Month: March 2007

One Writer’s Revelation: Major Health Complications Result From Lack of Work/Exercise Balance

By Martha Tucker, Special to Most writers have dangerous issues they pay little or no attention to until it’s too late–their health! And yet, health can be more of a problem than writer’s block, complications of concentration, writing anxiety, daily output frustration and editor angst. What I’m talking about is sitting-related diseases. It took me five years to write my novel, The Mayor’s Wife Wore Sapphires, and all during that time, I had to work at keeping healthy. First of all, I was gaining weight. Then came cold feet with tingling sensation, mental fog, stiff shoulders, headaches, loneliness and depression. I knew I needed a routine of loving me to ever finish this novel. If you don’t believe me see my biography, in which I share how I had to love me enough to be energetic and in good health when my novel was finished. Photo © Tom Oliveira – FOTOLIA Sitting from three to five hour stretches at a computer naturally causes obesity, unless it is counterbalanced with an hour of walking, running, stretching, or aerobics. Obesity alone brings along body break down–poor circulation that causes heart disease, hypertension and mental fog, diabetes, heart failure, and thus kidney failure, stroke and don’t forget sagging skin. Each hour you sit at your computer causes another part of the body to break down, atrophy, cells to die, muscles to...

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If These Walls Could Talk: Unlocking the Interoperability of SCORM, S1000D, and DITA

In If These Walls Could Talk, technical communication maven Diane Wieland explores the possibility of using the Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) as an antecedent, or precursor, to S1000D in order to create smaller bits of reusable information that can be used to create S1000D data modules, and at the same time be used for things like customer support, e-learning, parts catalogs, etc. Wieland interviews experts in the field to uncover the possibilities of integrating DITA and S1000D with other content standards, including Shareable Courseware Object Reference Model (SCORM). Wieland does a good job of explaining the connections between the standards and her article is based on interviews with a variety of industry experts, who are working on projects designed to explore ways the various technical publications content standards can work...

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Contextual Advertising: The New York Times and Cocaine

From our friends at Web Pro News comes this jewel—an example of how contextual advertising can go awry. To quote: “And we have yet another example of the distance contextual advertising has to go. When a New York Times advertisement pops up above a guide to the Big Apple’s cocaine scene, there is clearly more work to be done. The ad is covered in a thick layer of irony, informing its target market that the Times is the “ultimate guide to global travel,” advising on: Where to Stay; Where to Eat; What to Do; When to Go.” If contextual advertising is of interest to you, consider reading Jennifer Slegg’s blog, ”Making Sense of Contextual...

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Dan Saffer: When To Do Design Research Before You Start A Project

We at are staunch believers in the importance of research. We’ve watched projects flounder (and eventually fail) for reasons usually related to a lack of research. But, even we like to skip steps every once in a while. Sometimes, a project seems just like one we already completed, and in those situations, we don’t conduct as much design research as we might if we felt we were starting from scratch. This sentiment is echoed by Dan Saffer at Adaptive Path. In a recent essay entitled, Research Is a Method, Not a Methodology, Saffer writes, “Research can be a useful tool, but it can also be an ineffective waste of time. And what about projects that build upon other projects — which is to say, most projects? Is it necessary to conduct research simply to add a feature to an existing piece of software, or a new section to a website? Perhaps. Or, just as likely, perhaps not.” Saffer says you should conduct research when: You don’t know the subject area well. I’m not an expert in investment banking, so if I had to design a product for investment bankers, I’d need to learn about what they do and why they do it. The project is based in a culture different to your own. Chinese culture isn’t the same thing as the culture of the United States. Or India....

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Oxford English Dictionary Recognizes Wiki As A Word

The Hawaiian word “wiki” (a type of Web page designed so that its contents can be edited by anyone who accesses it) has been acknowledged by the Oxford English Dictionary as part of the English language. “Words are included in the dictionary on the basis of the documentary evidence that we have collected about them. A while ago this evidence suggested that wiki was starting to make a name for itself,” John Simpson, the dictionary’s chief editor, said in a statement to Reuters. “We tracked it for several years, researched its origins and finally decided it was time to include it in the dictionary,” Simpson...

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