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STC PMC Newsletter 2004-04

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STC PMC Newsletter April/May 2004

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STC PMC Newsletter 2004-04

  1. 1. April/May 2004 Vol. 38, No. 5 The Other Side of the Table by Barrie Byron recently had the opportunity to participate in the interview process at a software company where I am a technical writer consultant. Our project deadlines were looming, and the hiring of more contract writers was approved. We could add members to the writing team, and we had to do it fast! It was fun to be on the other side of the table for a change. After the interviews concluded and the hiring decisions were made, I was reminded of this basic fact: The resume gets you in the door, but your interview determines the hiring decision. All of us in the business of getting hired as tech- nical writers can benefit from a review of some basic interviewing tools. You might even want to use this checklist as one of your interview rehearsal tools. When you are invited to interview for a technical writing position, consider the following points that are likely to come up in an interview at a software company: ❏ Be prepared to cite your strengths and summarize your skills. Very often, an interview can open with “tell us some- thing about your experience...” Practice the elevator talk. Sell yourself in the time it takes to go up a few floors in an elevator. ❏ Research the company before you show up for the interview. ❏ Research the technology you will be writing for, at least something about the type of industry (for example, network software). ❏ Look through your samples to see if you have written any related documents. ❏ Bring samples you wrote within the last five years. ❏ Identify portions of the samples that you wrote yourself (in contrast with inheriting and maintaining the information). ❏ Familiarize yourself with your sam- ples. Look them over if it has been a few years. ❏ Be prepared to discuss the authoring tools you’ve used on previous jobs; espe- cially in relation to the samples in your portfolio. ❏ Be prepared to answer questions about your samples. For example, “How did you produce the graphics in this sample?” and “What tool did you use to create this document?” ❏ Know what an authoring tool is. Familiarize yourself with files formats of authoring tools and other software. For example, if you developed help files, what was the format of your deliverables? ❏ If your samples include electronic doc- uments or help systems on a CD, print a few pages to represent the content. ❏ Be prepared to answer questions about accomplishments listed on your resume. ❏ Be prepared to describe the operating systems that run the applications you’ve documented. For example, “I documented a database management system that ran on Windows” or “I documented a finan- cial system that ran on two UNIX platforms.” ❏ Know what an operating system is. ❏ Know what a platform is. ❏ Be prepared to talk about documenta- tion methodology in relationship to the software development life cycle. ❏ Review basic life cycles to understand the types of documents used to develop software. ❏ Be prepared to talk about how you’ve managed your projects. How do you gather information? How do you handle document reviews? Have you participated in peer reviews? Edit cycles? ❏ Be prepared to talk about your work practices. For example, how have your organized and managed your electronic files? Did you store them locally on your hard drive, back them up on a network, or use version control or project manage- ment software such as VSS or PVCS? (Continued on page 11) In This Issue… Features 1 The Other Side of the Table 4 STC-PMC Chapter Meeting Notes 7 Technical Writers’ Week 8 Expand Your Skill Set and Your Value as an Employee or Consultant 9 Bus to Baltimore Columns 2 Editor’s Voice 3 President’s Podium 6 Book Review 10 Crossword Puzzle
  2. 2. NEWS & VIEWS 2 April/May 2004 Editor’s Voice What a Conference! by Lori Corbett asn’t it amazing? It’s great to attend a well- planned conference with a variety of professional sessions where we can learn and network. I know you know it takes hard work and dedication to organize an event like this. For the past few years, most of the work to pull the STC-PMC annual conference together was done by Sheila Marshall, volunteer extraordinaire (in my humble opinion). Yes, a few other members of the chapter help, but without Sheila’s efforts the conference would not have been as successful as it was. Would YOU like to take over as conference manager? I know that Sheila is ready for the break from this responsibility, especially as she is also completing a year as the Vice President of our chapter. My fear is that without someone stepping up to this leadership role, the conference just won’t happen next year. Planning needs to start soon: to set the date, procure an excellent keynote speaker, etc. When I was in Orlando, the conference committee started its work for the year nine months before the event. For us, that means work, planning needs to start in June. ❏ Are you willing to take responsibility for letting this wonderful opportunity for our membership die? ❏ Are you willing to take the responsibility for ensuring that this wonderful opportunity for our membership thrives? I surely hope you choose the latter and step up to the plate. If several of our members would like to work together, you know the old adage: “many hands make light work.” You would certainly have the opportunity to prove it. If you would like to volunteer for this worthwhile position, please contact Sheila Marshall at (610) 933-9573. I and many of your fellow STC-PMC members will thank you. ■ Newsletter Staff Managing Editor Lori Corbett stcmember@comcast.net Layout Editor Rose Marie Sosnowy (610) 792-4031 Associate Editors Al Brown (856) 222-7427 Rebecca Richardson rebecca.one@verizon.net Mary Shaw mary@ladywriter.net Also Contributing to this Issue Barrie Byron (609) 530-1969 Zsolt Olah idesign@vizitime.com Gloria Reisman (610) 660-5118 Mary Shaw lmary@ladywriter.net Mike Sharp (610) 854-2141 Submissions and Reprints 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. 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, 2004. Address submissions or comments to Lori Corbett, Managing Editor, News & Views, 834 Westridge Drive, Phoenixville, PA, 19460, phone (610) 382-8683; email stcmember@comcast.net. Toolbox We produce News & Views with Frame- Maker 6.0 and Acrobat 6.0 on various Pentium computers. News & Views One of Our Own Judges at the International Online Competition (IOCC) Left to right: L. Kendall Johns of the Lone Star chapter in Austin, TX; Gwen Thomas of the Orlando chapter in central Florida; and Barrie Byron (team lead) of the Philadelphia Metro chapter judging online entries. An interesting sidebar is that one of the entries they judged was ultimately awarded Best of Show!
  3. 3. April/May 2004 3 NEWS & VIEWS President’s Podium About Elections by Nad Rosenberg ’ve been thinking a lot about elections lately. First, there’s the upcoming presidential and congressional elections. Although I don’t usually relate politics to professional concerns, for the first time in my recollection, there’s a real convergence between the state of the union and issues regarding our profession. Don’t worry, I’m not going to express or encourage a particular political opinion. I’m just going to mention a few national issues that affect us deeply as technical communicators. Jobs Is there a more compelling topic for a professional organization to consider? While unemployment is a key issue for the country as a whole, many chapter members are experiencing this phenomenon up-close and personal. Linked with unemployment is the political hot potato of outsourcing, which creeps into every discussion related to jobs. The outsourcing phenomenon is something that affects or will affect all technical communicators—and this topic promises to be one of the hottest political topics in the upcoming election. Health Care How many of us now have to pay for all or part of health benefits that used be included in our standard employment packages? For those lucky enough to receive good health benefits from our employers, what happens when we retire or are laid off? The cost of health care is enormous and the issues complex. So we all need to be as well- informed as possible regarding the candidates’ positions in this critical area. Retirement For many of us, life after technical communication is a subject that becomes more important every year. When the time comes to retire, will we have the financial resources needed to visit Tahiti—or even feed the dog? We should all look carefully at the candidates’ plans for Social Security and determine how these options will affect us. There are, of course, many other extremely difficult and complicated decisions involved in this election. My intent here is only to raise awareness of a some things that affect us professionally and to encourage everyone to learn as much as possible about the political alternatives. STC-PMC Election In addition to the national, state and local elections, there is one more election that’s been on my mind. The STC-PMC election! We are looking for candidates and other volunteers who want to make a contribution to our chapter. If you’re interested, jump on the STC-PMC bandwagon and send me an email (twnad@techw.com). Unlike the national election, it won’t cost you a thing to run for office—and we can guarantee that, if elected, you’ll be less stressed than George Bush or John Kerry. ■ 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 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 Web site 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 “We are looking for candidates and other volunteers who want to make a contribution to our chapter.”
  4. 4. NEWS & VIEWS 4 April/May 2004 STC-PMC Briefings STC-PMC Chapter Meeting Notes Location: Philadelphia University Date: Feb. 19, 2004 Topic: Back to School: Local Area Technical Writing Programs Program Chair: Julia Margulies; Co-Program Chair: Gloria Reisman The meeting started at 7:10 p.m. with about 30 attendees. The meeting ended at about 9:15 p.m. Chapter president Nad Rosenberg opened the meeting. In attendance were the four speakers, chapter members and guests from other chapters: Neil Perlin, a.k.a. “The XML Man,” from the Boston chapter; Kimberly Bogden, from the NY Metro chapter. Chapter Business The following chapter announcements were made: STC Annual Conference 5/9–5/12 ❏ Chapter dinner somewhere on the Inner Harbor is planned; sign up with Nad now. Location may be the Rusty Scupper. ❏ A charter bus is available for conference transportation. New member introductions ❏ Five new members stood and introduced themselves to the chapter. New members hailed from Georgia, New Jersey, Florida, and other states. Annual chapter conference 3/20 ❏ Handouts were distributed. Volunteers and attendees needed! Meeting appreciation ❏ Many thanks to program chair Julia Mar- gulies and co-program chair Gloria Reisman for arranging this meeting. ❏ Excellent food: hot and cold finger food, sodas, fruit, cheeses. Very nice spread! ❏ This was our first meeting at Philadelphia University. All attendees seemed very pleased with the location Program: Area Master and Certificate Writing Opportunities Philadelphia University Russ Pritchard from Philadelphia University hosted the meeting and opened the formal program. Russ described the Master of Science program in Instructional Design and Technology offered by Philadelphia University, emphasizing that graduates of the Philadelphia University program are “liberally educated professionals.” In addition to updating our technology proficiency skills, Russ reminded us that we retain the ability to be lifelong learners. The school of Design and Communication provides four areas of academic study, including Instructional Design. Classes are held Monday, Wednesday, and Friday evenings in Bucks County. The program consists of 11 required classes. Cost is about $1700 for three credit hours. Visit www.philau.edu/graduate for details. You can contact Russ directly by email (pritchard@philau.edu). Drexel University Rachel Reynolds from Drexel University discussed the three tracks in the Master of Science program, one of which is the technical writing track. The program requires 45 hours, with 7 required courses. Other courses are electives from any school in the college (Psychology, Business, and so on). The emphasis, in contrast to Philadelphia University, is “science into technical writers.” Program graduates go on to become editors of scientific journals, technical writers, and medical writers. The cost is about $700 per credit hour. Drexel University operates on a quarter academic system. For more information on the Graduate Program in Communication at April 15. Contracting Panel Join us on April 15 for a panel discussion on contract technical communication. Perhaps you have been recently laid off and are considering contracting. Or, maybe your current job is becoming increasingly tenuous. You might already be a contract technical communicator. Come hear our panelists discuss their views on contracting today. Included on the panel will be two chapter members who have been contractors for the last few years and two recruiters with extensive experience working in the Delaware Valley area. The program will allow substantial time for questions and answers. We'll be serving a hot buffet dinner, and a cash bar will be available. May 9–12. STC Annual Conference, Navigating the Future, in Baltimore, MD. Join us on the bus as we travel to and from the STC Annual Conference. For more information about the bus see the article on p. 9. June 17. Content Management This month's theme is Content Management, and our presenter is the always interesting Cheryl Lockett Zubak. Be sure to check the STC-PMC Website for more details as the date approaches. STC-PMC Calendar
  5. 5. April/May 2004 5 NEWS & VIEWS Drexel University, visit www.coas.drexel.edu/humanities/grad/ com.html or call Dr. Ernest Hakanen at (215) 895-1354. Penn State Bob Reitman from Penn State discussed the Technical Communication Certificate program, an outreach program of the College of the Liberal Arts and Professional Studies in Technical Communication. The focus of this five-course certificate program is on adult learners who already have their Bachelor’s degrees. In addition to the five- course certificate classes (which may be taken for credit or for certificate-only non- credit), other technical communication opportunities include Technical Writing for Product Development and Services, Technical Writing for Pharmaceutical Professionals, and Text and Layout in a Technical Publishing Environment. All courses are available on a contract basis, and are offered periodically as public sessions. The cost varies, depending on campus location, credit or certificate, and other variables. For more details on Penn State’s Technical Communication Certificate program, visit www.psutechcomm.org/ofbr. University of Delaware Past STC-PMC president Rebecca Worley, from the University of Delaware, spoke about the many, diverse, and flexible educational opportunities, including the Certificate in Business and Technical Writing. This certificate program also focuses on adult learners and is designed for degreed individuals or students who want credentials. The program requires 21 credits, 7 courses. Many classes are available online through video streaming. The University of Delaware is “wired” and was recently named the number two “wired high tech university.” The continuing education program includes a Webmaster Certificate program. A new program under development is the New Media program (combining IT, graphic arts, communication, and technology). Rebecca read a sampling of the continuing education courses, including XML, Acrobat, CSS, and Visio. Prices vary. A five-class XML course may cost about $600. Visit www.continuingstudies.edel.edu/ communcations/technical_writing.shtml for details. Contact Ann Adkins-DePaul at aadkins@udel.edu for any questions. ■ April 16-17 The Manitoba Chapter STC and the Technical Communication Diploma Program at Red River College (RRC) will hold a joint conference, “Toward a Community of Practice in Manitoba,” at RRC’s Notre Dame campus in Winnipeg, Manitoba. For more information, please contact Alexa Campbell at acampbell@rrc.mb.ca or (204) 949-8455. April 17 The STC Region 4 Conference, “Writers Without Borders: Trends in Technical Communication,” will be held at the Holiday Inn Select in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The conference will focus on how the role of technical communicators is changing in an evolving business world. For more information, please contact Darlene Mullinex at dmullenix@federatedinv.com, (412) 462-3581, or visit the Pittsburgh chapter’s Website (www.stcpgh.org/ conference) May 9-12 STC’s 51st Annual Conference will be held in Baltimore, Maryland. Post- conference sessions will be held on Thursday, May 13. For more information, please visit the STC Website at www.stc.org/51stConf/. July 25-27 The Sacramento Chapter STC will host the STC Region 8 Conference at the University of California, Davis. The conference will feature seminars, a regional leadership summit, and a trade show and career expo. For more information, please contact Eric Butow at ceo@butow.net or visit the conference Website at www.stcregion8conference.org. STC and Related Events Around the World STC-PMC Briefings (Continued from page 4)
  6. 6. NEWS & VIEWS 6 April/May 2004 Book Review The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age reviewed by Al Brown ost of us in this business have grown up—or grown old—with the technology that Sven Birkerts disses in The Gutenberg Elegies. And we’ve made our peace with it—our “Faustian pact,” as he puts it—if only to stay in the job market. If you feel uncomfortable with current information technology, you’ll find ample reinforcement of your fears; if you embrace it without question, there is plenty to argue with. Regardless of your position, it’s worth the effort to come to grips with this elegantly written and impassioned, if one-sided, book. The book’s title shows where he’s coming from, literally. A teacher, literary critic, and former bookseller, Birkerts sees himself as a native of the Gutenberg Galaxy, which is under attack by aliens from cyberspace. The first part of the book, “The Reading Self,” develops Birkerts’ notion of reading printed books as a unique activity and its complex relationship to the act of writing. He concerns himself almost exclusively with the reading of fiction, specifically novels. In that context, reading places the reader in a special kind of time that expands or contracts, depending on the reader’s focus. It also puts the reader in an alternative world, which, depending on the skill of the writer, can be as compelling as reality. These realities can exist simultaneously, and one of the more fascinating ideas he plays with is whether the experience of reality and the experience of a novel differ qualitatively. (Birkerts believes they do not.) For Birkerts, reading is the act of an individual performed in solitude; therefore the technological, social, and political forces that homogenize our world also endanger reading as an activity. He develops these ideas in the context of his personal experience, which makes for delightful reading for book lovers, regardless of what you think of his argument. Part II, “The Electronic Millennium,” elucidates Birkets’ two main themes. First, he asserts that reading on a computer screen differs fundamentally from reading on the printed page. Electrons lack the permanence of ink: “Nearly weightless though it is, the word printed on a page is a thing. The configuration of impulses on a screen is not—it is a manifestation, an indeterminate entity both particle and wave, an ectoplasmic arrival and departure. The former occupies a position in space—on a page, in a book—and is verifiably there. The latter, once dematerialized digitalized back into storage…cannot be said to exist in quite the same way. It has potential, not actual locus.” Further, because they lack permanence and emanate from a black box few of us understand, words on a screen lack authority and we cannot trust them—we don’t know where they’ve been and who’s touched them. This reminds me of the villain in Jasper Fford’s fantasy The Eyre Affair, who kidnaps a character from Martin Chuzzlewit and plots to change the ending of Jane Eyre. As scholarship on critical editions of everything from the Bible to Joyce’s Ulysses shows, being in print doesn’t guarantee authority. At the root of this argument lies a love for books as concrete artifacts, the physical handling of which plays an important role in the aesthetic experience of reading. Birkerts’ second point is that the rise of electronic media has contributed to a major decline in literacy and culture, particularly in the United States. It encourages a broad and shallow approach, rather than a narrower and deeper one. Reading appears to be dying out as a means of passing on our cultural heritage. And this is one place where Birkerts’ argument begins to break down, because he consciously discounts every form of artistic and cultural expression other than reading books as unworthy of consideration. American civilization may indeed be in peril, but not necessarily because people aren’t reading many 19th century novels anymore. As technical communicators, we can’t afford to succumb either to nostalgia or to novelty. The issue isn’t tradition vs. bleeding edge: it’s what communicates clearly and effectively. We do need to be aware of factors in our surroundings that affect the audience’s ability to absorb what we try to convey The introduction of printing technology in the late 15th century transformed Europe from an oral to a literate culture—triggering the Reformation and the Thirty Years War in the process. The current information revolution promises to be equally cataclysmic, and there will be far less time to adjust. Mourning what is disappearing without acknowledging and preparing for what will replace it is simply shortsighted. A better strategy is, in the words of my daughter, to “suck it up and deal with it.” ■ Birkerts, Sven, The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age. New York: Ballentine, 1995 [1994]. ISBN 0-449-91009-1 (paper), 231 pages, $14.00. Note: Have you read any good books lately—ones that made you think differently about your profession? If you have a suggestion for one you’d like to review for News & Views, contact Al Brown at aheb@verizon.net.
  7. 7. NEWS & VIEWS 7 April/May 2004 Technical Writers’ Week In support of our Second Annual Conference “Morphing into the Future with STC,” Governor Rendell proclaimed the week of March 14–20 as Technical Writers’ Week in Pennsylvania.
  8. 8. April/May 2004 8 NEWS & VIEWS More Than a Tech Writer Expand Your Skill Set and Your Value as an Employee or Consultant by Mary T. Shaw n this time of widespread corporate downsizing, with pink slips seemingly more common than paychecks, and with technical jobs moving overseas in droves, what can a technical writer do to reduce her chances of falling victim to the next round of layoffs? One way is to make yourself more valuable to your employer. Broaden your scope, branch into new and compatible areas of product support, and make yourself more visible and less dispensable in the process. With the help of a supportive employer, you can build on the skills you already have for learning and explaining technical material and apply them to other areas of information management and user advocacy. Below are some areas a technical writer could pursue with minimal retraining. ❏ Testing/QA: Many technical writers find themselves serving as unofficial system testers in the course of their reg- ular work. We are often the ones to stumble upon a bug, an inconsistency, or a user interface issue. Why not make it official? If you notice that the regular testing/QA staff is overworked, offer to help out. They’ll appreciate the assis- tance, and you’ll gain some valuable experience. ❏ Instructional Design: Technical writers are already good at explaining technical concepts and procedures. Instructional design simply takes it a step further and incorporates additional learning tools such as discussion points, exercises, and tests. Instructional methods might involve a traditional hard- copy training workbook and instructor guide for classroom teaching, computer- based instruction, or other methods. A quick Web search will yield numerous sites that provide good information on instructional design models and theories. ❏ Training Instructors: As technical writers, we make our living by explaining technical concepts and procedures through our writing. As training instruc- tors, we simply deliver the information in a more interactive training classroom or Web/teleconference environment. While not everyone is comfortable with speaking in front of a class, for most people it becomes easier with practice. Practice by offering small lunchtime ses- sions to coworkers on a topic with which you are comfortable, or offer to speak at an upcoming STC-PMC meeting. Once you feel that you’re ready for prime time, get creative and think “outside the box” to identify opportunities. ❏ Web Development: Many technical writers these days are already experienced with HTML and Web content develop- ment at some level. Why not take it a step further? In addition to the Web-based help development and Web content writing/editing that many of us already do in our work, some technical writers are branching into Web site development and maintenance roles. Take some Web development classes at your local com- munity college to get the technical skills you lack, or just buy some books and teach yourself. Practice by developing your own personal Web site, or volunteer to create or maintain a site for a local non- profit organization. Then look for opportunities to help out on the side with Web development/maintenance at your company to show off your skills! ❏ Tech Support: As with technical training, tech support is simply a different method of explaining technical informa- tion and providing the information a user needs to resolve issues. While tech sup- port can seem like a thankless, high- pressure job, it can be a good way to develop user interaction skills and can provide a user perspective that can be extraordinarily valuable in your more tra- ditional tech writing work. And by demonstrating your technical and problem-solving skills in a tech support environment, you can earn extra clout with your more tech- nical colleagues. ❏ Project Management: We all manage our own projects. Those technical writers who are particu- larly well organized and have managed multi-writer projects might want to consider project manage- ment at a broader level in the company. We already have the technical knowledge, the communications skills, and the ability to plan and work with deadlines. With an understanding of the work done by project team members outside the tech- nical communications realm, familiarity with various project management tools, and good organizational and client man- agement skills, it’s a career step that could open up a world of opportunities. So break down those invisible role barriers and broaden your horizons. You’ll not only become less expendable to your current employer, you’ll be more hirable for your next! ■ About the Author: Mary T. Shaw is a technical writer for First Consulting Group in Wayne, PA and an associate editor for News & Views. She can be contacted at mary@ladywriter.net. “… areas a technical writer could pursue with minimal retraining. Testing/QA…Instructional Design… Training Instructors…Web Development… Tech Support…Project Management…”
  9. 9. April/May 2004 9 NEWS & VIEWS Bus to Baltimore B u s t o B a l t i m o r e ! Ride the STC-PMC Baltimore Chartered Coach to the STC Annual Conference in Baltimore, MD May 9–12, 2004 Why fight traffic on I-95? Why pay for tolls and gasoline? Why pay high parking fees while you’re at the Conference? Come ride with STC-PMC to the Baltimore Convention Center! Departing: 7:15 a.m. on Sunday, May 9 Location: Doubletree Hotel parking lot, Plymouth Meeting, PA Our chartered coach will depart from the Doubletree hotel parking lot* at 7:15 a.m. and drive directly to the Baltimore Convention Center. Returning: 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 12 Location: Baltimore Convention Center Our chartered coach will depart from the Baltimore Convention Center at 4:30 p.m. and return to the Doubletree hotel in Plymouth Meeting. Capacity: 47 passengers Total cost: Depends on the number of passengers Make your reservation now! Phone: (267) 620-2421 Round-trip cost, prorated based on the number of passengers: #Passengers Cost per passenger 47 ........................ $22 45 ........................ $23 40 ........................ $26 35 ........................ $30 30 ........................ $35 25 ........................ $42 20 ........................ $52 * The Doubletree hotel has graciously permitted us to use the area of their parking lot near the road, furthest from the hotel, to park our cars during the Conference. Doubletree is not liable for any lost valuables or damages to any vehicles.
  10. 10. NEWS & VIEWS 10 April/May 2004 Crossword Puzzle by Zsolt Olah ACROSS 1 A scented liquid that men sprinkle on women on Easter Monday in Hungary 6 You’re all this if you got everything you wanted 9 Article 10 Image projecting department 11 To disentangle the lovers’ knot 14 Personal computer 15 Communication form 17 Glaze + broil (A Japanese dish with slices of marinated meat or shellfish.) 19 Our souls, unsaved 20 An orthodox Anabaptist sect that separated from the Mennonites in the late 17th century, now living in Ohio, Southeastern Pennsylvania, and in the ‘Witness’ 21 VUT 22 VIZIS 23 Intended course of action in the future 26 OZHS 28 Elevated place in the church 29 Father of brass, copper, and bronze 30 Piece of art produced by an independent group 32 Teaching fellow 34 Rain element 36 A dog. But sounds like a train 40 UL 41 Monster street 42 Abbreviated form of the Hungarian currency 43 ZE 44 RHG 45 Footwear fight DOWN 1 Audience with hearts and minds captured 2 A single occurrence upon a fairy time-scale 3 To make as effective as possible 4 Grey-like 5 EUHKHP 6 Sport that you like, even on a downhill 7 Short meeting. Could be with aliens 8 Hot iron tortured bread 12 NNI 13 Translation and localization 16 Short of cash 18 Shaving fishy 21 To mark with an indication of official sanction 24 Young Longfellow could be called that 25 XXX 27 Yes, in Spanish 29 Significant person (besides you) 31 NUH 33 Bubble material 35 Unsweetened (modern) Greek liqueur flavored with anise 36 Letters representing the ‘tch’ (like in sketch) sound in Hungarian 37 A nasty, old, ugly person—mostly female 38 AES 39 Mysterious object in the air 1 C 2 O L 3 O 4 G N 5 E 6 6 S 7 E 8 T 9 A N 10 P R 10 11 U 12 N K N O 13 T 14 P C 13 15 T E 16 C H N I C A L 17 T E 18 R I Y A K I 19 O S I 20 A M I S H 22 21 V U T 22 V 24 I Z I S 23 P 24 L A N 27 25 T E 26 O Z H 27 S 28 A L T A R 31 29 O R E 30 I 31 N D I E I 35P 32 T F 36 33 G 37 U 34 D R 35 O P 36 C H I 37 H U 38 A H 39 U A 40 U L 41 S E S A M E 43 42 F T 43 Z E 44 R H G 45 S H O E B O X We extend a warm welcome to chapter members who are joining STC for the first time, rejoining, or have transferred from another chapter. New Members ❏ Duane L. Arcuicci ❏ James Barr ❏ Taneisha Blyden ❏ Andrea C. Carrero ❏ Gilda G. Cellini ❏ Samantha Dolin ❏ Patricia Duffan ❏ J. D. Gebicki ❏ Staci Hangey ❏ Liz Mikita ❏ Carole Shankin ❏ Wray Stanley ❏ Rebecca E. Watts Reinstated Members ❏ Melissa King ❏ Judith M. Myerson ❏ Linda Stauffer Transferring Members ❏ Christopher J. McComb ❏ William A. Shook ❏ John R. Urban At the end of February, the chapter membership was 415. Membership Update Guidelines: Not your typical crossword. Some of the definitions may be be vague, associative, even funny. Single words UPPERCASE (e.g., across 21) are your guides. You can start solving the puzzle using them ‘as is’. Puzzle solution on p. 11
  11. 11. April/May 2004 11 NEWS & VIEWS STC Annual Conference May 9–12, 2004 Baltimore Convention Center A grand opening reception on Sunday night opens the conference on a festive note. Three days of sessions cover everything from the nuts and bolts of management, writing, and editing, to the latest trends in tools, usability, and information design. A fourth day (May 13) presents half- day or full-day post-conference workshops and tutorials covering the same range of topics in greater detail, at an additional charge. See the STC web site (www.stc.org) for details. Puzzle Solution Navigating the Future of Technical Communication 1 C 2 O L 3 O 4 G N 5 E 6 6 S 7 E 8 T 9 A N 10 P R 10 11 U 12 N K N O 13 T 14 P C 13 15 T E 16 C H N I C A L 17 T E 18 R I Y A K I 19 O S I 20 A M I S H 22 21 V U T 22 V 24 I Z I S 23 P 24 L A N 27 25 T E 26 O Z H 27 S 28 A L T A R 31 29 O R E 30 I 31 N D I E I 35P 32 T F 36 33 G 37 U 34 D R 35 O P 36 C H I 37 H U 38 A H 39 U A 40 U L 41 S E S A M E 43 42 F T 43 Z E 44 R H G 45 S H O E B O X ❏ Be prepared to discuss the milestones when you preserved electronic versions of your files. For example, when you send out a draft for review, or after you have incorpo- rated edit comments. What type of comments would you write at these milestones? Several enhanced interview skills include discussing what additional value you can bring to the position; for example, point out that you make deadlines because you have a strong project management background and use MS Project to develop your own schedules and that you can do this for the team, too. Discuss any additional tools for success that you have used in previous jobs. For example, mention that you provide written documentation plans and statuses for all your work. Even better, show samples of these plans and status reports. How do you solve problems? You can stress your team approach to solving challenges. These are not things that the employer usually expects a contractor to bring to table, but they are value-added; the employer gets them without any additional cost and it helps the business. Your verbal communication skills leave a big impact on the hiring team. In addition to polishing your technical skills, dust off your speaking skills. Consider attending a Toastmasters meeting to practice communicating in a formal environment. Doing your homework will help to ensure you make the grade. ■ The Other Side of the Table (Continued from page 1) STC MEETING EVENT RECEIPTS FOR ALL EVENTS ARE SELF-SERVE FROM THE CHAPTER’S WEBSITE: http://www.stcpmc.org
  12. 12. Newsletter Address News & Views Lori Corbett 834 Westridge Dr. Phoenixville, PA 19460 stcmember@comcast.net First Class Mail NEWS & VIEWS 12 April/May 2004 Deadline for next issue: May 15 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 late-breaking updates to the schedule. For all Thursday meetings, reservations are due by the Monday before the meeting. Date Meeting Topic Location April 15, 2004 Contracting Panel Holiday Inn Cherry Hill, NJ May 9–12, 2004 STC Annual Conference Special Registration Required Baltimore Convention Center Baltimore, MD June 17, 2004 Content Management DoubleTree Hotel Plymouth Meeting, PA October 9, 2004 Philadelphia Mural Tour Special Registration Required Philadelphia, PA A Look Inside... ❏ Thinking about attending the STC Annual Conference in Baltimore? Ride the STC-PMC bus! See p. 9. ❏ Expand your skill set and become more than a tech writer after reading Mary Shaw’s article on p. 8. ❏ The editor speaks on p. 2. ❏ President Nad Rosenberg talks about elections on p. 3. ❏ Read a review of Sven Birkerts’ book, “The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age” by Al Brown on p. 6. ❏ An interview checklist is part of Barrie Byron’s offering on p. 1. ❏ Test your crossword puzzle skills in Zsolt Olah’s latest presentation on p. 10.

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