All posts by Ed

Ed Marsh is an experienced technical communicator, a podcaster, a lover of beer. This site is the home of his thoughts, as well as the Content Content podcast.

OMG i hate beer!

It’s been a personal goal to turn on as many people as possible on to beer. As I mentioned in the Fordeville blog, my own journey to the beverage was not direct,  so I sympathize.But allow me to try to convert you once again,  dear beer-challenged reader.

A beer snob's dream beer; not for the faint of heart. Photo by Arclight Images (www.arclightimages.com)

“Oh, it’s too bitter”. Then you’re drinking the wrong beer.There are 23 general styles of beer, with infinite variations within each style. There are many more breweries than Anheuser Busch, Coors, and Miller, you know. (As an aside, the oft-favored Blue Moon is owned and brewed by Coors). If the beer’s too bitter, first try to find out the style- then avoid it. The hoppiest types – which are the most bitter – are IPAs and Pale ales. Try a malty style, like a Dunkelweizen, porter, or brown, which traditionally have very low hop flavor and aroma. Or, a classic Weihenstephan Weissbier.

“Dark beer scares me. It’s too much alcohol”. Then you’re drinking the wrong beer. Realize that “dark” doesn’t necessarily mean “high alcohol”. The perennial “dark beer” Guinness actually has less alcohol by volume than Budweiser. Try a Sierra Nevada Porter (they make more than just the green-labeled Pale Ale), or a sweet stout like Mackeson’s.

“Beer has too many calories”. Then you’re drinking the wrong beer. Drinking an MGD 64 or Bud Light is like eating iceberg lettuce – it gets you where you want to go, but doesn’t bring a lot of flavor to the table. Alcohol inherently has calories, regardless if it’s wine, beer, or gin. Just find the right one- high alcohol beers are generally heavier because of the higher quantities of malt. Again, a bottle of Guinness only has 126 calories, and in my opinion, is worth drinking one instead of two MGD 64s.

“I get bloated drinking beer”. Then you’re drinking the wrong beer. If you want bang for the buck, calories be damned, have a barleywine. Anything “Imperial” means more malt, more hops, and more booze. If you can handle a “regular” IPA with higher hops, try an Imperial IPA like Dogfish Head’s 90- or 120-Minute IPA.

It make take some time and effort to find just the right beer for you, but remember, it’s the journey, not the destination. When possible, drink locally and support your local breweries and brewpubs. And if you want a full-on beer education, meet me at the Copper Mine Pub.

My most hated words

I’ve been told I spend a bit too much time on Twitter. To illustrate this point, I once tweeted my most hated word in the English language: slacks. It’s just an awful, harsh-sounding word. Since then, fellow twitterers and technical communicators @afox98@billswallow and @seanb_us (and some of the best people I’ve never met) have referenced The Word a few times. Continue reading My most hated words

Snowpocalypse, December 2010

Santa got lucky this year, as the biting winds and massive snowfall fell on the day after Christmas in the Northeast. It started as-promised late Sunday morning on December 26, and was at its worst in the late afternoon.

We woke up to over two feet of snow. I took this picture mid-morning on Monday. We live on the third, top floor of our condo; this is looking out on to our deck.

blizzard-12-26-2010-looking-out-deck-door

Somewhere out there are several holiday beers.

How to Embed Fonts in MadCap Flare WebHelp

This story is for intermediate to advanced help developers. It requires knowledge of HTML, CSS, and a help authoring tool such as MadCap Flare or Adobe Robohelp.

Have you ever been bored using Georgia, Tahoma, Verdana, and (sigh…) Arial over and over in your help projects? The font-face property has been available for some time in Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), but browser and font foundry support are only now allowing use of fonts other than those that ship with operating systems and applications, without workarounds like sIFR and cufon.

New technologies have sprouted up, with Google creating its own font API, and Adobe announcing font support through TypeKit. However, you can also save and host freely available font files on your company’s web server, or install on your users’ PCs, and use these fonts in your WebHelp projects. The web site Font Squirrel creates the CSS for you, using only free, embeddable fonts.

There are thousands of free fonts out there, but not all font creators support font embedding, so be sure to read any license agreement before using them in your projects.

MadCap’s Flare help authoring tool (HAT) uses CSS to style its WebHelp, so you can easily  embed fonts into your help. This should work similarly in Adobe Robohelp. Continue reading How to Embed Fonts in MadCap Flare WebHelp