December 2011

10 12 2011

Inside this issue:


From the Editor’s Desk

10 12 2011
Alex Garcia

Alex Garcia

Hello friends and members of the Orlando Chapter STC!

Welcome to another exciting issue  of Memo to Members. The Orlando Chapter is in full Holiday mode, getting ready for our Holiday reunion this Tuesday December 13 at the Orlando Marriott Lake Mary.

In this month’s issue, my Mentee, Brittney Adams takes the helm of the “If You Missed Last Meeting…” column. Also, David Coverston plays double duty with another edition of Tool Tips and details about early STC membership renewal incentives. Finally, Chapter Achievement Awards chair Patricia Cruz reveals the results of the 2011 State of the Chapter survey.

So, without further ado, enjoy this edition of Memo to Members!

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Alex Garcia
Orlando Chapter STC Memo to Members

President’s Corner

10 12 2011

Karen Lane

By Karen Lane
Orlando Chapter STC

Chapter members and friends:

As we approach the end of 2011, I’m finding it more and more difficult to figure out why the year’s end always takes me by surprise. It’s December (somehow), and that just doesn’t seem possible. But I think I’ve figured out why it’s such a disconcerting notion: it’s because when we start the year, we consider the 12 months before us and imagine how productive we’ll be. By the time we’re in December, we realize that despite our best efforts, we might be falling a bit short.

Our chapter’s year, on the other hand, has been a series of successes. I’ve been heartened to be connected to so many talented and inspiring colleagues and friends. Some of us who have been around for a while already know this, but if you’re a newer member of our community you may not realize how very special the Orlando Chapter is. I’m not just saying this to stroke our egos; it’s a fact. We are unique in the Society for our level of commitment and our record of innovation. We have been a model for other chapters, and many other chapters have sought our guidance and adopted our programs.

In addition to being a Chapter of Excellence, we are a chapter of individuals committed to service. As an example, consider our November meeting held last month at the Houlihan’s on East Colonial. We met to celebrate the chapter’s successes and to express thanks for our blessings. Generous members—and non-members!—of the Orlando Chapter donated food items for the Second Harvest pantry. I was so proud of those who chose to share their bounty with the less fortunate of our community. The generosity of our members and friends is awesome.

While we’re reflecting on our individual and chapter successes, it’s important to recognize the significant connections between the Orlando Chapter of STC and UCF. UCF faculty were instrumental in the creation of the chapter, and our student members have become leaders, not only in the chapter but at the Society level. In fact, 30% of our current members are students or recent graduates, and that is in addition to the many others who have passed through UCF in the past on the way to professional technical communication careers.

Now at the end of the year we are holding a very special event to honor our former and current members and recognize previous recipients of the Mellissa Pellegrin Scholarship. The Holiday Reunion meeting will bring together old and new friends and colleagues and give you a chance to catch up with those whom you may not have seen for a while. You should already have received an invitation to this December 13 event celebrating our chapter’s past, present, and future, and I look forward to seeing many friends old and new. We’ll be catching up on old times and looking ahead to new ones. I hope you will be with us for this fun dinner event. There is no admission charge. The three-course meal plus soft drink costs $25 (including tax and tip), and there will be a cash bar. If you have not yet done so, please send your RSVP to our program chair and vice president, Debra Johnson ( When we reach the maximum table count, we will close the reservations.

In the spirit of the upcoming holidays, I wish everyone a beautiful and meaningful holiday season, however you choose to celebrate it, and may we all have a new year that brings us satisfaction and delight.

A View From Number Two

10 12 2011


Debra Johnson

by Debra Johnson
Vice President
Orlando Chapter STC

Debra is currently the Lead Documentation Specialist at Wyndham Vacation Ownership in Orlando, FL where she is responsible for setting up and leading the Technical Communications discipline within Wyndham’s Information Technology department.

The Society for Technical Communication – Orlando Chapter invites you…to a Holiday Reunion.

Space is limited so RSVP quickly.

PLEASE Click here to RSVP or on the image below.  Let me know in your RSVP if you are bringing a guest.

If You Missed Last Meeting…

10 12 2011

Brittney Adams

By Brittney Adams
Future Technical Communicators at UCF

…You missed a chance to unite with your fellow Orlando Chapter STC to kick back and share some memories of the past year. The November STC meeting was a special event held at Houlihan’s on East Colonial Drive in Orlando. While networking with others, STC members spent the evening giving thanks and relaxing. Many of us got to meet new members for the first time and were able to catch up with those we hadn’t seen in a while. We collected canned and boxed goods for a food drive and discovered what we were thankful for. Orlando Chapter STC Vice-President Debra Johnson gave each member a secret envelope at the beginning of the dinner. After a couple hours of anxiously trying to peak at what was inside, we discovered it was a fill-in-the-blank sentence. Every member took a turn reading their card out loud. Among the discoveries uncovered through this activity were member’s first crushes, favorite movies, and how we acted as a child. This was a great way for everyone to connect and learn more about each other apart from their profession. Debra also informed us about the STC-Orlando Holiday Reunion. The reunion will be held Tuesday, December 13th, 6:30pm at the Orlando Marriott Lake Mary. Members were encouraged to inform previous STC members to join as well. Overall, the meeting was a success. We got to take a break from our busy lives to appreciate each other and the rest of the STC community.

Tool Tips

10 12 2011

David Coverston

by David Coverston
Membership Manager
Orlando Chapter STC

Do you want to read some books in the one of the new ebook formats, but don’t want to buy another machine? Do you like sticking your hands on the screen you are reading from? If you answered yes to the first question and no to the second question, then I have a solution for you: Calibre.

Calibre is an ebook reader from Kovid Goyal, and runs on Windows XP through 7, as well as Apples and Linux machines. But it is more than that. It is a free and open source e-book library management application. Calibre allows you to organize your ebook collection, as well as convert ebooks to other formats. It supports a number of ebook readers, including the Kindle, Sony, and Nook readers. Calibre provides:

  • Ebook library management
  • Ebook conversion
  • Synchronizing to ebook reader devices
  • Downloading news from the web and converting it into ebooks

Calibre is has three main parts: The graphical user interface, the command line (CLI) utilities, and the ebook reader.

The GUI is the typical way you will manage your book collection. All of Calibre’s functionality is available through the GUI, except for the command line utilities, of course. Click the Add books button to import your books into the library, then browse to the location where you store them, and click Add. Calibre imports them and displays the cover, along with information about the ebook. You can customize tags and covers, which is handy if the book doesn’t come with any.

Calibre can convert a number of formats, making this a very useful tool. It has a batch convert function as well. Supported formats include:

  • Mobi
  • Lit
  • PRC
  • ePub
  • ODT
  • HTML
  • CBR
  • CBZ
  • RTF
  • TXT
  • PDF

Calibre can also download news from a variety of sources. Hundreds of sources worldwide, including both free and paid content are supported. I haven’t used this function yet, so I can’t comment on how useful it might be. Actually, there are a lot of bells and whistles with this program that I want to explore.

Download Calibre from . Double-click the .msi file to install it. At 42MB, it will take a few minutes to download and install.

Help for Calibre is available on the web site, which opens when you click the Help button. Calibre will automatically check to see if you have the latest version running, but doesn’t it automatically download and install new versions. I appreciate having that choice.

Calibre is not an editing tool. If you want to edit ebooks, you will need to use an editing tool. Stay tuned. Maybe that will be my next column.

2011 State of the Chapter Survey Results

10 12 2011

Patricia Cruz

By Patricia Cruz
Community Achievement Award Chair
Orlando Chapter STC

Hello Orlando chapter members and friends,

You might remember getting an email in October or November that invited you to fill out a short survey from the Orlando STC.

The survey was divided into four parts:

  • Part 1 covers basic demographics questions (e.g., age, gender)
  • Part 2 looks into your educational background and work life
  • Part 3 gauges your involvement in and feelings towards social media and other technology tools
  • Part 4 asks you how you keep up with the ever-changing technical communication field, and what you would be interested in learning next year

Did you fill it out? If you did, I’d like to thank you for your time and let you know that your responses have been put to good use. The 2011 State of the Chapter Survey Results are here (PDF). We received a total of 31 responses, with respondents ranging from members to nonmembers, STC veterans to newbies, and Central Florida locals to out of state residents. What a diverse group.

If you didn’t take the survey, check out the survey results anyway! You’ll learn some fascinating things about your technical communication colleagues.

2011 State of the Chapter Survey Results

The end of the year is always a great time to look back on your experiences over the past 11 months and how they’ve changed you. I hope the survey results successfully captured who we were as technical communicators in 2011.