtual chat, we decided that the most significant issue technical communicators face today is keeping pace with rapidly evolving technology. Here are a few quotes from the chat: "For me it's keeping up with the right technology and fighting to increase productivity without making our jobs horrid." "I have trouble keeping up with the rapid pace of innovation in the IT world and the many ways to deliver content." "Part of the pro...

Chapter Chat Results: It Went Well, But Only 4 Participated

We had our first chapter chat tonight. It went well. The conversation moved at a good pace, no flame wars broke out, and the discussion seemed productive. The one downside was lack of participation on part of the chapter: only four members participated (including myself). However, sometimes if you're talking with a group of friends, four people is a perfect number. Imagine trying to carry on a conversation with 50 or 60 people at once. Th...

OPML Files — What Feeds Are You Following?

I thought I'd share some of my OPML files for different feeds. Podcast OPML Technical Writing OPML WordPress OPML Technology OPML If you'd like to share your OPML file with me, I'd love to see it. For the uninitiated, OPML files are collections of feeds. You can plug them into Bloglines, Google Reader, Newsgator, or sites like Netvibes or Pageflakes. It beats entering one feed at a time. (To download my OPML files above, right-click the...

Design good websites by following principles of technical writing style

Designing good websites involves following the same principles of technical writing — be invisible in style. In this Edgework podcast, Joshua Porter explains that good web design is often invisible. Users shouldn't be concentrating on the design. Like Amazon, you focus on the content. You focus on the fact that it works. I strive for the same in my technical writing. I want the user to focus on the content, not my literary style. I rememb...

Examples of companies integrating podcasts into their mix of technical communication deliverables?

Someone wrote to me asking if I have examples of companies integrating podcasts into their mix of technical communication deliverables.  If you know of any, please let me know in the comments to this post. Here's what come to mind: I know Novell does podcasts. BMC also provides podcasts. Boagworld uses instructional podcasts as a marketing vehicle for their company. I believe DMN Communications also uses podcasts to increase their visibi...

37 Signals, To Do Lists — Printable To Do Lists To Get Organized

37 Signals' to-do lists, which offer printable to-do lists online to help you get organized, or to simply make lists, is one of the most useful tools I've used lately. Although I didn't write favorably about 37 Signal's Campfire chat product, I really recommend their to-do lists. Mainly, all their products are cool, but the to-do lists have a special place in my heart because they are totally free. I use these to-do lists when I'm online ...

My First Virtual Administrative Meeting

I just spend the last hour and a half using the virtual chat feature on the Suncoast site talking about competition details and issues for the FTCC. Let me tell you, the chat works awesome. I mean, it actually works. This same functionality from 37 Signals' Campfire product costs about $49/month (for 60 simultaneous chatters), but with the shoutbox plugin for Wordpress (actually Pierre's Wordspew, which is a modified version of the Jalene...

"I don't have time to listen to podcasts..."

If you haven't started listening to podcasts yet because you don't have time, try fitting in podcasts during these hours: While you're driving to work While you're exercising While you lie down at night to fall asleep While you're walking your dog While you're running errands While you're shopping for groceries While you're bicycling around your neighborhood While you're reformatting your computer While you're watching your kids play on ...

Review of Word 2007, Tool vs. Industry Experience, the Slow Movement, E-mail Tips, and More

Listen here: In this week's Tech Writer Voices podcast, Heidi and I talk about some innovative research from Microsoft, Word 2007, convincing upper management you're not a cost, focusing on information users actually want, tool versus industry experience, the curse of knowledge, the slow movement, and a tip for handling your e-mail inbox. Links mentioned in the Show Tom's blog Heidi's blog Innovative Microsoft Research ...

Grammar Girl Podcast — Some Thoughts on Grammar as a Topic for a Podcast

Grammar Girl is the latest subject of the DMN Communications podcast. The Grammar Girl podcast covers ... you guessed it, grammar. What's surprising is the popularity of this podcast. The popularity prompts a thought-provoking question: in a world of degenerating language, where sentences are massacred in text messages, poorly written blog posts, reader comments, user forums, and other social media, why does anyone care so much about gram...

Spinvox: The Next Killer App. for Cell Phones

If you don't enjoy listening to voicemail on your cell phone, check out Spinvox. This service converts your voicemail messages to text and then emails you the message. Right now you can sign up for a year's service for free by e-mailing [email protected] with the request. Two U.S. competitors to Spinvox are Simulscribe and Callwave. But with Spinvox, not only can you have the transcribed voicemail sent to your email or cell phone (althoug...

Integrating Google Adsense into this Blog

I never thought blogging could be very profitable, but after listening to a podcast with Guy Kawasaki, who says he could make 25-30K a year blogging, and after reading John Chow's blog, which shows him earning 3K a month, I decided to start integrating Google Adsense into my posts. Google Adsense allows you to integrate Google's ads into your website or blog. The ads displayed match the categories you've set up and the keywords of your po...