Working at the command line in UNIX

There comes a time in every technical writer’s life when s/he is documenting an application that runs on UNIX. And that means doing a bit (or more) work at the UNIX command line. If you’ve been weaned on Windows or Mac OS, then the command line will seem a foreign, daunting place to you. But it really isn’t.

This article (taken from the excellent book UNIX: Visual QuickStart Guide) will help you quickly get familiar with the UNIX command line. You’ll be tapping out commands like an old pro in no time.

Expand your vocabulary

One easy way to set yourself apart as a technical writer is to have a strong vocabulary in your arsenal. Think of it as your secret weapon.

As a technical writer, a strong vocabulary enables you to use the right words in the right context for maximum value. This is especially important when writing about highly technical subject matter.

Want to expand your vocabulary to empower your writing? There are a number of websites that are good resources, with one of the best being which offers a free word of the day that can be picked up as an RSS feed.

Become a master of words and you can cross another new year's resolution off of your list.

Weekly podcast resumes on Jan 1

Scott and I have been on a brief hiatus during the holiday “silly season” so you’ll notice a lull in blogging and podcasting.

We will be resuming our weekly podcast on Jan 1 to kick off the year of the pig with some insight into providing value as a technical writer in your organization.

We hope that you’ve had a good break and look forward to a great year in 2007.

Writing technical marketing copy

I’m a big believer in technical writers adopting other roles. In fact, this will be the subject of an upcoming podcast. One of those roles is writing technical marketing copy. Tech writers are in a great position to do this: they have knowledge of the product but can also (it’s hoped) think from the perspective of the person reading the marketing material.

This article (it’s a PDF) looks at tackling the challenges that a tech writer will face when taking on the job of crafting marketing copy.

Podcast for the week of December 11, 2006

This week’s edition of the Communications from DMN podcast has been posted. This week, we discuss using Basecamp to collaborate on and manage a project. We also present our Pick of the Week: the EServer Technical Communication Library.

As always, you can play the podcast directly from our site at Or, you can download the podcast and listen to it when you wish.

You can read a transcript of the podcast here.

Hello World – Initial Podcast Love

The results are in… and we’re feeling the love from our initial podcast. Scott and I are thrilled (and suprised?!) that listeners from North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia were able to catch the first attempt at our new weekly podcast, Communications from DMN. Thank you for checking us out!

As they say, the best is yet to come. If you’ve checked out our podcast, we’d love to hear your comments and suggestions as we’re still very much in the “baby steps” phase. We welcome your feedback at

Stay tuned!