Category: Culture / Community

Atlanta Miscellany for the STC Summit

(Note: This post was originally written for the conference in Atlanta in 2009, but it only took a few tweaks to bring it up to 2013.) Whew! The STC Summit in Atlanta is less than 2 weeks away! To help you with your planning, we have some more information about
  • Getting to Atlanta
  • Getting Around Atlanta
  • Shopping
  • Traveling with your Service Animal
  • Tipping
  • Pharmacies and Emergency Care

Getting to Atlanta

Visit the Accessibility pages of the conference site to find information about traveling to Atlanta by plane, train, or bus. Information includes the cheapest way to get from the airport to the conference hotel - MARTA, the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) public transit system in Atlanta. MARTA takes you straight to the hotel. From the airport, take the northbound train to the Peachtree Center Station stop, which is one stop north of the Five Points transfer station. Exit the train and take the escalator up towards Peachtree Center Mall. Once inside the mall, follow the signs to the covered walkway into the hotel. There is also an elevator. You can visit the Peachtree Center Station virtually from the MARTA site to prepare for your trip. This Marta guide to the station has even more tips and photos. The Amtrak station in Atlanta is not connected directly to MARTA. You can either walk to the nearest MARTA station, or take a cab or bus from Amtrak to the hotel. The site for the Amtrak station in Atlanta has a map and phone number to call for more information. The site for the Atlanta Checker Cab to help you plan your budget for the trip.

Getting Around Atlanta

Get some sightseeing ideas from the STC host chapter in Atlanta. Wikitravel has a page dedicated to traveling to Atlanta and visiting Atlanta, all collected in one spot. You find climate information, city history, and additional details about getting to Atlanta by train, plane, and automobile.

Shopping

This is about basic shopping - toothpaste, tissues, bottled water, and so on. Right across the street from the Hyatt Regency conference hotel is the Peachtree Center Mall. There is a convenience store just inside the Mall from the Peachtree Center Avenue side. For more information, visit the Mall site, which includes a directory of the shops and maps of the center. For your business needs, there is a business center in the conference hotel, in the Mall, and at 100 Peachtree St NW (FedEx Kinkos).

Traveling with your Service Animal

The conference hotel accepts service animals for those guests who need them. Contact them directly for more information. Bringing a service animal is not a problem, but do call ahead several days in advance so they can let housekeeping know. It is also helpful if the service animal looks like a service animal, for example, wearing a jacket to indicate that this is a working animal. Accessible Techcomm has more tips about traveling with service animals.

Tipping

Tipping is always tricky, especially for people not used to travel or visitors from outside the country. Everyone has an opinion, and the opinions don't always match. We are providing links to two fairly updated articles about tipping, but you can also ask for more information in virtual or real-life fora.

Pharmacies and Emergency Care

Two of the nearest pharmacies are: Caremark 55 Park Pl NE Atlanta, GA 30303 (404) 522-6330‎ Walgreens 595 Piedmont Ave., Suite. 100 Atlanta, GA 30308 (404) 685-9665 You are always welcome to contact the hotel concierge with minor questions, and they will be happy to help you as best they can. Visitors to the US should note that the telephone number for emergencies is 911, but remember to also contact the hotel staff if the emergency is on the hotel property.

Announcing the SIG’s LinkedIn Group

Graphic for SIG badge in social media (LinkedIn)

The AccessAbility SIG now has a group on LinkedIn for professional networking by people interested in accessibility issues. To join the group, go to https://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=1852045

Joining will allow you to find and contact other STC AccessAbility SIG members on LinkedIn. The goal of this group is to help members:

  • Reach other LinkedIn members who are interested in accessibility
  • Accelerate careers/business through referrals from STC AccessAbility SIG Group members
  • Know more than a name – view rich professional profiles from fellow STC AccessAbility SIG Group members

To join the Society for Technical Communication LinkedIn group, go to https://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=2926

What is LinkedIn?

Your professional success often depends on your professional relationships. LinkedIn is professional networking that helps you get in touch or get back in touch with people who have helped or can help your career, find a new job, or find a client. If there is someone you've worked with that you'd like to give a recommendation for—you don't have to wait to be asked to write one. Write it now—surprise them. They get a chance to review it and decide whether or not to post it to their profile. You may also request recommendations from your co-workers or bosses (three gets you to 100% of your profile if you've filled out everything else in the profile.) LinkedIn has many groups you can join such as alumni groups of corporations and universities, special interests, professional, and more. Search for ones to join at https://www.linkedin.com/groupsDirectory?trk=hb_side_grpsdir

LinkedIn is an online network of more than 25 million experienced professionals from around the world, representing 150 industries.

When you join, you create a profile that summarizes your professional accomplishments. Your profile helps you find and be found by former colleagues, clients, and partners. You can add more connections by inviting trusted contacts to join LinkedIn and connect to you.

Your network consists of your connections, your connections' connections, and the people they know, linking you to thousands of qualified professionals.

Through your network you can

  • Find potential clients, service providers, subject experts, and partners who come recommended
  • Be found for business opportunities
  • Search for great jobs
  • Discover inside connections that can help you land jobs and close deals
  • Post and distribute job listings
  • Find high-quality passive candidates
  • Get introduced to other professionals through the people you know

LinkedIn is free to join. https://www.linkedin.com/

LinkedIn participates in the EU Safe Harbor Privacy Framework and is certified to meet the strict privacy guidelines of the European Union. All relationships on LinkedIn are mutually confirmed, and no one appears in the LinkedIn Network without knowledge and explicit consent.

LinkedIn

Photo Group Collections to Illustrate Your Blogs and Other Writing

Our Flickr account holds photos from conferences and meetings related to the Accessibility SIG and it's members. These are collected in photo albums in our Flickr albums. In addition to the SIG's photos, there are several groups in Flickr that contain interesting images to use for your blogs and other writing related to accessibility and technical communication. Log on to Flickr and go to the Groups tab to see a list of all groups and search for a group. You'll be sure to find something that is relevant or gives you a good laugh. Some groups we like are
  • Usability & Accessibility – Photos from the UPA.
  • !Rock That Disability! – This is a group for anyone with a disability, physical, mental or otherwise. (But not just them!) Pictures you want to share.
  • Crutches, Wheelchairs and Canes – The beauty of people who use crutches, wheelchairs, or canes to get around. We welcome pictures of these items being used.
  • Design: Oohs & Aaughs – Photos of both praiseworthy and inadequate design. These are products, objects, and experiences (good or bad), which impact us enough to stop and take notice (and take a photo, too).
  • Public Computer Errors – Computer crashes, errors and other horrors as viewed by those of us innocently traveling along in life.
  • This Is Broken – Photos about the brokenness (bad design) of items, places, etc. ... see http://goodexperience.com/tib/ for more.
  • Accessible Travel – Photos of accessibility in tourism hot spots around the world. This includes wheelchair access, Braille signage, sound, markers for the hearing impaired, accessible and inaccessible intersections, public transportation, maps, lodging, restaurants, bathrooms, telephones and communication infrastructure, museum signage, best practices/worst practices, You (!) enjoying a public place with superb accessibility.
  • Wheelchair Accessible Trails – Photos taken on wheelchair accessible or paved hiking trails.
  • Rolling Rains - Travel with a Disability – This group gives travelers with disabilities, their travel companions, friends, and allies of the disability community a place to post about travel. Sometimes we see (or use other senses) differently; sometimes not. To publish your work here you don't need to snap a shot of every curb cut or Braille road sign - aesthetics counts - but somehow weave in insights about accessibility as you tell your story. The combination of photos, firsthand commentary, and the ability to contact the poster provides a unique and ever-changing consumer-level guide for the disability community on to where to go for a good time.
  • Old Wheelchairs, Gurneys, & Outdated Medical Equip – Photographs of outdated/decayed/found Medical Equipment/Devices. The older the better.
  • Writing Machines – Photos of typewriters, printing presses, and movable type—anything to do with the mechanical reproduction or creation of the written word.
  • Writing – Photos about writing and the life of writers. If you are a writer/journalist, you can show fragments of your writing life. Includes photos of handwritten pieces, pens, notebooks, Moleskines, and so on. Photos of people writing and artworks if the theme is "words, writing, writers".
  • Written In Stone – Photos of inscriptions (i.e., words, phrases, names) carved into stone such as on tombs, monuments, and buildings.

If you encounter another group you think we should add, please send us a note with the name of the Flickr group.

Blogs as Disaster or Emergency Communication Tool

Some attendees at the June 2008 STC conference may recall the session about "Communicating and Creating Training for Disasters and Emergencies" presented by members of the Environmental, Safety, and Health SIG. "How do you write emergency training that will engage people to become prepared when they are apprehensive about their safety?" At the other end of the spectrum is communicating during disasters or emergencies. The popular blog, Lorelle on WordPress, discusses that in a recent post called "Blogs Offer Communication, Information, and Connections During Disasters". This post provides an interesting discussion of how blogs are one way of getting news to the world about an unfolding disaster. Obviously, the infrastructure necessary for this type of communication can be threatened: no electrical or telephone lines, for example. Lorelle shares many tips about coping with that type of situation. She also reports the abuse that, sadly enough, follows in the wake of these disasters. All in all, this post echoes some of the ESH presentation. Could emergency preparedness be communicated through blogs, and could those same blogs act as a lifeline during an emergency, helping to coordinate relief efforts and connecting people and resources? To me, the answer is an obvious yes, but you wouldn't necessarily be able to start doing all these things the very day disaster struck. Planning, as discussed by the ESH SIG, is in order. I'll close this entry with Lorelle's closing thoughts, which sum up the lessons to be learned. I hope you'll add your thoughts in the comments.

For the bloggers living, working, and surviving in disaster areas, they have a lot to teach us about how blogs can help and serve our online community. Those who want to help from outside the impacted areas are learning more about how to integrate multiple media and blog sources into a single aggregator without impinging upon copyrights, creating central clearing houses for news and information. The more we learn about how useful blogs are in a disaster, the more our blogs will improve overall.