About my technical writing

I have worked in the information technology field for such diverse clients as Sony, Microsoft, DreamWorks Animation, NBC, Fox, MySpace, John Wiley & Sons, Nature, MetLife, and American Express. I have also worked for numerous startups and special clients.

My goal is to make information work for the people who need it.

In service of that goal, I have:

  • created and organized the flow of information within companies
  • created and edited user manuals, style guides, embedded and contextual help
  • worked with project management and localization,
  • created, implemented and edited user interface designs and elements, usability scenarios and UI text

… as well as created and managed software requirements, API documentation, process flows, live documentation, bug reports, test cases and many similar aspects of documentation involving software and hardware development and production.

I’m also experienced in the architecture, design, production and management of websites, and I’m a certified Agile Scrum Master.

Sequester Madness

The short of it: The ‘sequester’ is a bunch of automatic cuts that were put in place *by Congress* to force Congress to get its act together and actually reduce the national debt. The sequester was designed to inflict great pain on both parties – which is a bit unfair, because the GOP was refusing to work with the Democrats (even famously declaring that their number one goal was not to help Americans, but keep Obama from being re-elected). But in any case, the sequester is what Congress agreed to.

The result: the GOP-controlled Congress is refusing to actually work, so these damaging cuts may happen. More specifically, the cuts to Social Security and Medicare means that the old and the infirm will *suffer* because of Congress’ inability to get its act together. In addition the cuts overall will in great likelihood harm our current economic recovery.

The absurdity: that this is somehow Obama’s fault. But, watch the GOP try to blame the sequester *they agreed to*, and their inability to act and avoid it, on Satan Hussein Obama X and some sort of mind control ray.

Let’s all strap ourselves in.


Crafting and wielding effective resumes

This article came out of an email to a friend. It’s my basic principles for writing resumes that result in actual interviews and (hopefully) work.

Since the addition of the Internet to everyone’s information diet, people have become increasingly bullet-headed. Most people, and most especially those hiring, tend to want the information as fast and as simply as they can get it.

So with that in mind, I recommend that you who are creating resumes/CV’s:

A) break down information the information about you into different, discrete sections.

1. List the software programs you know how to use.
2. List the specific job skills that you have – design, management, traffic coordinator, art director, UI expert, foreign languages
3. List specific dates and companies that you have used the above job skills
4. List college education, awards, and/or milestones

B) Then, put the above lists in the specific order of what will be most important to the person seeing your resume. For example, if temping put the software skills at the absolute top of the resume. If a full-time higher-level corporate gig, experience with the needed software programs is generally assumed – so put it at the bottom, **but definitely still put it**.

C) If several different kinds of positions would interest you, then create a different resume from the above material for each position. Then, slant that resume directly towards that position. For example, if you were seeking work as a photographer then slant your architecture degree towards “how you visually view large spaces”. If seeking work as an information architect, relate architecture to “designing how people will intuitively move through space”.

In this way, consider a resume like a mini-novel about you as a working professional. To create this novel, take true individual facts and create a work that presents the truth of you in the most effective way for that job. Worthwhile fiction has truth in it, or it isn’t worth reading. Resumes are also shaped truth – truth that gets you hired.

After all, in the final analysis you KNOW you will do a fantastic job for any company that hires you. It’s just about giving them the information they need to realize  it.

D) Don’t get hung up on the length of the entire resume. The rule used to be “get all the information on one page”. But today most people don’t print out resumes, they read emailed copies or internet postings.

So definitely DO have all the key information for that job in the first HALF of the first page – ideally even the first quarter – but continue to fill out the resume from there, if needed. This is good also because a lot of people will go to job sites and keyword search – so if you have listed in your resume that you’ve been in sierra leone, they just might be looking for that in a web designer.

E) Use the Internet like you never have before. There is always something new to find that will help you land a job. I can’t recommend enough getting on at least 3 different job sites. As of this writing, the biggest ones are careerbuildermonster.com, and hotjobs. There are also job aggregation sites such as kijiji.com and indeed.com, which are great to check as they loop in newspapers and other odd sources. And even damn old craigslist.

I also heartily recommend getting a Linkedin.com profile if you haven’t already. If you have, it’s time to improve it. Make more connections, get more testimonials and more recommendations. Even if you don’t receive a job interview via LinkedIn, the person hiring is extremely likely to check you out on Linkedin before proceeding.

F) Maintain a job-hunting routine. It is now your job, 8 hours a day, to look for a new job.

When job hunting, which can happen quite frequently in the current contracting environment, I send out a minimum of 5 job postings or resumes each day, every day. It’s a fair amount to find openings for, but it works. Like jogging 4 miles a day, it’s the persistence over time that does the trick.

Good hunting.

Roaming Aqueducts

Note: This was written several years ago, during my attendance of the hippie festival known as the “Rainbow Gathering”. Every summer, a group known as the Rainbow Family selects a national park site, and keeps it mum as long as possible. Then, they release, by word of mouth only, the location of that year’s gathering. It usually takes place in the summer months, with it’s peak at July 4th. At it’s peak, it can involve up to 20,000 humans.

The one I attended was in Lake Taos, New Mexico.

Every single line in this tale, occurred in real life. I wrote it in one sentence, as I was about to leave.

* * *

Hippies dressed down to take their morning unconstitutional. Instant commune – just add water. “Rings in our noses, not on our fingers,” said the blue-velvet cat in the sleek sweet witch hat. I wish I had…sun beating down like old-time religion, sacrificing skin to sky.

“Make a spiral,” said the blue velvet witch, “as we break our outmeal.” And the food was good. Way. And I felt old, and dirty and stupid, and loveless. And I wanted to forget it was a dream.

They danced around a fire no one else saw, and the dog was baffled. The old men with young bodies and faces scrunched by the dark side of hedonism, growth without structure leading to decay. He went to chop wood and found a silver spoon. “Get some good rings out of this.”

Down by the road, the traders banged drums and showed their wares and pipes. Gold? Cigarettes and candy bards, material addictions in this land of superfi – spirituality.

And the no-longer hairy Krishnas danced, bringing their message of salvation through redundance. And beautiful free birds tied strings without shoes; beaded and grasped by a happy, dirty toenail. And the camp filled with people who didn’t mind decent percussion while they waited for their dole. The ultimate welfare state dream of something good for nothing bad, but waiting.

The only dress that wouldn’t work here is a suit. I wish I had one, just for today. “Our brains are too small to comprehend the size of the universe.” Speak for yourself, I say silently, my vibe tuning into a chorus of rancorous thousands. And the nostril-enslaved wore their darkness on their face, a mask of a mask, a painted wound, exercised joy in the meaninglessness of everyone *else*.

And the hope was there. And there were wisps of great dreams, and at times, for brief flashes, it seemed…and so, it *was* – It seemed we could change the world, as easy as trading VW’s for BMW’s.

And I wished to be touched myself, to be revealed, and be loving with others now concealed in their painted shells; to break all the games, even with stupid ignorant fat shitty fucks called “them”.

And a dance became a drum, and a drum became a dream, as they revelled in the Dionysian excesstence of a wild, naked dance. And the mother stripped naked as her baby, screaming and dancing and naked, as the confused infant stared, and then settled in to suck. Painted breasts and natty dreads, a revolution make? Lonely in the streets, always go and preach to the already converted in the wildernest.

Her face was hidden in the hair. I couldn’t see if she was beautiful. My excuse? Soon, I get a haircut, so the world can worship my ugliqueness. She danced. They all danced. And the secret of life may be beyond words, not of the body, but of the face and hands.

His pale white penis was an afterthought, as he lay on grass groovin’ on what God gave us to see. Dogs screamed and fought, locked together in the canine version of post-fuck chatter. And the children gathered in the river, not just to sing, but also to ignore and be children. And he sat next to me at mealtime, and I had nothing to say.

But I would not join their stupid dance. It mattered what my matter mothers, its inventions and actions debts to be repaid in here, with no one to pay but me.