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STC PMC Newsletter 2003-10

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STC PMC Newsletter October/November 2003

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STC PMC Newsletter 2003-10

  1. 1. October/November 2003 Vol. 38, No. 2 Introducing the STC-PMC Employment Committee by Giacomo DeAnnuntis our years ago, there seemed to be more high tech jobs than qualified applicants, and techni- cal communicators were able to share in that brief bounty of op- portunities. However, a quick glance at the want ads published in major news- papers today or at Internet job posting sites reveals a sharply different environ- ment. With the tech bubble becoming an increasingly distant memory, technical com- municators, among others, have had to ad- just to a much smaller job market. The STC- PMC has an Employment Committee that attempts to facil- itate the placement of chapter members in local technical communicator posi- tions. The committee has two primary purposes: ❏ To collect, store, and make available on the STC-PMC chapter website tech- nical communicator job and contract opening announcements ❏ To disseminate opening announce- ments to chapter members through email Job Posting Service Posting job announcements with the PMC, as well as with the national STC, is free to any business, agency, or insti- tution. As unemployed, underemployed, or dissatisfied chapter members spend more time searching through fewer list- ings, Employment Committee services can be a cost-effective step in finding appropriate local opportunities. Also, employers know that active STC-PMC members provide a more specialized pool of applicants than they can find in the general population. Sending job opening notices to the PMC Employment Com- mittee can shorten the hiring process and save thousands of dollars compared to other methods of recruitment. STC-PMC members who work for employers that are hiring should encourage their Human Resources departments to use this valuable service. Members who periodically receive tele- phone or email solicitations from recruiters should also encourage their correspondents to list with the STC- PMC. These efforts benefit individuals on both sides of the employment process. The current dismal hiring environ- ment offers challenges for members who desperately need to find gainful employment. In response to these chal- lenges, the Employment Committee members, in conjunction with the gen- eral STC-PMC membership, can provide on a limited basis resume reviews, search advice, or sometimes just a sympathetic ear. To contact the employment committee, send an email to jobs@stcpmc.org. Experts expect that economic condi- tions will improve eventually. Many high-tech jobs, though, may never return. As a group, we need to work together to ensure that employers know they can save time and money by listing their job announcements with the STC-PMC first. s In This Issue Features 1 Introducing the STC-PMC Employment Committee 6 November Meeting 8 September Meeting Notes 8 Crossword Puzzle 9 Some Thoughts about STC Membership Columns 2 Editor’s Voice 3 President’s Podium 4 Book Review 5 Grammar Gripes 6 Member Spotlight 7 Membership Update “Employers know that active STC-PMC members provide a more specialized pool of applicants than they can find in the general population.”
  2. 2. NEWS & VIEWS 2 October/November 2003 Newsletter Staff Managing Editor Lori Corbett stcmember@comcast.net Layout Editor Rose Marie Sosnowy (610) 792-4031 Associate Editors Al Brown (856) 222-7427 Seán Fitzpatrick grendel.jjf@verizon.net Rebecca Richardson rebecca.one@verizon.net Mary Shaw mary@ladywriter.net Contributing to this Issue Jill Cassidy (215) 590-9815 Giacomo DeAnnuntis jobs@stcpmc.org Zsolt Olah idesign@vizitime.com Gloria Reisman (610) 660-5118 Lois Shank lbshank@ptd.net Mike Sharp (610) 854-2141 Submissions and Reprints ISSN 1078-9952. News & Views, published six times per year, is the official publication of the Philadelphia Metro Chapter of STC. We encourage letters, articles, and other items for publication. Note: By submitting an article, you implicitly grant a license to this newsletter to run the article and for other STC publications to reprint it without permission. Unless otherwise noted, copyrights for all newsletter articles belong to the authors. The design and layout of this newsletter are copyright STC, 2003. Address submissions or comments to Lori Corbett, Managing Editor, News & Views, 834 Westridge Drive, Phoenixville, PA, 19087, phone (610) 382-8683; email stcmember@comcast.net. You may reprint original material appearing in News & Views, as long as you acknowledge the source and author and send us a copy of the publication containing the reprint. Toolbox We produce News & Views with Frame- Maker 6.0 on various Pentium computers. News & Views STC SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS Purpose To assist students who are pursuing established degree programs in some area of technical communication. Awards Awards of $1,000 each will be granted toward school tuition and expenses. Two awards are granted to graduate students and two awards are granted to undergrad- uate students. Deadline Applications for scholarships are due February 16, 2004. For more information, check out the STC website at http://www.stc.org/scholarship_info.asp Editor’s Voice Meet the News & Views Staff by Lori Corbett f you ever heard the old ad- age, “ask and ye shall receive,” and didn’t believe it, I have news for you. It’s true! I want to thank everyone who volunteered to help with the newsletter. If you volunteered, but I didn’t get back to you, please accept my humble apology. I believe a couple of messages were left on my work voicemail, but I lost them before I could catch the names and phone numbers. As you can see, we now have a new layout editor, Rose Marie Sosnowy. I am so very grateful for her services because my FrameMaker skills are just a little rusty. Pulling the last issue together was a major undertaking for me because I hadn’t used FrameMaker since (oh my goodness) before the turn of the century (ouch!). Already, I’m sure you can see how Rose Marie’s professional approach is helping to improve News & Views’ presentation. I know I can see a tremendous improvement. I am also pleased to announce that Al Brown, Mary Shaw, and Rebecca Richardson and are going to help keep this newsletter “letter perfect.” I firmly believe that the more eyes, the merrier and all three have volunteered to act as associate editors who will be reviewing the articles in the newsletter. Thank you all! With this issue, you’ll find the return of Grammar Gripes, a column from days gone by. Thanks to Seán Fitzpatrick, we can all be entertained as we read about what otherwise might be considered pedantic grammar rules. The biggest surprise to me was when Zsolt Olah volunteered to create a new crossword for each issue. I think it’s abso- lutely fantastic and I hope you agree. If you have any ideas for additional col- umns or articles, please forward them to me at stcmember@comcast.net. Would you still like to volunteer? I hope the answer is YES! The chapter has a number of other volunteer opportu- nities we need help with. Some of the most desperate needs are in the following areas: ❏ Annual conference (contact Sheila Marshall at conference@stcpmc.org) ❏ Web page technology (contact Nad Rosenberg at president@stcpmc.org or JX Bell at web@stcpmc.org) ❏ Monthly meetings and events (contact Gloria Reisman at events@stcpmc.org) It’s going to be a great year! s
  3. 3. October/November 2003 3 NEWS & VIEWS Chapter Officers President Nad Rosenberg (856) 848-6593 Vice President Sheila Marshall (610) 933-9573 Treasurer Steve Lungren (267) 620-2421 Secretary Jill Cassidy (215) 590-9815 Immediate Past President Jeff Stein (856) 728-1254 Region 1 Director/Sponsor Jon Baker (978) 443-3049 Chapter Committee Managers Employment Giacomo DeAnnuntis (215) 482-1255 Hayden Rochester (856) 429-7512 Programs Gloria Reisman (610) 660-5118 Julia Margulies (610) 397-2448 Membership Mike Sharp (856) 854-2141 News & Views Lori Corbett stcmember@comcast.net Nominating Mike Sharp (856) 854-2141 Website Lois Shank lbshank@ptd.net Online Competition Donn DeBoard (484) 595-6216 Marc Green (610) 358-0631 Brian Winter (610) 640-4200 Address correspondence for the Philadelphia Metro chapter of STC to STC-PMC, P.O. Box 60069, Philadelphia, PA 19102-0069. Mission Statement: Designing the Future of Technical Communication. The Society for Technical Communication (STC) is an organization dedicated to advancing technical communication. Membership is open to those employed in, interested in, or concerned with the profession of technical writing, publishing, or associated disciplines. Contact STC at 901 N. Stuart St., Suite 904, Arlington, VA 22203, (703) 522-4114 or http://www.stc.org. STC-PMC Leadership Society for Technical Communication President’s Podium Opportunities by Nad Rosenberg pportunities – that’s what STC-PMC is all about. This fact has be- come increasingly clear to me as I’ve gotten more involved. First of all, there’s the chance to meet a lot of nice people who do more or less what you do. They have sim- ilar issues, gripes, questions, and professional interests. This camaraderie can provide a much-needed boost for the self-employed technical writer working at home, or the lonely, one-man band tech- nical writer at a small company. Secondly, it almost goes without saying that our meetings pro- vide an exceptional job-networking oppor- tunity for those of us currently un- or under- employed. Job networking is what gets many of us involved. And in this economy, it is prudent to ensure that one’s net- working connections are active and knowledgeable. In this regard, the chapter leadership has decided to do something to make our meetings more financially palatable to our entire membership (including the un-, under-, and even the fully-employed). This year, we are instituting a policy of capping the meeting costs at $20 for members. So if, in reality, a dinner meeting costs $30 per person, the cost of the meeting will remain at $20 for members and the chapter will subsidize the rest. How’s that for a deal? We hope the bottom line will be more members coming to more meet- ings to enjoy all the great opportunities STC-PMC has to offer. In addition to networking, our meetings also provide an excellent way to learn about new technologies and trends in our field. Our September meeting, which actu- ally took place in October thanks to Hurricane Isabel, was a perfect example of this. Melissa Kenig gave an outstanding presentation on XML. Not only did she do a superb job of explaining what XML is all about, she showed us some real life, hands-on examples, demonstrating how they are using this exciting technology at Bentley Systems. The other great opportunity STC-PMC provides is our chapter’s annual confer- ence, which will be held this year on March 20th. At this local conference, you will have the chance to hear a full day’s worth of speakers (some of them interna- tionally renowned) on topics important to our profession. And if you’d like to be a speaker yourself, here’s yet another perfect opportunity. Just fill out the RFP form in the next issue of News & Views or email Sheila Marshall, the conference chairperson at sheilam@mindspring.com. And finally, there’s the biggest opportu- nity that’s come around in a long time— the international STC conference is being held this year in Baltimore—virtually a hop, skip, and jump from our area. The conference dates are May 9–12, 2004. So if you haven’t already started petitioning your employer about this, it’s time to write that email. By the way, you can find out more about the conference at http:// www.stc.org/conferences.asp. The travel costs are minimal from the Delaware Valley area and if you go, you will have the chance to hear the most prominent people in our profession speak. If you have never been to one of these conferences before, let me tell you that it’s a terrific experience. You’ll learn a lot, meet many interesting people, and have a great time. It’s definitely an opportunity not be missed. s “The other great opportunity . . . our chapter’s annual conference.”
  4. 4. NEWS & VIEWS 4 October/November 2003 November 20 Know Your Audience—Tips for Working Effectively with Your Boss, Your Colleagues, and Your Staff at the Doubletree in Plymouth Meeting, PA No meeting in December; happy holidays to all! January 15 eLearning, Drexel University February 19 Back to School: Local Area Technical Writing Programs at Philadelphia University. STC-PMC Calendar STC MEETING EVENT RECEIPTS FOR ALL EVENTS ARE SELF-SERVE FROM THE CHAPTER’S WEBSITE: http://www.stcpmc.org Continued on page 9 Book Review The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law by Al Brown lmost every discipline that involves communi- cation (and what doesn’t these days?) has some sort of style guide to ensure consistency and clarity. As technical communicators, we have occasion to use more than one. For an academic journal article, for example, we’d look to the APA or MLA guidelines for footnote and bibliography standards. The closest thing to a standard in software documentation is Microsoft’s Manual of Style for Technical Publications, in spite of the contention of Intercom’s “Friendly Editor” that it’s Bill Gates’ bid for linguis- tic world domination. And, of course, there’s the venerable Chicago Manual of Style, the completely updated 15th edi- tion of which has just been published. To me, the most useful and interesting of these are style guides produced by news organizations. They emphasize con- sistency, brevity, and common sense. Like many reference books, they are ephem- eral, so they can provide a snapshot of an era. The 1934 Style Book of the New York Herald Tribune, for example, lists Irak as the proper spelling of the nation’s name, and explains the difference in word division between the English and Italian forms of the word “Fascism.” The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law is the most recent edition (2000) of a style guide widely used by journalists since its first publica- tion in 1977. It provides advice on the kind of problems reporters—and their editors—cope with, such as the correct names of corporations, organizations, and countries; forms of address for everyone from political officials to clerics; and common usage problems. Some of the information applies mainly to journalists. But much of the information is relevant to wordsmiths of all persuasions. The AP stylebook takes an approach to capitalization, for example, that many technical communi- cators would do well to follow. There is a tendency to capitalize the names of parts, modules, etc. in a lot of technical writing. AP style is developed mostly in connec- tion with titles, and essentially only uses uppercase when they are used as formal titles before names; “lowercase in all other uses.” For example, “Pope Paul spoke to the crowd. At the close of his address, the pope gave his blessing.” The same applies to business titles, and aca- demic and business departments. Using this as a basis, the correct form should be toner cartridge, not Toner Cartridge, in procedures. The treatment of abbreviations and acronyms differs in AP style. Standard technical practice calls for them to be defined when first used. The AP Style- book considers this an awkward construction: “Do not follow an organi- zation’s full name with an abbreviation or acronym in parentheses… If an abbrevia- tion or acronym would not be clear on second reference without this arrange- ment, do not use it.” An interesting point, but I’d think carefully before applying it to the kind of documents many of us work with. Scattered throughout are fascinating tidbits that make browsing in any good reference book a pleasure. Take this usage note: “blond, blonde Use blond as a noun for males and as an adjective for all appli- cations: She has blond hair. Use blonde as a noun for females.” I also finally learned the difference between an engine, which develops its own power, and a motor, which “receives power from an outside source: an electric motor, a hydraulic motor.” Comparing the 1977 and 2000 edi- tions yields other intriguing items. The 1977 entry for honkey has disappeared by 2000, a victim of political correctness. On the other hand, Legionnaires’ dis- ease, first identified in 1976, didn’t make it into the 1977 edition. In the abbrevia-
  5. 5. October/November 2003 5 NEWS & VIEWS October 28–30. Globalization Workshops in Philadelphia. Six technical training and business development workshops in three separate days covering: Creating International Software, Defining Globalization Requirements, Internationalization & Localization Testing, Creating Multilingual Websites, Unicode and Asian Character Sets, and Automating Localization Workflow. For more information visit http://www.lisa.org/ events/2003philly/index.html. November 20–25. National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) 93rd annual convention, “Partners in learning,” at the Moscone Center West in San Francisco, CA. For more information, contact NCTE at (800) 369-6283 or public_info@ncte.org, or go to www.ncte.org. February 12–16, 2004. American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual convention at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center and the Sheraton Seattle Hotel and Towers in Seattle, WA. For more information, contact AAAS Meetings Department at (202) 326- 6450 or aaasmeeting@aaas.org, or go to www.aaas.org. May 9–12, 2004. 51st Annual Conference in Baltimore, MD. More information to come in future issues of News & Views. STC and Related Events Around the World Grammar Gripes Nurturing Your, Like, Inner Editor…Smack by Seán Fitzpatrick everal years ago, Phil Cohen, a tech writer at IBM, brought up to date the old pons asinorum of machine translation: “Time flies like an ar- row, but fruit flies like a banana.” Phil added, “and Chuck Yeager flies, like, airplanes.” Too true, Phil. But not in my house. Dr. and Mrs. Grammar Gripes have started hitting the kids. Let me qualify that. We have started hitting the kids when they use “like” in any of its misbe- gotten forms: a replacement for “say,” a replacement for “as,” an unnecessary interjection that seems to promise a meta- phor but instead reveals a stunted education and an effete imagination. I can hear the chronically aghast crying, “Why?!? Why take it out on the chi-i-i-l-l-l-dren?” Well, because it’s for their own good. Because someone has to do it. Because, as Hannah Arendt observed, every civilization is under daily assault by barbarians—we call them chil- dren. Because the real solons of solecism are not in easy reach. Because the kids, um, like it. Like, Smack We first proposed a nickel jar. This provoked a chorus of protest. “Not money,” they piped in terror and indigna- tion, clutching their tiny purses to their collective bosom. “Why don’t you, like, just hit us?” Any thought that this sugges- tion was meant ironically was banished when they added, “We’ll help.” Well, of course they would. They love to hit one another. And since they are learning their lessons, it’s win-win all around. Soon the dinner conversation was punctuated by soft thumps. Occasionally there was a sharper yip as someone counted coup under the table. One evening I noticed 12-year-old Katie apparently trying to chop her wrist off. She is the middle child and cannot be seated next to either of her siblings. Alone on one side of the table, she was adminis- tering smacks to herself for every inappropriate “like.” The Inner Editor So how has this reign of terror worked out? Quite well. The incidence of “like” is considerably reduced in our house. Beyond that, the children, amidst all the poking and giggling, have been devel- oping an important skill for linguistic hygiene. It is not enough for them to learn to apply rules to SAT questions and to develop good speaking habits. They need to develop an aural-oral self- consciousness. The need for this skill is less when one lives amid careful speakers and thoughtful speech, but who of us is so blessed anymore? Certainly not the kids. They live in a churning, chattering, bar- barian culture. The public realm (to say nothing of the specialized, commercial kid culture) intrudes everywhere, and it is grubbier than ever: hucksters are willing to say anything to get our attention (“Honey, I shrunk the kids!”), media fig- ures are unwilling to say anything that might sound elitist (“…between the Presi- dent and she”), and copy editing has gone the way of white gloves. Dr. Grammar Gripes’ prescription is to teach them to recognize the solecisms, vulgarities, and mindless clichés in what they hear and read and to catch themselves when they repeat them. The Slob in the Street Public figures in America, no less than BBC announcers, once schooled their speech to standards of grammar and even accent. When Dan Rather left Texas for the network anchor desk, he practiced to lose his Texas accent and dialect. Presi- dent Jimmy Carter of Georgia did likewise. Two generations ago, the man- in-the-street broadcast was satirized as a Continued on page 7
  6. 6. NEWS & VIEWS 6 October/November 2003 Member Spotlight Ed Doneson – Making the STC Membership Connection by Jill Cassidy Rolette t’s been a rough couple of years for technical com- municators. It seems that hardly a month goes by without some word of a friend or acquaintance whose department has been eliminated or contract has ended. I have the opportunity to meet many such members at chapter meetings who are hunting for a lead or networking for a contract. These are talented, ambitious, experienced people who always inspire me with their knowledge and perseverance. So when I received an email from Ed Doneson a few weeks ago saying that he was looking to connect with his local STC chapter, I had an idea (brace your- self, as this doesn’t happen too often!). Why not turn “the spotlight” on mem- bers who could do with a little additional exposure? Ed’s willingness to take part in this month’s column has been a delight. As we all hope for news that will cast a light on the shadows of today’s job market, I dedicate this column to the STC-PMC members and friends who are eagerly and actively networking for their next position. Ed Doneson joined the then-named STC Delaware Valley Chapter in 1984 while enrolled in a graduate program at Spring Garden College for Technical Writing and Editing. His professors encouraged him to join as a student member for “a supplement for lifelong learning in the field.” The many benefits Ed has enjoyed during the course of his membership prove that STC has “lived up to its billing.” Ed considers STC to be the “home of technical writing for the world,” citing journal content, the Annual Conference as an international forum for trends and current informa- tion, chapter outlets for sharing ideas, networking, and understanding technical writing within one’s community as its credits. The local and national Websites keep members and friends apprised of society happenings. During the course of 19 years, Ed has attended the Annual Conferences and chapter meetings, even volunteering with the 1988 conference held here in Philadelphia. Family and work-related responsibili- ties put a halt to Ed’s STC involvement until just recently. Although having been “fiercely independent and headstrong about [his] abilities and experience,” Ed realized that he missed his involvement with STC. During the dark days fol- lowing a layoff and a substantial lack of prospects, Ed didn’t feel that in good con- science he could turn to STC for assistance, due to his prolonged absence and lapsed dues. Last December, he decided to rejoin, telling past chapter president Jeff Stein, “because it was the right thing to do.” For the past 18 years, Ed has tackled a variety of demanding, ability-expanding projects. He has worked either full time or as a contractor for companies such as GE Astro-Space Division, Telegenix, Sabre Systems, Day & Zimmerman, Inc., Neoware Systems, Inc., and Pathfinder LLC. Ed has produced end-user manuals, proposals, plans, SOPs, and marketing communications. Within the past eight years he has seen “the shift to online help and more recently to Web development and content editing.” Ed’s strengths and skills in the written and verbal use of the English language, research, organization, document plan- ning, as well as a familiarity with a wide range of word processing, authoring, Web, and online help software make him an ideal candidate for his “dream” job. What would that job look like on paper? Well, Ed describes an environment where technical writing skills and responsibili- ties are valued, earning daily respect and fair compensation. It would be a place where senior management recognizes the importance of technical writing as “part of the core service of performing the com- Meetings Know Your Audience—Tips for Working Effectively with Your Boss, Your Colleagues, and Your Staff presented by Linda Root, Siemens Medical Solutions, Health Services "Know your audience" is a fundamental tenet of technical communication. Our November program applies this principle to the technical communicator's interactions with other people. This interactive session's goal is to provide ideas on how to increase your effectiveness and ultimately your odds of success on the job. This session will cover the following topics: ❏ Communication styles and preferences ❏ Building trust ❏ Resolving conflict ❏ Negotiating ❏ Motivating others About the Speaker Linda Root is currently a manager at Siemens Medical Solutions, Health Services in Malvern. She is responsible for all technical writers, analysts, and product information for the company's clinical software systems. Linda has 15 years of management experience, and also has worked as a technical writer, systems analyst, product planner, salesperson, and IT consultant. Outside of work, she has extensive board-level volunteer leadership and management experience with several non-profit organizations. Her favorite vacation spot is Bermuda. November Meeting Continued on page 7
  7. 7. October/November 2003 7 NEWS & VIEWS Membership Update Congratulations to the following members of the Philadelphia Metro chapter, who have achieved senior membership status: ❏ Nicole A. Bond ❏ Sabra M. Feldman ❏ Nancy Anderman Guenthe ❏ Dorthy A. Hoffman ❏ Ralph C. Patrick Welcome to our new members (and their employers as available) for the months of August and September: ❏ David D. Howard ❏ Sheila Hughes, Guardian ❏ Stephanie Kanak, Written Concepts ❏ Julia Kirillova ❏ Derek H. Noland ❏ Patricia A. Quigley, Rowan University Also welcome the following members who have transferred to our chapter from other chapters: ❏ Barrie S. Byron ❏ Pamela A. Klaassen Puzzle Solution Congratulations Welcome pany’s long-range business plans.” His ideal manager would be proactive, taking note of his work-related progress and de- fending his efforts at a higher level, while keeping corporate politics at bay. This at- mosphere might involve the collaboration of other writers and editors on critically important projects, while providing the most suitable tools to ensure the highest quality work. He would enjoy working in a setting where he could undertake the challenges of developing new business ac- quisition proposals, online help, and editing Web content for Internet and in- tranet sites. To keep his skills sharp, during his “down” time between jobs Ed has volun- teered to edit marketing materials for a social services agency. Through contract work he has kept his tool set current by using Framemaker, Visio, Robohelp, Photoshop, Illustrator, Acrobat, and MS Word. I asked Ed what he feels best prepares him, or someone else who is job hunting, for landing a contract or permanent posi- tion. He replied that “good preparation for the interview, a professional demeanor, enthusiasm about the posi- tion, taking control of the interview, as well as excellent eye contact with the interviewer” are some key components for bringing in the job offer. The personal life of our featured STC-PMC member reveals a husband and father to three accomplished daughters, residing in Cherry Hill, NJ, after a two- year stay in Israel in the late 1970s. Having grown up in the Bustleton sec- tion of Northeast Philadelphia, Ed attended George Washington High School and Temple University, where he earned a B.A. in Journalism. When Ed relaxes, it is to run, bicycle, play tennis, do crossword puzzles, take in a movie or sporting event, or build things in his workshop. While Ed continues to pursue opportunities in the field of technical communication, please keep him in mind for any openings of which you might be aware. He brings a formidable array of experience, talent, and skills to the pro- verbial table. I look forward to spotlighting other members of our chapter who have hopes of landing that perfect job. Your determi- nation and abilities are an inspiration to us all. s novelty. Now it is a staple of popular electronic entertainment, in call-in shows and audience participation autos-da-fe. Once our exposure to the vulgar tongue was from our neighbors, whose quality we knew, and we could take public fig- ures as models. Now, that sound bite at 11 is likely to be our neighbor’s, and the standard for public figures is less Stan- dard American than trendy buzz phrase. Defensive measures like inner editing have become more necessary as the aural- oral aspect of our language has gained in reverberation even as it has lost in refine- ment. Even though our children may never appreciate this lesson, I like to think that we have enriched their common sibling experience. Years from now, when I am dead and gone, they’ll remember these happy times…and smack one of my grandchildren. Glossary Effete Lacking vitality, exhausted, unpro- ductive (literally, incapable of producing offspring). Pons asinorum “Bridge of asses,” the first difficult theorem of Euclid’s geome- try, so called because slower students stumbled on it. The “time flies” variants were puzzlers for early computer transla- tion programs. Solon (“the Lawgiver”) was a statesman of Athens ca. 600 B.C. Now a solon means a sage. A solecism is a grammati- cal howler. I like the expression as much for the irony and the sound as for its ana- lytical acuity. s Seán Fitzpatrick is, like, a technical editor in Upper Darby. Continued from “Grammar Gripes” on page 5 Continued from “Member Spotlight” on page 6
  8. 8. NEWS & VIEWS 8 October/November 2003 by Lois Shank After being postponed by Hurricane Isabel to October 2, our September meeting on implementing Extensible Markup Language (XML) effectively was hosted by Bentley Systems in Exton, PA. The main feature of the evening was Melissa Kenig’s presentation "Leveraging Structure Based Markup," describing how her department at Bentley uses XML to repurpose text without re-authoring it. Because XML completely separates text content from format, Melissa's department can use single-sourcing methods to maintain a single version of the text, which appears in different output formats, such as training materials, online help, and Web pages. The department also developed its own Document Type Definition (DTD) to define the elements and structure of the department‘s documents. When generating output, the text automatically appears in the required format, without a writer needing to tweak it. This enables writers to spend their time writing content, rather than formatting (and re-formatting) text for different needs. Melissa described her department's move to single sourcing with XML as evolving from dumb data (defined only by its format) to intelligent data (defined by the type of information it contains). Thanks to the consistent structure imposed by XML, Bentley's move to XML has already begun to reap some benefits. ❏ The department can quickly cre- ate different “flavors“ of information to target their many different users. ❏ Translation to different languages costs less money because translators can always find the same kinds of information in the same places, and don‘t have to worry about formatting and desktop publishing. September Meeting Notes Guidelines: Not your typical crossword. The definitions may be vague, associative, even funny. A single word CAPITALIZED (e.g., across 18) is your guide. Use it ‘as is’. ‘Mixed’ (e.g., down 25) means the letters are scrambled. Crossword Puzzle by Zsolt Olah ACROSS 1 Resolution 10 Fraternity initiated blur 11 Greek spelling of the dangerous hole above 12 The State of the A's 13 Pointing tool 15 There's only one catcher in this Caulfield 17 Subject Flattered Expert w/o experience 18 FEK 19 Half shed 21 SME's frequent drink 22 Sooner than ASAP 23 Beer maker 24 Shock to the imperial system 26 Beginning of load 27 Double letters 28 Money back 31 Solid, impassive background 33 Humid monitor type 35 Short test 36 KN 37 Unsure guess for past tense of 'beat' 38 Zipped PIN 39 Period of time still existing backwards 40 Dubai town 42 IG 43 Broken arrow 44 President or police unit 46 Opposite of unilateral DOWN 1 Development stage 2 Sometimes your salary expectation meets reality in this way 3 IZ 4 Misspelled tree residents have a conversation 5 Computer added teenager 6 EZO 7 Less higher than low 8 Short PIN code 9 Resolution continued 14 Not really frequent 16 Give way 20 Inductive not 22 AE 23 Before CE 24 Objective time tracker for vehicles 25 RID mixed 27 Self-proud online steem company 29 Market value type 30 ND 32 A type of monkey 34 Hairy creature with long, thin strands 37 BOBA mixed 38 Abnormal craving for dozen point 41 Browser's guide 43 @ 45 IR 1 P 2 H 3 I 4 L A 5 D 6 E 7 L 8 P H I 9 A 10 H A Z E 11 O Z O N M 12 A L 13 A 14 R R O W 15 R 16 Y E 17 S F 18 F E K 19 E 20 D 21 I T E 22 A S A 23 B R E W E R 24 M E T R 25 I C 26 L O 27 E E A 28 R E 29 F U 30 N D 31 S T O L 32 I D 33 L C D 34 A 35 T E 36 K N 37 B E T 38 P N 39 E R A 40 D 41 U B A I 42 I G E 43 A R R O 44 V 45 I C E 46 M U L T I L A T E R A L
  9. 9. October/November 2003 9 NEWS & VIEWS According to the prorating schedule for STC annual dues, new members joining in 2003 pay full dues ($125 USD), and their memberships extend to December 31. During the first renewal period, prorated “credit” is extended to all new members based on the month they joined the Society. For example, members who joined in February will receive a 10 percent (or $12.50 USD) credit on their first renewal, members who joined in March will receive a 20 percent ($25 USD) credit, and so on. These credits will be deducted from the 2004 dues invoice. The credits will appear on new members’ renewal invoices, which will be mailed in late November. The table below lists monthly credits and renewal rates for new members. Note: The STC office will apply all credits at the time of renewal. New members should not adjust their initial dues payment of $125 by the amount of credit they anticipate receiving. Renewal Credits for New STC Members (in USD) STC Prorated Dues Explained Month Joined Credit Toward 2004 Dues January ’03 0 February ’03 12.50 March ’03 25.00 April ’03 37.50 May ’03 50.00 June ’03 62.50 July ’03 75.00 August ’03 87.50 September ’03 100.00 October ’03 112.50 November ’03 125.00 December ’03 125.00 Membership Some Thoughts About STC Membership by Mike Sharp hat is the primary reason you belong to STC? Many people join to have access to the job information STC provides its members. For oth- ers, the opportunity to expand their professional skills is most important. And for many, the opportunity to network among professional colleagues at monthly meetings is more important. STC provides all of these benefits and more to prospec- tive members. The Philadelphia Metro Chapter cur- rently has more than 350 members. We know that unemployment among tech- nical communicators is still high, so let’s assume for a minute that 70% of the chapter’s members, or 245, are currently working. Of those, let’s assume that about a third, or 82 members work in organiza- tions that employ more than one technical communicator. And, what if we could con- vince about a half of those to seek out just one colleague in their organization who does not belong to STC and invite them to our next meeting? The result would be that somewhere between 20 and 40 pro- spective new members would attend our next meeting. But for this to happen, it requires all of our members who are working to consider seeking out a col- league who doesn't belong. Could you do this for the chapter? Could you find just one non-member col- league and tell them the most important reason you belong to STC? Could you invite them to attend our next meeting? If you could, we stand a chance of growing our membership, even in tough times. And, don’t forget a major benefit of joining now—memberships taken between now and the end of the calendar year are good for all of 2004. That’s like getting up to three months’ membership free. s Continued from “Book Review” on page 4 tions and acronyms entry, a definition of acronym disappeared between 1977 and 2000, suggesting that the distinction has blurred over time. Similarly, in 1977 the editors tried to differentiate between people and persons: “Persons usually is used when speaking of a relatively small number of people who can be counted, but people also may be used…” By 2000 even this feeble attempt was dropped. The most striking difference is that what was a general “libel manual” in the first edition has become a “briefing on media law.” The latter is much more extensive and detailed, indicating that journalists need to be considerably more careful about lawsuits these days. There is also a surprisingly superficial section on the Internet and Internet terminology. It agrees with Microsoft on setup (noun) vs. set up (verb), and opts for online as one word in all cases. FAQ and IT should always be spelled out. But the entry login, logon, logoff is complete as I’ve cited it, with no further guidance on usage. If you have to cope with the current jargon, some of the standard Internet resources would be a better bet. If you need to write press releases or pieces for general publications, The Asso- ciated Press Stylebook is a worthwhile addition to your arsenal. The more tech- nical your audience, the less useful it is. But it’s still fun to dip into. s The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law. Cambridge, Mass: Perseus Publishing, 2000. ISBN 0-7382-0308-4 (paper). $16.00
  10. 10. Newsletter Address News & Views Lori Corbett 834 Westridge Dr. Phoenixville, PA 19460 stcmember@comcast.net First Class Mail October/November 2003 10 NEWS & VIEWS Upcoming Meetings The information in the following table was correct at the time News & Views was published. Be sure to check the Website (www.stcpmc.org) for details and to check for late-breaking updates to the schedule. For all Thursday meetings, reservations are due by the Monday before the meeting. Note that the Workshop and Conference in March will require special registrations. Date Meeting Topic Location November 20, 2003 Managing Remote Employees / Telecommuting / Preview of Annual Conference in Baltimore Doubletree, Plymouth Meeting, PA December, 2003 No Meeting This Month—Happy Holidays to All January 15, 2004 eLearning Drexel Univerity, Philadelphia, PA February 19, 2004 Back to School: Local Area Technical Writing Programs Philadelphia University March 20, 2004 Second Annual Philadelphia Metro Conference Penn State University, Great Valley, PA April 15, 2004 Contracting Panel TBD May 9—12, 2004 STC Annual Conference Baltimore, MD June 17, 2004 Content Management presented by Cheryl Lockett Zubak Doubletree, Plymouth Meeting PA October 9, 2004 Philadelphia Mural Tour Philadelphia, PA A Look Inside... ❏ Giacomo DeAnnuntis introduces the STC-PMC Employment Committee. (p. 1) ❏ Managing editor Lori Corbett intro- duces the News & Views staff. (p. 2) ❏ President Nad Rosenberg talks about opportunities offered by STC-PMC. (p. 3) ❏ Read a review of The Associate Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law by Al Brown. (p. 4) ❏ The Grammar Gripes column returns... Looking at “like” by Seán Fitzpatrick. (p. 5) ❏ Jill Rollette’s member spotlight highlights member Ed Doneson. (p. 6) ❏ Find out who the newest members of STC-PMC are in the Membership Update (p. 7) ❏ Check your crossword puzzle skills in our newest feature by Zsolt Olah (p. 8) ❏ Learn some facts about STC member- ship in Mike Sharp’s article. (p. 9)

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