Tag Archives: STC

Jun. 15, 2015 STC Andrew Davis Remote Work

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On June 15, 2015 in Santa Clara, STC Silicon Chapter hosted Andrew Davis of Synergistech. He discussed how to get remote positions. Basically: be really good, work harder, be a little bit cheaper, more trustworthy and show up in person on a regular basis.  Despite the technology network we are creating, employers want to see people working at their desks. It seems a contradiction as we move to a mobile society. For more details, I strongly recommend visiting his website.

I think there are a couple of factors driving the trend toward remote work. One of them is a rebellion against the open space office. While it may be cheaper to put employees in one big room, the noise and distractions make it difficult to concentrate or think, which is what knowledge workers are paid to do. If a company really wants to save money on square footage they should consider remote work.

Remote work is greener. Spending four hours day driving in traffic or even commuting on public transportation leaves a carbon footprint. Companies might even get a tax break for reducing it. That commute time is also time better spent solving problems.

Remote work promotes a balanced life. Employees can take care of older or younger family members. They can exercise and not need your gym. Oh, a flu epidemic is less likely to spread through your company.

Remote work externalizes operating costs. Employees pay for their own electricity, internet connections, insurance and utilities. They can live in affordable housing and not hipster hamster housing. Depending on where the company operates it might clarify a worker’s contract or full time employee tax status.

Remote work assists outsourcing. Employees can work with outsourced teams in another time zone easier from home if they don’t have to work nine to five on site.

Remote work increases the likelihood of a companys’ survival in the event of a natural disaster or other emergency.

Finally, if a remote position does not work out, it is easier to let someone go.

Note: 09-17-17 NW Quimby and NW 11th, Portland OR. Very trendy.

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Copyright 2015 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Mar. 17, 2014 STC Tableau Visualizing Data

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On Mar. 17, 2014 at the IHOP Restaurant in Santa Clara, STC Silicon Valley Chapter (www.stc-siliconvalley.org/) presented “10 Questions to Keep In Mind When Visualizing Data.” The presentation was given remotely by a nice guy in Pennsylvania, who showed the wonders of Tableau, a game changing application that takes advantage of new big data analytics.

I call this meeting the night I almost bought a karaoke machine. In order to hear the presentation, we needed external speakers. I drove over to the closest Fry’s Electronics store. I was in a hurry and saw a karaoke machine on sale for forty dollars. It would do the job but I kept looking. Fortunately I found a very reasonable set of speakers for ten dollars. The speakers gave off an eerie blue light. Since I could not photograph the human speaker, I decided to photograph the electronic one.

Also on hand were the newly elected chapter officers President David Hovey, Vice President Marta Rauch, Treasurer Gillian Flato and Secretary Tom Johnson. Congratulations!

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Copyright 2014 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Feb. 24, 2014 STC Rebecca Firestone Zep Solar

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On Monday, Feb. 24, 2014 in Redwood City at Harry’s Hofbrau, STC Silicon Valley hosted Rebecca Firestone of Zep Solar’s presentation “Challenges When Developing Hardware Documentation for Industrial Design: A Case Study.” Firestone showed the audience how to create a composited document and develop an effective graphical language and style. After trying several different tools and production methods, a combination method evolved: SolidWorks, 3D PDF renderings, Jing, Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Illustrator, and unstructured FrameMaker. She talked about the challenges of converting to topic-based authoring approaches.

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Copyright 2014 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Oct. 21, 2013 STC Tom Johnson Badgeville

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On Monday, October 21, 2013 in Redwood City at Harry’s Hofbrau, STC Silicon Valley presented Badgeville’s Tom Johnson presentation “Why Users Can’t Find Answers to Their Questions in Help Content.” He spoke about why is it so hard to guide users to the right information when they need it and strategies to fix it.

Please join us on Monday, November 18 at 6:00 PM at the IHOP Restaurant, 4200 Great America Pkwy. Santa Clara, CA 95054. The speaker will be Shawn Benham is the Information Development Program Director for the IBM Information Management Division. “The Road to IBM’s KnowledgeCenter – Changing and Deploying Content for a New Internet Portal.”

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Copyright 2013 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Apr. 15, 2013 STC Netflix Richard Smith APIs

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On Monday, April 15, 2013 in Redwood City at Harry’s Hofbrau, the STC Silicon Valley Chapter hosted Richard Smith’s presentation on “Introduction to Documenting APIs.” At Netflix, he writes developer documentation for streaming applications on TVs, set top boxes, and mobile devices. Smith showed how an application programming interface (API) allows two different software programs to talk with one another. He explained the basics and business of preparing an API with a live demo.

Smith has uploaded the presentation to google docs. The link is:

Please join us on Monday, May 20, 2013 at 6:00 PM for our May meeting, to be held at: IHOP Restaurant, 4200 Great America Pkwy. Santa Clara, CA 95054 (408) 980-8887. Andrew Davis, Director of Talent Development for Content Rules will present “Leveraging LinkedIn to get yourself noticed.”

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Copyright 2013 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Jan. 15, 2013 STC Associate Fellows

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On Jan. 15, 2013, Society for Technical Communication Fellows Committee announced from Washington DC the latest Associate Fellows. They are Craig Baehr, Jenna Moore, Joel Meier, Kelly Graham, Mak Pandit, Marta Rauch, Mollye Barrett, Rachel Houghton, Rick Lippincott and Rick Sapir. Marta Rauch is a member of the Silicon Valley Chapter. Congratulations all!

Help celebrate by joining us on Monday, January 21, 2013 at 6:00 PM at the IHOP Restaurant on 4200 Great America Parkway in Santa Clara, CA 95054 (408) 980-8887. Jeff Johnson, Principal Consultant at UI Wizards will present “Designing What to Design: A Task-Focused Conceptual Model.”

Liz Fraley of Single-Sourcing Solutions talked about the upcoming TC Camp on Saturday January 26, 2013 at Silicon Valley Cloud Center, 222 Caspian Dr, Sunnyvale, CA 94089-1014.

Copyright 2013 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

May 22, 2012 STC Summit Awards

On May 22, 2012 in at the Hyatt Regency in Rosemont near Chicago, STC held a Awards ceremony announcing this year’s Fellows and Associate Fellows of the Society at the Honors Banquet. The winners are:

Associate Fellows

Bernard Aschwanden – For your outstanding contributions to all levels of STC as a leader, educator, and mentor, and for your inspiration, enthusiasm, and creativity in the field of technical communication.

Pamela Estes Brewer – For passionately supporting communication between those who practice and those who teach in the field of technical communication, and for promoting global communication to students of technical writing.

Ann Pavkovic Grove – For your unwavering support of the Society, the industry, and the individual through your passion to instruct, coach, and connect communicators pursuing enhanced careers.

John Kohl – For enhancing the international facet of STC by defining and championing global English guidelines and for continuing to advocate and raise the profile of effective technical communication through original research and presentations.

Nathaniel Lim – For engaging STC members and nonmembers to become more involved in STC and its educational offerings while simultaneously exhibiting exemplary performance in your own career as a technical communication professional.

Janette Lynch – For your long-term, unwavering commitment to the Society; for promoting the profession outside of North America; and for your enthusiasm and drive to revive and keep STC European chapters vibrant, viable, and valuable.

Lori Meyer – For your outstanding, selfless service to the profession and the Society through innovative uses of Web technologies to maintain a virtual, enthusiastic presence in multiple geographically disbursed STC communities.

Linda Enders Roberts – For your continuing efforts in emphasizing the importance of accessible communications, your dedication to teaching in the classroom and the workplace, and your leadership and service to STC and other communities.

Heather Sommerville – For unflagging dedication to the STC and as a model leader bringing honour to the profession. For generous contributions of time, expertise, common sense, tact, and good humour to revitalize and grow the Canada West Coast Chapter.


DJ Cline – For your support and leadership of the Silicon Valley Chapter; always envisioning the bigger picture; transcending limits while exhibiting patience and stamina; and demonstrating your exceptional leadership skills to mentor, listen, encourage, and empower others.

Charles Fisher – For your lifetime commitment to the field of technical communication and your invaluable contribution to the effort to design and implement a certification program for the Certified Professional Technical Communicator credential.

Helen M. Grady – For your contributions to improve professional communication instruction and research; your ability to mentor students as an advisor and friend; and your contributions to the body of knowledge for both technical communication and engineering communication.

Jeff Haas – For innovative thinking, dedication to serving STC in many roles, and for your passion for sharing your knowledge with others in the field.

Deborah Lockwood – For your outstanding service to the Rocky Mountain Chapter, your continued dedication mentoring technical communicators, and your exemplary contributions to the community through your professional and educational activities.

Michael Markley – For your long-term commitment to the profession of technical communication and for your leadership of the Management SIG during a time of great transformation in the Society.

Patricia Moell – For excellence in the field of technical editing, for leading and mentoring technical editors throughout your career, and for demonstrating the value of technical editing.

Lisa Pappas – For your technical expertise and passionate commitment to universal accessibility; your dedicated work, technical contributions, and leadership of the AccessAbility SIG; and demonstrating how a technical communicator should contribute as an advocate, mentor, and technical innovator.

Copyright 2012 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Sep. 22, 2011 STC Joe Devney Effective Presentations

On September 22, 2011 in Santa Clara, STC Silicon Valley chapter hosted STC Associate Fellow Joe Devney’s presentation “Managing Multiple Information Channels: Strategies for Effective Presentation.” Devney gave some funny examples and helpful hints on how to get your message across.

With the rise of technical communications, every professional gives presentations, but what information channel works best for a particular audience? Devney said there are three things to consider. How long is the material is available to the audience? How easy is it to change the material? How dense is the information medium?

As a communication channel, your voice may be the easiest to use but may be hard to hear in a large audience. Printed handouts can be accurate but should be handed out afterwards so as not to distract from what you might be saying. Slide presentations are great to focus attention but are vulnerable to technical glitches. Regardless of the channel, he strongly recommends reading the usability work of Edward Tufte and George Miller.

Please join us on October 27, 2011 for the October SVC meeting; to be held at the Redwood City Chevy’s, located at 2907 El Camino Real Blvd in Redwood City. The meeting starts at 6 PM. The topic is GUI Bloopers with Jim Johnson.

Copyright 2011 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Jul. 28, 2011 STC Adobe Tom Aldous

On July 28, 2011 in Santa Clara, the STC Silicon Valley Chapter invited Tom Aldous to talk about Adobe’s Technical Communication Suite 3. The suite consists of FrameMaker 10, RoboHelp 9, Capitivate 5, PhotoShop CSS, Acrobat X Pro and Bridge CSS. After a drawing, somebody went home with a free copy.

Our members peppered him with questions about the new version that they deal with everyday. Unstructured Frame documents can be converted to structured with a single click. Preparing documents for DITA is just as fast. Two questions occurred to me this morning that I should have asked. First, can I import and export HTML5 video for those clients who do not support Flash? Second, does Adobe plan to develop a version of Frame for HP’s new WebOS?

On the job front, people who come to meetings are getting jobs. Keep your skills sharp.

BTW: STC Silicon Valley Chapter Treasurer Gillian Flato announced our website is now ready for advertising and sponsoring. Nice work Gillian!

Copyright 2011 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Jun. 8, 2011 STC Summit Sacramento

On June 8, 2011, Cherie Woodward and Prescott Williams of Sacramento STC notified Daniel Doornbos that the Silicon Valley STC had sent forty members to the summit, more than any other chapter. This success was the result of many volunteers from across the bay area who planned, promoted, organized and covered this event. Congratulations NorCal STC members! Join us and celebrate at our Schmooze on June 23, 2011 at the Redwood City Chevy’s,

Copyright 2011 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

May 17, 2011 STC Fellow Richard Mateosian

On May 17, 2011 in Sacramento at the STC Summit, Richard Mateosian of the STC Silicon Valley Chapter and leader in the Berkeley chapter has been named Fellow. For years he has helped technical communicators get recognition for the work and now it is his turn. Congratulations to Richard and the other new Fellows!

I worked with Richard for years in the hope that a new generation would take charge. Last night it started. The student members fought for their right to fully participate in STC. I think this is a further sign that the old STC is gone and a new generation will build an organization better suited to their needs. The torch is passed, but because it is California, it must happen in a designated area with proper permits. :-)

Copyright 2011 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Honoring Viki

I wanted to thank everyone for their response about Viki Maki. Many wanted to know how to honor her. We are working on that. For me personally, that means staying involved with STC.

I had gotten whatever I needed from STC a long time ago. Any recognition I received as a grand poobah was a side effect of helping people find work. Whatever individual achievement we do, the organization must survive to help others.

I remember when STC was near collapse and there were some people who thought it should disappear. They said silly things like it should not exist, that it should be replaced with a Facebook page. They said it in all capital letters. In an ironic twist, they promptly sought leadership positions in an organization they professed not to think was “relevant.” They are wrong. About a lot of things. All the time.

For all the advantages of social networking, nothing beats meeting and working with people in person. The Internet is merely another layer in technical communication not the replacement for all other social interaction. An organization that wants to help people must use all channels. I suppose STC could be run as a social network out of a server in Washington DC, but I think it works better at the local level in the kind of communities that Viki Maki built.

From my viewpoint over the past fifty years, technical communication has gone from a single profession to a set of job skills for essential for any professional. The times change and STC has to change with it. Being the president of a chapter today does not compare with being the president of a chapter even three years ago. The near collapse changed all that. What did not change was the need for people to meet and work together. We must make sure that the organization is there for people to do just that.

In whatever form, I will still support STC. I do it in the memory of people like Viki who wanted to build something that survives them. It is like seeing a friend through an illness or even death. You don’t abandon a friend in need and you certainly don’t make things worse. You work to make things better in spite of the bad news. In this case, the sacrifices of our generation made it possible for a new generation to step forward.

During the collapse, Viki said it was possible that I would be the last president of the Silicon Valley chapter unless we did something to save it and the larger organization. We did it. It was up to us.

Now it’s up to you.

Copyright 2011 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

May 1, 2010 STC Changes

Next week the Society for Technical Communication will hold its big annual event in Dallas, Texas. I will try to cover it but it usually means popping in and out. If you see, me say hello.

STC is not the same organization it was fifty years ago. It shouldn’t be. It should always be changing to meet the needs of its members. Being a leader in STC after this latest crisis cannot compare to what came before. How do you compare steering an organization through an economic collapse and bailing out the parent organization? There is no comparison. It was like St. Crispins Day and you had to be there.

What survives? What needs to be done?

To me volunteering at STC meant helping people find work. Over the decades I have been a part of an organization that has helped thousands of people pay their bills. When I helped someone get a job, I felt I had done my job. A paycheck meant more than an any certificate, plaque or award.  Anything else is subservient to that goal.

We should honor those who have helped others and then get back to our mission.

Copyright 2010 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Sept. 16, 2008 CSUMB, STC And The Department Of Defense


On Tuesday September 16, 2008 at California State University at Monterey Bay (CSUMB) the School of Information Technology and Communication Design (ITCD) hosted a panel discussion on “Effective Technical Communication”. Continue reading Sept. 16, 2008 CSUMB, STC And The Department Of Defense

June 26, 2008 STC DITA

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On Thursday June 26, 2008 at the Network Meeting Center in Santa Clara, the STC Silicon Valley Chapter held a panel on DITA. Andrea Ames of IBM moderated a panel consisting of Fair-Isaac’s Tom Goering, MaxiScales’s Joanne Grey, IBM’s Carolyn Inkster and NetApp’s Martha Morgan. They shared their experiences in planning, preparing and implementing DITA projects as a huge undertaking or as a single-handed effort. Text from DJCline.com. Continue reading June 26, 2008 STC DITA

Apr. 24, 2008 STC Schmooze

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On April 24, 2008 at Arthur’s in Santa Clara, STC Silicon Valley chapter held it’s spring Schmooze. It was a big happy crowd of people networking for the next job. In honor of Earth Day, everyone got a free tote bag. Pat Harvey won an iPod and Andrew Davis won a tank of gas. The good news is he drives a hybrid. Text from DJCline.com. Continue reading Apr. 24, 2008 STC Schmooze

Feb. 23, 2008 STC Breaking Into API Docs with Jim Bisso

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On Saturday, February 23, 2008, 10 – 11 am PST, you can talk with Bitzone’s Jim Bisso about breaking into API Documentation. Bisso is a 20-year veteran of documenting APIs and co-author of “Writing Developer Documentation for Java APIs and SDKs” with Viki Maki. When I have question on API’s, this is the guy I ask.

To participate send your name and Yahoo! ID to Viki Maki by Friday, February 22, 12 noon PST at:


Note: You should also have Yahoo Messenger installed. While the chat is limited to SIG members, membership in the SIG is free. To subscribe to the SIG send an email to:


or visit the STC-SVC chapter homepage at:


Copyright 2008 DJ Cline All rights reserved.