Category Archives: Uncategorized

Comic Sans has/had a purpose!

“‘A typeface is an answer to a question,’ he tells me later. ‘Everything I’ve ever done is a solution to somebody’s problem.’ The problem that Comic Sans solved concerned a short-lived Windows interface called Microsoft Bob. It featured a cartoon dog who spoke to computer users through speech bubbles.”

See the whole article here:

comic sans fontWhy is this of interest to me?  Because when I teach about credibility and how to convey that in professional technical work, comic sans inevitably comes up. Students think this font is way to make technical information less intimidating. I don’t buy their argument, but I can see where they are coming from.

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Posted by on June 9, 2014 in Uncategorized


Slide Rules, update!

In early March 2014, the paperback version of our book Slide Rules: Design, Build, and Archive Presentations in the Engineering and Technical Fields became available for purchase. The e-book is available for download.

Slide Rules,--the bookSlide Rules is meant for engineers, technical specialists, and scientists–whether they are working for businesses, universities, research units, military sectors, or other areas. Professionals and students alike will benefit from this book because it provides specific avenues for improving and honing presentations in these specialized areas. Presentations in the technical fields are creatures of a different kinds, and the targeted needs for that work are duly addressed.

More info here:

ISBN-10: 1118002962
ISBN-13: 978-1118002964
240 pages
2014, Wiley-IEEE Press


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Posted by on May 20, 2014 in Uncategorized


Heckuva semester!

This semester has been incredibly busy!  Several new items, all fantastic, were on my plate:

Elementary school teams compete with their creations. This year's theme was "Disaster Blaster!"

Elementary school teams compete with their creations. This year’s theme was “Disaster Blaster!”

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Posted by on May 20, 2014 in Uncategorized


Engineering + Humanities…now on Colbert

Here’s a link to a segment of the Colbert Report where he interviews Richard Brodhead, the President of Duke. Brodhead notes the importance of humanities for all learning, but highlights the place of the humanities and communication for engineering, in particular.

This resonates with a keynote by Robert Gerstenmaier, a biggie at NASA, given at the UW’s MEPP residency start a couple of years ago.  Gerstenmaier also had an appearance on Colbert!

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Posted by on August 18, 2013 in Uncategorized



It’s been an exciting few weeks. The short version is that I will be moving my word (mostly) to Cornell University, starting in Fall 2012.  Working in the College of Engineering, I will be housed in the Engineering Communication Program with Rick Evans (Director) and Sharon Ahlers (colleague extraordinaire).  Our whole family will be moving, and we are excited about being in the land of Gorges!

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Posted by on July 5, 2012 in Uncategorized


Tracking down a false stat

In many, many pieces that I read, I have seen a version of the “fact”  that “in a recent US federal survey, it was found that 83% of people are visual learners.”  Today, I needed to track down that stat in order to cite it. Turns out, as far as I can tell, the stat was never generated by any US govt agency.

The 83%.

In a study done by Fowler et al, this stat surfaces. But it wasn’t a US Fed government stat. It’s a decent study and deserves some attention, but that does not account for the  mythical status of the claim that 83% of students are visual learners. In theory, US OSHA office used it in a report, but the link is dead to that report at this time.

I really tire of sloppy research.  More on this as it develops….

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Posted by on November 21, 2011 in technical communication, Uncategorized


Early Cookie Monster + IBM Training

Sometimes, the things that I love come together in the oddest of ways. This early Cookie Monster was in an IBM training video, from what I understand. You must see this!

Cookie Monster does and IBM training piece. Courtesy Youtube!

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Posted by on November 21, 2011 in Uncategorized