Infographic Adventure

This week for my technical communications class, we were asked to create an infographic using the strategies and tips we learned in our assigned readings.  We were also given some tools to use to help those of us who were really new to graphic design (that’s me!).

I settled on Piktochart’s graphics design site.  They had a lot of clean modern templates that appealed to me.  I also liked the tutorial provided, there was both a video and helpful pop up tips as you explored the site initially.    Continue reading

Route Setting Process

In route setting for rock climbing, it is the route setter’s job to put up holds on a blank climbing wall designed to be fun and to not injure climbers. Sometimes that is the only guidance that is given to a setter before their session begins. Other times there are more instructions such as the difficulty they must set, the type of holds they should use, or certain features on the wall they need to avoid. Due to the freedom a route setter has, this job is considered a form of art. At RIT’s Red Barn rock climbing gym, setters typically pick out holds from buckets on the ground and lay them out on the mats. Some of these holds are for hands and others are for feet. Sometimes the holds must be used for both. Once they have decided they like the sequence they have set, they place tape on the walls where they plan to put the holds, then they bolt the holds into the wall. Once the wall is done, a group of forerunners climb the problems and decide if any changes are needed. This is a process that takes several hours. For competitions, it is important to set these problems quickly. There are several processes that I think could potentially be faster. One option is to pick out only the hand holds they plan to use. Once they go through their typical sequence and bolt them to the wall, they could decide where to put the feet and bolt these in later. This is beneficial because setters oftentimes bolt footholds that are not needed for the climb. Another option to shorten the process would be to set the crux, the most difficult part of the climb, first. If the crux was in the middle, the setter would work up and down in order to establish a flow that is both fun and difficult. This would be beneficial for competition setting because as a route setter gets ideas, he or she could bolt a few holds in and then come back to it later to finish the route and make sure it runs smoothly.

Wh*t Did You Say? Symbols for C*ss Words

Arlene Miller, blogger on, discussed the history and current usage of how cuss words are altered in writing as well as on television and radio. Grawlix, which refers to strings of symbols that are often used in place of cuss words, date back to comic books from the 1880s. However, the term wasn’t coined until the 1960s. Sometimes this is referred to as profanitype, however that is just a slang term for grawlix.

In modern days, many different versions of grawlix are used. Oftentimes, a single asterisk is used to replace a central vowel in the cuss word. Common symbols that are used include &, #, %, !, @, and ?.

The Federal Communications Commission has restrictions on what can be said on television and radio. Broadcasters typically replace a cuss word with an audible beep which is now referred to as “bleeping” something out.

In the article, Arlene Miller mentions last how many authors, producers, and broadcasters will replace the swear with a more acceptable replacement term such as jerk, heck, or gosh, allowing them to get their point across in a more appropriate manner.

-Briana Goold

A summary of “Eating your technical communication veggies” by Larry Kunz

In this article, Larry communicates about his dislikes regarding technical communication. He realizes, however, that some of these matters are unavoidable and critical for success. He compares these topics to vegetables; not many people like to eat them, but we all know that they are vital for our physical well-being.

The first example Larry discusses is “Following the style guide.” He explains that during the writing process, interrupting his flow of ideas when, for example, he forgets “whether to spell out numbers below 10” can be frustrating. Even though following the style guide may be tedious, he knows that it enhances the quality of writing due to consistency of diction.

Another topic Larry discusses is the display of content on various platforms. The viewer needs to visualize identical content whether they are viewing on their tablet or smartphone, or if they are using Firefox or Safari.

The last matter he discusses is the implementation of metadata into technical documents. The goal of metadata is to extract basic information of data. For a document, the metadata would include the length, the author, a short summary, and the date of creation. This information can allow the data to be more easily tracked and manipulated. Many writers have a difficult time finishing their content before a deadline, so they often don’t include the code for the metadata, but Larry says that this is a mistake. Using metadata will become more common in the future, and Larry says that “someday your properly categorized and tagged content will be ready for targeting to specific audiences, for adapting to different output formats, and for easy management.” Even if you code the metadata into your document after posting, your future self will be gracious.

Original Post

-John Hill

The Power of Assumption

Alright, here it goes. This is my first ever blog post!  I never thought it would be about technical communications, but enrolling in this techcomm class at RIT has already exposed me to many new technological experiences.

So our first blog assignment was to select a post from one of the five techcomm blogs we selected to follow for the duration of this class, and summarize said post for our classmates and any other techcomm individuals who happen to stumble onto our page :). Continue reading