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An unpaid political announcement

Core Dump 2.0 - Fri, 10/09/2015 - 05:09

I haven’t made any secret here about how much I detest Stephen Harper and his government, and I will continue to do so, until he’s booted out into the cold heartless wasteland that he’s trying so hard to turn our country into. But rather than hearing me rant, read these articles from writers who are much more knowledgeable and eloquent than I am.

From Peter Watts, we have Squirrel!

Don’t talk to me about percentages. Don’t tell me that I’m being too harsh, that two thirds of Canada’s population would (more)

The Problem of Disaffected Males

Core Dump 2.0 - Thu, 10/08/2015 - 18:51

I’ve been aware for a long time that having a significant number of disaffected young males in your population is a recipe for social unrest. You can see it happening in the Middle East, for example  (look at who the Saudi 9/11 hijackers were) and it’s been reported as a major long-term risk for China, especially given the national propensity for male children. Now we’re seeing it in the United States in a wave of mass shootings.

The article3, The Shootings Are Not Senseless (more)

Nirsoft Utilities

Core Dump 2.0 - Wed, 10/07/2015 - 19:10

Nirsoft Utilities is a large collection of mostly low-level utilities created by Nir Sofer. When I say low level, I mean utilities for sniffing out TCP/IP packet contents, recovering passwords from Windows XP credential files, edit and repair Outlook auto-correct files, and so on. There are dozens and they are freeware. Bookmark his site – the odds are you’ll run into a problem that one of his utilities will help you solve.


Unsung heroes of DITA (premium)

Scriptorium blog - Tue, 10/06/2015 - 10:56
For some content developers—especially those using DITA for the first time—any features of DITA that go beyond the basics can seem intimidating. But sometimes, a special feature of DITA might be exactly what an organization needs to solve one of … Continue reading → (more)

Cory Doctorow speaking in Toronto

Core Dump 2.0 - Tue, 10/06/2015 - 05:07

Cory Doctorow, SF author and Internet activist will be speaking in Toronto later this month. He’ll be at Seneca College, Newnham Campus on Finch Ave. East at 3:00 on Thursday October 15th. It’s free but you have to register in advance. It just so happens that I’m on vacation that week so I’ll be able to go. I’ve seen Cory speak a couple of times before and he’s an entertaining and stimulating speaker.


Udemy podcast (with me) and infographic on technical writing - Tue, 10/06/2015 - 03:00

Recently Alex Bankoff from Udemy interviewed me for a podcast on technical writing. He and his team also created an infographic based on the podcast as well. You can check out both the podcast and infographic here:

The infographic adds both visual appeal and provides a nice summary for the podcast.

The main purpose of the podcast/infographic is to help promote the technical writing courses available on Udemy, which (more)

Reflections on the TCUK15 conference

Cherryleaf Technical Authors blog - Mon, 10/05/2015 - 08:00
I was one of the presenters at last week’s Technical Communication UK 2015 (TCUK) conference. TCUK is the Institute of Scientific and Technical Communicators’ (ISTC’s) annual...

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

The Mysterious Origins of Punctuation

Core Dump 2.0 - Mon, 10/05/2015 - 05:24

The BBC has a fascinating article about the origins of punctuation. I was aware of some of the history cited in the article, but not the earliest parts about the ancient Greeks.

In the 3rd Century BCE, in the Hellenic Egyptian city of Alexandria, a librarian named Aristophanes had had enough. He was chief of staff at the city’s famous library, home to hundreds of thousands of scrolls, which were all frustratingly time-consuming to read. For as long as anyone could remember, the Greeks (more)

Adobe FrameMaker presentation at STC Toronto

Core Dump 2.0 - Sun, 10/04/2015 - 18:24

On October 21, the Toronto chapter of the Society for Technical Communication (STC) will be hosting a presentation by Arnis Gubins on the past, present, and future of Adobe FrameMaker. Arnis has been a host/moderator for Adobe’s FrameMaker forums, so the presentation should be quite informative. I’ll be going and will post a summary here after the meeting. Adobe has donated a copy of the Technical Communication Suite so one lucky attendee will be walking away with some free software.

Many a time FrameMaker ha (more)

Haunted by The Handmaid’s Tale

Core Dump 2.0 - Sun, 10/04/2015 - 09:43

Margaret Atwood”s The Handmaid’s Tale is one of the most successful and influential SF novels of the past 30 years. It’s been adapted into stage and film versions and remains in print – a major achievement in today’s cutthroat publishing environment. And it is just as relevant as the day it was published – a rather sobering thought.

In the Guardian, Atwood reflects on the novel, its genesis, and how it has remained relevant today.

Some (more)

Good and Cheap on $4 a Day

Core Dump 2.0 - Sat, 10/03/2015 - 11:23

I heard an interesting interview on the CBC this morning with Leanne Brown, the author of the Good and Cheap on $4 a Day cookbook. You wouldn’t think you could make healthy, tasty meals on that little money, but it turns out you can. You can download a PDF of the cookbook for free from her website, or if you want the printed version, order it from Amazon.

I’m going to try a couple of the recipes this weekend: chana masala and pasta with eggplant and tomato. I’ll let you know how they turn out.


5 REST API resources to add to your reading list - Sat, 10/03/2015 - 03:00

Here are a few good REST API resources to add to your reading list:

  • An API a Day. This is a Tumblr blog by Lois Patterson. She's provides brief updates on different API resources she finds.
  • Undisturbed REST: A Guide to Designing the Perfect API. This is a free book (written by Michael Stowe) that you can download in PDF format. It covers how to design a REST API, with an emphasis on using the RAML spec. Reading this book has helped me understand the philosophy (more)

Tutorial for creating interactive consoles with RAML - Sat, 10/03/2015 - 03:00

Following on the Swagger tutorial I posted about the other week, this week I'd like to point you to my RAML tutorial.

This is part of my larger API doc course, so in this tutorial I'm taking a simple Weather API from Mashape and putting the API's endpoints, parameters, and sample responses into the RAML spec. Then I publish that API into several different RAML outputs using API Console, Mulesoft's Anypoint Platform, and RAML2HTML.


Adaptive content: where can I learn more?

Firehead - Fri, 10/02/2015 - 07:41
We end our five-part series on adaptive content, with Noz Urbina’s list of training resources, providing useful next steps in learning more about adaptive content. In person If learning more about modelling content for an omnichannel, personalised content strategy is … Continue reading →

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

Question: If you weren't a technical writer, what would you be? - Fri, 10/02/2015 - 03:00

A reader asks,

If you weren't a technical writer, what would you be? Also, is there anything you'd still like to accomplish and experience professionally?

If I weren't a technical writer, I would be a web designer. I love the web and how it has revolutionized and empowered the masses to publish content, interact with each other, find information, build networks, and cross boundaries. I worked as a WordPress consultant on the side of my regular work for about 5 years, before becoming too busy for it. Lately I've put WordPress on the backburner while I focus (more)

Adaptive content: how is it changing content work?

Firehead - Thu, 10/01/2015 - 08:20
In the third of our five-part series on adaptive content, Noz Urbina looks at how adaptive content is changing the way content professionals work, the kind of skills needed and where the new generation of content modellers is coming from. … Continue reading →

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

World Press Photo 2015

Core Dump 2.0 - Wed, 09/30/2015 - 20:03

The excellent World Press Photo 2015 exhibition is now showing at the Brookfield Place until October 20th. I’ve been going to see this every year it appears for the last few years and can recommend it highly. If you’re near downtown Toronto in the next three weeks, I’d definitely recommend making a trip to see this.

For more than 55 years, the World Press Photo contest has encouraged the highest standards in photojournalism.

The contest creates a bridge linking the professionals with the general public. As t (more)

Adaptive content: what is the commercial advantage?

Firehead - Wed, 09/30/2015 - 07:50
In the third of our five-part series on adaptive content, Noz Urbina asks what is the driver for businesses to invest in adaptive content. Adaptive content in a business context Adaptive content is a type of intelligent content. It has the … Continue reading →

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

Why so little focus on API doc at tech comm conferences? - Wed, 09/30/2015 - 03:00

Either I'm becoming more distanced from mainstream tech comm topics, or else tech comm conferences are veering away from trending topics. I can't decide who is moving off course.

I'm interested in API documentation. It seems like API documentation is one of the hottest trends in the San Francisco Bay area and other IT hubs as well.

And yet, in browsing the agenda of the current conferences this season — Lavacon, Information Development World, and Tech Comm UK — topics related to API documentation are virtually non-existent. There's maybe one wor (more)

Question: Can I earn a living blogging? - Wed, 09/30/2015 - 03:00

A reader asks,

Can I earn a living by writing a blog? How do blog writers make money? I'm an English major exploring my options.

There's almost no money in blogging. I have some ads that I got by asking companies if they wanted to be a sponsor, but ads don't create much revenue.

Blogging's real value is in establishing yourself as an expert in a field. This gives you credibility with employers and other professionals. For example, I'm teaching some API workshops that I got mainly through notoriety from my blog.

So first ask yourself wh (more)