Better, Faster, Cheaper: Pick Two, The Home Edition

I’m ridiculously late posting today because I’ve been balancing paying work with school and moving-related tasks. Tonight’s adventure was a solid lesson in “better, faster, cheaper.” Whether you’re purchasing IT equipment, procuring a large space system, or buying home appliances, you can usually pick only two out of the three. Continue reading

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The Forms Must Be Obeyed: Applying for a Mortgage

The amount of paperwork required to apply for a mortgage loan can be a little daunting and frustrating at times. Tomorrow I’ll be signing the paperwork that will make me the proud owner of a condominium in Winter Park, Florida. It was not an easy process, even for someone like me who’s been a professional bureaucrat for 20+ years. The keys to surviving the paper rush are to have the documentation and to maintain your cool when another request hits the inbox. Continue reading

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The Tools of the Trade

Updated 9:13 a.m. 15 July 2021 to add highlights and apology for length.

Each job or trade has evolved specialized tools to do the job better, from carpenters to chefs. Technical writers are no exception, though there are not a lot of tools designed specifically for us, per se. Today I’ll share a few of my favorites. You’re under no obligation to copy my example, and in fact you might have developed your own very strong feelings about which tools you think are “best” for this job. Feel free to share your favorites in the comments. Apologies, this one’s a little long. To make your life easier, I’ve highlighted my key choices. Bottom line for those in a hurry: spend the money for good, reliable tools that will best meet your customers’ needs. Continue reading

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Speak Not of the Devil in Your Proposals

An old saying from my English ancestors states, “Speak of the devil and he will appear.” As he is our entity of maximum evil (or entropy, if you prefer), you didn’t want the Devil appearing anywhere near you. In a similar fashion, you don’t mention your competitor when you’re writing a proposal. There are a few reasons for this, but the reasoning is closely related to that old saying. Continue reading

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Usability in a Guest Service Environment

As some of you probably noticed, I’m a bit of a Star Wars fan. However, I have put off trying the latest Star Wars-related attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios because a) the lines have been too long and b) I have not heard good things about the “virtual queue” system Disney has been using to board people on the ride. This past week, I thought the appearance of Tropical Storm Elsa would reduce the crowds and increase my chances of boarding the ride. I was wrong about Elsa and soon discovered why the virtual queue is not a fan favorite. Continue reading

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