A musing on usage

One thing that a number of technical writers and their editors get prickly about is word usage. I’m not (just) talking about the grammar cops who get overly pedantic about using however instead of but or who throw the mental and emotional equivalent of an engine rod when the word that is missing from part of a sentence.

Sometimes the debates about what words to use drag on, get out of hand, and become incredibly vicious. I’ve seen that first hand. And, guess what? At the end of the day, those debates are a waste of time and energy, and are meaningless.

Sit back and let Uncle Scotty tell you a story …

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Recapping FSOSS 2010

On October 29, I attended the Free Software Open Source Symposium (FSOSS) at Seneca College here in Toronto. This was the second time that I attended FSOSS, and once again it was an interesting experience. Even when you take my presentation crash and burn out of the equation.

While I only sat in on three sessions this year, and only one of those sessions had any relation to technical communication, I learned quite a bit.

Here’s what I heard and learned.

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The everyday tactics of content

by: Bill Albing

The technology we employ to manipulate and manage content is an important aspect of our work, because content is crucial in our role as communication professionals. For years, I have worked with content and the technology that delivers it to readers. I have seen automation of more of our work and I have worked with the changes that have transformed our work.

But I continue to wrangle with content, as Scott Abel says, and I continue to learn how to work with the tools of wrangling. I do not apologize for getting my hands dirty and sometimes getting rope burn trying to keep content organized and flowing. But I have, for the most part, been quite successful in working with content and the technology surrounding it. I am not a content strategist and I do not claim to manage the message in the vicissitudes of management.

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