Tuesday, February 9, 2016
Monday, February 8, 2016
Posted on: February 4th, 2016
Location: Iselin, NJ
Contract Term – 3 months with possible 3 month extension
Location: Central NJ (NY is an alternate option for the right candidate)
You will work closely with a team lead.
1-3 Years Technical Writing experience required.
- Must have superb writing AND editorial skills as well as current experience with Confluence or Wiki.
- Samples of quality writing (ideally from Confluence) will be required for submission.
- A technically savvy, motivated, organized individual with the ability to work in a fast paced agile environment will thrive here!
In this role you will:
Migrate documentation from online help topics into knowledge space articles in Confluence based on a documented space planner. This is not a blind cut & paste but involves some understanding of the product, applying standard templates, style guides, and minimalism, as well as re-organizing the content based on the space planner. The contractor will be supervised and supported by a Documentation Team Product Lead.
- Learn software quickly through self-directed practice and integrate it into knowledge spaces
- Migrate identified user documentation/help into Confluence knowledge spaces based on documented space planners
- Write in simple, user-friendly language, using writing standards such as minimalism, task based writing
- Meet with Documentations Team Editor to determine best practices around instructions
- Ensure any technical verbiage is correct and easy to understand by the end user
- Prepare screenshots, charts, graphs, or other forms to supplement text as required
- Ensure instructions and articles flow in the correct sequence – organize content
- Work with Documentations Team Product Lead to get feedback on initial drafts or clarification on content
- Input, format, and finalize all articles in Confluence
- Work with Documentations Team Product Lead to coordinate translation timeline and efforts and respond to questions in a timely manner.
Desired Skills and Experience
- 1-3 years of technical writing experience with samples
- Impeccable spelling and grammar skills
- A strong awareness of writing voice and the ability to adjust as necessary
- Proven ability to grasp technical subjects and communicate effectively with others
- Tech-oriented mindset, natural with computers and a fast learner of new software/tools
- Experience documenting software or writing web help, with a wiki tool such as Confluence
- Experience creating localization-friendly content preferred
- Experience with Information Mapping or similar content organization capabilities
- Ability to work in a fast-paced environment and work within tight deadlines
Saturday, February 6, 2016
Thursday, February 4, 2016
Here are some links to expand your mind.
- Separate Your Content from Presentation
- Click this link to read a short summary of this concept. Since the page is part of a multiple step tutorial, the first two paragraphs are the most relevant to the topic: http://www.webreference.com/html/tutorial5/1.html
- Click this link to read a short summary about this concept. The In a Nutshell box at the top of the page condenses the concept nicely: http://universalusability.com/access_by_design/document_structure/separate.html
- Click this link to read about the principle difference in approaching documentation that is maintained in Confluence: http://thedetaildept.com/2012/07/31/confluence-is-not-a-word-document/
- Click this link to read about the principle of storing content that needs to be used in multiple other places as a reusable “chunk” – instead of copying & pasting that content - to assemble a “topic” or web page. It includes a link to how this idea is used between software systems: http://jodiem.com.au/2011/08/13/the-one-thing-in-one-place-once-rule-using-confluence/
- Click this link to read about the mechanics of setting up documents that split repeated content into smaller documents and to then refer to them in the “main” document: http://www.writersua.com/articles/modular/#The%20Mechanics%20of%20Modularization
- Click this link to read about a tool called SmartDocs. I have used the demo version of this product: http://www.thirtysix.net/smartdocs/features/techpubs
It was a nightmare to update.
Documentation was maintained as Word files. We had one area of the system that had a 5-7 page section written about it. Those 5-7 pages were in - let's say - 10 different User Guides. When there was a change to that section, the change was written, and then I, or someone in the department, had to open each of those 10 different User Guides and manually copy the rewritten text and paste it into each Use Guide. Yes, that was done 10 times - once for each User Guide.
It wasn't just at my most recent employer. For a dozen years, I worked in an environment where the amount of copy and paste would stagger anyone. And it wasn't just text - screenshots weren't even maintained as separate chunks of information. A screenshot was taken and then pasted into a document. If that screenshot changed, I had to remember all the different places it had been pasted. I was able to do this work only because I created all of the documents and, like a database, I expanded the connections between documents in my brain. I also used a tracking document - also a standalone collection of information - to help me remember what changes had been made.
But there's another aspect of OOD that I haven't even mentioned. It's the aspect of separating "Content" from "Presentation". Andrew Plato, a former member of the Techwr-L list, used to go on rants about how the most important aspect of technical writing was the content, not how pretty the text looked. I think following the principle that content is tagged so that its appearance can be changed by a single change to a file - whether it is a CSS file or a Microsoft Word template - is tremendously helpful. It's too easy to get bogged down in whether UI elements should be bold or italic or in a different font or size. If the content is tagged as, say, a "check box" and all content about a "check box" have that tag, you can define what formatting should be applied to that "check box" tag. I like to use the example that you are writing a document and decide that all references to a check box should have bold and italic applied to it. Then your boss comes by and states that customers are having a difficult time with the way the document is formatted and requests that all references to a "check box" should not have bold and italic, just bold.
When your content is separate from your presentation, this is an easy request. You edit the file that stores the formatting information and all references to a "check box" are instantly updated per your manager's request. When your content is not separate from your presentation, this can potentially be a very long and complex request to complete. You may have to search through many documents to manually find the references and apply the change.
I created this term after I came across this definition of Object-Oriented:
An approach to structuring software applications. Instead of thinking of an application as a process with steps, we think of it as a set of objects that exchange messages. Now the dominant approach to software development. Java and Visual Basic are object-oriented software development languages.
As a professional communicator, I embrace this definition. I usually see "Object-Oriented" followed by a noun, such as "Object-Oriented Programming." Thus, tweaking the above definition and incorporating the noun it describes, I offer the following slightly tweaked definition as the guiding principle of my work in the technical writing profession:
An approach to structuring technical documentation. Instead of thinking of technical documentation as a collection of procedures with steps, we think of it as a set of objects that communicate information.
Theories are like standards - there's so many different ones, all you have to do is pick one. The question always comes down to how does the pie-in-the-sky theory relate to daily - and I'll say it - grunt work when your duties are to write documentation.This post begins to build the bridge between the theory of OOD and the translation of the theory into practical terms.
First of all, this is not a new thing for me. For roughly the last 4 years, I have subscribed to the theory that writing documentation - whether it is for a Disaster Recovery manual or software online Help - is not done the ODD way when the content is thought of as a "document" that is a silo of content, especially if that content is also in other documents.
In my mind, "documents" have a subliminal context that it is a stand-alone container of information. Traditionally, a document can be a Microsoft Word file, a Dreamweaver HTML file, an InDesign file, or any other file that writers use to store the information that is ultimately distributed to the audience. I'm adding the subliminal context that content in a document is not shared between another document. For example, let's consider a real-world environment. For the same system, there's a Quick Start Guide and a User Guide. The Quick Start Guide is a brief - probably no longer than 3 pages, preferably 2 pages - of what a user has to do in order to set up the system. The User Guide is a collection of all the tasks a user can complete. Because the Quick Start Guide and the User Guide are about the same system, there is overlap in the content because both documents include two types of information:
That is bad.
In an OOD environment, there is a single source of the content. That content is then tagged for the intended output. For example, a conceptual paragraph is only going to be in the User Guide so it would have a "User Guide" tag applied to it.
By the way, Help Authoring Tools (HATs) have done this for years. Flare and my personal favorite because I earned a MVP Certificate for it - RoboHelp - have this functionality. What I'm advocating is that technical writers verbally call this mentality "Object-Oriented Documentation" or "OOD." Before I was laid off, I used Confluence in the way this post describes. Our team came up with the idea of including screenshots in an expand / collapse section. We reasoned that doing so would serve both those users that know what they are doing and don't need the screenshot and those users that don't know or are unfamiliar with the tasks they are doing and do need the screenshot to verify that they are in the right place. I know our department didn't invent this methodology - I'm not claiming we did.
The beauty of this OOD mentality is quite simply awesome. When there was conceptual information that needed to be in multiple places, we created a page with just that content and referred to it from the pages that needed to have it. In this way, both written word and screenshots that were referred to in many places could be updated by simply updating the page that was referred to by those other pages.
Backing up to Monday, a Facebook friend of mine works at that company and it was his birthday so I sent birthday wishes and a brief note that I had been laid off last week and if he heard of any technical writer opportunities to please keep me in mind.
Back to last night, this friend called me and said that he had received my note on Facebook. He went on to say that he had a friend that worked in Tech Pubs and that friend had said that he thought there were open tech writer positions and promised to send my friend the requisition numbers to pass on to me. My hopes rose very high, very quickly. My friend and I had talked to each other in a while and it was a nice 20 minute phone conversation.
After I hung up, about 10 minutes later, my friend emailed me. His friend had found out that the tech writer positions had all been filled. My friend apologized for getting my hopes up and went on to say that he would keep me in mind if he hears of anything open.
So that was my excitement in the job search world last night.
Wednesday, February 3, 2016
I am a successful sales professional seeking an opportunity to apply my science background, and experience for the Sales Specialist position in Portland, Oregon for XYZ company.
Why on earth is there a comma after “background”?!?
** Yes, the two mistakes in the title of this post are intentionally trying to make a point.
- On the way home from Mass, 101.9 posed the question, "What is your vision of God when you feel overwhelmed? Do you accept that He will not give you more than you can handle? Do you realize that even in those moments, God is present and caring for you."
I had tears in my eyes.
- When the drummer in a band woke up with bad injuries, he says he immediately thought he had to stay alive for his loved ones.
Tuesday, February 2, 2016
Monday, February 1, 2016
And here's an article that says nothing new: http://daily-iowan.com/2016/02/01/abortion-debate-lacks-nuance/
- This job ad amused me, especially the yellow highlighted line.
- My user ID was deleted at work:
- I rescheduled a dentist appointment from tomorrow at 4 to today at 11 since I will be filling the rest of my day with finding a job.
Sunday, January 31, 2016
Saturday, January 30, 2016
Warning! Has F-bombs!Link to the story about the video
I think I am the only one in the world that cannot stomach Grease. I think that I saw it when I was too young. Because of this, I just never embraced the hype. I cite it as an awful movie and why I despise musicals.
I also realize after reading the article that the backstory of the movie is interesting enough to share.
I think that it was bound to happen - the men's basketball team lost at Maryland on Thursday night. Maryland had an impressive home court undefeated streak going in to the game and it will continue to be impressive. As I watched the game, I had a weird sense that they would not win. Jarod Uthoff had a poor shooting game and the shots wouldn't go in the basket. When Iowa did get the advantage in the second half, Maryland had an impressive answering play.
This article tells the team's reaction to the game:
For the family, I am sad.
In pretty much any other situation, it would be funny; that's the reason for the funny stuff label.
Friday, January 29, 2016
I don't like this.
I feel insecure about the future and I wish I knew what it has in store for me.
I know that I have to offer this up to God and that He doesn't give me more than I can bear. Daily Mass is now in my schedule - I went Wednesday, Thursday, and will go today (it's 8:13 AM, Mass is at 9 AM).
With that said, I can safely state that I have a few opportunities in motion. I don't want to jinx myself and write long dissertations on this blog about this opportunity and that opportunity and that third opportunity over there. I'd rather reserve those hopes for essays to be captured within my personal journal.
I did start another spiral notebook on Wednesday to capture the thoughts I have about this journey. Traditionally, I only purchase 200 page, college-ruled, spiral notebooks. The one I purchased at Wal-Mart is a 150 page, college-ruled, spiral notebook. I am writing each day what occurs to me, starting a new page each day regardless of whether I filled the previous page. I am doing that because I had a lyric in my head. It's from a band called P.O.D. and the song is "Alive."
Wednesday, January 27, 2016
Read more here and here.
Tuesday, January 26, 2016
I admit it's a bit surreal. I went through something similar in my career and I was confident I would not have to go through it again - ever - in my career. Kevin, whom I've known for 17 years, has been through several layoffs in his career and yet - here's where I make lemonade from lemons - he has always found a way to bounce back.
I know I will bounce back too.
- Spoiler alert, Triple H won the Royal Rumble so he is now the WWE Champion. He goes on to Wrestlemania to face someone. Vince McMahon, his daughter Stephanie, and Triple H came out to start the episode and announced that the they (the stable known as "The Authority") would evaluate all of the wrestlers and then decide who will be in the next PPV (Fastlane) main event and that that winner would go on to Wrestlemania to face Triple H.
- AJ Styles, who I enjoyed watching in TNA and Ring of Honor, fought Chris Jericho. It was Styles' first ever Raw match. Styles won, which is good. Jericho is a part-time wrestler and probably only going to be on Raw as long as it takes for Fozzy, his heavy metal band, to be ready to record another album. I will say, though, Styles looked a bit rusty in the ring. I don't think there was good chemistry between the two. The camera showed Jericho calling out the next move during the match, which is bad. That said, there were a couple of moves that impressed me based upon the decades I have watched hundreds of pro wrestling matches. The best was when Styles was in the Walls of Jericho submission move (which must really hurt as Styles' body was bent in a way that I could never be bent) and crawled across the ring to break the hold instead of tapping out. A jaded viewer like me never sincerely thought Jericho was going to get the victory against Styles, especially since Styles probably required a good sum of money. What would have been interesting would be to have Bubba Ray Dudley, who Styles fought in TNA, come out and either congratulate or beat down Styles after the match. Instead, Styles offered Jericho a handshake - which is what the wrestlers in Ring of Honor do before a match - which Jericho reluctantly accepted. It would be interesting to see Styles / Jericho become tag team partners with an eventual betrayal by Styles to make Jericho the face and Styles the heel.
- The Rock showed up and wow, he's entertaining. As he was doing his promo, he noticed some fans dressed up as other professional wrestlers - The Undertaker, Hulk Hogan, The Rock, and Macho Man Randy Savage - and said, into the microphone, "This is where we leave the script." It was an impromptu move and the Rock, charismatic as ever, pulled off the segment. When the New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston, and Xavier Woods) came out to interrupt him, he asked why they were the tag team champions when they had llama penises on their forehead. The crowd ate it up and started chanting, "llama penis!" It was genuinely funny. The Rock stated that he would be at Wrestlemania and, when he said that, the thought flashed in my mind that Triple H and The Rock had an uneasy promo a while back about who won more matches between them. I thought it was going to be a setup for The Rock v. Triple H at Wrestlemania.
- For the main event, it was Roman Reigns / Dean Ambrose v. Sheamus / Rusev in a tag team match. Reigns / Ambrose were referred to as "brothers in arms" by the WWE announcers a couple of times during the match. After Reigns got the win, I sincerely thought that The Authority would put Reigns v. Ambrose in the Fastlane main event as a way to screw with Reigns even more. Instead, The Authority announced that the Fastlane main event would be a triple threat match, announcing that it would be Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, and -- here's where I thought they would name Sheamus -- Brock Lesnar. After the announcement, the camera focused on the reaction from Reigns & Ambrose because, now, they have to fight each other for the chance to face Triple H at Wrestlemania 32. Even though we've seen the "friends fighting friends" angle before, I'm predicting the WWE announcers will follow the storyline that in order to fight Triple H, Reigns not only has to fight Lesnar, an enemy, but also his friend, Ambrose. I must say, the way WWE pulls this angle off will be very interesting.
Monday, January 25, 2016
On the Republican side, Donald Trump declared he could shoot someone and wouldn't lose any voters.
On the Democrat side, there's a movement to legitimize Bernie Sanders as a viable candidate. Of course Bill O'Reilly has an opinion. He had a recent Talking Points memo as well as a column about Candidate Sanders - I included links at the bottom of this post. There was a point in the 2016 campaign season when Hillary Clinton was considered "a sure thing" previously. In 2008, she had that same status until Obama entered the race. Now, in 2016, she was considered "a sure thing" but some don't see it like that anymore. There have been a lot of controversy about Benghazi, the email server, and other things. What has been spinning around in my mind is that there are actually 3 Democratic candidates at this moment: Clinton, Sanders, and O'Malley. What happens if Clinton does have to exit the race (though I personally don't see that happening)? O'Reilly's theory is that Sanders doesn't have a chance as a Socialist Democrat winning the election. If you play out that theory to fruition, what happens if the DNC figures that out? Then their only "current" choice is O'Malley.
I only bring this up because I read a headline that said NYC mayor Michael Bloomfield is considering a presidential run. It's awfully late in the process to be "considering" it - the Iowa caucuses are two weeks from today (Feb 1). So that makes me think, why would anyone be considering a presidential run when there is no infrastructure in place for the candidate? Editor's Note: This paragraph is inaccurate. Bloomfield is not a Democrat - he is an Independent. Additionally, the third link at the bottom of this post describes the steps he has taken, which are more substantial than I stated.
The only answer, today, is that the potential candidate believes, as O'Reilly does, that Clinton will have to drop out, Sanders will be considered a longshot, and O'Malley doesn't have the name recognition. That's a dangerous presumption - who knew Obama's name prior to him jumping into the race?
I do know that the campaign season is running full speed ahead.
Shifting to the basketball court, with 11 games remaining in the men's basketball season, the University of Iowa team is undefeated. It is already a special season for this team to be 7-0. Despite losing an exhibition game early in the season (which is not reflected on their overall record), this group of young men has defied the odds. Their first game was against MSU. This team defeated MSU at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. After that game, a lot of the media focused on the fact that MSU's star player, Valentine, did not play. Thus, in their fourth game, they traveled to East Lansing, MI, for a rematch with MSU. This group of players defeated MSU on their court. Both prior and after that game, a lot of the media focused on the fact that no University of Iowa men's basketball team had won on the MSU basketball court since 1993, which was a few days after the death of an Iowa player named Chris Street. With yesterday's victory at home over Purdue, it looks like Thursday's game against Maryland takes on additional importance. Maryland lost, 74-65, to MSU. By extension, Iowa should win the game because, after all, Iowa defeated MSU twice. Nothing is a given, though.
The point of these two recaps is that the University of Iowa football completed a special season and, as of this moment with a 7-0 record, the men's basketball team looks to have a special season. The women's basketball team is having a tough year - their current record is 13-7 (overall, 3-5 in conference games), including a 90-73 defeat at Purdue yesterday.
Sunday, January 24, 2016
Donald Trump stated that illegal immigrants would be sent to the country that they came from; liberals went nuts about a lack of compassion. President Obama began raids to gather illegal immigrants and now Democrats in the Senate want those raids to stop.
Once again, if the correct phrase that describes you starts with "illegal" .... Good for Obama to do what the law says.
On Facebook, you can go to this site and it will automatically generate a little story. This is mine, but I won't post it on Facebook because first, it's not true - I am 5 years sober - and b, there's a typo: alot is always a lot.
This is Paul.
Paul feels sad.
Paul drinks alot.
Paul doesn't pretend to be drunk to make phone calls to his ex.
Paul is smart.
Be like Paul.
I had a weird dream about babysitting for some young kids. It was a bratty little girl and she turned on the garden hose and flooded the basement. I opened the door in a corner to let the water out. No more pints of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream before bed!
Also, Karen and I drove to Cedar Falls on a whim. We surprised Mark and Susie (first) and then Megan. We went to 5 PM mass at Saint Joseph and then went to Toad's, a bar on Main Street, for supper. We stopped by Megan's dorm room and then, on the way to Mark and Susie's house, there was a college girl naked in front of an open window. I told Mark to slow down. My nephew, 15, Jonathan said, "Thank you!" Megan was embarrassed by this incident.
I am up this morning after the aforementioned nightmare, sitting on the couch in the basement with Sadie.
Saturday, January 23, 2016
Friday, January 22, 2016
Thursday, January 21, 2016
- From Metallica: https://metallica.com/blog/news/381189/wednesday-night-note
- From the Sandman Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10153910517387990&set=a.10150542469677990.436348.504287989&type=3
- Of course, once this information was released, many music news websites reported this information: http://classicrock.teamrock.com/news/2016-01-14/metallica-back-tribute-act-faced-with-legal-threat
"As I said in November, these changes will, unfortunately, involve job losses. We expect to reduce the size of the total <snip>Company_Name</snip> team by around 10% (that’s around 4,000 full time equivalent roles), by the end of 2016."
Wednesday, January 20, 2016
Just contemplating the idea of what will our country be like in 2076? Thinking about how America is trying to solve "big issues" and then considering that there will be 15 elections between now and 2076. Think about the differences in American life between the first president (George Washington) and James Buchanan, the 15th president. I won't have to deal with any of the issues, but Alex & Megan will (hopefully) - Alex will be 78, Megan will be 80. Here's a list of the first 15 presidents:
John Quincy Adams
Martin Van Buren
William Henry Harrison
James K. Polk
Here's the link: http://insider.foxnews.com/2016/01/19/nicholas-rafeala-ordaz-celebrates-82-years-marriage-102nd-birthday
On a somewhat related note, my dentist office has Christian music playing on the speakers as background music. As my dental hygienist was doing her magic, I heard this song on the speakers. It made me smile.
This is not my video, but it's what I saw in Indy.
Per the Amazon website - link below - there is a 4 GB internal memory card. I converted 1 hour of a Mini-DV tape to digital and it was 13 GB. Of course, I really don't know if the conversion settings I used are typical or of a higher quality than "normal."
Here's the link.
- This reaffirms why drinking booze & I do not mix: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2016/01/20/why-youre-jerk-when-drink-alcohol.html
Tuesday, January 19, 2016
Read about it here: http://features.en.softonic.com/the-first-ransomware-of-the-year-reaches-a-new-level-of-threat
Monday, January 18, 2016
Sunday, January 17, 2016
From Iowa City Press Citizen Iowa takeaways: Wagner's emergence, Uthoff's goofiness http://dmreg.co/1Rv6Slx
Wagner finished with five points in Sunday’s 82-71 win — four more than the he scored combined in spot duty in Iowa’s first four Big Ten games. He’s forced his way into Fran McCaffery’s rotation with defense and hustle plays.
Newsted left. His choice. A decade and a half later and it is still relevant? How?
Robert Trujillo has been in the band for several years. Let's enjoy the present.
I do know I have this concert on a VHS tape which could be converted to digital and uploaded. This is my favorite part of the two videos below.
But for the moment, here are parts 1 and 2.
President Obama made a mistake!! Almost too ironically for belief, while pointing out this mistake, the author of the article, linked below, has a typo!
Many in the press had a field day when George W. Bush made similar gaffes. One light-hearted one occurred when Queen Elizabeth was visiting the United States in 2007. White introducing the monarch, Bush noted that she had met with 10 presidents during her reign. “You helped the nation celebrate its bi-centennial in 1776…1976,” he said, then paused, looked over at the queen and winked and smiled.
"White introducing the monarch" should have been "While introducing the monarch".
This article didn't need to be written - it's that simple. Let he who is without sin be the first to cast a stone. It's bullshit articles like this that make me ashamed to lean towards the conservative movement in America.