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Expresso (not espresso)

by | Posted February 1st, 2014

Stop that eye twitch, it’s not misspelled. I’m talking Expresso – the writer’s style tool, not espresso (the writer’s coping tool).

Forging an honest, unique voice is one of the biggest struggles for many writers. Unfortunately, outside of a trusted editor, available tools can be noticeably lacking. Expresso is great because it admits upfront that style is more of an art than a science – all while providing specific, detailed data. With the ability to detect a whole list full of typical writing weak points (like passive voice or filler words) and specific grammar stats (like sentence length and reading level) it could provide a whole new perspective on tone and style. Hard data, editing style.

Are you angry? You seem angry…

by | Posted January 31st, 2014

The poor period, once the innocuous mark at the end of every sentence, has taken on new meaning. Anyone who texts or chats online regularly will recognize it instantly; it’s just one more nuance in the long line of linguistic adjustments we make to infuse emotion into our textual communications. The period, especially when paired with succinct sentences, can turn a regular note into a brusque, conversation ending dead end. Of course, outside of the realm of text conversations, the period retains its’ unmistakably crucial normal role. Line breaks just can’t do it all. To see examples and read another perspective on the idea, check out the original article over at newrepublic.com.

Google Search as a Rhetorical Pulse Point

by | Posted January 30th, 2014

google search autocomplete imageBy now, the NYTimes article “Google, Tell Me. Is My Son a Genius?” is all over the internet (at least in certain circles). It’s one more piece of evidence against the idea that the fight for gender equality is ended – something that is unfortunately unclear to some in this day and age. There are some great perspectives out there on what this means for equality, feminism, and gender in general but as a professional writer, I’m also interested in what this means rhetorically.

Google suddenly gives us insight into something writers and cultural analysts of every stripe are thrilled to get their hands on – the things people think but won’t say. There are questions that people just can’t ask anyone… except the cool, white, nonjudgmental computer screen.

Just like stock photography and the noun project can be great touch points for visual rhetoric, Google search data can tell us some amazing things about what our audience might believe. Search data suddenly provides a metric for interest over time (check out the spikes for bitcoin), geographical interest, and as seen recently, it even tells us the questions people are afraid to ask about their children. So next time you need to know what your audience thinks about a certain topic, you can do what just about everyone else is doing – ask Google.

People, Upgrade Your Slideshows

by | Posted January 29th, 2014

Tedx Kyoto hosted a fascinating talk by Garr Reynolds about professional speaking. Professional speaking is crucial in many fields, and it turns out that most people just aren’t very good at it. Reynolds emphasizes improving your speaking skills by focusing on having compelling, useful visual communication, and presenting as much of your information as possible in the form of a narrative. Slides as we know them now are horribly weak, and presenters who rattle off lists of facts without any human context are sure to bore. Towards the end, he also links to a few great examples of other Ted talks that fulfill these goals magnificently.

He doesn’t always follow his own advice particularly well, but the talk is definitely still worth a watch or a skim.

Tell It and They Will Come

by | Posted January 24th, 2014

Head-sticky-notes-story-square

Source: athinklab.com: “Storytelling speaks to all levels of the brain”

As a writer, one asset that I am constantly reshaping is storytelling. Writers tell stories to entertain readers and keep their engagement, and if that goal isn’t achieved the risk of losing audience is a scary thought, “yikes!” Believe it or not the same goes for businesses with relation to clients. Robert Bruce shares a unique perspective in his article on Copyblogger about applying story to salesmanship, preaching, advertising, conversation, marketing, songwriting, and blogging. These may be different categories, but they all have one thing in common – the art of storytelling. In Bruce’s article he helps us to understand that information cannot stand alone. Take a moment to understand why story and information are a complete pair, and you will notice the memorable impression it will have on your audience.

A New App To Catch Snoopers

by | Posted January 23rd, 2014

Peeper

Source:Lifehacker

There’s nothing better than full privacy, unfortunately with annoying siblings, nosy significant others and friends that will never be the case. If you’re suspicious that someone may be going through your smartphone or mobile computing devices; They just got Busted! The PeeperPeeper app can be your eyes when you step out of the room.

This app currently offers shortcuts for WeChat, WhatsApp, Facebook, Facebook Messenger and LINE. PeeperPeeper catches who has been snooping on your private messages through screenshots. The PeeperPeeper app allows you to keep the convenience of having access to social media on iPhones/androids or iPad/tablets and not having to worry about meddlesome friends, families or coworkers. Lifehacker has some great information on this new app, and if it intrigues you take 5 seconds to download the PeeperPeeper app, it’s free and doesn’t take up much memory space.

Brainstorming: A Path to Creative Decision-Making

by | Posted January 22nd, 2014

37642875Brainstorming is a great way to generate ideas. And it’s not only for writing papers or giving presentations, it’s great for meetings. If you have a meeting waiting right around the corner and you were thinking about winging it, reconsider. Lifehacker advises not to brainstorm during meetings, but instead be the golden employee and come prepared with ideas that are ready to be presented. Avoid wasting time gathering up ideas when you could be working as a team to build on the different ideas and knock out the bad ones. Another benefit to brainstorming is that it puts your team ahead of the game and results in quick and short meetings. The next time you have a meeting, instead of checking your Twitter five minutes before, pull out a sheet of paper and brainstorm great ways to identify and accomplish goals.

Global App Design Dos and Don’ts

by | Posted January 21st, 2014

Have the next big idea for a global app? It’s important to think about basic rules that will help make your app design a success. The Next Web offers some important tips to keep in mind. TNW knows that designing an app takes a lot of creativity, planning and intensive labor and it doesn’t get easier when you’re designing for a global audience. Some do’s to keep in mind are; assessing the viability of launching in a new market, simplifying functionality, visualizing consistency, getting in real content ASAP, starting with high resolutions and double checking mobile OS adoption rates. Don’t forget the don’ts, which include leaving out animations, ignoring culture nuances, executing your strategy remotely and taking visual language lightly.

Source: blog.logmein.com

Source: blog.logmein.com

Coming up with an app may be easy; it’s getting it running smoothly that’s the challenge. For instance, animation is an eye catcher when designing. Animation brings characters to life; why not bring your app to life. Yes, animation may be the most difficult part to include when creating an app, but instead of trying to avoid it altogether why not include some sort of animation. Animation helps user to better understand the app and stay engaged.

Source: www.mobileapptesting.com

Source: www.mobileapptesting.com

Keep in mind that the key focus is to make this a global app and your audience is huge. People you least expect may end up downloading this app. Therefore, don’t ignore cultural nuances. You will be reaching out to different markets, don’t assume that all markets take the same language similarly. You don’t want to end up disrespecting someone or giving wrong instructions. Take the time and see which symbols, drawings, or text have mutual meanings no matter who is using it. Overall, just remember your audience is global and it’s important to properly cater to them. Always get a second opinion before you launch your final product. So there you have it folks – tips from the experts at TNW to get you started in globalizing your app.