This page is an archive from 1998 of a site that now lives at, and was used during a January 2003 presentation. I have changed nothing other than adding this note.

Derek K. Miller - return to main page
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"If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend six hours sharpening my ax."
-Abraham Lincoln

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Some frequently asked questions about...

Derek K. Miller, B.Sc., Dip.A.C.N.F.

Next 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.

Next 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 more.

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 document management
  • Miscellaneous Stuff: Music and musical instruments, the outdoors, mountain biking, transportation, plants and gardens, and travel

Next 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 more.

Next How about school?

Next 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

Next 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: SimpleText. 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.
    • Best Viewed with Coffee 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).
    • GraphicConverter 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 Macintosh 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 UMAX SuperMac 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 Times.

    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 experience.

    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.

Waterfront So what's it like to have diabetes?
    Not so bad, really.

Whistler Highway 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