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Thirteen life hacks - 4 hours 12 min ago

The other day I ran across a post detailing 46 brilliant life hacks. Since then I’ve been mulling over a few of my own life hacks and wanted to share them here. The following are a few tips that have worked for me. They are totally random, covering “life” in general, but I’ll share them here in case someone finds them beneficial. (Sorry that I’m too lazy to be more visual.)

1. To avoid carrying a bulky wallet in your pocket, get an iPhone c (more)

Key lessons from the Content Marketing Show

Firehead - Mon, 09/01/2014 - 07:35
We’ve been seeing some great learning opportunities coming out of the free one-day Content Marketing Show (held in London in July, the next one is in Brighton on 5 November 2014). This digital marketing event has become the most popular content marketing … Continue reading →

[[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]] (more)

We’re looking for someone to take our Technical Author induction online training course, free of charge

Cherryleaf Technical Authors blog - Sat, 08/30/2014 - 00:21
We’re looking for someone to take our Technical Author induction online training course, free of charge, in exchange for doing something that will help us develop future versions of the course....

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

Falcon 9R failure due to faulty sensor

Core Dump 2.0 - Fri, 08/29/2014 - 18:21

Last week’s explosive failure of a Falcon 9R test rocket was due to a sensor failure in one of the engines. The test vehicle didn’t contain the multiple sensor voting system used in the commercial Falcon 9 rocket.

SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk said in a statement Tuesday that the cause of the prototype rocket’s demise was a “blocked sensor port.”

Garrett Reisman, who heads SpaceX’s effort to develop a private space taxi for NASA astronauts, said Wednesday th (more)

The future of tech comm: Machines that teach you how to use them

HelpScribe - Fri, 08/29/2014 - 17:13

Our devices are getting smarter. Shouldn't our documentation do the same?

One of the greatest problems manufacturers face is teaching consumers how to use their products. As I mentioned in a previous post, 95 percent of devices returned to stores actually work. That's a serious pain point and expense for manufacturers.

Smart phones, tablets, and other computer-like devices are naturally moving in the direction of simple, digital instructions (more)

Our process for creating elearning videos

Cherryleaf Technical Authors blog - Fri, 08/29/2014 - 06:51
I will be talking at the Technical Communications UK 2014 conference (TCUK14) next month about creating videos for technical communication and elearning videos. It covers how to embed video in a...

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

More on Iceland

Core Dump 2.0 - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 18:16

The situation in Iceland is getting worrisome. There are signs that magma is moving from the Bárðarbunga volcano to the Askja volcano. This means that both volcanoes could erupt. More information, and even more speculation, in the comments section.

More worrisome is the possibility that deep magma may be forcing its way to the surface and that could lead to a much larger (more)

Technophobia, and other reasons consumers won't read the manual

HelpScribe - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 14:18

Fear is a powerful motivator. But it can be downright dangerous when it deters consumers from understanding how to use technology in a safe manner. Plato said it best...

"We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light."

This is as true in technical communication as it is in philosophy; there are dangers to not understanding things that can be understood if we make (more)

The lost Steve Jobs interview – on successful products

Cherryleaf Technical Authors blog - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 03:23
Last night, we watched Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview on Netflix. It’s a lengthly (70 minute) interview from 1995, in which Steve Jobs discussed his recipe for a successful business. The...

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

How to track textual input with Google Analytics

ffeathers - a technical writer's blog - Wed, 08/27/2014 - 10:32

This week an analytics ninja showed me how to use Google Analytics to track the values entered into a text field. It comes down to sending a dummy page name to Google Analytics, containing the value entered into the field. Google Analytics faithfully records a “page view” for that value, which you can then see in the analytics reports in the same way that you can see any other page view. Magic.

For example, let’s say you have a search box on a documentation page, allowing readers to search a subset of the documentation.  It would be nice to track the most popul (more)

Complete Feynman physics lectures online

Core Dump 2.0 - Wed, 08/27/2014 - 06:23

The complete Feynman lectures on physics are now online in a multi-device friendly HTML5 format. The three volumes cover the core of physics and although some topics, like quantum physics, have advanced quite a bit since Feynman gave the original lectures in the 1960s, they are still a landmark publication. Fair warning: to really understand these, you’ll need to know some calculus and algebra – first year university level should (more)

Follow-up on yesterday’s talk about API technical writing

ffeathers - a technical writer's blog - Tue, 08/26/2014 - 09:24

Yesterday I was privileged and delighted to speak at a meeting of the STC Silicon Valley Chapter in Santa Clara. Thanks so much to Tom Johnson and David Hovey for organising the meeting, and thank you too to all the attendees. It was a lovely experience, with a warm, enthusiastic and inspiring audience. This post includes some links for people who’d like to continue playing with the APIs we saw last night and delving deeper into the w (more)

More posts around the web

just write click - Mon, 08/25/2014 - 23:14

Seems like more and more I’m writing everywhere but here! I wanted to do a round-up of some of my writing around the web.

On the Rackspace Developer Blog: Austin Ladies Hackathon

This weekend was a blast, hacking with all women at Rackspace, and wow were the projects impressive. Here’s how it went.

Friday night we gathered at a restaurant, the Flying Saucer, to meet each other and start to form teams. I’d guessimate that 20 of the 30 participants showed up. I helped (more)

Fall 2014 Scriptorium conference round-up

Scriptorium blog - Mon, 08/25/2014 - 12:53

We have a full schedule of stellar conferences coming up this fall. We hope to see you at one or more of these events. Let’s start with the big news. You should be able to recognize us at these events, as we … Continue reading →

The post Fall 2014 Scriptorium conference round-up appeared first on Scriptorium Publishing. (more)

10 tips to become a Wikipedia master

Core Dump 2.0 - Mon, 08/25/2014 - 05:15

Although Wikipedia may not be a perfectly authoritative source for research, it is still an incredibly useful resource if you’re aware of its limitations. It’s also a very deep resource with many features that most people never touch. Gizmodo has published 10 tips that will help you master Wikipedia. For example, I didn’t know you could do this:

1. Create ebooks and PDFs for offline reading

Wikipedia has a built-in Book Creator tool that you can take advantage of (more)

Five top picks from Content Strategy Forum 2014

Firehead - Fri, 08/22/2014 - 06:45
Content Strategy Forum 2014 happened in Frankfurt at the start of July. You can find slide decks, video coverage, and reviews collected on the CSForum website but we’ve particularly enjoyed catching up on our learnings via Script’s video playlist on YouTube. Here … Continue reading →

[[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]] (more)

Writing documentation for the games industry

Cherryleaf Technical Authors blog - Fri, 08/22/2014 - 02:45
Last week, I visited Gamescom in Cologne. Gamescom is the largest exhibition and trade fair for computer games in Europe, with over 335,000 people attending this five day event. We visited for social...

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

Iceland bears watching

Core Dump 2.0 - Wed, 08/20/2014 - 19:31

It seems that one of Iceland’s major volcanoes may be getting ready to erupt. There’s been a lot of seismic activity under Bardardunga, indicating that magma is on the move. This could mean an eruption is imminent, though the scale of such an eruption is difficult to predict. A worst-case scenario isn’t likely but (more)

Talk about API technical writing in Silicon Valley next Monday

ffeathers - a technical writer's blog - Wed, 08/20/2014 - 17:41

I’ll be speaking at the meeting of the STC Silicon Valley Chapter in Santa Clara on Monday 25th August. Thanks to Tom Johnson for organising this get-together! I’m excited to meet the Silicon Valley writers. 

The talk is titled, “API Technical Writing: What, Why, and How“. The (more)

Author in DITA, publish with WordPress - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 10:23

If you’ve been following my posts lately, you’ve seen me explore the tools question numerous times. In this post, I’ll explore combining structured authoring with web publishing on WordPress.

In a nutshell, here’s the main idea: structured authoring tools are great for authoring content. Web platforms are great for publishing content. My plan is to leverage the best of both worlds by creating content using an XML editor like OxygenXML, and then publish it to a platform like WordPress.

Tech comm is great at authoring

Unquestionably, authoring content with a tool like O (more)