Recent Updates Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Skye 7:21 pm on June 4, 2018 Permalink | Reply  

    Spring 2018 – A Retrospect 

    Screen Shot 2018-06-04 at 7.13.05 PM

    The summer semester is underway, but I want to take some time to recap my spring semester.  I had no idea what I was getting myself into by taking on a full-time load of classes while maintaining my full-time job, but I pulled it off satisfactorily.  Nearly every other aspect of my life is on hold until I graduate, but it will be worth it.


    Some Background

    Due to my abundance of credits from completing lower-division engineering coursework, I was able to transfer into the BS in Technical Communication as a junior – no back-tracking required.  I had one final upper-division, general education credit to complete.  The BS in Tech Comm also requires 12 credit hours in a related topic.

    I chose Graphic Information Technology (GIT) courses to satisfy the related topic requirement.  These courses are given by the Fulton Schools of Engineering, which I attended as a Computer Systems Engineering (CSE) major.  GIT courses have a reputation for being demanding, and I’ve found that to be true.

    This first semester fulfilled that last general education requirement and gave me my first taste of both TWC (my major) and GIT coursework.

    One thing I find frustrating about ASU is the lack of information available about a class until you are actually taking it.  The 2- or 3- line description in the course catalog doesn’t tell the student what to expect from a course.  What follows is my impression of each class, and an overview of the material in case any search engines bring curious students-to-be this way.


    REL 374 – Witchcraft & Heresy in Europe (L or HU) & H

    Fascinating course for anyone interested in history, psychology, and the use of religion to wield power.  Concentrates on Germany’s obsession with witchcraft in the Middle Ages.

    • Inexpensive textbooks, also available as Kindle books
    • Writing-intensive with high grading standards
    • Yellowdig projects were required in addition to essays
    • Witchcraft and heresy concerns/accusations in recent U.S. history must be researched

    TWC 301 – Fundamentals of Writing for Digital Media

    Create documents relying on basic principles of writing for the web:  scanability, chunking, easily digestible.  Think of it as using Word to make web page or blog-like documents.

    • 3 or 4 assignments per week, every week
    • Textbook necessary for referencing in assignments and learning about web-authoring principles
    • Presentation requiring narration part of the final exam

    TWC 401 – Fundamentals of Technical Communication

    Could be considered more business or professional communication than technical communication at times. A good primer for students who have not had to write in/for the workplace.

    • Covers formatting and content for emails, memos, letters, proposals, procedures, and reports
    • Required text book is the reference book for the Society for Technical Communication’s foundational certification exam which may be valuable to some

    GIT 230 – Digital Illustration in Publishing

    Very challenging course for anyone not fluent in Photoshop and Illustrator. The first half is spent learning Photoshop, the second half – Illustrator.  By far the most career-relevant course to me as I am making use of Photoshop’s more advanced features in the workplace regularly now.

    • Required textbooks are Adobe’s Classroom in a Book for Photoshop CC and Illustrator CC
    • Reading every chapter and performing every exercise is crucial for those not proficient in these programs
    • Mid-term is a ‘final’ in Photoshop, and the final is a ‘final’ in Illustrator


  • Skye 8:09 pm on April 14, 2018 Permalink | Reply  

    Back to School in a BIG Way 

    Big School Bus

    I returned to ASU this past January.   I am now a full-time student as well as a full-time tech writer.  It has been invigorating to get back into the academic world.  Student discounts on software are nice bonuses as well. 😉

  • Skye 3:24 pm on November 26, 2017 Permalink | Reply  

    Turning Actions into Words 


    That summarizes my new position succinctly.  Since last I posted, GE Energy Connections has become part of GE Power, and I have gone from a Production Team Lead to a Documentation Specialist.  I am now working to create, update, edit, and manage documentation for our unit.  I also happen to be the first of my kind at this site.  While many people have generated documentation at our site, there hasn’t been a dedicated technical writer nor a gate keeper for documentation management.  Every day is different and work will never be in short supply.

    There have been many changes in process and procedure in the past year and a half that require documenting.   As our production ramped up, necessary improvements were made in how our products were produced, and we are continuing to make improvements on the factory floor.  I was given the opportunity to document some of those changes just before becoming Production Team Lead for our 2nd shift optical production area.   Fortunately, when the 2nd shift was winding down and the Documentation Specialist position became available, I was able to point to those documents as evidence of my capability.

    I work with engineers to create and edit documents for our customers, technicians to document their knowledge of manufacturing our products, management to determine needed deliverables and am creating processes that can be followed site-wide for document generation.  Interacting with a majority of our business keeps things interesting and I enjoy helping one area to communicate with another.

    The change to a proper day schedule is a welcome one. Going back to days allows me to have a more normal flow to my days and weeks.  With this change in schedule I am taking the opportunity to go back to school.  After much consideration, I am now enrolled in the Technical Communication program at ASU.  Although my heart is in engineering, working full-time and trying to finish an engineering degree in a reasonable timespan are not compatible for me.  I am grateful for the engineering core that I have in my AAS in Engineering Technology and I already know that this has given me an advantage in my current role.  Technical writing allows me to be close to the technical subjects that hold my interest and puts me in touch with nearly every part of our business. Barring any major upheavals in my life, I should be able to complete my BS in about a year and a half.

  • Skye 6:02 pm on January 7, 2017 Permalink | Reply  

    From One Year to the Next 


    Fall of 2016 turned into such a wild rocket ride that getting back to the blog just didn’t happen.  Shortly after the start of our second shift at work, I was not only hired on by GE, but I was promoted to Team Lead.  I’m grateful to KellyOCG for helping me get my foot in the door at a workplace that has given me so much opportunity and allowed me to develop in my career.

    I’m enjoying the challenges of contributing to the rapid growth of our part within GE Grid Solutions.  2016 saw our sales triple, and this year we’ll be growing even more. Overtime was the rule of the day, and week, and month, to make sure our customers received their orders on schedule, and they did.  I have the honor of supporting a great team and continuing to gain experience in many areas of interest to me: process improvement, quality control, documentation, streamlining procedures, and team growth.

    In addition to transitioning to a GE employee and the promotion, I made the move to Glendale, AZ to be much, much closer to work.   The commute to work is now 30 miles less in each direction, and I’m able to carpool as well!  The ‘new’ place is actually rather old (for the Phoenix area, at least).  This house was built in the late 1960s and is full of custom touches the original owners must have dictated – built-in storage abounds, there’s a workshop to the side of the spacious garage, and there’s a spare bathroom with 2 showers!  I’ve never seen anything like this house and I love it.  Even the cats are happier after the move.   Can’t beat that.

    The West Valley is a whole new world and I’m exploring new places to eat,  appreciating the more classic architecture that is around due to the overall age of development here and finally grasping the whole Street vs. Avenue situation we have.

    2017 is going to be one of the freshest new starts a year can bring, given all the changes that happened towards the end of 2016.  It looks like things will settle into something closer to a routine this year, so more regular updates will be coming!

  • Skye 12:15 pm on August 6, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Clearing My Calendar and Other Updates 



    Well, not clearing it and leaving it that way.  Clearing it and making plans for a new schedule is more like it.

    Our production needs and production team have both grown such that a second shift is required.  I’ll be making the jump to that second shift and am looking forward to it.  Despite my best efforts, getting up at 3:30 in the morning is just not for me. I made it work because of my commitment to my job.  In fact, I’ve done so well at work that I have been cross-trained on a number of stations, have trained new hires, and am now taking on the responsibility of writing up training material that reflects our new workstations and procedures.  Still, I’d rather feel more rested and I believe that making the shift to an early afternoon start time is going to be the key to that.

    Back to the calendar topic, though.  I like to use Google Calendar to organize my days and weeks.  I can receive notifications across all my devices that help keep me on track and it is handy for long-term planning of routines.  It lets me step back and take a high-level view of my time.  Having color-coded blocks shows me where I have gaps I can fill to make better use of my time, and where I can take advantage of free time to unwind.  Rearranging the blocks is easy, too.  So, I’m getting a tentative new schedule in place and will refine it as I settle into my new routine.

    I’m lucky to have the opportunity to work somewhere that quickly acknowledged some of my strengths (attention to detail, becoming proficient at tasks quickly, passing on knowledge, technical writing skills), has allowed me to grow into new roles according to my strengths at a rapid pace, and is making available a schedule that I feel will be better for my life outside of work.


  • Skye 12:29 pm on May 14, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Life at O’Dark Thirty and Beyond 



    The blog and site has languished a bit in recent weeks, and there is a reason for that.  The job hunt accelerated, interview frequency increased, and a job offer was accepted.  I’m now reporting for work at 5:00 a.m. with a considerable commute, but opportunity often comes with cost.

    I’ll be adding the job to my work experience category soon.  In short, I’m working with optical fiber in a production environment for one of the biggest companies in the world.  Pretty cool stuff.  Acclimating to the new schedule, however, has been a bear.  I’m not a morning person, and having a 3:30 a.m. alarm is definitely something that does not come naturally to me.  Getting up at 5 is a completely different situation than having to be somewhere at 5.

    Although I am happy to have this job, I am not sitting still on self-improvement or heading towards long-term goals. My schedule shift is still a challenge, and likely will be for some time, but I’m making time for online coursework.  Currently, I’m learning SQL through, and have a Udemy course on SQL and data analysis awaiting me next.  While I’ve been able to do a little tinkering with mySQL for my website without breaking anything, I’m not at all fluent. Googling for solutions to problems and following instructions successfully has been my level of proficiency thus far.  Time to change that, don’t you think?  And so I shall.

  • Skye 9:30 am on February 29, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    IndyCar Prix View at Phoenix Int’l Raceway 

    Finally, something worth posting about!

    Disclaimer: I’m an F1 junkie. I keep a casual eye on motorsports in general, but have just enough time to dedicate to tracking Formula 1 drama to the sacrifice of other series. That said, I know enough to play favorites come race day. I adore Tony Kanaan for being such a great guy and have been following him on social media for quite some time. I’ll also pull for Marco Andretti, who won me over during the Indy 500 in 2006. I’ll be doing my homework on the latest goings-on of the series before the race in April.

    Although I was aware of the upcoming IndyCar Phoenix Grand Prix and had tentative plans to attend, I was not aware of the Prix View (cute), as they call it, set for this previous weekend. Luckily, there are people in my life that are able to inform me of such things, and they do.

    I hadn’t been to PIR in years and had forgotten how beautiful the backdrop is. Part of the group I would be attending the Grand Prix with were in attendance the whole day, though I was only there for the evening test session. Like many people there, the decision to buy tickets was finalized at the track due in no small part to the fact that we were able to ‘try out’ our seats and the great view they provide.

    A couple of cars kissed the wall (one more than another), something let go on another car causing a fire, but no serious incidents. Although the Phoenix Grand Prix will utilize PIR’s road course configuration, it was cool to see cars running 190 MPH laps around the oval and get the sights and sounds of these cars first hand.

    More motorsports in Phoenix is always a good thing. Looking forward to seeing the real deal in a matter of weeks!

  • Skye 8:51 am on February 9, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    A Still More Glorious Dawn Awaits (Sagan) 

    It’s been a while since I’ve watched any of the Symphony of Science videos. If you haven’t seen them, you should. Most (if not all) feature Carl Sagan, often with other big names of science like Hawking, Kaku and Neil deGrasse Tyson, some (perhaps a lot of) auto tune, nice editing, culminating in fun, fascinating and even moving videos about the wonders of science and the universe. It’s one of the finer points of the Internet that people take the time to make and share such things for all of us to enjoy.

  • Skye 2:27 pm on January 9, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Nixie Tube Clock Completed! 


    After many hours of soldering, and way too long playing with the RGB LED settings, the clock is finished. It looks great and pictures (especially those from a phone camera) do not do it justice. Though this was my first nixie project, it will not be the last. A box of 50 IN-2 nixies has arrived and they’re needing jobs to do once they test good. More clocks? A rudimentary calculator? Both? Who knows!

    Anyway, if you have happened across this page and are looking for a fun project, it’s hard to go wrong with one of these kits from PV Electronics.

  • Skye 12:30 pm on December 28, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    Nixie Tube Clock Project 

    15 - 1

    Who doesn’t love the look of nixie tubes? Oh, and if you’re playing Fallout 4, you’re gonna see nixies, whether you know it or not. Well, after years of wanting a nixie project and just simply getting my hands on some nixie tubes, the time has come. The kit I have uses IN-14 ( ин-14 on the tubes as they are Soviet new old stock) and comes from PV Electronics. It seems to be a popular kit for good reason:  it’s a 6-tube kit, not just 4 like many others (and you can source the tubes separately to save some money), they supply new old stock tubes, not used, if you wish, and the layout of the PCB is nice and compact, but isn’t too terrible for a less-than-pro solderer.

    One thing I have run into is that the instructions, if followed in the order in which they are presented, will have you soldering the tubes onto their QTC boards (quick tube change, a very nice feature which allows for easy replacement of tubes should one fail) and then the connectors for the QTC.  Well, with the tubes in place, it is exceedingly difficult to solder on the connectors, if you’re new to or out of practice with soldering.  Finer solder and a very fine point tip come in very handy here. Nixies - 1

    Yup.  And, of course, this is discovered after soldering all the nixies to all the boards.  Ah, well, lesson learned.  Only five more to go.  Glad things like desoldering braid exist, eh?

    It also seems that interest in nixie tubes is contagious.  The arrival of this kit has caused a number of people I know to start ordering tubes and kits.  Since there will be more tubes in my life soon, I’m hoping to try an Arduino-driven project sometime next year.

compose new post
next post/next comment
previous post/previous comment
show/hide comments
go to top
go to login
show/hide help
shift + esc