"If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend six hours
sharpening my ax."
Some frequently asked questions about...
Derek K. Miller, B.Sc., Dip.A.C.N.F.
What kind of writing and editing experience do I have?
- Writing: newspaper columns, news articles, magazine
features, manuals, software online help, Web content, press releases,
packaging copy, print advertising copy, academic papers
- Editing: newspapers, magazine articles, manuals,
software online help, Web content, marketing materials, advertising
and packaging copy, academic papers, guides, handbooks, fiction
(short stories and novels)
- Copy Editing and Proofreading: magazine articles and
columns, newspapers, newsletters, documentation, marketing materials,
Web sites, short stories, novels, correspondence, cookbooks, reports,
advertising and packaging copy
- Layout and Design: desktop publishing, paper layout,
newspapers, guides and handbooks, posters, flyers, brochures, Web
sites, album covers, advertising design
- Web Design: Since it's a large part of what I
do for a living at Multiactive
Software Inc., I'm getting better at this Web stuff all the
time. Of course, there's always more to know.
What do I specialize in?
I'm a generalist, which means (depending on your point of view) either
(a) that I have wide-ranging tastes, or (b) that I can't make up my mind.
I'll write about pretty much anything, in other words. And I'll edit even
Nevertheless, there are a few things I haven't yet learned to like writing
about (finance and professional sports, for instance), and I do have
some specialties, or at least subjects that interest me and that I
know something about. Even these cast a pretty wide net:
- Language: Writing itself, linguistics, literature,
the brain and language, cognition and understanding, media and
communication, and publishing
- Science: Especially biology, oceanography,
geography and geology, astronomy and space science, environment
and ecology, meteorology and climatology, speciation and evolution,
archaeology and anthropology, and most other stuff that
doesn't make me do too much heavy-duty math
- Computers: Macs and PCs, hardware and software,
a little UNIX, troubleshooting, appropriate use of information
technology, the Net, the Web, the Information
Super-duper-pooper-scooper Highway, blah, blah, blah...
- Education: Schools, universities, colleges, student
politics, learning, academic culture, administration, educational
planning, and student publications
- Politics: Government, public policy, non-governmental
organizations, international and cultural relations, human rights,
current events, and regional and land-use planning
- Imaging and Design: Photography, graphic design,
layout and desktop publishing, typography, digital imaging, and
- Miscellaneous Stuff: Music and musical instruments,
the outdoors, mountain biking, transportation, plants and gardens,
Who(m) have I done all this stuff for?
See my Clients page for some of my customers.
E-mail me if you'd like to know
How about school?
Where have I worked when not freelancing?
- Writer, Editor & Web Guy, Multiactive Software Inc.
(the new name of Maximizer Technologies), 1997-present
- Internet Marketing, Maximizer Technologies Inc., 1997
- Development Assistant, Maximizer Technologies Inc., 1996-97
- Sales Coordinator, Gardens West magazine, 1995-96
- Drummer and Vocalist, The Neurotics/The Flu, 1994-95
- Student Issues Researcher, UBC Alma Mater Society, 1992-94
- Project Worker, Simon Fraser Student Society, 1991-92
- Editorial Intern, Western Living magazine, 1991
- Editor, UBC Student Handbook, 1990
- Floor Staff, Science World British Columbia, 1989
- Park Naturalist, Greater Vancouver Regional District, 1988
How did I make this Web site?
I originally put this site together as an experiment, a way to learn
Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), before I had any way for people to
see it over the Web.
Since it was a learning experience, I wrote the HTML code from the ground
up with the very limited text editor provided with the Mac OS:
I discovered it was a convenient way to learn HTML without any help
from whiz-bang site tools, so I really understood what was going on.
It wasn't sufficient for long, though, and I soon came to use some of
these whiz-bang (well, maybe semi-whiz-bang -- I was still working in raw
text, after all) tools:
- BBEdit 4.5 ("Bare Bones Edit")
- I began with BBEdit Lite 4.0, a very nice freeware version of the
amazingly powerful HTML and programming text editor BBEdit, used by
more Webmasters than any other program on any platform. In mid-July
I upgraded to the full version of BBEdit, then discovered that I did
so late enough to get a free upgrade to the new BBEdit 4.5 (woo-hoo).
Already I'm losing track.
- Nisus Writer 5.1 - What a
word processor should be: powerful, not too big, customizable, and
chock-full of the kinds of tools writers and editors really use. Nisus
has some decent HTML tools too.
Netscape Navigator 3.0, 4.0, and 4.5
- I had to preview the pages with something, and this was what was
on my computer while I worked. As I mentioned on
my main page, though,
I don't care which browser you use, and I don't have any particular
preference myself. Even text-only
Lynx works on
my site (yes, I tried it).
3.1 - a fabulous shareware program, by Thorsten Lemke of Germany,
for working with almost any graphic format you can imagine (without
hogging resources like Adobe's
Photoshop, versions 2.5 and 5.0 of which I also used).
- Finally, of course, there's my faithful old
Centris 660AV, four years old and still plugging away at 50MHz,
while all its siblings and rivals are heading for 300MHz and beyond, and
the extremely fast
Power Macintosh G3 I
got in May. (I also use one of the newer, speedier Mac clones, a
C600, at work.)
The site itself is hosted by the
AngelFire, a nice company that provides free (really
free) Web site space, even for commercial pages, which I suppose mine are.
I found out about them from a review of free Web site hosts in the paper
I used to work for, the Campus
The limitation of 200K on Web site content at AngelFire (now extended to a
much larger 5 MB) was actually great for learning HTML and Web design:
it meant I had to think seriously about what is really needed
here, and take care to make my graphics as small as I could. That, in turn,
makes sure that my pages load quickly for you. Again, a good learning
Check out the Web
Interoperability Pledge, too -- it's designed to help prevent Microsoft
and Netscape from splitting the Web into incompatible segments by making
their browsers have exclusive, proprietary features.
So what's it like to have diabetes?
Don't those insulin needles hurt?
No. They're tiny, thin as a hair, and you get used to them. They hurt
less than being pinched, in fact.
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Page BBEdited on 17-Aug-98