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Recruiting now for the zombie apocalypse (and other jobs)

Firehead - 4 hours 8 min ago
Happy Hallowe’en, Firehead readers! If you’re not a doctor, fighter or engineer ready to take up arms against the zombies this October 31 – as per Zazzle’s recruitment poster (click to buy) – that’s fine. For tomorrow we return to our … Continue reading →

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Web Directions 2014 – day 2

This week I’m attending Web Directions South 2014, a conference for people who “design, imagine, create or build digital products, web sites and applications”. I’m excited to be part of this event. I’ll blog about my take-aways from the sessions I attend, and anything else that comes to mind.

The keynote this morning was Being human in a digital world, by Genevieve Bell. The link is to my post about that funny, inspir (more)

Web Directions 2014 – Being human in a digital world

ffeathers - a technical writer's blog - Thu, 10/30/2014 - 20:17

This week I’m attending Web Directions South 2014, a conference for people who “design, imagine, create or build digital products, web sites and applications”. I’m excited to be part of this event. I’ll blog about my take-aways from the sessions I attend, and anything else that comes to mind.

Genevieve Bell is director of User Experience Research at Intel Corporation, and vice president of Intel Labs. She gave the keynote on day 2 of the conference: “Being human in a digital (more)

Stenography for Technical Authors?

Cherryleaf Technical Authors blog - Thu, 10/30/2014 - 09:50
This tweet caught my eye: Some people write at 240 *words* per minute http://t.co/aWqtrzI92i — Kas Thomas (@kasthomas) October 30, 2014 It linked to an article The 100 Year Old Trick to Writing at...

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Making AutoCorrect more useful in Word 2013

Core Dump 2.0 - Thu, 10/30/2014 - 05:20

AutoCorrect is a feature in Microsoft Word that you may not even realize you’re using. If, like me, you’re a sloppy typist, AutoCorrect will fix common typos (teh for the, for example) so quickly that you may not notice you’ve made a mistake. It’s also easy to configure; at least it was in Word 2007 and 2010, where you could set it to save a correction by right-clicking on a word that Word had flagged as a spelling mistake.

For reasons unknown, Microsoft has removed that feature from Word 2013, as Jerry Pournelle laments in his (more)

Bit rot in the documentation

ffeathers - a technical writer's blog - Thu, 10/30/2014 - 03:11

This week I’m attending Web Directions South 2014, a conference for people who “design, imagine, create or build digital products, web sites and applications”. It’s a privilege to be here, and to speak at this cool get-together.

My session is called Bit Rot in the Docs. (The link goes to the slides on SlideShare.) The presentation looks at how documentation can degenerate over time, and some techniques for finding and fixing e (more)

Web Directions 2014 – day 1

ffeathers - a technical writer's blog - Thu, 10/30/2014 - 02:59

This week I’m attending Web Directions South 2014, a conference for people who “design, imagine, create or build digital products, web sites and applications”. I’m excited to be part of this event. I’ll blog about my take-aways from the sessions I attend, and anything else that comes to mind.

Day one started with an excellent keynote by Matt Webb. Now for some notes from other sessions I attended.

Lean Engineering, by Bill Scott < (more)

Simplifying DITA authoring by using a Markdown to HTML to DITA workflow

idratherbewriting.com - Thu, 10/30/2014 - 02:28

The other day I started to organize my notes on Java, and knowing that I eventually plan to publish these notes, I wondered what format I should write the content in. My first thought was, hey, I wrote my DITA QRG in DITA, so why not store my Java notes in DITA as well?

And then I had this nasty feeling of dread where something in my chest cringes and shrivels. If I was going to be drafting this content, the last thing I wanted to worry about was XML markup tags and structural complexity.

Were I to draft the content in DITA, I (more)

Web Directions 2014 – Interconnected

ffeathers - a technical writer's blog - Wed, 10/29/2014 - 19:39

This week I’m attending Web Directions South 2014, a conference for people who “design, imagine, create or build digital products, web sites and applications”. I’m excited to be part of this event. I’ll blog about my take-aways from the sessions I attend, and anything else that comes to mind.

There are 700 attendees at Web Directions South this year. The conference spans two days, with 24 sessions on two tracks: engineering and product.

The event started with Nathan Moran of the Metropolitan Land (more)

How to receive any new blog posts automatically via email

Cherryleaf Technical Authors blog - Wed, 10/29/2014 - 07:05
If you wish, you can now choose to receive any new Cherryleaf blog post automatically to your inbox. When we create a new post, we’ll send subscribers to this service a copy of it in the form...

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Orbital Sciences launch failure

Core Dump 2.0 - Tue, 10/28/2014 - 19:46

An Antares booster launched by Orbital Sciences Corp. suffered a catastrophic failure shortly after launch this evening, falling back to the Wallops Island launch pad and exploding. The rocket was carrying a cargo of supplies intended for the International Space Station. Initial reports were that there were no injuries, but I expect that there will be more than a little damage to the launch pad, and somewhat more to Orbital Sciences’ reputation.

The video is sho (more)

Interview with a Plain Language Expert

Firehead - Tue, 10/28/2014 - 08:00
Deborah Bosley heads up The Plain Language Group, based in Charlotte, North Carolina. In our latest job Q&A, we go behind the scenes of her work as a plain language practitioner to find out how it helps business and how … Continue reading →

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XML product literature

Scriptorium blog - Mon, 10/27/2014 - 10:35

Your industrial products become part of well-oiled machines. Unfortunately, your workflow for developing product literature may not be as well-oiled. Using desktop publishing tools (such as InDesign) to develop product literature means you spend a lot of time applying formatting, … Continue reading →

The post XML product literature appeared first on Scriptorium P (more)

Managing information inside a project services company

Cherryleaf Technical Authors blog - Mon, 10/27/2014 - 05:26
Last week, we completed the third phase of our IT systems migration. With each phase, we’re gaining insights into how information can be best managed inside a company selling and delivering...

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Seven Worst-Case Scenarios in the Battle with the Islamic State

Core Dump 2.0 - Sun, 10/26/2014 - 18:29

Here’s an article that explores seven different scenarios that the battle with the Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL, whatever you want to call it) could take. None of them are good. Several of them are backed up with quite a bit of detail.

5. Iran

What can go wrong for Iran in the current conflict? While in the Middle East something unexpected can always arise, at present that country looks like the potential big winner in the IS sweepstakes. Will a pro-I (more)

E for All -- All Ideas Pitch Contest Recap

Writer in the Think of It - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 20:10
When E for All invites "all ideas" to a pitch contest, the variety is truly amazing. It covered everything from self-heating soap to mobile auto detailing. Plus, there were pink fairies and a live hedgehog!
Suggestion FairyYou know it's going to be a fun event when the first person you see is wearing pink fairy wings. Usman Mutawakil was there to pitch Suggestion Fairy,  an anonymous suggestion box that allows restaurants to cat (more)

The DITA debate

ffeathers - a technical writer's blog - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 02:40

I’m coming to the conclusion that there are specific types of content that suit a DITA environment, and that the converse is also true: DITA is not the best solution for every content type. (DITA is the Darwin Information Typing Architecture, an XML architecture for designing, writing, managing, and publishing information.)

“Well, duh,” you may say. :) I’ve never worked in a DITA environment, but I’ve attended two indepth training courses and a number of case studies that walked through successful DITA implementations (more)

Slides and recording for “Perfecting the audio narration in instructional video” at Info Dev World

idratherbewriting.com - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 01:35

Today at Information Development World I presented “Perfecting the audio narration in instructional video.” Here are my slides and recording.

Perfecting the audio narration in instructional video from Tom Johnson

PowerPoint in other format: (more)

CBC does us proud

Core Dump 2.0 - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 19:24

For most of yesterday, I listened to the CBC’s radio coverage of the shooting at Parliament. The CBC radio coverage was excellent, as is usually the case with the CBC. I didn’t see the TV coverage but it’s attracted some notice in US sites, because it was so much better than what passes for TV journalism in the US these days. Here’s an article from Mediabistro.com.

For hours this afternoon, Canada’s CBC News covered the b (more)

Eight digital brand communication trends you should be on top of in 2014-2015

Firehead - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 07:45
From SMEs to multinationals, companies are well aware that communicating their brand is an essential part of doing business: who they are, what they do, why customers should buy from them. But the channels for digital communication have exploded with … Continue reading →

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