Author Archive: Sandra Parker

How-To For Technical Writers : Get The Best Ergonomic Keyboard and Mouse

To paraphrase Jeff Atwood, co-founder of Stack Overflow, technical writers are like pianists. We need our hands to work perfectly to earn a living. Sitting for several hours a day in front of the computer and typing at speeds many times faster than the average computer user has a documented history of causing medical issues- which are usually all clumped under the umbrella of Repetitive Stress Injuries (RSIs). This includes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS), which is probably the best known of them.

Technical writers, just like programmers, are especially prone to RSIs if they don’t pay serious attention to the ergonomics of their daily workspace. While ergonomics for technical writers extends to everything- from the chair and table to the lighting and the monitor setup, in this article we’ll tell you all you need to know about the most important and easily fixable of them all: putting together an ergonomic keyboard and mouse setup specifically tuned for technical writing.

The rigors this particular profession demands are especially harsh on our hands and arms. The standard keyboard is, shall we say, not-so-great for hours of continuously typing. Finding the best ergonomic mouse and keyboard for technical writers entails looking for these key features:

1. Hardware that helps us keep and use our hands in the most natural position possible:

Layout of the perfect ergonomic workspaceThe average keyboard (and mouse) is ridiculously arranged for our hands. What you want is a keyboard that includes a separate number pad, a comfortable, ‘inward leaning’ typing and resting position for your hands, a decent and comfortable palm rest and which also allows easy switching to different positions via tilting upwards as well as downwards.

The classic keyboard layout tends to ‘splay out’ our hands while resting them and needs our fingers to travel back and forth more to reach the different keys while rapidly typing. This gets worse because we’re doing it for several hours a day, for several days a year.

That is mostly because the original keyboard layout was designed for ease of manufacture decades ago and has stuck on since. There’s no excuse now in 2017 to stick to that archaic and harmful layout.

When it comes to mice, what you want is a specially designed ergonomic mouse. This also works similarly to ergonomically designed keyboards and ensures that your hand is in its most natural position when using it. A good mouse is also especially important for technical writers when we’re documenting a complex program and need to use the mouse for extended periods of time.

2. Keyboards that help preserve speed while maintaining accuracy when typing, for millions of keypresses:

What you want is a mechanical keyboard. But take care to choose one which needs as little pressing force as you’re comfortable with per keypress. The audible click of every single key will do wonders for accuracy especially when typing very quickly. Having to go back and correct errors is annoying and also increases the strain on your hands noticeably when working with tight deadlines.

3. Hardware that enable us to reduce or take out the ‘repetitive’ aspect of our typing position to minimize risk and impact of injury:

Looking at the RSIs, it is the ‘R’ or repetitiveness in our hand positions and motion that is the main culprit. Being able to switch up typing positions as much as possible will go a long way in helping de-concentrate the stress of typing on the same parts of your hands.

That’s maybe not always possible, but needs to be tried out and incorporated whenever it can be. Using keyboards that incline up and down is a good start. Deciding between relatively fixed wired keyboards and moveable wireless ones is also worth considering, keeping in mind the security aspects of doing so, depending on your specific workplace setup.

Our Recommendations To Check Out:

  • Microsoft Sculpt Ergo Keyboard
  • Kinesis Freestyle2 Blue Keyboard
  • Matias Ergo Pro Fully Split Mechanical Keyboard

Any Keyboards that have Cherry MX Blue switches. Recommended example: Das Model S Professional Keyboard

  • Evoluent Verticalmouse 4
  • Anker 2.4G Wireless Vertical Ergonomic Optical Mouse

And lastly, we’d like to add a reminder that these keyboards and mice can maybe lessen the impact of future injuries. They can’t cure pre-existing ones. The wise decision in that situation is to tackle it head on. If you’re already suffering from a repetitive stress injury, it’s best to approach a good doctor and physiotherapist and seek treatment and remediation for it first. RSIs can, if left untreated, permanently put you out of commission in this field, and that’s not ideal, or worth it, ever.

Taking care to perform simple exercises regularly to reduce the stress your hands are under because of long hours of typing also goes far in helping you reduce current and future pain. Gradually giving up the keyboard is also an exotic option to explore if you’re okay with the considerable learning curve that comes with advanced speech-to-text software like Dragon Naturally Speaking. Happy typing!

Technical Writing for Home Appliance Manuals – What You Need to Know

Today the demand for home appliances in international markets is in billions of dollars. So one can only estimate the level of the competition among the manufacturing companies.They try to be distinguishable in the herd and that eventually leads them to make better products for us.Though the interior complexity of such appliances increases but the manufacturers try to make the interface as friendly as possible.They come up with various types of manuals and videos to make the customers feel comfortable while using their appliances.

A Technical Manual Cover

Classes of Appliances

The home appliances are categorized into two broad classes based on the household activities they are used to perform.They are the major home appliances and small home appliances.Now, major appliances,also known as white goods,perform major household tasks and include:air conditioners,dish washers,clothes washers and dryers,refrigerators,water heaters,washing machines, microwave ovens ,induction cookers,etc.Small household appliances include mixers,juicers,grinders,coffee makers,rice cookers,toasters,etc.The Entertainment and information appliances also fall under the category of small appliances and are generally referred to as brown goods and they may include home electronics,CD,VCR and DVD players,cameras,alarm clocks,telephones and any other electronic appliances that you can find in your home.

If you are reading this, then you are likely to be familiar with various household appliances and now not wasting any more words ,we’ll talk about washers and dryers .Can we imagine our lives without washers and dryers? No,for that would to be terrible. I don’t know how to explain it precisely but every time we put on our cleaned or laundered clothes,we all get a pretty good feeling about it,don’t we ?

Focusing on the User Process

Earlier,when we didn’t have washing machines around,the process of cleaning clothes was quite hectic.It would involve soaking the clothes in soap water,rinsing and then drying them in the sun.It took a whole lot of time,let alone the labor.But the invention of washing machines put an end to all this.The first washing machines didn’t have many options but with time they came with variety of choices.The modern washing machines are automated and don’t need the users’ intervention at any step.They almost leave the clothes dry i.e., they have dryers fixed in them.Most modern washing machines have features like delayed execution:a timer to delay the laundry cycle,predefined programs for different laundry types,rotation speed settings,variable temperatures including cold wash.Now-a-days , eco-indicators are also used that predict the power consumption of the appliance which is a great help to the customer.

Technical Extra – Washing Machines

If you are still reading this article ,then you seem genuinely interested and now let’s get into some more technicalities of the washing machines.There are two types of loading (orientation of clothes) like top loading and front loading.Top loading refers to the vertical orientation where as front loading is horizontal .But the front loading is dominant because of its various advantages over top loading like efficient cleaning,less water usage,less wear and abrasion,no noise,etc.
So that gives you an overall idea about the washers and dryers but what’s important is that the technical writing for home appliance manuals should be in such a way it is understood by even an educated layman.The better the experience,the better will be the feedback and that would eventually lead to better product quality.

Increasing Demand for Technical Content Writers

Technical WriterAre you looking for content technical writer jobs? If so, then you have to be aware of the roles of content writers on the web. Due to the existence of billions of web pages, there is a rise in demand for technical writers. They help website owners to write fresh content for their website for Google ranking purposes. This piece is going to look at some of the roles technical writers are hired for and their primary role in web-based businesses.

There are a lot of people who are willing to start online businesses but they cannot be able to write articles on their own. This is among the reasons why there is always going to be the demand for technical writers to help business people start their website. If you have a website or a blog, I suppose you know the significance of keeping the content you post there updated regularly. One of the ideal ways to do is by adding fresh content in form of short articles.

Writing is the only way that you can pass your message on the web to potential customers. Therefore, it holds an important aspect of any online business website. When it comes to web writing, a technical content writer should have a distinct approach to prepare and tailor the content according to the visitor’s needs. For this kind of writing a technical writer does not follow the journalist mode of writing. Instead, a website writer is supposed to follow a pattern which is most appropriate to drive traffic to the website.

To wrap up the loose ends, it is worth to mention that technical content writer should be equipped with diverse writing skills. This is because the content that they write should be engaging and interesting to customers. Generally, web content should be compelling, rich and eye-catching, this is what that has made demand for technical writers to rise.

Welcome!

On behalf of the Czech Society of Biomedical Engineering and Medical Informatics and the European Federation of Medical Informatics (EFMI) we invite you to participate at the special topic conference (STC) “Data and Knowledge for Medical Decision Support” that will be held in Prague, Czech Republic, April 17th – 19th 2013. The EFMI STC 2013 is continuing the series of successful EFMI STC conferences. It is one of the most important European events in the domains of biomedicine including health care and informatics covering information science and technology.
The conference can also be regarded as a successor to the IMIA International Working Conference on Medical Decision Making, held in Prague in 1985 and the Symposium on Computerized Guidelines and Protocols, held in Prague in 2004.

Medical decision support is increasingly important. It has spawned research in the areas of standardization, semantic interoperability, formalization of knowledge, knowledge discovery and guidelines. It also led to the development of decision support systems that can be interfaced with clinical information systems. It is very important that the quality of these systems is carefully evaluated. Apart from being used by decision support systems the current medical knowledge also has to be managed so that it is easily accessible by physicians and nurses.

In short, this conference is about an important topic and it is worthwhile to contribute. Several EFMI Working Groups are directly involved in the conference programme. Two excellent keynote speakers, Jan van Bemmel and Marion Ball, will present their ideas about the conference topic.

Not only the topic of the conference is inviting, the same is true for the venue of the conference: Prague. This beautiful city provides an excellent ambiance for organizing a conference, especially in spring time!

The conference will consist of two streams: the scientific stream is about the results of scientific investigations related to the topic; the application stream will be about experiences with applications and their evaluation. In the application stream there is room for presentations by the industry. They will be invited to provide insight in their products.

Complete information about the various types of contributions is available in the “Call for contributions”. Full papers, posters and short communications are welcomed. All submissions will be reviewed by domain experts. Full papers have to be submitted before October 15, 2012, posters and short communications before November 15th, 2012. All accepted submissions will be available in the conference CD-ROM and EFMI website.  Special thanks as well to this tree service in toms river nj. Scientific contributions meeting the requirements will be published by IOS Press and indexed in Medline. Selected contributions of the conference will be published in a special issue of the European Journal of Biomedical Informatics, an official journal of the EFMI.

We invite you to come to Prague as a presenter, delegate or exhibitor and enjoy in addition to the conference Prague’s beautiful environment.