Author Archives: Gale Naylor

President’s Message – 2018-Q1

Finally, the weather seems to have turned to spring! I hope you are enjoying the longer daylight hours and milder temperatures.

\We have a few pieces of spring news. First, I am very happy to announce that Liz Miller has received the Distinguished Chapter Service Award from STC: “For your dedication, and your many contributions to the chapter, including hospitality manager, secretary, membership manager, and president.” Well-deserved! Congratulations, Liz!

Second, we are enjoying our new meeting location at the San Ramon Marriott. Lots of room, and the food has been great. Come and join us soon!

We're enjoying our new meeting place at the San Ramon Marriott

San Ramon Marriott

Also, two of our members (Liz Fraley and Gale Naylor) are presenting at the STC Summit, May 20-23 in Orlando, FL. You can still register for the Summit, and also come to our June 7 meeting, when we will have a Summit Recap panel.

Finally, our Q1 2018 Newsletter is live, thanks to Liz Miller and new member, Dan Littman!

Enjoy the rest of the newsletter and I hope to see you soon!

President’s Message – 2017-Q4: Reflection, TC Camp, and Elections

“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.”
― John SteinbeckTravels with Charley: In Search of America (Courtesy of Goodreads)

With winter comes reflection, TC Camp and Chapter elections!

Chapter Elections. If you are an EBSTC Chapter member in good standing, even if you have yet to register for 2018, you should have received a ballot to vote for chapter officers. If you have not received a ballot, please request one from Richard Mateosian (xrmxrm@gmail.com). Please return your ballot to Richard by December 31!

TC Camp. TC Camp is a fun, educational, technical writing experience. If you haven’t registered (or don’t know what it is), I strongly urge you to check it out. TC Camp 2018 happens in Santa Clara on Jan. 26-27. Friday will be the pre-Camp API workshop* (Peter Gruenbaum), and Saturday will be workshops** in the morning with the “unconference” in the afternoon. This is a great opportunity to network, exchange ideas, and have fun! There will also be a job board this year. Volunteers and sponsors are also welcome. Find more information, and register at TC Camp 2018. 

Reflection. Winter feels like a natural time for personal reflection. How best can I direct my energies next year? Shall I go in a new direction or continue as I am, but with more breadth or depth? What skills or knowledge do I need (or want) to gain in the coming months? “…if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours,” (Thoreau, Walden, The Literature Page, 20 Dec 2017).

I wish you a very Happy New Year!

— Gale Naylor

Gale Naylor


Documenting RESTful APIs Using Swagger and the Open API Specification, given by Peter Gruenbaum.

**Workshops on Minimalism, Chatbots, and WordPress/SEO, and Adobe’s Ambassador workshop

President’s Message – 2017-Q3

We may have been taking a break from dinner meetings, but we were still busy this summer! We participated in a NorCal President’s meeting, launched the 2017 Touchstone competition, and our website is now hosted on the STC server!

The July 2017 NorCal President’s meeting was the brainchild of Berkeley Chapter President Nicki Davis. Remembering the spirit of cooperation from years ago, when we were all part of STC’s  “Region 8,” Nicki suggested the NorCal chapter leaders get together periodically to discuss issues that affect all chapters. At the July meeting, we discussed the future of the Touchstone competition, how to attract more people to meetings, and ideas for more shared events, such as the recent tour of the Bay Model.

Speaking of Touchstone, I’m very happy to be part of the 2017 Touchstone competition team. The competition recognizes outstanding work in the field of technical communication, and the proceeds fund the STC Kenneth Gordon Scholarship. (The scholarship provides financial aid to technical communication students in Northern California.)

Many Touchstone participants say the best part of the competition is the peer feedback. I’m thankful that Richard Mateosian and Patrick Lufkin are graciously chairing the competition again, and I urge you to enter the competition or volunteer to be a judge.

Many thanks to Jane Olivera for coordinating a seamless transfer of our website hosting to the STC server. This was the final step in modernizing our website, and it feels good to be done. Now we can concentrate on content!

Summary of July 2017 NorCal Presidents Meeting

Nicki Davis suggested this Presidents’ meeting because she believes all the Northern California chapters can benefit from reigniting the regional cooperation that has been largely missing since Region 8 was disbanded over 10 years ago*.

We are also facing a decision regarding the Touchstone competition because Richard Mateosian and Patrick Lufkin would like to retire. They agreed to chair the competition again, with help.

The following is a summary of the major topics discussed at the meeting.

Touchstone

The 2018-2019 plan is to update the website, publicize it, and see how many entries we get. Richard and Patrick will still be involved. We need more volunteers/judges. See information on the Touchstone website.

Gordon Scholarship

Patrick can continue to do the Gordon Scholarship. It’s not too much work. He’s got an InDesign template for certificates for winners. We might give 3 awards this time. ($3,000). Currently have around $10,000 in the bank?

Increasing membership

Berkeley is down to 25 members. Silicon Valley has 94. EBSTC has 36.

Nicki asked: Do students know we exist?

We need to get out the word that STC is an excellent way to network and find a job. We also need to educate students about the benefits of networking and how it works.

Ideas included:

  • Panel discussion at the Berkeley Job Fair in September
  • Holding Workshops
  • Holding a regional conference geared toward younger members (or piggybacking on an existing conference, like Richard and Patrick did) to reach a new audience
  • Writing articles about how being an STC member has benefitted your job search
  • Contacting local colleges and extension programs… (And offering to talk to their classes?)
  • Publishing a pamphlet with testimonials of how STC networking has provided jobs, and pass this out after speaking engagements
  • College Job Fair participation? (Not mentioned at the meeting, but perhaps we could participate in college job fairs? –Gale)
  • More regional activities outside of monthly meetings (e.g., Bay Model Excursion, tour John Muir’s house, go to the Tech Museum, etc.)

*What was Region 8? Before the early 2000’s, STC was organized into regions. Regions had director-sponsors who helped with chapter coordination, including helping chapters that were having trouble. These director-sponsors were on the STC board of directors. Regions had annual regional conferences in addition to the STC annual convention.

Region 8 was all the California chapters plus Australia, New Zealand, and Hong Kong.

When the economy crashed in 2000, STC had to reorganize. Because they reorganized in New York, they had to get rid of the director-sponsors. (According to NY laws, directors must represent the WHOLE membership.) Regional cooperation suffered. The economy crashed. Membership crashed. (In the 1990’s STC had 2,500 members in NorCal. Silicon Valley had 1800 members, with 300 people at their monthly meetings.)

 

 

Touchstone 2017 Deadline is Oct 7

This year’s Touchstone technical communication competition is upon us. The deadline for entries is Saturday, October 7, 2017, 2 p.m. See entry forms and detailed entry instructions.

If you have work you’re especially proud of, enter it so your fellow communicators can admire and recognize it.

If you have work that you’re not quite happy with, enter it to receive the advice and counsel of our experienced judges.

If you would like to volunteer to be a judge, read the call for judges.

This competition is sponsored by the Northern California chapters of the Society for Technical Communication (STC). The proceeds from Touchstone support the Kenneth Gordon Scholarship and other local STC activities.