Thanks for visiting my revised website! Hi, I’m Karen Rempel, a Vancouver-based documentation specialist and senior technical writer.
I just updated this website to be mobile-friendly using the fantastic WordPress theme Twenty Fifteen. I also updated my BC Wilderness Visions website, using the same theme but different settings. Check it out to see the striking effects that can be achieved by simple colour changes.
I want to give a big shout-out to WordPress for this awesome theme. It only took me a day to update both websites to use this theme. I was previously using Silver Light by Blog Oh! Blog. I loved this theme and didn’t want to change, but Google forced me into action by notifying me that my Google ranking would slip if I didn’t make my site resizable for mobile phones and tablets. What can you do?
I checked out my Google Analytics for the past month, and found that of the 1000+ visitors to this technical writing website:
- 918 used desktops. This is what I thought! My clients are typically at their desk at work when they think about their need for a technical writer, do a search, and call me.
- 70 used their mobile phones.
- 15 used their tablets.
Technical writers bridge people and technology
So isn’t it interesting that people use technology to find technical writers? Most of my clients find me by searching on the internet. And thanks to Google Analytics, I know which devices they use, what countries they search from, and even what browser they use!
Here are the stats for browsers used to find this technical writing website:
- Chrome – 729
- FireFox – 115
- Safari – 72
- Internet Explorer – 31
Please drop me a line to let me know what you think of the new site! And if you like, tell us what device and browser you used to get here. 🙂
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After 10 years of teaching yoga on a part-time and volunteer basis—as a refreshing addition to my desk-bound technical writing gig—I have decided to retire my mat. Although my appreciation of the value of yoga has not changed, its popularity has grown enormously in the past 10 years and there are now hundreds of excellent yoga teachers in New York and Vancouver. I’ve therefore taken down my Yoga for the Office page on this website.
In the past I taught yoga as a volunteer through Yoga Outreach. I taught youth in prison, and also people who are recovering from drug addiction. I continue to support the wonderful outreach work of this organization through a corporate sponsorship. I sponsor a weekly program at New Dawn, an addiction recovery treatment program offered by the Chrysalis Society. Yoga classes are one component of their unique, effective approach to assisting women to deal with addiction. Yoga Outreach brings a pioneering trauma-sensitive approach to teaching yoga that makes yoga an accessible, effective resource.
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The most refreshing 15 minutes of the week!
For the past 8 months, during a very fun and satisfying technical writing contract, I offered a free 15-minute yoga class at lunch time. The participants were my colleagues at the Vancouver-based credit union Coast Capital Savings. This was an adaptation of the 60-minute class I developed for the Society for Technical Communication, following the same principles of being accessible to people of every fitness level, with poses suitable for all of us while wearing office attire, and not requiring any special equipment.
Weather permitting, we did the class in the parking lot, and later on a grassy lawn across the street. When the weather was cool or wet, we did the class in a large meeting room, with lots of windows and light coming in on two sides. When indoors, I encouraged people to kick off their shoes. Outdoors, people often felt more comfortable keeping their shoes on. Sometimes the women did this class in their high heels! How’s that for adaptability!
Over this period of time I perfected a series of poses to loosen all the tension from the neck, shoulders, and upper back. It is mostly standing poses, though when indoors I like to include Cat.
Karen’s 15-minute yoga for the office class
- Horse (Qigong) – loosens shoulder joints
- Bear (Qigong) – loosens joints from ankles to shoulders, and softens neck
- Carnival (Kundalini) – loosens upper back
- Little wings (Kundalini) – pulverizes remaining tension in upper back
- Mountain with side bends (Hatha) – uses breath to loosen ribs, open sides
- Tree (Hatha) – brings balance and resilient strength
- Cat – a final stretch to open space in the spine and chest
I guarantee that you will feel lighter, looser, rejuvenated, and refreshed after doing these poses! Many times I was amazed at how the tension and pain in my shoulder (which I injured some years ago while working long technical writing days at the computer) vanished from doing this class. The participants—my software developer, subject matter expert, business analyst, user acceptance, business improvement engineer, training, change manager, tester, and quality assurance team mates—also reported feeling benefits such as improved mood and reduced physical tension. But more than the physical results, the benefits of sharing this special time with my colleagues was the most uplifting aspect of this class. I think we all had fun, and that this somewhat unconventional office activity brought us closer together! Namaste.
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On Tuesday, January 19, 2010, I taught a class called Yoga for the Office for the Vancouver chapter of the Society for Technical Communication, a professional organization for technical writers. This is the second time I have taught this course to technical writers, and I developed it to help counter-act the strain on our bodies from working at a computer. Of course this type of yoga is helpful for anyone who works at a computer, not just technical writers! I was inspired to teach this course when I developed the strategic plan for the chapter in May of 2008. As I pondered what I could bring to the chapter in my role as president, the vision that emerged was Making a Difference.
I finished a degree in ecopsychology at Naropa University in 2007, and since then I have been discovering different ways to use what I have learned to serve my people… which includes family, colleagues, and my professional organization, as well as other communities. In the busy city of Vancouver, I think we all belong to multiple communities. And to the community of the planet as a whole.
I believe that many people are concerned about the challenges we are facing as a planet, such as climate change, pollution, social injustice, and economic difficulties. I also believe that people want to make a difference, and do many things in their lives that are making a difference already. So I decided it would be empowering and lively to celebrate the ways we make a difference. This theme still excites me, and it carried me through the challenges I occasionally faced as chapter president for the 2008-2009 term. I believe it has infused our chapter membership of technical writers with enthusiasm about being a part of our STC community.
It has been very inspiring for me to hear of the many different ways our members serve their people: bringing food to people living with HIV or AIDS and their families, street-level outreach for the homeless, dog therapy for palliative care patients, helping friends and family members with child care, and many, many other wonderful contributions. It is not surprising that technical writers are so passionate about service when one considers that we have all chosen a type of work that is service-oriented, helping our clients, companies, and the end users of our documentation to solve their problems. One of the ways that I enjoy contributing is through teaching yoga to people who otherwise might not have an opportunity to experience it.
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