The Feed Bin

CharlieHorse technical communication news, articles and links of interest. Plus a little light-hearted humour. Go ahead, be fascinated!

Getting to grips with eLearning
2 March 2010; 4:55:17 PM
Useful stuff from my Synapsys friends - 10 tips for producing effective eLearning interventions, DIY eLearning options and getting social and collaborative learning right.

The importance of technical writers
19 January 2009; 9:57:18 AM
Some passengers screamed, others tucked their heads between their knees, and several prayed over and over: "Lord, forgive me for my sins." But a man named Josh who was sitting in the exit row did exactly what everyone is supposed to do but few ever do: he pulled out the safety card and read the instructions on how to open the exit door. Quoted from a recent The Observer article.

Weeding out the good from the bad
3 April 2008; 10:18:28 AM
This week's Fairfax CIO article on how to find the right technical writer to meet your requirements makes an interesting read.

To outsource technical writing - or not?
20 March 2008; 8:11:14 AM
US based Fabrice Talbot explores the pros, cons, risks and opportunities for outsourcing your technical documentation.

One for technical communication nuts...
13 January 2008; 10:51:48 AM
Tom Johnson's I'd Rather Be Writing - a comprehensive list of technical writing blog links.

Season's Greetings
5 December 2007; 10:58:25 PM

Designing information with users in mind
20 November 2007; 3:51:21 PM
A great way to understand users and design information with them in mind. Check out Optimal Sort, a free online card sorting tool from Optimal Usability.

The product is explanation
4 November 2007; 9:54:52 PM
The Common Craft Show use a simple format and real-world stories to make sense of complex ideas.

Making life easier
26 October 2007; 8:29:03 AM
I love SnagIt screenshot software and it's made it to PC World's 20 (Mostly Free) Downloads You Can't Do Without.

Even your parents could understand this!
25 September 2007; 8:04:20 PM
I'm loving this Google Docs visual presentation. Complexity simply explained.

How healthy are you?
10 September 2007; 10:42:24 PM
Could you benefit from a communication health check?

Corporate communications case study
5 September 2007; 11:18:44 AM
Interesting comments and reactions to how companies chose to communicate about the Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act which came into force today.

Global English for global business
21 August 2007; 9:53:56 AM
Around one quarter of the world's population use English as a second language. The plain English approach is great for native English speakers, but Rachel McAlpine provides invaluable advice on communicating successfully with international audiences.

Beautiful and functional?
7 August 2007; 6:52:53 PM
Well known web consultant Gerry McGovern sparks debate suggesting that successful websites are useful and ugly. Or is he confusing ugly with simple?

Getting ready for take-off
6 August 2007; 9:55:58 AM
CharlieHorse selected to produce support materials for the Flightcell DZM, the only multi-link communications hub providing global satellite, tactical radio and cellphone integration. The DZM is used by militaries and aviators around the world.

Unsolicited Electronic Message Act 2007
30 July 2007; 10:56:15 AM
The Unsolicited Electronic Message Act 2007 comes into force on the 5th September. Are you aware how this will affect your business and the emails and other electronic messages you send out?

Key public document design and usability
24 July 2007; 7:54:54 PM
The design of NZ DHB ballot papers causes concern. It's also been suggested that poor document design may have been responsible for George W Bush's victory in the 2000 US presidential election.

Supporting iPhone users
17 July 2007; 8:14:59 PM
The iPhone hype is difficult to avoid, but I like Apple's Online Video Tutorials. A great example of innovative support documentation meeting customer needs. Contact CharlieHorse to find out more about how streaming media solutions may work for you.

Logistically speaking
22 June 2007; 5:42:34 PM
CharlieHorse has been selected to help Carter Holt Harvey, and subsidiary business eCargo, improve user support resources for their online ordering and freight logistics systems.

Major ITIL upgrade released
1 June 2007; 2:52:02 PM
A major revision of ITIL (IT Infrastructure Library) has been released. Version 3 of the best practice framework is said to include more specific guidance on getting the processes in place to optimise IT service delivery and management.

A communication first
23 May 2007; 10:22:15 AM
One small text for man, one giant leap for mobilekind. The Himalayas are everywhere and, so it would seem, are Motorola.

Things not to say to a technical writer
21 May 2007; 8:14:46 PM
It's true that not all technical writers are as dull as bathwater - some even have a sense of humour! Described as Israel's most humorous technical writer, Mumpy's Life as a Tech Writer blog has its moments. Then again, perhaps you have to be a technical writer to appreciate it...

Choosing and using a technical writer
7 May 2007; 2:26:58 PM
Jean Weber provides some useful tips on how to hire a professional technical writer - finding the right person and using them to your best advantage.

Test your content readability
23 April 2007; 7:24:01 PM
Check your own content using this online readability tool. Handy for helping to identify complex sentences that audiences may find difficult to understand.

Not quite Plain English
18 April 2007; 6:38:02 PM
feedbin_sign.jpg: ...and yet still attention grabbing! Spotted in Monaco, Nelson, this sign appeared in the Nelson Mail. Someone's got a sense of humour. It will have the foreign tourists poring over their translation guides for hours. Photo by Ashley McCabe.

Links to your website
13 April 2007; 5:49:12 PM
Want to know who is linking to your website? Check it out for free at

WriteMark's gobbledygook movie
13 April 2007; 5:33:49 PM
View WriteMark's gobbledygook movie. The WriteMark is New Zealand's document quality mark, awarded to documents written to a high standard of Plain English. Further information on WriteMark and Plain English is available at

Great Read: Web Word Wizardry
13 April 2007; 10:55:12 AM
"Web Word Wizardry: A Guide to Writing for the Web and Intranet" by Wellington based author and online content consultant, Rachel McAlpine. Indispensable strategies and tips for anyone wanting to write web content that works. All delivered in an easy and often humorous style. She had me at the first paragraph. Get a copy of your own.

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