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Posts Tagged ‘Technology Copywriting’


March 10th, 2020

Security grammar: Are you insecure when writing about unsecure technology?

Security grammar: Are you insecure when writing about unsecure technology?

At Prompt we spend a lot of our days writing about technology – big data, data warehousing, BI, CRM, BPM, ERP, API – you name it, we’re ITK. If it’s got an acronym, or a set of acronyms associated with it, then we’ve written opinion pieces, whitepapers, case studies and news releases about it.

One area that’s always hot – whether the underlying topic is mobile, cloud, BYOD, SQL injections, risk or compliance – is security. Which brings us to a very specific grammar question. Do you ever find yourself pausing and asking yourself, the people around, or the grammar gods: “Is it unsecure or insecure?”

At first, this appears a very easy question. ‘Unsecure’ can surely be eliminated – after all the word doesn’t appear in either Merriam-Webster or the Oxford English Dictionary. But that doesn’t necessarily mean a great deal in the constantly changing world of tech speak. In the technology sector, words and phrases are coined and adopted at the drop of a Zune –  just consider the use of the words ‘virtualized’, ‘de-duplication’ or ‘phablets’.  At Prompt we have to stay current with the market and all of its constantly ‘evolving’ terms and phrases (but we don’t have to like ‘em).

The problem with this example is that while insecure can be used in both US and UK English to mean something that is not adequately protected – for example an ‘insecure investment’ – it is more typically used to describe a lack of emotional confidence or certainty. Yes, some dictionaries will go as far to state the example of ‘an insecure computer system’ and there’s a whole Wikipedia page on ‘Computer Insecurity’, while ‘Computer Unsecurity’ clearly does not earn a Wikipedia page at all. But for many of us ‘insecure’ just doesn’t sit very, um, securely in a sentence.

We can’t help think that an insecure computer system sounds a little self-conscious about the size of its processors, or needs a reassuring reboot up the backend. So where to go?

Well, we like to use either of the phrases ‘non-secure’ or ‘unsecured’. Both pass dictionary scrutiny, and each can be used quite literally to mean ‘not made secure’, which we think is a good fit for a computer system that hasn’t been protected with security measures.

Unless you are an absolute stickler for academic grammar (and if you are then tech buzzwords are going to destroy your finely balanced sensibilities in about a picosecond anyway), then you could arguably use any of the terms mentioned in this post to get your point across. The most important thing then, as is generally the case with most copywriting best practices, is that you are consistent. So pick a term, add it to your company style-guide, share it with your team, marketing contacts and agency – and then be secure in your decision.

Follow Hazel on Twitter at @HazelButters

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August 5th, 2013

WordPress user tip: Re-creating disappearing bullets when posting from Word to WordPress

WordPress user tip: Re-creating disappearing bullets when posting from Word to WordPress

Like many WordPress users I frequently use Microsoft Word to put together posts and then utilize the WordPress ‘Paste from Word’ feature – if you’re not familiar with this feature, you’ll find it in the formatting toolbar. If you can’t see it, simply press the ‘kitchen sink’ button. Don’t know what that is? Check out our short post ‘Everything but the kitchen sink’.

Despite this helpful ‘Paste from Word’ button, there can still be hiccups due to Microsoft Word itself, your WordPress theme, or a combination of both.  One such problem commonly encountered is disappearing bullets.

If you have a list that you’d like to have bulleted, but grow frustrated at its disappearance or format changes upon transferring from Word to WordPress, follow these steps:

  • Once in your post or page on WordPress, select the ‘Text’ view from the top right – don’t be scared, it’s just HTML
  • Scroll to the section of your HTML in which you would like to insert bullet points
  • Before your first bullet point, you should see a <ul> tag. Insert a style attribute here, that reads like this: <ul style=”padding-left: 20px;”> – The padding option will determine the left alignment of your list, so feel free to adjust the ‘px’ number. Px refers to the number of pixels – if you don’t know what number to add in then try 20 and change it up or down accordingly

Note:  the <ul> tag specifies an unordered list (bulleted to you and me). If you’re looking for a numbered list then change <ul> to <ol>, which will result in an ordered (aka numbered) list.

  • Next, you will need to style *every* <li> tag in your list, effectively forcing each one to have the style you want – See our example here:
    WordPress HTML
  • Here I’ve used the Prompt bullet style of choice, which is  <li style=”list-style: disc outside;”>
  • Now, save the file and preview it.  Got everything you need? Then press ‘update’ or ‘publish’ and stand back to admire your handiwork
  • If you’d like to see Prompt’s final product, resulting from the HTML pictured above, click here

More questions about bullets or WordPress styling?  Why not  join one of our Google Hangouts to chat with Prompt’s WordPress expert, Malachy McConnell or  get in contact with us at wordpress@prompt-communications.com?

Now get out there and bullet away. 

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July 26th, 2013

WordPress tip: Everything but the kitchen sink

WordPress tip: Everything but the kitchen sink

In some of our WordPress posts we may tell you to ‘head to the kitchen sink’. No, this is not a basin of dirty pots and pans (of course, your kitchen sink may be empty and gleaming) – it’s a handy WordPress button.

It’s nicknamed the kitchen sink because it hides a miscellany of other buttons, kind of like ‘everything but the kitchen sink’.

Not sure where it is?  Well, if you are adding a new WordPress post and you can only see one line of buttons, like below, then press the kitchen sink button at  the end:

kitchen sink button

Once pressed, the button unveils a new row of options, yours for the taking – or the pressing.


Still have questions?  Join our weekly Google Hangouts every Friday at 2pm EDT.


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