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Month: August 2012

I love you, Mom – up close and personal with dementia

Dementia reared its ugly head in a friend’s circle of acquaintances. I decided to write this post as a way of showing support. I felt that learning about the effects and consequences of neurodegenerative diseases happens through open communication. Writing was more painful that I had expected. I am finally finishing this post three and a half years after I wrote my first draft. (It’s long, so if you don’t want to read it all, hop to the second to last paragraph and the two pictures at the end.) “If only we could have seen the symptoms in time.” I’ll bet everyone close to a person with dementia thinks that thought. Hindsight always has perfect vision! It’s tricky, however, because what is a symptom? Maybe we are naturally “loopy”, “forgetful”, and so on? Some changes are gradual. Some changes are symptomatic of other matters. I am not a doctor, only…


Getting Ready for TCUK12

I love the conference held by ISTC every October: the Technical Communication UK conference, also known as TCUK. A little hop over the North Sea takes me to a gathering of really nice people whose conversations and presentations get my synapses working overtime in a very good way. From our technical communication perspective, we can discuss XML, temperature controls for showers, stationery stores, content strategy, captioning, Subject Matter Experts… oh, the list goes on and on and on. I’ve done this in 2010 and 2011. I will do it again in 2012. TCUK12 is a bit special for me This year, I was given a great honor – I was asked to be a keynote speaker for the special track on accessibility and usability. I said yes! I also have a workshop and a panel discussion scheduled. The panel discussion will be moderated by the wonderful Kai Weber a.k.a. @techwriterkai.…

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The Wonder of Dark Skies and Stars

Have you ever looked up at a night sky packed with stars? My most vivid memory of a night sky was one where the “stars were so densely packed that you couldn’t make out any familiar constellations.” I had an unexpected philosophical moment during my lunch today when I took 11 well-spent minutes to watch this TEDxPhoenix video about looking up. The speaker, Lucianne Walkowicz, works on NASA’s Kepler mission. Basically, she hunts for planets. What a thing to say at cocktail parties when you introduce yourself: I hunt for planets. Wow. What is even more amazing is that we can all help her hunt for planets. There is a site called Planet Hunters where you can become a citizen scientist and help poke through the data to find planets. And while we sift through data to reveal the treasures sent back by our remote eyes (the telescopes), Lucianne Walkowicz…

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