Ellen photo


San Jose, CA
(408) 360-8801

Working through
Expert Support, Inc.
Mountain View, CA
(650) 941-9778

Ellen's technical writing (and related) contract history at ESI

Friday, April 29, 2005


Ricoh (10)—Rewrite user guide for API for defining scanner User Interface. Update comments in Java code and generate/proof javadocs. Ricoh manufactures copiers, scanners, and printers, some very high end. Product is a Java API that allows software developers to define what appears on a Ricoh scanner's LCD panel and how to capture and handle input from the LCD panel and from the hard keys on the operation panel; how to manage scanning, printing, network connectivity, and document storage. Ricoh completely redesigned and reimplemented the API, for which I had written the first documentation version a year earlier. 120 pgs. FrameMaker, Javadoc. (Dec 2003-Apr 2004)
Altera (2)—Develop and deliver a short (no more than 4 hours) course to teach engineers how to plan and write technical documentation. Company's engineers write chapters for product handbooks that are not always well written or well organized. Wanted to provide engineers with insight into how to decide what to write and how to avoid common writing mistakes. Company provided examples of poorly written and better-written chapters as source. Developed training slides and instructor notes so that company could later use material with their own instructors. Topics included planning and organizing doc content, audience and task analysis, quality documentation, writing procedures, and some basic grammar. 40 pgs. PowerPoint. (Mar-Apr 2004)
Adobe (51, 59, 60, 68, 78)—Summary. Adobe specializes in publishing tools. This project involved a major update to the API for the InDesign product line. The product line included three different English-language product variants, two of which also had slightly different Japanese-language variants. All had JavaScript, VisualBasic, and AppleScript APIs. Each variant and coding language had a user guide and a very large reference, describing the objects, attributes, and methods in the API. Some—but not all—material overlapped. The reference material came from an XML database created using propriety tools that extracted comments from the code and merged with previously edited text; the XML file was edited with a proprietary XML editor or simple text-editing tools and then proprietary tools generated InDesign source files from the XML. I reviewed and edited the XML content and produced the final reference documents; edited the user guide material provided primarily by the engineers and merged in examples created by the engineers; converted some of the final InDesign docs to FrameMaker for localizers who had trouble with the InDesign Source; and attempted to manage the many versions and variants of the documentation. Delivered final docs in PDF. Thousands of pages. InDesign, FrameMaker, XML, propriety XML editor, Adobe Acrobat. (Apr 2004-Mar 2005)


Radiance (2)—Update installation guide. Radiance provides software that manages the delivery of digital packages of content across local or wide-area networks. Product has half a dozen components that each install on either UNIX or Windows. Required reading shell scripts, analyzing installation logs, and interviewing subject-matter expert to essentially rewrite and reorganize the entire installation guide and deliver in PDF. 80 pgs. FrameMaker. (March-May 2005)
Power Paws Agility (n/a)—Create workbook for dog-agility training 4-day camp. Power Paws hosts a large annual camp for hundreds of competitors from around the world, hosting over 20 world-class instructors teaching in 20 locations around the camp site. I worked on this document in 2001 and 2002, although a dog-related publishing company handled it in 2003 and 2004. I updated text about the camp's processes, found and inserted appropriate clip art, edited and inserted photographs, edited hundreds of agility course diagrams from instructors and inserted, copyedited basic text from the instructors about their coursework, and delivered in PDF for printing on Docutech printer. 108 pgs. PageMaker, PhotoShop Elements, Clean Run Course Designer. (Feb-Apr 2005)
Expert Support, Inc. (ESI) (7:10)—Develop Writers' Resource Web Site content. Expert Support provides consulting and contracting services in the Technical Publications area (among others), primarily employing seasoned, experienced senior technical writers, most with strong technical backgrounds. The Writers' Resource project's goal is to make some of ESI's consultants' expertise available to the world at large, in part to promote the company; in part to have a place to ESI can direct clients asking common questions; and in part to share expertise among ESI's employees in a more-permanent format. Consolidate and edit assorted email discussions and shared documents from years of ESI online discussions, consulting projects, and personal experience. Research sparse topics to fill them out more. Design a starting format using Cascading Style Sheets in HTML. Dozens of pgs. PageSpinner, HTML, CSS. (April-May 2005)

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