Does Anyone Use the Library Anymore? Hint: You Should

I know: everything can be found on the Internet, right? As someone who grew up with a reasonably decent public library within a few blocks of my home and who is ancient enough to have written papers for two degrees (last one completed in 2002) among rows of dead-tree books, I’d like to make a plea for taking advantage of these free and useful institutions. Continue reading

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Audio Comfort in the Workplace

A couple of suggestions came in regarding topics to cover. Specifically, I got suggestion re: working in environments with tile/hardwood floors vs. carpeting and another about working with music vs. working in a quiet environment. Since they’re both related, I thought I’d cover them in one entry. I presume you folks won’t mind. Continue reading

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Reader Response: The Importance of Art in the Workplace

In response to my call for requests, my cousin Ann suggested that I discuss the importance of art in the workplace or classroom. While not directly related to technical communication, this does fall under the heading of life in the workplace, so I’ll run with it. (Thanks for reading, Ann!) Continue reading

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Working for Geniuses

Recently, it occurred to me that I’m not nearly as much of a genius as I used to think I was. This is not done with a great deal of sadness, merely a pragmatic realization (one of my father’s favorite sayings is, “Humility is a true estimation of one’s worth”). So if it’s unlikely that I’m going to change the world with any ideas that sprout from my brain, I’d still like to work for someone who will. The good news is, there are a lot of world changers out there, and they can create work for the aspiring (but not necessarily world-changing) technical communicator. Continue reading

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Why I Love Rocket Launches


This has been a “geek week” for me. Since Thursday I’ve been at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) doing on-site reporting for Spaceflight Insider the latest Cargo Resupply Services (CRS) launch to the International Space Station (ISS), CRS-10. Continue reading

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Taking Requests

I’ve been at this blogging thing for nearly six years now, and I still find new topics to write about. I consider that a reflection of the times in which we live and of the dynamic nature of this profession. My question to all of you is: what haven’t I covered yet? Continue reading

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Talking with Students About Writing Textbooks

Last month a friend and I had the opportunity to talk to some middle-school students about writing science articles. Apparently one of the social studies teachers down the hall heard there was a writer in the house and requested my services to talk to a couple of her classes about writing social studies textbooks. The students had the assignment of writing a sample page from a textbook about American history, specifically the Mexican-American War of the 1800s. The school doesn’t typically use textbooks, which is interesting in itself, but the bulk of their assignment is below. Continue reading

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