ISTC Area Group meeting – West of Scotland

Thursday 13th October, from 7.30pm, in Waxy O’Connors pub. The next ISTC technical communicators’ meeting in Glasgow will take place on Thursday 13th October 2011, from 7.30 pm onwards. I will be presenting a report from the Technical Communication UK 2011 conference. Come along to talk about latest news and trends in communication, or just to meet other communication professionals. The event is free and open to anyone interested in technical communication, such as technical authors, information architects, internal communication professionals, report writers, marketing writers, web content writers and graphic designers. Venue: Waxy O’Connors pub, 44 West George Street, Glasgow, G2 1DH. Please make your way to McTurk’s Room on the middle level.

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Signposts

I recently attended the Glastonbury Festival and, despite the mud and mayhem around me, found myself pondering an issue that we have in our documentation set. Throughout the week I was at the festival I spent a lot of time consulting a map of the festival site, trying to figure out both where I was and where I should go next. It wasn’t always easy and I got it wrong several times causing us to have to stop at the nearest beer tent, you know, just to make sure we weren’t completely lost. The signposts around the festival site weren’t always clear, nor particularly abundant) and whilst we coped, it is definitely something they could improve. Being lost is never …

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Where is everyone?

The attendance at last nights ISTC Area Group meeting in the West of Scotland was poor, and as it seems to fluctuate quite dramatically at times (we went from four people to ten and back again in the space of three meetings) I’m trying to figure out why. Is it apathy? Laziness? Lack of awareness? Or perhaps people are unclear of the benefits of turning up? If you are a member of the ISTC, and on the mailing list (or perhaps you are following the ISTC on Twitter?), then you will receive notifications of the area group meetings. But what if you aren’t a member? How do we attract… scratch that, how do we FIND people who may want to …

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Time flies…

Hard to believe that’s six months of the year gone already. But it has and that means that Glastonbury is only three weeks away! I really need to buy me some wellies. Other than that, life is good. I’m on the verge of, finally, buying a bike through the Cycle to Work scheme, which I’m just waiting on being launched at my workplace, and I’m managing to get to the gym a couple of times a week with the odd game of badminton thrown in for fun. Still not really reading all that much, and my new camera has been severely underused, but that’s mostly because my new role as webmaster for the ISTC is taking up a fair bit …

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What else do you do?

If ever I needed proof that I am not a bastard I need only look at what I tend to do in my spare time. For not only do I look and crack the same crap jokes as my Dad, I also seem to have the same need to be busy that he has. Admittedly, looking through the archives of this blog, that’s something that is fairly well documented here but a recent development has finally cemented this quiet thought in my mind. After agreeing to take over the running of the ISTC website (including a rebuild and redesign which are underway), I’ve recently agreed to serve on the Council of said organisation. That means reports, budgets, minutes, meetings and …

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ISTC West of Scotland Area Group meeting

The next ISTC West of Scotland area group meeting in Glasgow will take place on Thursday 9th June 2011, from 7.30 pm onwards. Come along to talk about latest news and trends in communication, or just to meet other communication professionals. The event is free and open to anyone interested in technical communication, such as technical authors, information architects, internal communication professionals, report writers, marketing writers, web content writers and graphic designers. Venue: Waxy O’Connors pub, 44 West George Street, Glasgow, G2 1DH. Please make your way to McTurk’s Room on the middle level. Please forward this message on to your colleagues or anyone else who may be interested. For more information, contact westscotland_areagroup@istc.org.uk.

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ISTC website

It’s official. I’m now the webmaster for the ISTC. Before I start talking about my plans and ideas for the ISTC website, I thought I’d give you all a bit of background as to why I’m reasonably well qualified to be taking this on. It all starts about 16 years ago… I joined a small software company in the West of Scotland as a “Technical Administrator” and, as well as writing some user documentation, I was sent on a course to learn HTML and then charged with creating the company website, the first version of which is still available via the Internet Archive (search for ‘crossaig.co.uk’) and was launched in September 1996. Since then, I’ve created websites for charity organisations, …

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Learning from others

Whilst compiling my column for the ISTC newsletter this month (I offer a round up of the ‘best’ blog posts from the past month, hugely subjective I know) I was worried I’d skewed the resulting list of blog posts somewhat. You see the team I’m part of are about to embark on a couple of brainstorming workshops to try and better improve the quality of our work and, lo and behold, it seems that there have been a few blog posts last month that feature, or discuss, how to be better, how to improve quality. I scanned back through my Instapaper account (an excellent bookmarking/article reading facility) but it was true, it seemed that other people were thinking similar things …

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ISTC West of Scotland meeting

The next ISTC technical communicators’ meeting in Glasgow will take place on Monday 21st February 2011, from 7.30 pm onwards. Come along to talk about latest news and trends in communication, or just to meet other communication professionals. The event is free and open to anyone interested in technical communication, such as technical authors, information architects, internal communication professionals, report writers, marketing writers, web content writers and graphic designers. Venue: Waxy O’Connors pub, 44 West George Street, Glasgow, G2 1DH. Please make your way to McTurk’s Room on the middle level. Please forward this message on to your colleagues or anyone else who may be interested. For more information, contact westscotland_areagroup@istc.org.uk or visit http://istcwestofscotland.eventbrite.com/

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Looking forward

2011 looms larger and larger in my view and as we start to plan out our goals and aims for the coming year, so I find myself increasingly struggle to make time to write some blog posts, add to that a couple of weeks of food poisoning, and I’m a little behind with things. That said, it is looking like we are well placed to enter the new year with all the foundations in place to make measureable improvements to the information we offer. We have routes into customer projects via support call outcome codes (if it was an information related issue, I’m contacting the project to see how it arose and what we can do to fix it), stats …

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