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Seattle workshop on API Technical Writing

Will you be in Seattle on Friday, October 23rd? Join me and the Puget Sound Chapter of the STC for a full-day workshop on API technical writing. It’s free, and there’s free food too. :)

Anyone interested in learning about API technical writing is welcome to attend – you don’t need to be a member of the STC.

Quick links: Register to attend, and learn more on the STC Puget Sound si (more)

Ellis will be speaking at MadWorld 2016

Cherryleaf Technical Authors blog - Fri, 08/28/2015 - 03:16
Cherryleaf’s Ellis Pratt will be speaking again at MadCap Software’s conference on technical communication and content strategy conference. MadWorld 2016 will be held between the 10th and...

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

What is a REST API? - Fri, 08/28/2015 - 03:00
About web services

In general, a web service is a web-based application that provides information in a format consumable by other computers. Web services include various types of APIs (Application Programming Interfaces), including both REST and SOAP APIs. Web services are basically request and response interactions between clients and servers (one computer makes the request, and the API provides the response).

All APIs that use HTTP protocol as the transport format for requests and responses can be classified as web services.

With web services, the client making the reques (more)

How Tech Helps the Blind

Core Dump 2.0 - Thu, 08/27/2015 - 19:34

Years ago, I remember when the Sault Public Library got a Kurzweil reading machine for use by the blind. It cost about $50,000. Now, your smartphone can do the same thing. Assistive tech for the blind and visually impaired is advancing rapidly and there are exciting new development. This CitiLab article is a good overview of the subject.

Many features of a standard iPhone become immediately accessible to visually impaired users who turn on the (more)

New date for our advanced technical writing course

Cherryleaf Technical Authors blog - Thu, 08/27/2015 - 03:04
We’re moving our public classroom course on Trends in Technical Communication Course – Advanced Technical Writing Techniques from the 18th September to Tuesday 22nd September. There are places...

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

Proposals for 2016 *STC Silicon Valley Chapter* presentations now accepted - Thu, 08/27/2015 - 03:00

Are you interested in presenting to the Silicon Valley STC Chapter this year? We're now accepting proposals for 2016 speakers.

What presenting involves

Presenting to the STC Silicon Valley Chapter (located in the South Bay of the San Francisco, California) involves the following:

  • Preparing a 1-hour presentation relevant to technical writers
  • Preparing some slides or other visuals to accompany your presentation
  • Creating a short description of yo (more)

Technical Writing courses you can take online right now

HelpScribe - Wed, 08/26/2015 - 16:29

Are you ready to jumpstart your career as a Technical Writer? Whether you are just getting started, or have a few notches in your belt, it's time to improve your game. To gain an edge over the competition, you'll need targeted skills.

You need know about...

  • Audience analysis
  • Standard formats for technical documents
  • Industry-specific software tools
  • Writing styles for technica (more)

A True Visionary

Core Dump 2.0 - Wed, 08/26/2015 - 05:21

Fifty years ago Ted Nelson coined the term “hypertext”. In the modern Internet era, that may not seem like much, but remember that when he wrote his seminal paper there was no Internaet, there were no personal computers or smartphones with touch screens, and computer terminals used 80 character wide green text displays. In many respects, his vision of 50 years ago is still to be realized.

Gigaom has a long interview with Nelson. It’s a must re (more)

200 Years Ago a Volcano Changed the World

Core Dump 2.0 - Tue, 08/25/2015 - 05:43

Two hundred years ago, in April 2015, the Indonesian volcano Tambora erupted with a force 100 times greater than Mount St. Helens, ten times more than Pinatubo – the largest modern eruption. The eruption created a cloud of ash and volcanic aerosols that disrupted the world’s climate leading to famine and outbreaks of disease across Asia, Europe, and North America. All of this is documented in detail in Tambora: The Eruption that Changed the World, by Gillen D’Arcy Wood, a book that I’ve just finished reading and can recommend highly. The (more)

The friendly guide to the scope, format, and type attributes in DITA

Scriptorium blog - Mon, 08/24/2015 - 10:36
In testing one day, I was running a set of sample content through the DITA-OT, and much to my consternation, the build was succeeding, but generating no content. The error log helped to ferret out the source of the problem; … Continue reading → (more)

Content marketing tip list for enterprise marketers

Firehead - Mon, 08/24/2015 - 08:13
Docurated, a company that provides productivity and document management solutions to business, has collated a set of key tips and practices from industry leaders on the art of content marketing. We’re happy to have been included on the list for our interview … Continue reading →

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

27 Science Feeds to Follow

Core Dump 2.0 - Mon, 08/24/2015 - 05:33

It’s hard keeping up with developments in science. Not only is there so much going on that no one person could possibly follow everything, but it’s hard to separate the wheat from the chaff – the Internet’s signal to noise ratio is pretty low.  The folks at Wired have helped by putting together a list of 27 feeds (web sites and blogs, podcasts, and Twitter) that covers wide areas of science. There are names you will recognize (Chris Hadfield, Neal DeGrasse Tyson) and many you probabl (more)

The 2015 Hugo Awards

Core Dump 2.0 - Sun, 08/23/2015 - 09:41

The 2015 Hugo Awards were announced last night at Sasquan, the 73rd World Science Fiction Convention. As I expected, No Award featured prominently in this year’s awards. These are the fiction awards:

  • Best Novel: Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu, translation by Ken Liu (Tor Books).
  • Best Novella: No Award
  • Best Novellette: “The Day The World Turned Upside Down” by Thomas Olde Heuvelt, translation by Lia Belt in Lightspeed Magazine, April 2014
  • Best Short St (more)

My process for creating vector diagrams with Illustrator - Sun, 08/23/2015 - 03:00
Create the file in Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator is my preference for diagrams, conceptual workflows, or any other graphic that's not a screenshot. This is because Illustrator creates vector graphics, whereas other applications (e.g., Snagit, Photoshop) create raster graphics.

Vector graphics are actually XML files that are mathematically drawn, whereas raster graphics are pixel-based images (little dots). Raster graphics look good at the dimensions you create them at but get fuzzy if you resize them. In contrast, vector graphics look sharp at any resolution, so they' (more)

The Zine Artists

Core Dump 2.0 - Sat, 08/22/2015 - 17:08

SF fanzines have been around for years, pretty much as long as SF magazines, going back to the 1930s. And art has been an important part of the fanzine experience. Now there’s a site that has galleries of many SF fanzine artists. From Taral Wayne’s introduction to The Zine Artists:

When I was asked to write an introduction for this site, I considered two important issues:  did I have anything of value to say about the subject, and what sort of nonsense would someone else have to say about it if I refused?  I’ll let the r (more)

Fall SF Movie Guide

Core Dump 2.0 - Thu, 08/20/2015 - 18:47

io9 has published their guide to fall SF and fantasy films (with a few disaster and hard to classify flicks thrown in for good measure). The biggies will be The Martian, which based on the trailers looks like it could be great, and the n5ext Star Wars movie, w4hich probably won’t be but everyone will go to see it anyway because, well you know.

I am more interested in the TV series that are coming out – in particular The Expanse, Childhood’s End, and The Man in the High Cas (more)

Hiring a content marketer – what employers want

Firehead - Thu, 08/20/2015 - 02:02
We like a good hiring survey here at Firehead and have had this one from content marketing platform Kapost bookmarked for quite a while. If you’re a content marketer looking for a new job, its Content Market Hiring Handbook could be useful … Continue reading →

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

Go to Your Last Editing Location in Word

Core Dump 2.0 - Wed, 08/19/2015 - 18:35

Microsoft Word has a keyboard shortcut that returns you to the last point where you edited a document. This is handy when you’ve just opened a document and don’t remember exactly where you left off or are working on a large document that would take time to scroll or page through.

Just press SHIFT-F5.

If you use this keyboard shortcut while you are working on a document, it cycles through the last four places that you edited.

If you use this feature a lot, you can automate it so that it works when you open a document. Follow the instructions (more)

Software companies are not selling boxes anymore

Cherryleaf Technical Authors blog - Wed, 08/19/2015 - 04:41
Wistia’s Chris Savage has written an article on how the company focuses on articulating its company vision to differentiate itself in a competitive marketplace. In the article, he states:...

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

Farewell to the Bay Concourse

Core Dump 2.0 - Mon, 08/17/2015 - 09:34

For the last 20 years, since we moved to Pickering, the Bay Concourse at Union Station has been a familiar destination as I made my way through it on the way to or from work or other Toronto destinations. It was a constant beehive of activity, even late a night. The new York Concourse is bigger but feels stark and soulless, and will probably remain that way for quite a while, at least until the new shops and restaurants open. Urban Toronto has published an article about the Bay Concourse(more)