I do enjoy finding blogs that support my opinions on grammar. Here’s one. Motivated Grammar: Prescriptivism Must Die!

Technical Editing in the 21st Century

Just published by Prentice Hall, Technical Editing in the 21st Century is the title of a new textbook I co-authored with Nicole Amare and Barry Nowlin. ISBN 978-0131196773. Available from, and other sources.

Portfolios and skill building

The best way to demonstrate your editorial abilities is to show examples of documents before and after you edited them, but often that’s not an option. The best way to expand your skills is to work in the areas you’re interested in, whether that’s expanding into comprehensive editing from copy-editing or working in different subjects, but you may get caught in the common bind of not getting work because you don’t have the relevant experience. How can you get the experience and be able to demonstrate your abilities to others?
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Using “the cloud” for online file storage and syncing

What can “cloud computing” offer to technical editors? Quite a lot, I think. I’ll be writing more about this topic as I get more involved in using different features.

At the moment, the main items of interest to me are those related to syncing files between two or more computers, preferably with Web access to the files so I can get to them when I’m using someone else’s machine. Having Web access to files means, of course, storing copies of those files on someone else’s server, which has the added advantage of providing offsite storage for disaster recovery purposes. I’d also like to have a way to share a subset of those files with other people.

I haven’t had time to get any automated backup and syncing system working, or even thoroughly research what my choices are, but most of the choices that I’ve been aware of have been either Windows only, or Mac only, or so geeky to implement that I’m not interested. However, that seems to be rapidly changing.

One possibility is Dropbox, which works on Windows, Mac, and Linux and even has an iPhone app—as well as “mobile-optimized” versions for Blackberry and other Internet-capable mobile devices. I’ve been using Dropbox in a very limited way for some time (free space is 2GB, similar to most other services I’m aware of), but I’m now considering using it for more files even if I have to pay for more storage space.

(If you should choose to use Dropbox, please register using the link above so I get some extra free storage space out of the deal… and you do, too.)

Because I use Ubuntu Linux for the vast majority of my work, I’m also considering Ubuntu One and have just signed up for an account to try it out. Like Dropbox, Ubuntu One provides 2GB of free storage, and the pricing for more space is similar to the pricing for Dropbox. I don’t know yet what the limitation are for using it when Ubuntu isn’t available.

Syncing bookmarks using Xmarks

For over a year I’ve been using Xmarks to sync my browser bookmarks between my various computers and have access to them from other computers and my iPhone. Xmarks began as a Firefox add-on called FoxMarks, but it now supports Safari, Internet Explorer, and Google Chrome as well.

That’s enough for today.

Sending and receiving files

Like most writers and editors, I often need to receive files from clients and collaborators and send files to them. Usually these files are small to moderate in size (<2MB) but sometimes they can be quite large. Even smallish ones can cause problems for some people's email inboxes, and large ones are often incompatible with email (taking far too long to download, if no other problems occur).

Enter the file-sharing and file-sending websites, of which there are many offering a variety of services, for free or for a fee. For simple send-and-receive situations, all I want is a free, easy-to-use site which does not require registration or download of any software, runs on any operating system that I have (Windows, Ubuntu Linux, Mac OS X), has file size limits that are larger than I’m likely to need, and preferably isn’t cluttered with blinking advertisements. I don’t need long-term storage (more than a week). Many services meet these requirements. One I particularly like is senduit, which has one of the cleanest and easiest-to-use web pages I’ve ever seen—and it’s advertising-free!