Edgar D'Souza

Technical Editor, Writer, Programmer



About Me - Work-Related

About Me - Work-Related

About Me - Personal Interests

FOSS-Related

    Python

    Linux

I've been doing technical writing and editing part-time from 2004 to Jan 2006, and full-time after that, at Teclarity. Before getting into technical writing, I've done system administration (Linux servers, Windows clients). Before that, I've also been a programmer full-time for several years, using different technologies. I've also used these skills at my TW job, for automating repetitive and time-consuming tasks, and for administering our little LAN with a Linux gateway/firewall/DNS/caching proxy/nameserver. I've mentored a small team of people, besides assisting them with work-related technical problems.

Along the way, I've acquired knowledge and experience in the following: 

  • DITA (beginner level, but have done sample projects and done an evaluation of editors, finally setting on XMetal, as well as have poked around the DITA Open Toolkit for processing)
  • MS Office 2000 and 2003 (in particular, Word) including VBA macros and automation from VB6
  • Adobe FrameMaker 5.5, 6.0, 7.1 (unstructured only)
  • RoboHelp X5, DocToHelp, and Help and Manual - though my use of these products has largely been limited to solving problems encountered by the writers that were using them on projects
  • Visual Basic (started with version 3, and stayed with it all the way up to 6 - but didn't make the move to .NET). I worked with GUI design, n-tier application structuring/development, DCOM/Remote Automation, OLE Automation, and Win32 API calls.
  • Active Server Pages 3.0 (VBScript) and PHP 4.x (for database-centric apps for intranet use, not websites on the WWW). Naturally, this also means I acquired more than a passing familiarity with HTML 3.2 and 4.0, JavaScript, and even a smattering of CSS.
  • Python 2.4 and 2.5 (haven't yet made the move to 2.6 in preparation for Python3K). I've used Python at work to automate image path fixes in FrameMaker MIF files, to do similar fixes to DITA topics (set height and width attributes) and more. In my spare time, I cobbled together a small Python plugin for the GIMP, which applies a tear-off jagged-edge effect to the image - something that tech writers use frequently, but was missing in the GIMP. I'm inordinately proud of this little script, because it is my first personal, tangible, formal contribution to FOSS. I plan to code a couple more such plugins, time permitting, and release those as open-source software too.
  • MS Access, MS SQL Server 6.5/7.0/2000, PostgreSQL 7.x and MySQL 3.x, 4.x and 5.x databases - including T-SQL and plpgsql stored procedures/functions, views, indexing, and query optimization.
  • RedHat Linux 8 and 9; Mandriva 10.x, 2006 and 2007; Fedora 9; Ubuntu 7.10 and 8.04 (for desktop installations). In fact, I use Ubuntu 7.10 on my laptop; for the few times I need Windows, I use VMware Player to fire up a Windows VM. I'm a co-moderator and active (but not necessarily usefully ;-P) member of the ILUG-Goa Yahoo Group, the mailing list for the Linux Users' Group in Goa.

Projects I worked on at Teclarity, often as sole writer or developer, include the following:

  • The Cedars-Sinai Medical Center's Artificial Intelligence in Medicine program – I edited and reorganized a series of manuals for cardiac diagnostics software; broke up the manuals into chapter files for content re-use across manuals; wrote a VBA document-combination system for Word 2000, using a large macro to combine chapters referenced from a “master” document into a single manual, and programmatically update headers, footers, hyperlinks and TOC.
  • MailingOnline, USPS partners for web-based document design and mailing – I was the project lead and editor for the WebHelp system, developed with RoboHelp X5. 
  • E*Trade Financial – conversion of FrameMaker legacy documents to Word 2000, minor edits, and formatting.
  • JP Morgan Sympro – editing and updation of legacy manuals to match a newer version of their Treasury Management software suite. They were so happy with our work that they came back to Teclarity for documentation for their newest version.
  • Mi5 Networks – I wrote the Installation and Configuration Guide for their anti-spyware appliance while it was still in stealth mode and the product hadn't been formally named. (See http://www.mi5networks.com/products/index.htm)
  • We've done a lot of work for Sitek, a member company of Exor International, including copyediting presentations, corporate blogs and websites
  • RealRead, an innovative Java-based system for viewing “titles”, converted from PDF, without the need for Adobe Reader – I rewrote their Installation, Configuration and User Guides for a new version of their UploaderPro software. I also offered them feedback on their UI, which they accepted enthusiastically and are incorporating into an upgraded version.
  • Soluziona USA – we wrote a whitepaper about their Reporting and Fee Collection system, for use as sales collateral.
  • An American Guide to Success – I wrote a VB6 program that generates a Word document from book review data entered in an Access database. I also re-designed the database and added a user-friendly data entry form. This project used seven Word templates to generate a beautifully-formatted document that the client could publish as PDF on his website. The UI offers a choice of publishing only selected categories, or all book categories. (See the guide's home page on the Choice­Awareness Management site)

 Interested in discussing an opportunity with me? Mail me - edgar dot b dot dsouza _at_ Gmail...