Category Archives: Article

Newsletter articles

Excursion to the Bay Model June 3, 2017

EBSTC and the Berkeley chapter are planning a trip to the Bay Model on Saturday, June 3. Contact us if you are interested in joining us on this excursion. Patrick Lufkin, who is arranging the excursion, explains what is the Bay Model and its significance to technical communicators.

The Bay Model is a huge–several acres–working model of San Francisco Bay and the Delta, operated by the Corps of Engineers. Once a working scientific research tool, it is now primarily an educational site. It offers a unique experience that very few people in the Bay Area know anything about. We all live in the Bay Area and deal with the state’s water issues, and it behooves us to know more about them. Continue reading

The Editor as Collaborator – Communication Makes the Difference

EBSTC January Program Recap

From years of experience, Lori Meyer can say with confidence that when it comes to technical editing, a communicative relationship and empathy with the author is the key ingredient to a productive collaboration. When there is open communication and good teamwork, an editor’s value can change from the perception of a grumpy Comma Cop to a valued resource and key member of the team. Continue reading

Creating User Documentation in an Agile World

EBSTC February Program Recap

In the February 2 dinner meeting, Jane Wilson presented, “Creating User Documentation in an Agile World.” She spoke as a communicator working in Agile methodology. Agile was created by 17 guys at a ski lodge in 2001 as an alternative to the traditional method of document development known as waterfall. Waterfall follows linear steps from Customer Needs to Software Design to Implementation to Verification to Maintenance, in which each step is handed off from one group of developers to the next. Continue reading

Minimalist Writing for Maximum Communication

EBSTC March Program Recap

Bruce Poropat is a practitioner and advocate for converting dense legalese into language that people can understand the first time they read it. In technical writing, the minimalist approach is reminiscent of Plain Language (see the federal government’s definition).

To the minimalist, it is the content’s message that is the priority, not the prose. In Bruce’s presentation on March 2, he first shared examples of minimalism in representational art, music and poetry, including a renowned example of minimalist fiction writing: “For sale: baby shoes never worn.” Continue reading

Devil Mountain Views – Fourth Quarter 2016 Issue

President’s Message (Liz Miller)

I still remember my first STC meeting back in the early 1980s with the Silicon Valley chapter. I had only recently realized that the work I was doing was called technical writing.

A year after relocating from the central coast to Union City, I found a job as an office manager/secretary for a small software startup company. Continue reading

Book Review – The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century

Steven Pinker. 2014. New York, NY: Viking Adult. [ISBN 978-0-670-02585-5. 360 pages, including index. US$27.95 (hardcover).

Note: This book review by Patrick Lufkin was originally published in the STC Journal Technical Communication, Volume 62, Number 1, February 2015.

With dozens of books offering writing advice out there, do we really need another?

After examining the strengths and weaknesses of existing guides, Pinker argues that the considerable progress made in cognitive science in recent years cries out for a fresh approach. Continue reading

Devil Mountain Views – Third Quarter 2016 Issue

President’s Message (Liz Miller)

What happened during our chapter’s summer vacation? The timing of this year’s two-month break gave EBSTC leaders the perfect opportunity to find a new resturant for our monthly dinner meetings. On September 8, we had an exceptional turnout for our first event at The Brass Door in San Ramon. Continue reading