12 September, 2007

Back to school

Well, it's "back to school" time for a lot of kids, and being a kid at heart, I didn't want to be left out this year. So I signed up for an introductory XML course at Online Learning.

I've got to learn the basics before I try figuring out how to prove to my current employer that we'd all benefit from authoring in XML - at the very least.

The course began this Monday, so I’ll be doing the first two assignments this weekend. My journey has begun!

05 April, 2007

I just joined BookCrossing. Does that make me a bookie?

At the STC Exec. meeting Tuesday night -- during the social part of the evening -- we got talking about the upcoming EAC (Editors Association of Canada) Book Swap meeting later this month. That got me moaning about the fact that I have to get rid of a bunch of books that I've been holding on to. Some I've read, and unfortunately, some I haven't. The unread ones were purchased with good intentions: building up my general knowledge, feeding established interests, trying to stretch my areas of interest, but most have them have remained unread for years. So, it's time for them to go. I think I'll take some of the unread ones to the EAC meeting. Perhaps I can swap them for others that I am more likely to read.

As for the read ones, I shall release them into the wild via BookCrossing. I just signed up, and already am thinking of places where I can release my pre-loved paperbacks.

And hey Pat, thanks for serving the hot crossed buns as dessert last night; I'm still happily remembering them!

08 January, 2007

A question about word order

This morning while reading the preface of a book about English language usage, I came across the following sentence: THE COMPLETE PLAIN WORDS has a plain enough purpose: to make the task of writing easier for those who wish to write better than they now do. I questioned the word order at the end of the sentence, and I was wondering if anyone else questioned it. So, do you think,
  • the word order is correct.
  • the adverb should follow the verb.
  • I shouldn't worry about it; it's just a matter of personal style.

03 December, 2006

Neat word/English language resource

Originally posted on Vox 24 October, 2006

Just found this list of word/English resources. It should keep me amused for weeks!

First book finished for 2006

Originally posted on Vox 28 September, 2006

I just finished Dick Francis' Smokescreen. I wanted brain candy, and that is what I got. It is formulaic and centres around race horses -- both hallmarks of Francis' style. It's also quite dated: the description of the interior of someone's flat had me in stitches! I'm glad that I read it though. It was a relief to read something that was not related to work in any way, and it has started me back on the path to recreational reading.

Should single steps in a procedure be bulleted?

Originally posted on Vox 14 September, 2006

There was an interesting topic raised at 12 September's STC general meeting by one of the presenters. He asked the members of the audience whether they thought a one-step procedure should be bulleted, and under what circumstances. The options were:

  • Yes, with a bullet symbol
  • Yes, with a number
  • No

I believe most of us voted "yes, with a bullet symbol", but he said he firmly believed that all steps, even single ones, should be bullet with numbers. I will paraphrase his rationale. Most people, when confronted with several procedures, will read carefully to begin with, but as the list of procedures go on, they will skim the instructions and look for numbers as cues to steps. Also, when the person reading the instructions does not speak english as his or her first language, he or she may not realize that a an unnumbered sentence, beginning with a verb, is a cue to a step. Therefore, all steps should be numbered.

    I'd never thought of either of those scenarios before. Part of me wants to agree with him, but part of me agrees with the response I received from a co-worker after I e-mailed this anecdote to the other tech. writers in our office. Her comback was: Interesting, but then I'd be looking for #2...Does anyone else have any thoughts about this?