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Dear Viv
2004, Q4 (July 05, 2007)

Advice for the Discerning Technical Communicator

Editor's Note: She's back!

Dear Viv,

Technical writers I know are leaving the business and opening flower shops. Is our profession on the wane?



Dear Andrea,

I've wondered the same thing, especially after hearing that a 20-year veteran of our profession recently quit to sell Merle Norman cosmetics. The truth is that employers are cutting corners, and documentation is sometimes the first to go. After all, if customers are desperate enough, they'll be willing to pay $50 per incident for technical support. Those who cannot afford this luxury can search the Internet and sift through millions of hits on "Windows XP logon freezes." Or worse yet, try to select the right technical note from the Microsoft knowledge base and then understand what the note is trying to say. I mean, does anyone know what Windows XP Visual Styles are Not Active with Customer GINA for Nonadministrator Account" means? The pendulum will swing our way again, my friend. In the next few years, a revolt will rise up against greedy corporations who can no longer handle the hate emails, letters, and flame web sites. The greedy buggers will be forced to provide online help and you and I will be the first to benefit. End of article.

Dear Viv,

How do I decide who to vote for in upcoming STC elections? There are no attack ads on TV, so I'm having a hard time making up my mind.


John in Raleigh

Dear John,
In our country's recent presidential election, we had the option of writing in a candidate. I proudly exercised that option and voted for Jerry Garcia. Granted, Jerry left our dimension years ago, but his spirit lives on through music, art, and recreational substances. My point is that you'd be better off closing your eyes and making a wish than asking Viv for advice on voting. It's entirely your option about the recreational substances.End of article.

Dear Viv,

Does green tea go with blue cheese?


Martha in cellblock H

Dear Martha,
Green tea is so 2003. Try extract of valerian with a smidgen of nutmeg. Oh, don't forget the plastic monkey. End of article.

Dear Viv,

Why did you stop contributing to the newsletter?



Dear Miguel,

Hmmm, because few people apparently needed Viv's help? Because the newsletter editor called me a failure and I quit? Frankly, the editor stopped responding to my email. I figured that he was insulted by one of my columns. (Editor's Note: Pure balderdash!) I can't control anyone's reaction to this drivel. I eventually decided to spend time clearing out my Netflix queue. Now the editor is desperate for content, and I'm back. Besides, I'm waiting for The Bride of Chucky DVD to be released, and it's going to be a while.End of article.

Dear Viv invites constructive criticism, solicitations for advice — any sort of response, really. Email Viv at dear_viv at yahoo dot com. End of article.

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