Archive for Web Writing

Moving: The Cat’s Meow

When you help me downsize my house, a hungry kitten gets fed.

 

That’s right, I’m aligning with the BC SPCA (Vancouver) to ensure the contents of my house are sold and I can move to a smaller living space. In the process, I’m donating a portion of the sale proceeds to the SPCA.

 

There’s a showing at my house this Sunday afternoon (Dec. 9) from 2 to 5 pm.
See what’s for sale.

 

What’s in it for me? I get to share in the spirit of Christmas.

Moving: When a raven is like a writing desk

Moving house is always mad, mad, and more mad. And this move is the maddest of all. This is the big downsize move in which I turn a three-story house into a one-bedroom condo.

Downsizing

To that end, I have a vast number of things to divest myself of (ranging from appliances and antiques to curios and gardening tools). With Christmas just around the corner, I’d like to view this more as an opportunity to make some important changes in my life in a way that benefits others. So, instead of a personal liquidation sale, it’s my way to lighten my load—a bourgeois potlatch, so to speak. Some items I’m selling, some I’m asking you to donate to a local charity, and some I’m giving away.

 

 

Death by Powerpoint – My Writing: September 18 to 24

This week, I attended the TMW Transforum to find out all I could about fleet management in North America. The scale of this event is staggering as are the numbers in trucking—2 million long haul trucks in the US. While here, I attended a talk on agile software development and found myself staring down that old barrel—death by PowerPoint.

Microsoft needs to include in its software something that prevents slides with long bulleted lists to fade from view while the presenter is speaking. It’s impossible to follow both at once. To make matters worse, the presenter had trouble pronouncing some words in the presentation leading me to suspect that the presentation wasn’t his own.

Going Down the Road with Terry Fox actually tells the back story of the Trans Canada Highway (the highway Terry Fox ran), that transportation route so vital to Canada’s economy. Incidentally, Webtech Wireless—the company that produces GPS/AVL solutions for transportation—had several runners in the 32nd annual Terry Fox Run.

Is Your Doctor Putting Your Disability Claim at Risk? asks if procrastination on the part of doctors can affect the speed and success of a disability claim. Your disability claim.

5 Autumn Driving Tips to Keep You Safe provides some tips to remind you to drive safely as fall brings a different set of driving risks. Watch for Bridges, Shadows, and Intersections, or a pile of wet leaves near a neighbourhood intersection.

 

 

When is “is” a Poor Verb Choice? (My writing: Sept 10 to 17)

Like so many ineffective charitable organizations trying to come to a mutual decision, the “to be” verb can wring its hands and drain the life out of your writing.

Consider this example:

Our goal is to pave the way for sales to create and land opportunities. We will be delivering content for the next platform.

These two sentences have been robbed of their power by an overuse of the verb “to be”. Along with its only slightly more energetic mate, “to have”, “to be” is very passive.

As in life, sometimes “being” is perfectly acceptable. Other times, action is required. Being is important and is therefore important in writing, but only where appropriate. To improve passive writing, I check the vicinity to find other more powerful verbs stymied by the “to be” verb. In the example above, I found “pave”, “create”, “land”, and “deliver”—all excellent verbs that when set free, will transform your writing.

Here’s my revision:

Our goal paves the way for sales to create and land opportunities. We will deliver content for the next platform.

Read my latest posts:

Webtech-Wireless-Temperature-MonitoringCargo Temperature Monitoring Helps Reduce Hunger draws an interesting line between food security, food wastage, and the trailer temperature monitoring solutions Webtech Wireless provides in the transport of food.

 

http://www.disabilityclaimdenied.caAging and Accessibility Go Hand-In-Hand describes baby boomers create demand for universal design. September 23 to 29 is Active Aging Week, and Canada’s aging boomers are smoothing the path for people living with disabilities.

 

 

http://www.disabilityclaimdenied.ca4 Healthy Ways to Reduce Engine Idle showcase idling and its affects on health. As parents idle in front of the school, important lessons are being learned—and lost. Why not introduce your family to a few new habits and skills?

Farewell Summer; Hello Adjectives (My Writing: Aug 27 to Sept 3)

I’m considering what it would be like to write entirely without adjectives. I think Strunk & White would approve, but might I become terminally boring?

One of my activities as an editor (with technical writing credentials) is to question what we in marketing call “bumpf”. Bumpf is the motherhood and apple pie that promises everything, cannot be argued with, but ultimately delivers very little. For example, saying “Using our patented XW500 technology will make you happier, bring you the results you deserve, and keep your assets secure,” says nothing at all—it’s bumpf.

Adjectives are like that too. I smile when people overuse words like “amazing”, “fantastic”, and “awesome”. The little voice immediately wants to know how that can be so. “Don’t tell me. Show me.” I don’t suppose my writing is the most sober ever, but I do try to keep my adjectives in check by using them as descriptors of real things. I try to avoid letting them fly about my writing like so many escaped helium balloons…

Here’s my writing for the week. You be the judge:

Webtech WirelessIn Vision, Venture, Velocity (Aug 28, 2012) – I describe three “V”s for Webtech Wireless’ email campaign. I highlight the City of Vaughan’s Public Works department, (which I visited in June), preview the APWA (American Public Works Association) Expo we’re attending, and describe a news story about The fastest road in America, a challenge for those concerned with excess speed on the highways.

 

City of Vaughan Embraces a Four Seasons Solution is a blog post I wrote based on my interview with the Public Works department. It describes how overlap jurisdictions and rapid growth and increasing demand for GPS/AVL technologies.

 

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Approved by WorkSafeBC describes the traumatized dog-sledder who won a claim with WorkSafeBC, but the seven-page report quickly gained the attention of international media for months to follow.

 

How to Save a Few Lives without Breaking A Sweat prepares British Columbians for the news that the Labour Day week-end can bring harsh statistics: more than 575 of us are injured in vehicle accidents on an average Labour Day weekend.

My Writing: Awareness, Absenteesim, and Accomplishment (August 21 to 28)

 

Cell Phone Distraction May Depend on Who’s Driving describes the loss of situational awareness that airline pilots get. What is situational awareness and how is it similar to what happens to distracted drivers?

 

Be Aware of the “Disability Managers” at Your Workplace describes disability and absenteeism and who’s checking up on you when you call in sick. According to Statistics Canada, an employee who is absent due to disability may require some management.

 

 

 

City of Vaughan Embraces a Four Seasons Solution describes how Public Works departments must manage public perception as well as public roadways. The City of Vaughan has relied on a Webtech Wireless solution for years to accomplish just that.

My Writing: Allergies, Communications, and Workplaces (August 14 to 20)

Last night, I was watching the film Freakonomics based on the book of the same name. What it’s about at its essence is how the vast amount of data we collect now tells a remarkable story about human nature. By looking at the numbers, we can now micromanage pretty much everything. Perhaps, in the same way Ford’s assembly line created a monotonous workplace conformity, infinitesimal management of data carries with it a tyranny of its own.

http://www.disabilityclaimdenied.caWhen Is An Allergy A Disability? describes how, in an attempt to accommodate more passengers, airlines got themselves in more hot water with people with allergies. But, when are allergies considered disabilities?

 

 

Webtech WirelessDare Mighty Things is a story I wrote for this week’s email campaign at Webtech Wireless. The video I reference describes the “seven minutes of terror” during which the NASA team has no telematics (or communication) between itself (Earth) and Mars. I go on to draw the comparison with Webtech Wireless’ offerings by saying that, while fleet management is admittedly not rocket science, similarities abound when it comes to deploying a reliable automated telematics solution—anywhere, anytime.

 

 

http://www.disabilityclaimdenied.caBe Aware of the “Disability Managers” at Your Workplace describes disability and absenteeism. In it, according to Statistics Canada, an employee who is absent due to disability may require some management.

My Writing: Aging Infrastructure and dangerous motorcycling (August 7 to 13)

Town of HempsteadFresh Life for Long Island’s Aging Infrastructure describes how communities, such as New York State’s town of Hempstead, which boomed over 50 years ago and now suffer from aging infrastructure problems, are using GPS technology to do more with less.

 

ICBCAutoInsuranceClaimsLawyermotorcycleBC’s Most Beautiful and Dangerous Motorcycle Roads is a quick survey of the most frequently mapped BC roads are in the province’s interior and north regions, describing where in the province most motorcycle accidents occur.

 

My Writing: Habits, Racing, and Oil (July 30 to August 6)

I’m constantly confounded by the extent to which subject/verb and noun/pronoun errors cause mayhem to the English language. Consider the following:

Ottawa’s attempts to fast track Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline are just one example.

I am in agreement with the choice of “are” over “is”, because the subject of the sentence “attempts” is clearly plural. Where it gets crazy is in the choice to end the sentence, “just one example”. What could be more singular than that? For what it’s worth, here are my solutions:

Ottawa’s attempts to fast track Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline are just examples of…(content needed from writer)

Ottawa’s attempt to fast track Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline is just one example.

As for this week’s writings, here are just one example…

5 Dangerous Driving Habits to Avoid this Long Weekend points the blame at mom and dad (and other middle aged drivers) to smarten up. If the ICBC statisticians are to be believed, the dangerous drivers are the older ones.

 

Pedal to the Metal describes the strange case of the overturned ICBC claim against a fellow racing (and smashing) his corvette in a speedway. In the eyes of the judge, the difference between a motor “racing” event and “training” event is all in the timing.

 

How to Reduce Dependence on Offshore Oil describes our efforts to lessen ourselves of offshore oil dependence. One way is to rejig our entire fleet of vehicle to use natural gas; another, is to lessen our consumption through GPS/AVL technology. This time, what costs less is also easy on the environment.

My Writing: Being Highly Effective (July 23 – 30)

Webtech WirelessThis week’s writing includes my first contribution to Webtech Wireless’ weekly email campaign. Previous to this, I would copy edit but this time I own it. It goes out to about 16,000 recipients. Every week, we gain a few and lose a few.

 

In The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Fleets to honour the passing of Stephen Covey and be true to the intent of the Webtech Wireless blog, I revised his The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People through the eyes of the fleet management solutions Webtech Wireless offers.