WELCOME

Hello, and welcome to my site. I'm Dave Gash, a Southern California-based technical publications specialist, technology trainer, conference speaker, novelist, and professional musician.

This site contains a bit of background for each of those skill sets. It is intended to be clean and concise, yet deliver all the information you might need, particularly if you're interested in hiring me in any capacity.

Please click the links in the menu at left to view the sections.

Dave's animated signature

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TECHNICAL PUBLICATIONS SPECIALIST

My background is in software development. I was a programmer for many years before making the transition to technology training, and from there to technical writing. My technical background thus serves me well in my professional capacity as a Technical Writer.

However, I generally prefer the term Tech Pubs Specialist, as my expertise extends far beyond just providing technical content, encompassing documentation set development, information architecture, user assistance, web-based delivery, and web site development.

Here are some of the areas in which I can provide technical publications services:

My current focus is on web-based user assistance (commonly called WebHelp), including HTML, CSS, XML, XSLT, DITA, JavaScript, and related technologies. I'm passionate about these technologies, and love using them to write, code, and develop web content. I am particularly interested in and proficient at DITA development, and have done a considerable amount of DITA work for clients, conference presentations, and my own professional advancement.

I have written technical articles for various web sites and newsletters, from software reviews to tutorials, as well as many help systems and technical documents.

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TECHNOLOGY TRAINER

As I grew as a software developer, I came to realize that one of my strengths is teaching others what I know. This developed into unofficial training positions at some of my early jobs, and helped me to refine my skills. My interest in early online help led to my developing and presenting contracted training for RoboHelp and ForeHelp, two early help authoring tools, and I became a certified trainer for both companies.

In the mid 1990s I went full-time into corporate consulting and training, and did quite well until the bottom dropped out of the technology business in the early 2000s. After that, I broadened my emphasis and successfully taught HTML, CSS, JavaScript, XML, and other technologies in the corporate environment.

Although the help authoring tool as a software genre is not as prominent as it once was, I continue to provide training services as requested, and will be glad to talk with you about your training needs.

Here are some of the technologies for which I can provide either individual or group training:

My teaching technique has been called "entertraining", and I can't argue with that characterization. Technology can be boring, but it doesn't have to be. I enjoy teaching; why shouldn't you enjoy learning?

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CONFERENCE SPEAKER

My interest in online help led me to attend an early conference offered by WinWriters, now WritersUA. At the conference I realized that, due to my personal study and experimenting, I already knew most of what was being presented, and so applied as a speaker for the following year. I began speaking for WritersUA in 1998, and have been a top-rated presenter there every year since.

Speaking engagements for WritersUA led to invitations to speak at AODC (Australasian Online Documentation and Content conference), UA Europe (User Assistance Conference Europe), TCANZ (Technical Communicators Association of New Zealand), ASTC (Australian Society for Technical Communication), and tcworld (Technical Communications World - Germany).

I have now presented more than sixty different sessions at these and other conferences in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Germany, Denmark, South Africa, and Poland, covering a broad range of technical writing subjects, techniques, and technologies, and continue to do so.

Copies of any of my presentation slides or example code are free for the asking; just drop me an email.

Here are some recent and upcoming speaking engagements.

Event Location Date
WritersUA Mountain View, California, USA April 14-15, 2016
STC Summit Anaheim, California, USA May 15-18, 2016
UA Europe Budapest, Hungary June 9-10, 2016
TechCommNZ Workshop Series Auckland/Wellington/Christchurch, New Zealand Oct. 7-12, 2016
ASTC Melbourne, Victoria, Australia Oct. 14-15, 2016

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AUTHOR

I recently published my first novel, a science fiction time-travel story called The ELI Event. I've been an avid sci-fi fan since I can remember, and had worked on the ELI story off and on (mostly off) for many years. In 2010, my daughter read the unfinished manuscript and encouraged me to finish it and get it published, so I finally did. The cover image and a synopsis follow.

The ELI Event cover

LOS ANGELES VAPORIZED—9 MILLION DIE!
2015: Los Angeles is destroyed in the ELI Event, a space-weapon catastrophe that leads to a bleak and brutal distant future for all but the privileged few—unless rogue time-travelers from the twenty-fourth century can prevent the tragedy and mend the timeline. In an attempt to protect humanity from itself, the sentient computer ELI steals the weapon's code but unwittingly makes his only friend, 15-year-old Robin Kirkland, a suspect in the sabotage and the target of a military manhunt. ELI's creators, scientists Stephen Wheeler and Kelly Duncan, find a mysterious ally in Arty, a down-on-his-luck janitor recruited from the near future to prevent the ELI Event and change history. But there is another, anonymous player: ruthless Vice Governor Lokus has also jumped upstream to ensure the catastrophe happens as it originally did and thus leave his elite and entitled future world unchanged. The race is on, not just to save present-day Los Angeles, but to alter the future of mankind—and its machines—forever.


The ELI Event is available from Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats, and from Barnes and Noble in paperback and Nook formats.

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MUSICIAN

I am a lifelong musician and performer, and started playing guitar when I was just a kid. I've dabbled with a few others (bass, keyboards, harmonica, trumpet), but guitar is my primary instrument.

I have played in professional bands since high school. After college I made my living with music for a few years, doing guitar and vocals for The Boys Next Door, a traveling show band. We played four shows a night, six nights a week, fifty weeks a year (go ahead, do the math!) all over the United States, opening for or performing with artists like Kenny Rogers, Asleep At The Wheel, Jim Stafford & Bobbie Gentry, and David Gates. After that, I returned to the business world, where the money was better and the hours shorter, but always had a weekend band.

2003 brought me to California, and for nine years I performed as The Quimbys, a one-man classic rock show. The Quimbys successfully performed all over San Diego County, but all good things must come to an end, and in 2013 I retired that act to move on to other musical ventures.

I am a robust and versatile lead singer with a serious thing about accurate harmonies, and am a great fan of harmony groups like The Beatles, Three Dog Night, and The Eagles. I've been the vocal arranger in several bands, and love to identify harmony parts, arrange them for the available voices, and sing them with other band members. In The Quimbys, I pre-recorded all my own harmonies so that I sang every part, lead and backup, which was an incredibly fun and educational process.

My equipment includes a Fender Stratocaster with a Roland synthersizer pickup. This amazing toy is very much like a keyboard synth except that it is driven by the vibration of the guitar's strings. With it, I can imitate virtually any instrument, so if a song needs anything from a sax riff to a fiddle line to an entire horn section, I just set a patch and flip a switch on the Strat and it magically transforms into the required instrument.

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