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Technical writing

Technical writing

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Technical writing

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  1. Technical writing October 1, 2013

  2. Today E-mails (continued)

  3. 1. Terry Fox is perhaps one of Canada’s greatest modern heroes because of the fact that he did something amazing even though he was disabled and had lost his leg. Edited: Terry Fox is perhaps one of Canada’s greatest modern heroes because he did something amazing even though he lost his leg.

  4. 2. Terry Fox was born in 1958 in Winnipeg in Manitoba. Edited: Terry Fox was born in 1958 in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

  5. 3. At the age of 19 years old, Fox was diagnosed by doctors as having an unusually rare form of bone cancer. Edited: At the age of 19, Fox was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer. At 19, Fox was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer.

  6. 4. Doctors decided that they had to amputate most of one of his legs to stop the cancer from spreading to other parts of his body. Edited: Doctors decided to amputate most of one of his legs to stop the cancer from spreading.  Doctors amputated most of his leg to stop the cancer from spreading.

  7. 5. While he was recovering from the amputation, Fox came up with the idea of the “Marathon of Hope”, which he hoped would help him to make a lot of money for cancer research so that cancer could be cured. Edited: While recovering from the amputation, Fox developed the “Marathon of Hope”, which he hoped would help him raise a lot of money for cancer research.

  8. 6. He began his run in St. John’s in Newfoundland which he started on April 12 in the spring of 1980. Edited: He began his run in St. John’s, Newfoundland on April 12, 1980.

  9. 7. He ran at a pace of nearly 40 km. per day and had run 5373 km. when he got to Thunder Bay, Ontario. Thunderbay is a small city in western Ontario. Edited: He ran nearly 40km per day and had run 5373 km when he got to Thunder Bay, a small city in western Ontario.

  10. 8. When he was there in Thunderbay, cancer was discovered in his lungs so he ended up having to end his run there in Ontario. Edited: In Thunderbay, cancer was discovered in his lungs so he had to end his run there.

  11. 9. It was an inspiration to a lot of millions of people when Fox with his great bravery and devotion to his cause did his great run. Edited: Fox was an inspiration to millions of people with his great bravery and devotion to his cause. Fox inspired millions of people with his great bravery and devotion to his cause.

  12. 10. With his run, he encouraged Canadian people to contribute money, almost $25 million dollars, for cancer research so that researchers could look for a cure for cancer. Edited: With his run, he encouraged Canadians to contribute almost $25 million for cancer research.

  13. Specific subject line Salutation Opening: provides context and gets to the point Provides necessary info clearly (i.e., explanations, instructions) Is polite with requests Ends politely Provides sender’s contact info

  14. E-mail Writing Tips 1. Make sure your e-mail is confidential and ethical - Avoid “flaming”, strong, angry language that attacks your employer, a colleague, a customer, etc. - Never send something you would not want to see on a company website or on the front page of a newspaper. Photo credit: k-99problems.blogspot.com

  15. Example Hi Joe, I have to cancel our lunch meeting today. Dan screwed-up this week’s orders, so I have to go back and fix them. He’s such an idiot. I swear, he makes my life so difficult. Later, James.

  16. E-mail Writing Tips 2. Make your e-mails easy to read. - Provide a clear, precise subject line. - Try to limit your e-mails to one screen. - Do not send e-mails written in all capital or all lowercase letters. - Break your message into paragraphs. - Avoid long strings of e-mails.

  17. E-mail Writing Tips Provide a clear, precise subject line. - Avoid one-word subjects: “Report” or “Meeting”. Instead: Subject: Meeting to increase October’s sales. Subject: Report on work-related stress.

  18. E-mail Writing Tips Try to limit your e-mails to one screen. • This is what I believe: I believe in Christianity, the God of Christianity, the creation - Send long messages as attachments.story, and the bible in the literal sense, evolution in the standpoint ofgenetic drift to a degree, adaptative radiation, microevolution andgeographical barriers (I am trying to keep this as simple as possible forthose who may not understand biology). As you may be aware, there are twocreation stories in the bible. This I am well aware of. However, it doesnot contradict like many people think it does, but actually makes moresense and thus provides supporting biblical evidence that the world isolder than 6000 years. I personally believe it is much older but manyChristians don't realize the two stories: the creation of the universeand the world, and later the creation of the garden (simple explainedversion, I could write a whole page on the whole ordeal). There is a timeframe there that isn't recorded which makes the age of the earth variableeven in the biblical sense. Another thing I believe in is Noahs ark. Strangely it seems the creation story and the Noah’s ark story are thetwo leading causes that people use not to believe in the bible, both fromgenesis. The story of Noah’s ark holds many truths and evidence: Noliving organism on the earth is older than 4600 years (and many can beolder than that) The oldest trees are 4600 years, the sahara desert withthe rate of spreading has only covered enough ground for a 4600 year timeframe, the oldest coral reef is 4600 years old. This is where scienceplays in the bible, in Genesis it states that Noah should collect everyanimal of it's KIND. Not every species. Many people disregard this andsee it as every animal in the world, when it is actually only landdwelling animals of its kind that breathes through lungs, this doesn'tinclude insects who breath through slits on their exoskeleton, wormsthrough skin diffusion etc. This allows supporting evidence foradaptation and changes in animals over the years after this point inhistory. In the past thousand years we have taken wolves and bred theminto thousands of different types of dogs with probably 100 pure breeds,(just ball parking it). So why is it so hard to think that 8 peopleformed the 9 distinct geographical races of the world? Modern geneticsshow how, following such a break-up of a population, variations in skincolor, for example, can develop in only a few generations. There is goodevidence that the various people groups we have today have not beenseparated for huge periods of time. [Worldwide variations in mitochondrialDNA (the "Mitochondrial Eve" story) were claimed to show that all peopletoday trace back to a single mother (living in a small population) 70,000to 800,000 years ago. Recent findings on the rate of mitochondrial DNAmutations shorten this period drastically to put it within the biblicaltime-frame. See L. Lowe and S. Scherer, "Mitochondrial Eve: The PlotThickens," Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 1997, 12(11):422-423; C.Wieland, "A Shrinking Date for Eve," CEN Technical Journal, 1998,12(1):1-3.] • Next question is: What Is a "Race"?There is really only one race -- the human race.. Clearly, though, thereare groups of people who have certain features (e.g., skin color) incommon, which distinguish them from other groups. We prefer to call these"people groups" rather than "races," to avoid the evolutionaryconnotations associated with the word "race."All peoples can interbreed and produce fertile offspring. This shows thatthe biological differences between the "races" are not very great. Infact, the DNA differences are trivial. The DNA of any two people in theworld would typically differ by just 0.2 percent (J.C. Gutin, "End of theRainbow," Discover, November 1994, pp. 71-75.). Of this, only 6 percentcan be linked to racial categories; the rest is "within race" variation. The variation in DNA between human individuals shows that racialdifferences are trivial. This genetic unity means, for instance, thatwhite Americans, although ostensibly far removed from black Americans inphenotype, can sometimes be better tissue matches for them than are otherblack Americans. • Anthropologists generally classify people into a small number of mainracial groups, such as the Caucasoid (European or "white"),3 the Mongoloid(which includes the Chinese, Inuit or Eskimo, and Native Americans), theNegroid (black Africans), and the Australoid (the Australian Aborigines).Within each classification, there may be many different sub-groups. • Virtually all evolutionists would now say that the various people groupsdid not have separate origins. That is, different people groups did noteach evolve from a different group of animals. So they would agree withthe biblical creationist that all people groups have come from the sameoriginal population. Of course, they believe that such groups as theAborigines and the Chinese have had many tens of thousands of years ofseparation. Most believe that there are such vast differences between thegroups that there had to be many years for these differences to develop. • One reason for this is that many people believe that the observabledifferences arise from some people having unique features in theirhereditary make-up which others lack. This is an understandable butincorrect idea. Let's look at skin color, for instance.One reason for this is that many people believe that the observabledifferences arise from some people having unique features in theirhereditary make-up which others lack. This is an understandable butincorrect idea. • What about SKIN COLORS?It is easy to think that since different groups of people have "yellow"skin, "red" skin, "black" skin, "white" skin, and "brown" skin, there mustbe many different skin pigments or colorings. And since different chemicalsfor coloring would mean a different genetic recipe or code in thehereditary blueprint in each people group, it appears to be a realproblem. How could all those differences develop within a short time?However, we all have the same coloring pigment in our skin -- melanin.This is a dark-brownish pigment that is produced in different amounts inspecial cells in our skin. If we had none (as do people called albinos,who inherit a mutation-caused defect, and cannot produce melanin), then wewould have a very white or pink skin coloring. If we produced a littlemelanin, we would be European white. If our skin produced a great deal ofmelanin, we would be a very dark black. And in between, of course, are allshades of brown. There are no other significant skin pigments [Othersubstances can in minor ways affect skin shading, such as the coloredfibers of the protein elastin and the pigment carotene. However, onceagain we all share these same compounds, and the principles governingtheir inheritance are similar to those outlined here. Factors other thanpigment in the skin may influence the shade perceived by the observer insubtle ways, such as the thickness of the overlying (clear) skin layers,the density and positioning of the blood capillary networks, etc. In fact,"melanin," which is produced by cells in the body called melanocytes,consists of two pigments, which also account for hair color. Eumelanin isvery dark brown, phaeomelanin is more reddish. People tan when sunlightstimulates eumelanin production. Redheads, who are often unable to developa protective tan, have a high proportion of phaeomelanin. They haveprobably inherited a defective gene which makes their pigment cells"unable to respond to normal signals that stimulate eumelanin production."See P. Cohen, "Redheads Come Out of the Shade," New Scientist, 1995,147(1997):18]. • In summary, from currently available information, the really importantfactor in determining skin color is melanin -- the amount produced.This situation is true not only for skin color. Generally, whateverfeature we may look at, no people group has anything that is essentiallydifferent from that possessed by any other. For example, the Asian, oralmond, eye differs from a typical Caucasian eye in having more fat aroundthem. Both Asian and Caucasian eyes have fat -- the latter simply haveless. • What does melanin do? • It protects the skin against damage by ultraviolet light from the sun. Ifyou have too little melanin in a very sunny environment, you will easilysuffer sunburn and skin cancer. If you have a great deal of melanin, andyou live in a country where there is little sunshine, it will be harderfor you to get enough vitamin D (which needs sunshine for its productionin your body). You may then suffer from vitamin D deficiency, which couldcause a bone disorder such as rickets.We also need to be aware that we are not born with a genetically fixedamount of melanin. Rather, we have a genetically fixed potential toproduce a certain amount, and the amount increases in response tosunlight. For example, you may have noticed that when your Caucasianfriends (who spent their time indoors during winter) headed for the beachat the beginning of summer they all had more or less the same pale whiteskin color. As the summer went on, however, some became much darker thanothers. • How is it that many different skin colors can arise in a short time?Remember, whenever we speak of different "colors" we are referring todifferent shades of the one color, melanin.If a person from a very black people group marries someone from a verywhite group, their offspring (called mulattos) are mid-brown. It has longbeen known that when mulattos marry each other, their offspring may bevirtually any "color," ranging from very dark to very light. Understandingthis gives us the clues we need to answer our question, but first we mustlook, in a simple way, at some of the basic principles of heredity. • HeredityEach of us carries information in our body that describes us in the way ablueprint and specifications describe a furnished building. It determinesnot only that we will be human beings, rather than cabbages or crocodiles,but also whether we will have blue eyes, short nose, long legs, etc. When asperm fertilizes an egg, all the information that specifies how the personwill be built (ignoring such superimposed factors as exercise and diet) isalready present. Most of this information is in coded form in our DNA [Mostof this DNA is in the nucleus of each cell, but some is contained inmitochondria, which are outside the nucleus in the cytoplasm. Spermcontribute only nuclear DNA when the egg is fertilized. Mitochondrial DNAis inherited only from the mother, via the egg.].To illustrate coding, a piece of string with beads on it can carry amessage in Morse code. The piece of string, by the use of a simplesequence of short beads, long beads (to represent the dots and dashes ofMorse code), and spaces, can carry the same information as the Englishword "help" typed on a sheet of paper. The entire Bible could be writtenthus in Morse code on a long enough piece of string.In a similar way, the human blueprint is written in a code (or languageconvention) which is carried on very long chemical strings of DNA. This isby far the most efficient information storage system known, greatlysurpassing any foreseeable computer technology.6 This information iscopied (and reshuffled) from generation to generation as peoplereproduce. • The word "gene" refers to a small part of that information which has theinstructions for only one type of enzyme, for example.7 It may be simplyunderstood as a portion of the "message string" containing only onespecification. • For example, there is one gene that carries the instructions for makinghemoglobin, the protein that carries oxygen in your red blood cells. Ifthat gene has been damaged by mutation (such as copying mistakes duringreproduction), the instructions will be faulty, so it will often make acrippled form of hemoglobin, if any. (Diseases such as sickle-cell anemiaand thalassemia result from such mistakes.)So, with an egg which has just been fertilized -- where does all itsinformation, its genes, come from? One half comes from the father (carriedin the sperm), and the other half from the mother (carried in the egg).Genes come in pairs, so in the case of hemoglobin, for example, we havetwo sets of code (instruction) for hemoglobin manufacture, one coming fromthe mother and one from the father. • This is a very useful arrangement, because if you inherit a damaged genefrom one parent that could instruct your cells to produce a defectivehemoglobin, you are still likely to get a normal one from the other parentwhich will continue to give the right instructions. Thus, only half thehemoglobin in your body will be defective. (In fact, each of us carrieshundreds of genetic mistakes, inherited from one or the other of ourparents, which are usefully "covered up" by being matched with a normalgene from the other parent • To give an example of the speed time frame: The blue Fugates weren't arace but rather an excessively tight-knit family living in the AppalachianMountains. The patriarch of the clan was Martin Fugate, who settled alongthe banks of Troublesome Creek near Hazard, Kentucky, sometime after 1800.His wife, Mary, is thought to have been a carrier for a rare disease knownas hereditary methemoglobinemia, which we'll call met-H. Due to an enzyme deficiency, the blood of met-H victims has reducedoxygen-carrying capacity. Instead of being the usual bright red, arterialblood is chocolate brown and gives the skin of Caucasians a bluish cast.Hereditary met-H is caused by a recessive gene. If only one of yourparents has this gene, you'll be normal, but if they both have it, there'sa good chance you'll be blue. • None of Martin and Mary Fugate's descendants would have been blue had theynot intermarried with a nearby clan, the Smiths. The Smiths weredescendants of Richard Smith and Alicia Combs, one of whom apparently wasalso a met-H carrier. According to family historian Mary Fugate, the firstknown blue Fugate was born in 1832. Because of inbreeding among theisolated hill folk--the Fugate family tree is a tangled mess of cousinsmarrying cousins--blue people started popping up frequently thereafter. Ahalf dozen or so were on the scene by the 1890s, and one case was reportedas recently as 1975. They were quite a sight. One woman is said to have hadlips the color of a bruise. – one hundred years and we observe aphenotypically different group of individuals

  19. E-mail Writing Tips Do not send e-mails written in all capital or all lowercase letters. - ALL CAPITAL LETTERS LOOKS LIKE YOU ARE SCREAMING! - all lowercase letters looks like you don’t know how to write.

  20. E-mail Writing Tips Break your message into paragraphs. - A message that is just one long “block” is intimidating. - It is also difficult to read.

  21. Example Hi, Team: I'm having a lot of trouble getting my blog's feed to look right in email subscriptions. I just switched from a Blogger url (www.katiesonger.blogspot.com, now redirected via 301 redirect) to my new WordPress website: http://www.thegreatbetween.com . I had had a Feedburner feed prior to the switch, so I made the change on Feedburner, and it seems to have worked: new blog posts are going out to my subscribers. The only problem is that now, my blog posts look much worse than they did with the old, Blogger feed: there are no spaces between the paragraphs and the pictures aren't aligned correctly. I've looked around on different forums and haven't found anything that's been resolved on a WordPress forum with this topic. I did find a suggestion to see whether the posts look good in Google Reader, so I checked and they do look fine there...though Google seems to be behind the times and may be still subscribing to my old, Blogger feed (which apparently it will update within a few days), so I can't be sure.

  22. Example - Improved Hi, Team: I'm having a lot of trouble getting my blog's feed to look right in email subscriptions. I just switched from a Blogger url (www.katiesonger.blogspot.com, now redirected via 301 redirect) to my new WordPress website: http://www.thegreatbetween.com . I had had a Feedburner feed prior to the switch, so I made the change on Feedburner, and it seems to have worked: new blog posts are going out to my subscribers. The only problem is that now, my blog posts look much worse than they did with the old, Blogger feed: there are no spaces between the paragraphs and the pictures aren't aligned correctly. I've looked around on different forums and haven't found anything that's been resolved on a WordPress forum with this topic. I did find a suggestion to see whether the posts look good in Google Reader, so I checked and they do look fine there...though Google seems to be behind the times and may be still subscribing to my old, Blogger feed (which apparently it will update within a few days), so I can't be sure.

  23. E-mail Writing Tips Break your message into paragraphs. - Generally: Try to limit paragraphs to no longer than 3 -5 lines.

  24. Observe the rules of “netiquette”. Internet + etiquette. Respond promptly to e-mails. Give readers reasonable time to respond. Don’t send the same e-mail over and over again. Avoid unfamiliar abbreviations, jargon, and emoticons. Don’t use “red flag” words unnecessarily. Include a signature block.

  25. Observe the rules of “netiquette”. Avoid unfamiliar abbreviations, jargon, and emoticons. • An e-mail is not a text message. • Work e-mails are also different from personal e-mails. Things like: LOL, LMFAO, BTW, etc. And emoticons like :) ^^ *^^ ^__^ , :P ,etc. Are not appropriate for work-related e-mails.

  26. Observe the rules of “netiquette” - example Avoid unfamiliar abbreviations, jargon, and emoticons. Hi Sonny, When you have a minute, could you please send that report again^^ I seem to have lost it, ROFL. I will look at it and get back to you ASAP ^.~ Kim

  27. Observe the rules of “netiquette”. Don’t use “red flag” words unnecessarily. • Be careful with words like: “Urgent” “Crucial” “Top Priority” And exclamation marks !!!!!!!!!!!! just to get the reader’s attention.

  28. 3. Observe the rules of “netiquette”. Include a signature block. • This includes your name, title, and contact information at the end of the message. • This info is important when you work for a large organization or communicate with someone not of that organization.

  29. 3. Observe the rules of “netiquette”. Include a signature block.

  30. Adopt a professional style. - Use a salutation (greeting). - Get to the point! - Keep the message concise. - An e-mail is not a telegram. - Respect the cultural traditions of international readers. - End politely - Use a complimentary close.

  31. Adopt a professional style. Use a salutation (greeting). - Different depending on recipient. To a colleague: - Hi, Hello, To a customer or someone in another organization: - Dear Ms. Jones: - Dear Bio Tech:

  32. Adopt a professional style. Get to the point! • Get to the point right away. • Readers receive a lot of e-mails in a day. They may only look at the first few lines you write.

  33. Adopt a professional style. Get to the point! Dear Mr. Thompson, Lovely weather today, isn’t it? I got up quite early and it was chilly, but the sun is out now. I’m in the office now and am just filing some paper work. Blahblahblahblahblahblahblah. …By the way, your results came back. You have AIDS. Best, Dr. Black

  34. Adopt a professional style. Keep the message concise. - Cut out unnecessary words and phrases: Avoid wordiness Poor examples: This new work will improve motivation more than it was in the past. Improved: This new work will improve motivation. It appears, if I can make the observation, that out company’s sales appear to be increasing.Improved: The company’s sales appear to be increasing.

  35. Adopt a professional style. Keep the message concise. - Do not include unnecessary details and chatter. Dear Mr. Tompson, Lovely weather today, isn’t it? I got up quite early and it was chilly, but the sun is out now. I’m in the office now and am just filing some paper work. Blahblahblahblahblahblahblah. …By the way, your results came back. You have AIDS. Best, Dr. Black

  36. Adopt a professional style. An e-mail is not a telegram. Writing e-mails like this: “Send report immediately; need meeting.”  Is rude and can cause trouble. - Write in complete sentences, using a conversational, but polite style.

  37. Adopt a professional style. An e-mail is not a telegram. - Do not simply reply with one word. Nope Yup Yeah Huh? • Are NOT acceptable replies to anything. A proper reply would be “Yes (sir/ma’am)” “No (sir/ma’am)”.

  38. Adopt a professional style. End politely - Let readers know in the last sentence that you appreciate their time/help/cooperation and look forward to their reply. “Thank you for reading”  NOT a good way to end. “Thank you again, everyone, for your cooperation. I am looking forward to seeing you next Monday.”

  39. Adopt a professional style. Use a complimentary close. To a colleague: Thanks, Take care, To a customer: Sincerely yours, Sincerely, Best Regards,

  40. vague subject line Unprofessional greeting Impolite tone All CAPS shouting Insufficient info Unclear abbreviation; flaming No signature block

  41. Specific subject Polite salutation Gets to the point; - it is concise, and polite Provides explanation and documentation Ends with clear directions Polite closing Signature block

  42. Assignment 2 E-mail assignment - Download the information sheet on the website. - Read the instructions carefully. • You will be sending e-mails to a partner. Make sure to communicate with your partner as soon as possible so you can complete the assignment on time. Deadline: October 11 (Friday)