From the Editor’s Desk

Alex Garcia

Alex Garcia

Hello friends and members of the Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC.

Hope your summers were fun and you are ready for another exciting year of Technical Communication programming. During the break, your Administrative Council was hard at work planning the 2012-2013 Chapter calendar–and it all kicks off with our very own mini conference: WASHLINES XVIII: Chicago, It’s My Kind of Town at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, August 21, at the Winter Park Civic Center. I hope to see you there.

You might notice that the newsletter looks a bit different. Well, it is now hosted on the chapter’s own server at http://memotomembers.stc-orlando.org. Right now, the newsletter is a bit less graphics intensive, but that will improve as I get more and more comfortable with site’s autonomy and all the previous media is ported to the new server. For now, image files will be hosted over at the old newsletter site but it should not disrupt your user experience. The move to the new server is the first step in our eventual chapter-wide website overhaul. Watch your inbox for details as they are available.

Without further ado, let me break the champagne bottle against the hull and officially declare the NEW Memo to Members launched.

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Until next time,

Alex Garcia
Editor
Memo to Members
Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC

President’s Corner

Karen_Lane

Karen Lane

By Karen Lane
President
Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC
president@stc-orlando.org

In July your Administrative Council (AdCo) met—as it does most months—to plan and direct upcoming chapter activities. This particular meeting, however, was a little different. Chapter leaders, interested general members, and active non-members met for a full day in the training room at Atkins Global in Maitland to participate in the chapter’s annual Leadership Retreat, a tradition begun years ago during the presidency of long-time member Mike Murray.

The purpose of the Leadership Retreat is to give leaders and prospective leaders a chance to play an active role in the chapter’s future while sharing ideas for new programs. We hope you will be pleased with some of the ideas we came up with. Stay tuned—come to meetings and read chapter announcement-list messages—to learn more.

We do have some news we can let you know about right now. The chapter has been facing financial challenges (as have most chapters and communities) for the past couple of years. We weathered some of the worst storms, but in order to continue to bring quality programming to our members and non-member colleagues we are going to be raising meeting fees beginning in August. This decision was a difficult one, and we didn’t make it without a good deal of discussion to find out if there were some other way to continue afloat without asking more of our members and non-member attendees. Ultimately we realized that losing money each month was changing us from a thriving chapter to one that was going to have to close down some of our best programs for lack of funds. We of course realize the irony that one of the strongest and most admired chapters in STC has to grapple with the possibility of retrenching. And we will continue to explore other revenue sources—sponsorships, fee-supported webinars, enhanced fundraising campaigns, click-thru sales commissions from CafePress and Amazon. But for immediate relief we’ll be raising meetings fees, since it’s the cost of putting on meetings that represents the largest item in the expenditure column. If circumstances permit, we will revisit this decision next year and perhaps be able to readjust downward. But for now, please help us continue to put on the programs you enjoy by supporting the chapter with your attendance at meetings.

Member admissions to regular meetings will now be $15 per meeting, and non-member admissions will be $25 per meeting. Student non-member rates will remain on par with regular member rates ($15), and student member rates will remain at the previous level of $5. Multi-admission member passes (5 admissions for the price of 4) will still be available and will be priced at $60.

It is never easy to ask attendees for more money, but in order to offer programs and professional-development opportunities, we have to remain solvent, and in order to do that, we have to increase our fees. I hope circumstances will permit further announcements on this topic to reflect successes and a financial turnaround.

We strive to be good stewards of chapter funds, and we are always available to answer any questions or address any issues you might have. Our AdCo meetings are open to all members who wish to attend, and your input is appreciated and respected.

And now to something more fun: This month we have our highly anticipated review of the Technical Communication Summit. We hope to see everyone at Washlines XVIII on August 21—it’s the meeting where you learn what you missed if you didn’t attend—or even if you did, since no one can attend all sessions. You will learn more about the program in a special issue of Memo to Members later in August.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me (president@stc-orlando.org).

Don’t Miss Washlines XVIII August 21!

Dan Voss

Come Celebrate at “Chicago, It’s My Kind of Town”!

By Dan Voss
Co-Manager Mentorship Program
Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC
mentorship@stc-orlando.org

In the 18th iteration of the venerable Washlines tradition August 21, the seven members of the STC-Orlando Central Florida chapter who were at the 59th international STC conference in Chicago last May will edify you with knowledge they gained at the event and entertain you with seven colorful and creative Chicago-themed venues.

And yes, of course, you’ll also enjoy some of Chicago’s famed delicacies such as “The Chicago Dog” and Chicago Pizza.

Al Capone will even be there, so consider wearing your full-body Kevlar armor underneath your usual STC meeting garb.

“Post time” is 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, August 21, at the Winter Park Civic Center off 17-92 on Morse Road in Winter Park.

A wide range of topics will be covered in a lively progression format, ranging from the new certification program in technical communication to Global English skills to social media. Watch for details in upcoming listserv postings and the second August edition of Memo to Members.

Washlines is always an enthusiastic event, but this year it will also be a CELEBRATION. The 59th was a very special conference for our chapter. In the awards ceremony at the Tuesday evening banquet, we were amazed to be called to the stage over and over again to receive awards. We literally “swept the table” in terms of community awards, bringing home our 6th Chapter of Distinction award in 9 years—a Society record—tying for the Most Improved Chapter award, and capping it off with STC’s highest community achievement award: Community of the Year!

The STC-Orlando Central Florida Chapter “swept the table” in community awards at the 59th STC international conference. Karen Lane and W.C. Wiese will give you all the details as well as some chapter history and a photo tour of the conference in a special Washlines XVIII progression rotation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In addition, individual chapter members made frequent journeys to the stage to accept awards captured by Special Interest Groups (SIGs) in which they were active.

The conference was also special for W.C. Wiese, who, for the first time in recent memory is no longer a member of the “Intergalactic Inner Council” (aka, Board of Directors) where he completed a highly successful and much appreciated tour of duty as a director on top of two stints as treasurer.

W.C. and wife Nancy celebrate his long and successful service on the STC Board of Directors. Nancy’s smiling because she thinks she finally has her hubby back. Think again, Nancy … the chapter’s got him back too!

And the writer and his mentee, Bethany Bowles, were thrilled at the interest their presentations and workshops on student mentoring programs sparked at the conference. They went armed with 25 printed reference guides and accompanying CDs, half expecting to be trundling about 20 of them back to Orlando. Instead, they wound up giving away all 25 and giving out IOU’s which they redeemed via a post-conference reprint and mail-out.

Bethany suddenly goes catatonic during their presentation. Dan would help, but he’s asleep. Get their side of the story on how their presentation and workshops on student mentoring programs really went in their special progression rotation at Washlines XVIII.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In addition to all the progression presentations from sessions at the conference, we’re planning two special rotations this year.

As two of the seven venue hosts at Washlines XVIII, rather than give the presentation on student mentoring they gave at the conference, Bethany and Dan are presenting separately on conference sessions to help provide you with as many choices as possible. However, when their regular venues are “dark,” they will join forces for a special rotation in which those who are interested can hear how the student mentoring program between our chapter and Future Technical Communicators at the University of Central Florida is blazing a trail for the entire Society.

And when W.C.’s and chapter president Karen Lane’s venues are dark, they will team up to regale you with a behind-the-scenes account of our chapter’s many awards, share some fascinating chapter history, and provide the “narration” for a “looping” PowerPoint slide show of conference photos, including the banquet where we decided Chicago really was “our kind of town.”

Leadership Retreat Report

Sarah Baca

By Sarah Baca
Treasurer
Orlando Chapter STC
treasurer@stc-orlando.org

In July, we had our annual Leadership Day. I have had the pleasure of going the last two years, and just like those years, the event this year was exciting and energizing. I love when we all get together to share ideas.

During this meeting:

  • We covered the Advisory Council topics
  • Dan Voss and Bethany Bowles discussed their efforts with the mentoring program and their roles on the CAC as part of the student initiative
  • As Treasurer, I gave a financial review presentation
  • Our CAA co-chair, Patricia Cruz, gave a presentation about the CAA awards
  • We had a pop (culture) quiz, designed by Karen Lane (Of course I failed that miserably. Jon Kessler won the most points but it was not by a landslide. We have several very smart people in our chapter)!
  • We reviewed the P&P Manual in small groups.

I am sure that the decisions made during the meeting will be shared with our members in other parts of this edition. Several major decisions were made, which I think will result in an even stronger, more vibrant chapter.

I look forward to kicking off the year at Washlines XVIII.

I hope to see you there.

Tool Tips

David Coverston

By David Coverston
Director-At-Large
Membership Chair
Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC

What are those funny marks in my Microsoft Word document?
I occasionally get a request from a Word user in a state of panic. “I’ve got all these strange marks in my document, and I can’t make them go away!” Then they go into a routine of telling me what they have done to remove the marks, and of course, they are still there.
These non-printing characters are somewhat cryptic, but I’ll explain them to you and give you a handy little chart you can print and put next to your computer. But first let me explain how to view them, or not, as you wish.
Word has a button named the Show/Hide tool. Here is what it looks like:

The icon on it is called a pilcrow, aka backwards p, alinea, and blind P. It toggles the display of those non-printing characters on and off, with a couple of exceptions that I’ll explain later. You can also toggle them by pressing Control+Shift+8.

This is one of the most useful tools in Word. It will let you find problems in documents that you can’t find any other way.

The pilcrow, the icon on the Show/Hide tool, represents a paragraph mark. This tells you where the paragraph ends. You should not see these at the end of every line, just at the end of paragraphs. This is also where the formatting codes for the paragraph are stored. The last one in the document contains even more formatting information that relates to the whole document.

Tip: Sometimes you can fix corrupted documents by copying all the text from the document except the last paragraph mark into another document.

The next most common mark you will see is the line break, or soft return. Note to editors: I know that it is technically not a soft return, but it is commonly called that in software documentation, so you will just have to bear with me on this.

Anyway, the line break looks like this:

You put them in your document by pressing Shift+Return. Line breaks do not store formatting information.

Another common mark is the little arrow pointing to the right, the tab character →
Inexperienced users often have a string of these in a paragraph to align their text. Use tab stops instead.

There are two other nonprinting characters that do not display using the Show/Hide ¶ button: Field codes and Bookmarks. Field codes are used for things like table of contents and page numbers, and a whole lot more. In addition to turning on the Show/Hide setting, you must also turn on Toggle Fields by pressing Alt+F9. I use this a lot, so I put the Toggle Fields tool button on my Quick Access toolbar. To see the Bookmarks non-printing characters, you have to check the box in the Word Options > Advanced > Show document content.

Tip: You can use the Print Preview to see what the document looks like without all the formatting marks.

Here is the chart I promised you. If you want more details, look at the article at http://word.mvps.org/faqs/formatting/NonPrintChars.htm

 

Paragraph

Line Break

Pagination Breaks

Hard Space

°

Tab

Optional Hyphen

¬

End of Cell marker

¤

Hidden text

Colored Underlines

Anchor

Field Code

{ DATE \@ “dddd, MMMM d” }.

Bookmark

[

Square boxes