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Pushing content into any format with Jekyll - 12 hours 2 min ago
In the previous post, I talked about help APIs as a way to deliver help inside applications. In this post, I’ll explain how to push your help content into any format. Let’s say that you have three different channels where you want to push your help content. Channel one is an S3 bucket in Amazon Continue Reading » (more)

The Roots of the Paperback

Core Dump 2.0 - 18 hours 51 min ago

Older readers of this blog may remember Aldus, the company that originally developed PageMaker. Likely fewer will know that the company was named after Aldus Manutius, one of the earliest printers. Many of the books he printed are part of an exhibition currently showing in New York and the subject of a long article in the New York Times. I’d love to be able to see this.

The exhibition that opened this week at the Grolier Club in Manhattan (more)

Digital Tools for Artists, Photographers, and Writers

Core Dump 2.0 - Thu, 03/05/2015 - 04:03

Working as I do in software development, it’s easy to think that every problem can be solved with software. So when I think of photography, for example, after the camera and lens, the first thing I think about is the software I’m going to use to digitally process my image. However, perhaps I should be thinking of using a filter instead, or a tripod. The same hold true of other fields, like art or writing. There are lots of useful tools out there. The New York Times has a (more)

Ebook Development Resources

Core Dump 2.0 - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 04:52

A few years ago I wrote an article for about ebook resources. That’s a bit dated now, and one of these days, I will update it, but in the meantime, here’s an article summarizing some more up-to-date resources.

Webinars and tutorials are available in numerous places. In each case, the resources below have several service areas. For my purposes here, I am going to focus on resources for ebook developers.


How to create a help API - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 03:20
In my last post in this series, I talked about static site generators as a platform for help. In this post, I want to explore Help APIs, which is actually something in part enabled by static site generators. To put things in context, the web is sort of a giant API. Each browser functions as Continue Reading » (more)

“What Software Do We Need?” Is The Wrong First Question

The Content - Tue, 03/03/2015 - 16:53

Scott Abel

By Scott Abel, The Content Wrangler

As a content strategy consultant, I’m often called upon by brands seeking to find ways to solve complex content challenges. Far too often, they start off their quest for a solution by asking the wrong first question: “What software do we need?”

This is the wrong first question for a wide variety of reasons. The most important reason is that software products are tools, not content solutions, no matter what software company marketing mavens would like you to believe. Tools help conten (more)

Buyer’s guide to CCMS evaluation and selection (premium)

Scriptorium blog - Mon, 03/02/2015 - 08:33

“What CCMS should we buy?” It’s a common question with no easy answer. This article provides a roadmap for CCMS evaluation and selection. First, a few definitions. A CCMS (component content management system) is different from a CMS (content management system). You … Continue reading →

The post Buyer’s guide to CCMS evaluation and selection (premium) appeared first on (more)

Here’s a list of the training modules we offer

Cherryleaf Technical Authors blog - Mon, 03/02/2015 - 06:34
We had a discussion last week about a potential partnership that involves Cherryleaf’s courseware (and our trainers). It prompted us to take stock of the all courseware we can offer...

[[ For the full article, see]] (more)

April date for our next advanced technical writing techniques course

Cherryleaf Technical Authors blog - Mon, 03/02/2015 - 06:14
Just to let you know our next Trends in Technical Communication Course – Advanced Technical Writing Techniques course will be held on Wednesday 29th April 2015, near The Science Museum in central...

[[ For the full article, see]] (more)

The Last of the Typewriter Men

Core Dump 2.0 - Mon, 03/02/2015 - 04:30

Here’s a paean to a vanishing breed – the typewriter repairman. Yes, there are a few left, but you might have to travel to New York to find one.

On a recent bleak, winter afternoon in the Flatiron District Paul Schweitzer was once again hard at work, trying to breathe life into a black, jazz-age Underwood typewriter. Behind his spectacles was a furrowed brow and behind that was a tangle of keys, steel, carrying cases and filing cabinets of rollers, spools, levers and k (more)

The Tragedy of Canada’s census

Core Dump 2.0 - Sun, 03/01/2015 - 04:25

In 2010, the Harper government, in a fit of ideological insanity, decided that the census would no longer be mandatory. Now the chickens are coming home to roost, as provincial governments, cities, non-profit organizations, and corporations are finding that they lack crucial, up-to-date information about the makeup of our country.

Here’s the kicker, though: This new survey, the one that provides less data than the one before it and has left academics, government officials, demographers, so (more)

Static site generators start to replace web publishing platforms like WordPress - Fri, 02/27/2015 - 11:16
In the previous post in this series on innovation, I highlighted some web tools worth exploring for help systems. In this post, I want to dive into one of the latest trends with web tools: static site generators. The Rise and fall of web publishing platforms For the past 10 years, web publishing platforms with Continue Reading » (more)

Some web tools worth using in help solutions - Thu, 02/26/2015 - 16:17
In the previous post in this series, I argued that piggybacking onto the innovation of the web requires us to use the same web platforms that web developers create, support, and maintain. In this post, I want to mention a few web technologies worth checking out. jQuery jQuery is a JavaScript library that provides functionality Continue Reading » (more)

#MINFoodie8 Recap

Writer in the Think of It - Thu, 02/26/2015 - 14:48
Still waiting for a new motherboard and new wireless adapter for my main computer, but figured I shouldn't wait any longer to blog about MINFoodie8, so here's a somewhat sketchier than usual blog post.
Wintry Boston HarborMass Innovation Nights managed to find the one gap between storms in the past three weeks to get us out of our snow banks and into some cool foodie innov (more)

Whither democracy?

Core Dump 2.0 - Thu, 02/26/2015 - 06:42

SF author, Charles Stross, has been working on some near-future SF recently and thinking a lot about what could happen in the next twenty five years or so. He’s not optimistic. Start at the beginning, work your way through his train of thought, and see how you feel.

  1. We’re living in an era of increasing automation. And it’s trivially clear that the adoption of automation privileges capital over labour (because capital can be substituted for labour, and the profit fr (more)

The Canadian government’s war on science

Core Dump 2.0 - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 04:31

I knew it was bad, but the extent of the current Canadian government’s war on science is appalling.  John Dupuis, Science Librarian at Steacie Science & Engineering Library, York University, Toronto, has done us all favour by compiling what he calls a “brief chronology” of our government’s ideological hate campaign against evidence-based decision making. I wish it was brief; sadly, it’s not.

As is occasi (more)

Accessibility is not only for people with disabilities

Cherryleaf Technical Authors blog - Tue, 02/24/2015 - 12:59
Accessibility is in the news again: Harvard and M.I.T. Are Sued Over Lack of Closed Captions “Advocates for the deaf on Thursday filed federal lawsuits against Harvard and M.I.T., saying both...

[[ For the full article, see]] (more)

Piggybacking onto the innovation of the web - Tue, 02/24/2015 - 11:28
In the previous post in this series, I looked at the five major technological innovations of the past decade and asked how tech comm plugs into each of them. In this post, I want to explore ways to piggyback onto the innovation of the web. Challenges in hacking A few months back, I was exploring Continue Reading » (more)

Tracing the roots of English

Core Dump 2.0 - Tue, 02/24/2015 - 04:55

English is a complex language, as anyone who has tried to learn it as an adult will testify. In my case, trying to learn Old English as part of my English literature studies was almost enough to drive me to Esperanto. English is a language of assimilation, and its roots go very far back.

Now linguists are digging back almost 10,000 years to discover the origins, not just of English, but most European languages.

Historical linguists can reconstruct many words of (more)

State of the Migration to Sphinx/RST

just write click - Mon, 02/23/2015 - 09:02

I wanted to document the migration journey while we are in the middle of it. Last week the OpenStack Super User site did a great article about the migration, How you can help with the documentation site refresh. We talked about the reasons for it: enable more contributors, offer simpler markup, be more Pythonic.

And more Pythonic we are. Let’s dig into what’s going on with the migration, what we’ve learned, and what we still have to learn.

Migration process