Category Archives: Tools

Microsoft Office and the amazing shrinking help icon

I wanted to create an Outlook 2013 email rule to respond to emails sent to a specific account. The rule requires an email template. Not knowing how to create one, I looked for the help icon. And kept looking. I felt old. And as a tech writer, I almost, almost yearned for the days of Clippy.

Then, in the top-right corner, it appeared. Sort of. Now don’t get me started about the ALL CAPS MENUS in Office 2013 (and also Adobe’s Creative Suite), but it’s surprising how the help icon is almost an afterthought.
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A News Site for Content Professionals – Contentcontent.info

Tooltips appear that contain the opening sentence and date published when you hover over a link.
Tooltips appear that contain the opening sentence and date published when you hover over a link.

I’m proud to announce a site I developed for content and communication professionals is live, called contentcontent.info. It’s a site that aggregates news from the most popular blogs and news sites for content professionals. You can currently get content and design news from 30 sites and counting. You can add your blog or your favorites today!

Continue reading A News Site for Content Professionals – Contentcontent.info

Creating a Drupal sandbox with VirtualBox and Drupal Quickstart (Presentation)

I’m a fan enthusiast of Drupal. I’ve been part of the community for four years now, and the amazingly supportive community is what keeps me engaged, as I wrote after attending the Drupal NYCCamp earlier in 2013.

As I started a new personal project that I hope to launch soon, I wanted to use it as a learning experience not only for myself, but for the Drupal community. Though I’m active in the Northern New Jersey Drupal User Group, I’ve been largely a consumer of the group’s knowledge (other than sharing my knowledge of beer). I wanted to give back, especially as this year our host, the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark, is moving a lot of their tech infrastructure to Drupal and their computer science students are showing an interest.

When I decided to create the site, instead of creating it on a web server with all of the typical installation and configuration issues (and expense), I started with a free, open-source software called VirtualBox, and the Drupal Quickstart project, both of which I could run locally on my Windows PC. From this, I created a short presentation that I shared with the NNJ Group.

What is Drupal?

Continue reading Creating a Drupal sandbox with VirtualBox and Drupal Quickstart (Presentation)

Evernote – the Ultimate Conference Tool

I love Evernote, the popular, cross-platform note-taking application. I use it on all my devices (desktop, Android phone, and iPad) for many reasons:

Noz Urbina presents at Lavacon 2013
Organize your conference notes with notebooks and tags. Include photos directly into your session notes. Evernote automatically adds the date and location!

  • A to-do list note for every day of the week.
  • Shared shopping lists with my significant other, using the Premium version (I firmly believe in supporting products I use regularly. It’s well worth the $45 per year; that’s $3.75 a month, kids, less than two cups of Starbucks coffee).
  • Automatically saving things to a note in conjunction with If This Then That (IFTTT).

But there’s one more possibly overlooked use for Evernote that I find invaluable: conferences. I attended three conferences this year, including the Drupal NYCCamp and the huge Lavacon conference (see my Lavacon-related posts here and here), with nothing more than an iPad.

It used to be that you had to lug a laptop around — in addition to pen and paper — to take notes from each conference session, but no more! So what makes Evernote so useful at conferences? Continue reading Evernote – the Ultimate Conference Tool

A Tech Writer’s Thoughts on NYC Drupal Camp 2013

“Sprints include writing docs! We need more people like you in the community, come and network!” was Jon Pugh’s reply to my tweet, when I was wondering if coming to this year’s New York Drupal Camp was right for content people like me.

NYC Camp 2013 was my third Drupal Camp, and from a content professional’s perspective, the best out of the three.

What is Drupal?

Drupal is an open-source, Web-based Content Management System (CMS or WCMS). Its competitors include free tools WordPress and Joomla!, and proprietary systems Adobe CQ5 and Microsoft SharePoint, among others. Unlike WordPress, which was initially developed as a blogging platform, Drupal is more of a framework to create web sites, on which additional functionality, called modules, can be added. Most modules are created by developers in the Drupal community, though the most useful often make it into the base installation, known as “Drupal core”. Continue reading A Tech Writer’s Thoughts on NYC Drupal Camp 2013