Weather alert for Toronto, 4 January 2014

I like these detailed weather alerts.

City of Toronto
5:23 PM EST Saturday 04 January 2014
Special weather statement
for City of Toronto continued

Winter storm with heavy snow later Sunday and Sunday night, with mixed precipitation for some regions. Windy and sharply colder again Monday with some blowing snow and lake effect snow-squalls.

Old man winter is about to have another go at Southern Ontario as a winter storm developing over Oklahoma threatens the region.

A weak cold front from a separate weather system affecting Northern Ontario will slip into Southern Ontario tonight. This front will give a few centimetres of snow to many areas by Sunday morning, with 5 cm or more falling in locales east of Lake Huron to the south of Georgian Bay. This front will likely stall north of lakes Erie and Ontario on Sunday.

Meanwhile, a low pressure system developing over Oklahoma today will intensify and track northeastward along the line of the stalled front, crossing Southern Ontario Sunday night.

Some disorganized snow is expected on Sunday over some regions. As the deepening low approaches, the snow will become heavy over Southwestern Ontario Sunday afternoon and over the remaining regions Sunday evening. The snow will likely change to some rain near Eastern Lake Erie and Lake Ontario as well as parts of Eastern Ontario later Sunday evening. There is also a threat of some freezing rain in these areas. Any freezing rain that occurs will have virtually no impact on hydro for those areas impacted by the recent ice storm. But more significant freezing rain may impact travel to some degree over Eastern Ontario. Freezing rain warnings will likely be issued later tonight. The precipitation will taper off overnight Sunday or by early Monday in the east.

It appears that regions north of a line from roughly Leamington to London to Barrie to Pembroke will receive snowfall amounts of 15 to 20 cm. Amounts will likely be up to 5 cm south of that line with locally 10 cm in some areas.

In the wake of the storm, bitterly cold west to northwest winds will return on Monday, producing blowing and drifting snow in areas which receive the most snow from the storm. Furthermore, intense snow squalls are forecast to develop off Lake Huron and Georgian Bay Monday and persist into mid week.

Travel conditions are expected to deteriorate and become hazardous due to accumulating snow and poor visibility in heavy snow over Southern Ontario Sunday. If freezing rain falls, untreated surfaces may quickly become icy and slippery.

There is still some uncertainty as to the exact track of the storm centre and where the freezing rain and heaviest snow will fall. Environment Canada will continue to monitor this evolving situation and issue warnings accordingly.

It should be noted that widespread dangerous wind chills are likely especially from Monday night through Wednesday as some of the coldest air in years seems poised to settle across the region accompanied by brisk winds.

The public is advised to monitor future forecasts and warnings as warnings may be required or extended. Please monitor the latest forecasts and warnings from Environment Canada at

Toronto eyes new mandatory vaccinations

It has been 22 years since the city of Toronto specified which vaccinations students must have to attend school. Parents can opt out by getting a notarized statement of conscience or religion and presenting it to the school; but 98% of parents allow their children to get the free immunizations. As a result, polio and diphtheria are things of the past; we are relatively free of the measles and mumps outbreaks seen elsewhere; childhood deafness is almost unknown; congenital defects have dropped; and children don’t die of lockjaw from a scratch with a rusty nail.

However, science has been marching on, and the province now offers free vaccines against chickenpox, meningitis, whooping cough, rotavirus, invasive pneumococcal disease, hepatitis B, and human papilloma virus for girls. Yet none of these health benefits are not included in the list of vaccinations needed for school. The city’s medical office of health is asking for an evaluation and recommendations based on facts about disease prevention and dangers.

Is it time for Toronto to provide the push that protects children against those diseases? Any of them can be fatal. I say that they should at least be considered and at least some of them added to the mandatory list.

Mild vs. deadly flu could come down to one molecule

A Canadian and international research team may have found the key to severe cases of flu or other respiratory diseases. Patients who had the most severe cases had more interleukin 17 in their bodies. We have been getting the idea in the last several years that an especially strong immune reaction could wreak more havoc than the disease virus itself. Many of the patients who died of swine flu and consequent pneumonia have little virus left in their bodies. Yet they remain severely ill, their lungs clog and fill with fluids, and they can die. This severe reaction is called up by chemicals called cytokines; it’s been called a cytokine storm. Interleukin is one of the cytokines.

Interleukin is also found in inflammatory, auto-immune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and asthma, according to Dr. David Kelvin, the head of experimental therapeutics at the University Health Network in Toronto. He is the senior author of a paper published in Critical Care journal last week. Dr. Kelvin says that this is the first solid clue to the problem.

Toronto tech writers offer seminars for managers


The Toronto Society for Technical Communication is offering a day of seminars on Wednesday, April 22nd, for those who manage technical communication issues.

As writers and managers, we often hear what should be done, but how to do it and do it correctly, can be tough. This one–day workshop has four excellent topics teaching you how to improve your team, how to identify the right translation vendor to work with, how to promote yourself and your team internally, and how to manage during transitions of key staff. Leave with clear action items to get results from your team, and get work done on time and within budget.

The day includes a hot, catered lunch, morning and afternoon snacks, and speaker handouts
With the tough economic times we are facing it is more important than ever to ensure you have the right team, the right partners, the right image, and the right management.seneca-college-allstate-parkway

LOCATION:  Seneca College, Markham Campus, 10 Allstate Parkway near Highways 404 and 7  (Google Map)

SCHEDULE: 08:00 –16:15 plus as long as people want to ask questions.

8:00 Breakfast, networking, & check in (please arrive by 8:30 a.m.)
8:45 Promotion from Within:  During tough times it can be difficult to find the resources to hire new members for your team. One solution is to promote from within. However, finding the right team members, and identifying the key habits that make a technical communicator great, can make all the difference in team building. Visnja discusses these traits and teaches you how to identify them and promote the right people from within your current ranks.

vijsna-begVisnja Beg is the Project Manager overseeing all deliverables for the IBM Rational Software family of User Assistance products. She has worked in technical communications for 20 years and is a past president of STC Ottawa and has presented at several STC conferences.

10:15 Coffee, tea, snacks, & social networking
10:30 Choosing the Right Translation Vendor: When content must be translated, it is crucial to choose the right vendor. To find the right vendor, you need to ask the right questions. You also need to evaluate bids beyond the cost per word. What are best practices for making this important decision? Learn how to select a vendor based on lessons learned by those who have gone through the process. Save yourself both money and time.

vivian-aschwanden2Vivian Aschwanden has over 11 years of experience in information development in both writing and leadership roles. She has been a lone writer for a startup, led a doc team in a broadcast engineering firm, and now fills a part-time project management role at Platform Computing in conjunction with her full-time writing.

12:00 Networking lunch
13:00 Internal Consulting: Selling Tech Comm Inside Your Organization: Learn how to expand your network inside your organization, increase the services you offer, and boost the value of you and your team in the eyes of your employer. Told as a true  story about the growth of a tech writing team, this session teaches techniques and tools for developing relationships in your company and turning those relationships into lines of business.

mark-pepperMark Pepper is a communicator with 14 years of experience. He has been the lead technical writing consultant at Deloitte & Touche, an elearning writer and project manager, worked in journalism, business analysis, and at the help desk. He presently runs his own company, Crimson Sage Softworks Inc.

14:30 Coffee, tea, snacks, & social networking
14:45 Managing Management Change: how do you manage the abrupt departure of management? Learn how an interim manager steered a department through change and brought in a new ID manager (promoted from within the team) with minimal damage to productivity or morale. Effective change management strategies eased the transition. Learn key things you need to do to ensure change “sticks”, and strategies to help a team grow through the change.

jim-smithJim Smith is Manager of Information Development and User Experience at Platform Computing. Jim has been an information developer for over 20 years, including 7 years at IBM’s Toronto Lab. He has enjoyed 10 years at Platform, where he now manages a dynamic team of information developers and usability experts.

16:15 Wrap-up & Questions for the panel


REGISTER: Email or phone 416-460-5845.

We must receive your payment to confirm your registration. If you cancel, you must let us know 5 business days before the event. However, you can send someone else at any time.

See you there!

Shlomo Perets FrameMaker & Acrobat workshops

Shlomo Perets, a well-respected electronic-publishing expert, is coming to Toronto to give three days of workshops on publishing with FrameMaker and Acrobat publishing.

Front Runner Training is hosting Shlomo Perets of Microtype in Toronto to deliver his highly sought after FrameMaker to Acrobat Advanced Techniques workshop and two Advanced Acrobat workshops!
Bring your laptops, bring your files, bring your questions!

FrameMaker to Acrobat Advanced Techniques
Monday September 22nd & Tuesday September 23rd
fee $1,240; for STC members $1,140 (plus GST)

Designing Access to Information & Testing Your PDFs
Wednesday September 24th

fee $540; for STC members $490 (plus GST)

Creating PDF Forms
Thursday September 25th
fee $540; for STC members $490 (plus GST)

  • Add GST to all fees.
  • To get the STC discount, supply STC membership number on registration.
  • Classes are from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. each day.
  • Continental breakfast is included.

Please contact Front Runner, with STC membership number if applicable, to register for your workshop.

Centre for Inquiry Toronto

Free talks on science and skepticism can be found at the Centre for Inquiry near the University of Toronto.

STC Toronto annual general meeting & awards night

Wine and Cheess

Toronto STC members were invited our Annual General Meeting and Wine & Cheese party tonight.

We had a good turnout to support our colleagues and local STC community as we:

  • Recognized winners of the Technical Publications Competition
  • Recognized the efforts of Toronto STC volunteers
  • Voted for next years’ Administrative Council
  • Unveiled next year’s very exciting program – we’ve been planning for impact!
  • Enjoyed good catered food, good drink, and wonderful company

The Toronto STC community is a group rich in camaraderie, experience, and knowledge in the field of technical communications. Please come out and support your colleagues’ accomplishments, vote for your new leaders, and enjoy a great evening for networking, socializing with your professional community, and looking forward to exciting times to come!

The meeting was held in the Burgundy Room at the North York Memorial Hall, 5110 Yonge St. at 7 PM. STC Members attend for free.

The STC Toronto Community

The STC Toronto Community would like to invite applications from all our members for positions as Activity Managers/Assistant Managers and Executive Team members and Assistants for the coming year. Members will need to be nominated/acclaimed for a position on the team.

If you want to take part in blazing a new course for our community, and in making a dynamic difference as a team member, please take a look at the Job Specifications posted under the respective links of the Exec Committee page of our Web-site, and get in touch with us as soon as possible.”

TTC beta test survey: FAIL

The Toronto Transit Commission has given the public access to their new Web site, which is in beta test. I urged:

Take time to visit the new site and leave your feedback. We can help the TTC to improve their user experience if we act now.

First, go and roam around the TTC beta site. Then return to its home page. At the bottom is a link to a survey. Follow the link and fill out the survey.

Now I have to add—if it works!

Maybe an e-mail to the TTC’s Webmaster? No, there’s no e-mail address.

What about the Contact Us page? No.

Contact Us info coming soon

There’s no link back to the old site, so no way to get back unless you have the presence of mind to use the Back button in your browser enough times to get to the introduction page.

This is getting funny. It’s reminding me that many editors have called the TTC over the years, offering to help improve their signs and instructions, only to be told, “We’re all right. We have the best safety record in North America, so everything is fine.” Meanwhile, their warning on the in-car alarms still ask people to set off the alarm in case of vandalism or passenger safety!

I will try to get in touch with them via the old site and tell them that the survey form isn’t working. Of course, it could be my computer. But I hope they tested it on external computers.

UPDATE: I phoned the TTC and they said, as help-desk people often do, “That shouldn’t be happening.”  I described the problem, then read them bits of the error message, then offered to send a screen shot. So I’m doing that.

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