Category Archives: Article

Newsletter articles

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

Teachers Meet Authentic Technical Writing in Summer Workshop

In their 2012 article on “Reading, Writing, and Thinking Like a Scientist” Gina Cervetti and P. David Pearson summarize the evidence that

embedding direct instruction of comprehension strategies in extended, knowledge-building investigations…supports students’ literacy development better than direct instruction of comprehension strategies that are divorced from the context of explicit and theme-based knowledge development. [Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 55(7), 580-586, April, 2012, DOI: 10.1002/JAAL.00069]

Continue reading

Leading and Thriving in a Content-Rich World

EBSTC September Program Recap

Leading and Thriving in a Content-Rich World

In our September program, Eeshita Grover (Technical Communications Senior Manager, Cisco Systems), shared her perspective on how technical writers of today can prove to be the most valuable asset for a business. Here are a few highlights from the meeting: Continue reading