Say Thank You

As some of you will now be aware, I am no longer writing my monthly Blog News column for the ISTC newsletter, InfoPlus+. It actually started life here on this blog, every week (or so) I used to post a list of interesting posts and blogs and for a while there was an overlap but, eventually, I dropped the feature from the blog as the monthly approach gave me a little more scope to collect the best links and yes, I will admit I enjoyed the writing process that went with the column (believe me, it took me longer than you’d think). Alas life continues to challenge my time so after not managing to submit my column for a couple …

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Information is not a commodity

The modern day technical writer, in fact I think we’ll go with technical communicator for this on, has a myriad of tools at their disposal. Be they authoring tools, publishing formats, or ways to collaborate, we are spoiled for choice. I can write content and make it available to the world in mere minutes if I so choose (and I do, frequently, you are reading it). Of course, there is more to our job than the tools of our trade, so much more that at times I think we can forget that our value lies elsewhere and if we are forgetting that, can we really blame others for losing sight of it too? We are more than our knowledge of …

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Edinburgh Zoo

It was a crisp, fresh November day in Edinburgh. I surprised Kirsty with a trip to Edinburgh Zoo. Mostly to see the pandas who are, in real life, just as adorable and fluffy and cute and ohhmygodcanwetakeonehome as you’d imagine. Smaller than I thought though… Anyway. I took the camera and, despite the railings, fencing, plexi-glass and other such screens, managed to get some pretty good photos.

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How to embed linked images in Microsoft Word

Have you ever shared a Word document with someone only to find the images it included didn’t get sent over? This is probably because the images you had were linked rather than embedded. You now have two options: ZIP the entire folder with the Word document and all the images (and hope that the links are relative and not absolute). I use 7Zip for such things (it’s free). Change all the linked images to be embedded within the Word document. The latter option will result in a larger file size, but means you are only sending one file. But how do you do it? Microsoft haven’t made it very easy but the key is locating the Links dialog. This shows …

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Not lacking in passion

What are your passions? Life continues on an upward trajectory. I am a rocket! God, I’ve lost the point of this already? Why on earth do I bother? Ahhh that’s it! Passion! No, not the bodice-ripping type from a Jackie Collins novel (is that even right?), but the type that makes you get up in the morning because you want to get something done. The type of passion that drives creative people, or those who like to be active, to get up and go do something they love. I know many of these types of people. Some border on the obsessive, it seems like it’s all they think about, others have private hobbies in which they happily lose themselves for …

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Partridges and Pear trees

Here in the UK, there is no escaping the fact that Christmas is approaching. On TV the adverts have started, the store shelves are being stocked, and in the office talk is turning to who might make a fool of themselves at the Christmas party. It’s also about this time of year I start dropping hints in the hope that I don’t end up with yet another reindeer sweater… So, in keeping with the Christmas spirit of giving, and to save you all some time and effort, here’s a few suggestions that you could, perhaps, print out and leave sitting around for a loved one to happen upon, or email to a sibling with a subject line of “Buy me …

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Journalling

About a year ago, maybe more, I started writing (sporadically) in a journal and I’m quite surprised that I’ve kept it going, even though how I use it has changed. I’ve always enjoyed the process of writing, this blog is testimony to that, but even before there was this place called the internet which I could pollute with the┬ádetritus of my mind I’ve always had a fondness for the written word. I can remember spending an evening with a girlfriend where we wrote down questions and answers for each other, passing sheets of paper back and forth. Even then, as a naive teenager, I realised that I preferred that form of communication over, say, actually telling someone what you thought. …

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Why seems to be hardest word

I was chatting to a new colleague, an experienced technical architect, the other day to give him an overview of my team and what we produce. He asked what type of information we provided, was it the “clicky clicky” type or something more useful that explains how our product works. I assured him that we covered more of the latter type of information, but also provided “clicky clicky” (procedural) information when appropriate. For his type of role, that audience persona (experienced and highly technical), that form of information is exactly what he wants. For other parts of our product, used by inexperienced staff often with a high turnover, we try and help keep the costs of training down by providing …

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Censored

Have you noticed anything different here? Maybe not, but those of you who have been reading for a while (thank you!) may have noticed that I’ve been managing to post here a couple of times a week recently. Don’t worry if you didn’t notice, there is no test at the end. I’ve been pushing myself to write to try and get my blogging mojo back, partly because I enjoy the process and the fact that it helps me keep in touch with what’s going on in our wider profession, and partly because there is a lot going on and I like to capture some of it. But I can’t capture it all. Looking back at this blog, there are some …

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