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.
Please click the links in the menu at left to view the sections.
At the end of each section you will also find a "More..." link like the one above that displays additional
information. Click the link to expand or collapse the information. (This one is currently expanded.)
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 communicator.
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 provide technical publications services:
- Documentation set analysis
- Information typing
- Content structure and reuse
- Knowledge acquisition from SMEs
- Legacy content conversion
- Documentation project setup and kickstart
- Authoring tools and technology training
- Technical writer training and mentoring
My current focus is on web-based user assistance (commonly called WebHelp), including HTML, CSS, XML,
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.
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
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.
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 certainly enjoy teaching; why shouldn't you enjoy learning?
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
(Australasian Online Documentation and Content conference),
UA Europe (User Assistance Conference Europe),
TechCommNZ (Technical Communicators of New Zealand),
(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, Poland, and Hungary,
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.
A few years ago I 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.
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,
audiobook, and Kindle formats,
and from Barnes and Noble
in paperback and Nook formats.
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 have pretty much 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.
playing public and private gigs all over San Diego County.
In 2013 I retired The Quimbys to move on to other musical ventures, but have recently revived the solo show
to play venues in Temecula's Old Town district, local wineries, and private events.
I am a robust and versatile lead singer with a serious thing about accurate harmonies. In fact, I like to say
that I'm not a guitar player who sings — I'm a singer who plays guitar.
I'm 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 my solo show, I pre-record all my own harmonies so that I sing
every part, lead and backup, which is 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.
In the show I also use a red Rickenbacker 360 12-string guitar, the instrument favored by
George Harrison, Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne, Mike Nesmith, and others. For acoustic numbers I play an
old and well-loved Ovation Celebrity Deluxe in an unusual green gloss finish.