Odds and ends

April 25, 2008

Congratulations to Mike Hughes!
Mike was elected an STC Fellow and also elected 2nd Vice President of the Society as a whole! He’s required to attend several formal ceremonies to officially receive these honors, so he bought a tux (very fetching) and wore it as MC of our chapter’s awards banquet. Look for pictures soon on the chapter’s blog.

Banquet wrap up
The Atlanta STC Awards Banquet and the New Media Awards contest have consumed a lot of my time over the last several weeks. The first was a success, but the second . . . well, that’s another blog post. Everyone was in good spirits Tuesday night. The room was about the right size for the crowd. The Maggiano’s staff did a good job helping us with setup and then stuffing us with multiple courses of yummy food.  Several students from Southern Polytechnic State U made the trip over from Marietta, including our scholarship winners. Mike did a good job as MC. You can read his opening monologue on his blog.

I’ve been polling the banquet attendees and the response is positive with a few suggestions on improvements for next year. Only one respondent complained about the food (and neglected to explain why).

Usability in a nutshell
Congratulations to Jakob Nielsen on his 25th anniversary in the usability field!
His alertbox posting this week provides a concise overview of usability: early history, growth, key components, etc.

Jargon isn’t always bad
I’ve been meaning to blog about this subject, but Shaun Kelly over at the Shoap Technical Services blog beat me to it; see In Defense of Jargon. I’ve attended several STC presentations on language that preached the standard never-use-jargon message. This blanket prohibition has always annoyed me.

If your audience understands the jargon, why not use it? As Shaun puts it, “It [jargon] increases the efficiency of communication between members of the community by cramming a whole lot of meaning into a small linguistic space. . . . And isn’t efficiency of communication a best practice that technical communicators should be leveraging?”


Vote for the New Media Awards

April 16, 2008

This is a duplicate of the post on the Atlanta STC site.

And the nominees are . . .

The Atlanta STC Chapter is hosting its first New Media Awards in an effort to promote new media in our profession. We solicited nominations in three categories: blog posts, videos, and podcasts. The only requirement was that nominations had to be related to technical communication in some way.

Now it’s your turn to vote.

In the Podcast category, we have four nominees:

Prioritizing for the Reader By Harry Miller, 3:17 minutes

Is Technical Writing Boring? By Tom Johnson and Heidi Hansen, 22 minutes

Six Tips for Effective E-mail By George Hayhoe, 5:04 minutes

Technical Communications and India By Scott Nesbitt and Aaron Davis, 18:29 minutes

The Technical Communication Blog Post nominees are:

Can help authors afford to ignore Google?
From HelpScribe by Craig Haiss, March 7, 2008

The technical writer’s resume – a view from the other side of the desk
From Technical Writer, September 30, 2006

Technical Writing in Transition
From User Advocacy, by Chris Borokowski, November 20, 2007

Encyclopedias do not user assistance make
From User Assistance by Mike Hughes, July 16, 2007

In the video category, the nominees are in two categories this year: Comedy and Technical Information and Instrution. You can watch the videos below.

Click this link to cast your vote!!

Comedy nominees

The First Help Desk Call

PC vs. Mac: Music

Technical Writer Song

Technical Information and Instruction nominees

Web 2.0 The Machine is Us/ing Us

RSS in Plain English

Information R/Evolution

Come dine with me! (y otros como yo)

April 11, 2008

Dudes and dudettes,

If you haven’t made your reservations for the Atlanta Society for Technical Communication annual awards banquet, by golly, get crackin’!

This year we’ve ditched the rubber chicken at the Marriott in favor of (mama mia!) Maggiano’s at Perimeter Mall. 

Don’t tell me you have something better to do on April 22. (It’s a Tuesday, for Pete’s sake!) 

All the important people in tech comm in Atlanta will be there so you will want to come and rub shoulders with us. (No, I’m not going strapless.)

You can check out this year’s award-winning entries and pick up some pointers on how to improve your own work. Then we will joyfully toast the winners as they accept their awards. You’ll also meet and honor the STC activists who’ve worked hard all year to put together the monthly chapter presentations, run the competitions, solicit sponsors, reach out to students, organize community service events, and put together our successful Currents conference. They are all people worth knowing. 

If I don’t know you yet, please come and introduce yourself. I’ll be the one running around like a chicken with her head cut off so just tackle me at the appropriate moment. If I do know you, please come and tell me what you are doing these days. 

Mike Hughes is MC’ing and Mark Wallis is the official paparazzo. 

Allergic to gluten? No excuse! We can accommodate. 

I’m off to buy my frock. See you there!!!!


Come to Atlanta in 2009

April 9, 2008

It may be too early to promote the 2009 STC Summit in Atlanta, but I just had two waves of family visits that got me thinking about all the cool things there are to do in the ATL.

For example, the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. The Freelance Forum organized a tour there last Saturday. Steve is a member, so we jumped on board. It was a rainy day, but we toured the awesome Fuqua Orchid House, the largest of its kind in the world. They are building, building, building cool stuff here all the time, so by next year it will be even better. Don’t miss the poison frogs!

My nephew Alex came on his 3rd visit to Atlanta. He’s now 17, but when he was 8 and 12, the Wonderful World of Coca-Cola (Don’t-Call-It-The-Coke-Museum ha, ha, ha) was the destination of choice. Everyone should do this once if only to be reminded of how Coke covers (smothers?) the globe (and tastes slightly different in each country).

On an earlier visit we took Alex and my niece Etta to Stone Mountain on an earlier visit. This huge granite protrusion sports an enormous homage to Confederate generals that some may find offensive or absurd, but it was the gum rock that riveted the kids’ attention on that visit. Seems that generations of hikers up Stone Mountain deposited their chewed wads on a boulder at the summit (and a phone pole, and a bush and a stump, etc.)

On this visit, a more mature Alex wanted to tour Emory University and Georgia Tech: just two of the many universities and colleges in the Atlanta area. Georgia Tech is close to downtown. In our family it is considered a venerable institution (Steve’s dad is class of ’38), but many of those who were rejected admission refer to it mockingly as the “North Avenue Trade School.” Emory is home to the Centers for Disease Control, the Michael C. Carlos Museum. If you are heading over in that direction, check out the Fernbank Museum and the Carter Center.  The Fernbank serves martinis on Fridays, but I’m not sure the Carters sanction alcohol sales, so go there in the morning.  Coming next: Where to EAT in the ATL