Clear and to the Point

12 May, 2010

Add a microblog to your main blog

Filed under: technical communication — monado @ 20:33
Tags: , ,

If you have TypePad, you can add a microblog that scrolls separately and update it with short comments. You can even update it remotely via e-mail, text messaging, or Blog It.

Here’s how: “Add a Microblog to your Main Blog,” Six Apart Knowledge Base.

17 March, 2009

Tools for Help writers

Filed under: technical communication,work,writing — monado @ 12:09
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The Writers’ User Assistance group surveyed its members and contacts late last year to find out what they were using to writer User Assistance materials. About four hundred people responded.

The survey asked which tools are used the most. The top three were Adobe Acrobat, TechSmith Snagit, and Microsoft Visio. Also, of five products that were used by more than 50% of respondents, three Adobe products.

It also asked which tools people were most satisfied with. TechSmith Snagit, Adobe Acrobat, and MadCap Flare all scored above 90%.

You can find complete results here: 2009 WritersUA Tools Survey.


27 January, 2009

Creative headings?

Filed under: online resources,Web — monado @ 00:53
Tags: ,

From the Spell with flickr site by Erik Kastner:

Pewter Uppercase Letter I n-sf3 Copper Square Letter K
McElman_071026_2472_C Letter O G9 n-spo I T letter O

20 December, 2008

Internet Explorer is too vulnerable — time to change browsers!

Filed under: Web — monado @ 00:12
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Users of Internet Explorer have been warned to stop using it and switch to Mozilla Firefox or Opera. Merely visiting the wrong site can infect your computer.

The flaw in IE allows criminals to gain control of computers that have visited a website infected with malicious code designed to exploit it. While restricting web surfing to trusted sites should reduce the risk of infection, the malicious code can be injected into any website. Users do not have to click or download anything to become infected, merely visiting an infected website is sufficient.

Antivirus software specialists Trend Micro believe as many as 10,000 sites have been hacked to exploit the flaw. Sites that have been compromised so far, however, are mostly Chinese and the attackers seem intent on stealing people’s computer game passwords in order to sell them on the black market rather than looking for personal details such as bank accounts.

It is known as a “zero-day” attack because it exploits a security vulnerability on the same day that the vulnerability became generally known.

30 October, 2008

My previous contract: online resources for technical support

Filed under: technical communication,work — monado @ 10:15
Tags: , , ,
My most recent gig was an interesting contract with an excellent project manager. The Toronto Star’s company, Torstar, merged with Metroland early this year and the two companies are aligning their resources.
Metroland owns the K-W Record, Guelph Mercury, and Hamilton Spectator along with a wealth of community newsletters, from London to Ottawa, put out by different publishing offices. Each of them uses a different mix of software. In fact, there are more than 200 applications. Some of them are small but others are used every day by many people to publish the paper and the Web site. Even when different offices use the same application, they use different parts of it and call it by different names.

Torstar and Metroland wanted to create a help desk for Level 1 user support and they hired a team of technical writers to create training materials and a resource for the help desk to use. There were six of us and we created a wiki, which the support team could edit themselves after our contract was finished. In parallel, a support team was getting a thorough grounding in company operations.

We devised an information structure and page layouts for the wiki, researched the most important applications, and seeded the wiki with the most common support issues and procedures–not only for publishing software but for HR forms such as expense requests. We also provided online resource such as log-in links for application servers for various regions, so the support team could quickly log in and fix things for their caller.

We trained the support team to update the wiki as they find new and improved solutions or how-to’s. Along the way we picked up the task of coordinating the day-to-day training for the intense classroom segment of the support team’s orientation. Meanwhile, our process guru found tools for creating & maintaining backups as the wiki content changes.

It was a challenge and a behind-the-scenes look at a new industry—which is what I like about my career.

This blog can be linked to LinkedIn

Filed under: communication — monado @ 01:01
Tags: , ,

WordPress has added a new “App” that will let you echo posts from your blog over to LinkedIn. It works for blogs hosted on WordPress or using WordPress software. You will also have the choice of echoing everything or only posts tagged LinkedIn.


  1. Visit the LinkedIn Application Directory.
  2. Select the WordPress App that you want.
  3. Enter the URL of your blog.
  4. Choose to display either all of your blog posts or only those tagged with “LinkedIn.”
  5. Save.

This works for a or blog.

Your WordPress avatar appears beside the top post. You can use Gravatar to create one.

Create a free website or blog at