Biographies of People in the Artemis Project
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John Peel

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John Peel

Technical Writer, Multimedia Author, Web Page Author
Artemis Role Education Work Experience Personal Skills Software Skills Personal History Hobbies

Role in the Artemis Project

John Peel joined the Artemis Project in late 1995 and is an active member of both the ECTC (Electronic Communications Technical Committee) and the ASI Web Team. As such, John has reviewed and edited the ECTC Procedure Guide. Using the ECTC Procedure Guide as an example, he wrote the Web Pages Procedure Guide, which he maintains. He has also helped rewrite the page entitled "Joining the Artemis Project", and has helped out with the ASI Web Style Guide. John is also responsible for developing the first online Help screens for WebSite Director, and has helped review subsequent versions of the online Help.  Most recently, he has written a white paper for CyberTeams for web site management.


San Jose State University, San Jose, California - Between 1992 and 1994, John took Graduate-level courses in Multimedia Computing. These courses include:

New York Institute of Technology, Central Islip, NY - John graduated in 1988 Cum Laude with a B.S. in Technical Writing.

While at N.Y.I.T, John:

S.U.N.Y. College at Fredonia, Fredonia, NY - John enrolled in 1983, majored first in Biology, then Computer Science, then English. Transferred to New York Institute of Technology in Spring of 1986.

While at S.U.N.Y. Fredonia, John:

Work Experience

John Peel is a Sr. Technical Writer/WebMaster for a network startup in Fremont, CA.  Before that, he worked at Network Power & Light developing next-generation file servers.  And before that, he was a Documentation Specialist for SpotMagic, Inc., a multimedia broadcasting software company in San Francisco, CA. Over his 12 years in the field, he's written everything from product tutorials to Reference Guides to Installation Guides. He's written printed and online documentation for PC, VAX, UNIX, and IBM mainframe computers. John is also experienced with context-sensitive WinHelp, HTML Help, ActiveX, and is making every effort to teach himself Java and JavaScript when time and his family let him! For more about John's work experience, let his resume do the talking.

August '98-present
R16a - Fremont, CA

Sr. Technical Writer/Webmaster:
Designed and developed context-sensitive Help for browser-based network server software. Used FrontPage to create context-sensitive HTML-based Help. Create hardcopy and web-based user documentation. Developed documentation strategy and company documentation standards. Assumed lead role in developing company intranet, which included designing web site structure for intranet, gathering content from various internal sources, and working with network administrator to implement intranet.   Assisted Engineering in testing network server software. Researched information by using products and interviewing developers.

Tools used: Windows95/98, Microsoft Word 97, Adobe FrameMaker, Microsoft Front Page, Netscape, Microsoft Internet Explorer.

July '97-August '98
Network Power & Light - Fremont, CA

Sr. Technical Writer:
Designed and developed documentation set for new Windows and UNIX network file server. Developed online Help in HTML using FrontPage and RoboHelp. Developed documentation strategy, standards, and processes for new product line. Interfaced with publication designers and  print vendors regarding production of manuals. Created and posted web-based version of documentation. Designed, created, and deployed Marketing intranet. Beta-tested network file server and documentation. Edited and posted application notes on intranet and company web site. Designed, created, and mastered product CD-ROM. Planned and coordinated production of multimedia CD-ROM with outside vendor. Trained to become an ISO Internal Auditor, and performed internal audits per ISO regulations. Researched information by interviewing developers and using products.

Tools used: Windows95/98, Microsoft Word 97, RoboHelp/HTML, Adobe FrameMaker, Adaptec Easy CD Creator, Microsoft Front Page, Netscape, Microsoft Internet Explorer, and Microsoft Exchange.

October '96-July '97
SpotMagic, Inc. - San Francisco, CA

Documentation Specialist:
Designed and developed context-sensitive Help for Windows95-based animation tool. Developed documentation strategy and company documentation standards. Used RoboHelp to convert online Help system to HTML-based Help. Learned emerging HTML-based Help standards by using RoboHelp's Help to HTML tool and attending WinHelp Conference. Researched and developed web pages that include ActiveX controls and multimedia objects. Designed and developed multimedia online Help prototypes that included sound, video, and links to pages with ActiveX controls. Established technical support department, which included technical support workflow, phone and fax system, call ticket software, and web-based forum software. Created company's first technical support database using Microsoft Access. Assisted in distributing and testing Beta software. Established information flow between Engineering and other departments. Researched information by using products and interviewing developers. Provided initial customer support for Beta version of SimpleToon Maker, SpotMagic's first commercial product.

Tools used: Windows95, Word for Windows95, RoboHelp4, HTMLWinHelp, Help-to-HTML, Microsoft Access, Support Express, ActiveX Control Pad, Microsoft Front Page97, Toolbook, Netscape, Microsoft Internet Explorer, and Microsoft Exchange.

March '94-October '96
ACCEL Technologies, Inc. - San Jose, CA

Technical Publications Specialist: Researched and wrote printed and online documentation for DOS, Unix, and Windows-based CAD software products. Designed a new set of printed documentation for DOS-based CAD software. Planned documentation projects. Designed, developed, and updated Windows online Help for plotting program and installation program. Converted printed documentation written in Interleaf for UNIX to Acrobat PDF (Portable Document Format) for CD-ROM distribution. Hired, trained, and supervised a team of writers for documentation conversion project. Designed documentation strategy that included PDFs with multimedia and World Wide Web documentation updates. Created a gold master CD-ROM for in-house testing. Assisted Engineering and Marketing departments in setting up and using Adobe Acrobat. Researched information by using products, reading functional specs, and interviewing developers.

Tools used: Word for Windows, Windows Help Authoring Tool, Adobe Acrobat Pro, RoboHelp, RoboHelp Video Wizard, RoboHelp Compatibility Wizard, Interleaf for DOS and Unix, Pizazz, and Paintbrush.

June '88-February '94
Computer Associates - Islandia, NY/San Jose, CA

Technical Writer:
Researched and wrote User Guides, Reference Guides, Reference Summaries, online Help, and a Function Guide for Windows, DOS, VAX, and IBM mainframe software products. Acted as lead writer/documentation coordinator by planning and tracking documentation projects. Researched information by using products, reading functional specs, and interviewing developers. Also wrote update packets for printed and online documentation. Assisted Technical Support by taking orders for update diskettes during tax season.

Tools used: Word for Windows, Windows Help Compiler, Inset, Hijaak, Word for DOS, Procomm, XEDIT, SCRIPT, TSO/ISPF, Paintbrush, and Hedit (DOS-based proprietary help compiler), CA-SuperProject and CA-SuperCalc.

February '88-June '88
Boden Associates - East Williston, NY

Technical Writer: Researched and wrote DOS-based fire safety training course, lessons for DOS-based data security training course, and questions for DOS-based auditing systems. Wrote and edited scripts for instructional videos.

Tools used: Sidekik and WordStar.

October '87-June '88
Protein Databases, Inc. - Huntington Station, NY

Technical Writer Intern: Researched and wrote in-house User Guide for administrative database system, monthly in-house newsletter, and data transfer procedures. Revised and updated online help for UNIX-based protein gel analyzer system. Researched information by using products and interviewing developers.

Tools used: UNIX text editor vi.

Personal Skills

John has taken courses in C and Pascal programming. He has also completed a course for building and upgrading PCs, as well as a workshop for creating multimedia applications. He taught himself HTML basics by creating and publishing his own web page, and by using different web page editors.

To keep up with the latest information technologies, John regularly attends conferences and workshops. Most recently, he attended the WinHelp97 Conference in Seattle and the Seybold 97 Conference in San Francisco. He plans to attend WinHelp 98, again in Seattle.

Software Skills

John is familiar with:

Personal History

John Peel was born on November 4, 1964, in New York City, to Joe and Anita Peel. He is the younger of two children. His sister, Dorothy, is two years older.

John spent his early childhood in New York's upper west side near Columbia University. His mother was a nurse at St. Luke's Hospital, while his father was a building manager for IBM's Watson Research Lab. It was here that John, at age 6, got a small preview of his future. On a day off from school, John visited his father's workplace. During this tour, John was led to a computer terminal. His father had him enter a series of commands to start a game program. John was fascinated! After the tour, John got a small piece of advice from his father, which he later took to heart: "Learn what you can about computers. Learn how to use them. They'll be an important part of your life one day."

John spent his later childhood growing up in Montauk, New York. In grade school, he gained a reputation for writing long stories instead of short compositions. In high school, he was one of the first student instructors in the new Computer Math department. He also participated in the Intramural Bowling program.

During his junior high and high school years, John travelled to Europe several times to visit family and friends, and to see different parts of the world. He spent time with family in Malta and England, and visited Spain with his high school Spanish class.

Just before going off to college, John got another piece of advice that would shape his future, this time from his mother: "Keep up your writing skills."

After changing his major a few times, John found his career path one morning in the Spring of 1984. Just before starting class, his PASCAL programming instructor stated that a software product had two important parts: the code and the manual. His point was that writing manuals was a viable career. Curious, John visited his professor's office that afternoon. The professor explained that in his previous writing jobs, the employers were looking for someone who knew how to write, but who also had a good technical background. They didn't have to be experts, but they needed to know enough to write about technical topics so that non-technical people could understand them.

During the summers of 1984 and 1985, John once again experienced a foreign culture, this time aboard a Japanese factory ship. He served as a Joint Venture Observer for the Eastern Long Island Trawlers Corporation in their joint venture with Nippon Suisan Kaisha, a Japanese seafood company. It was a number-crunching job, but one that taught John much about international business, diplomacy, and a bit about Japanese culture. The job also had its share of wild adventures. During one trip, John sailed right into the eye of a tropical storm over 100 miles off shore where the waves broke over the bow! Nobody went out on the deck that day.

In the Spring of 1986, John transferred to New York Institute of Technology, where he majored in Technical Writing. By the time he graduated in 1988, John had already completed two part-time technical writing jobs, and secured himself a job with Computer Associates, then the largest independent software company in the world.

After two years of documenting IBM mainframe software at CA's corporate headquarters, John yearned for a professional and personal change. In 1990, he transferred to CA's Micro Products Division in San Jose, CA. He eventually left there to join Altium, an IBM company that was later sold to ACCEL Technologies. After an all-too-brief stint at SpotMagic in San Francisco, John works at Network Power & Light.

As his career took shape, so did his personal life. In September 1985, John met Susan Wright at S.U.N.Y. Fredonia. They dated on and off for a few years, then got back together for good on April 1, 1989. John and Sue have been together since. She joined him in California in 1991. After surviving many ups and downs, they married on May 15, 1993 in Montauk, New York. More than two years later, Tamara Carmen Peel was born on November 30, 1995. After spending 7 years in Santa Clara, CA,  John and Sue finally bought a house in the up-and-coming historic town of Antioch, CA.  John, Sue, and Tamara now live in the East San Francisco Bay area and are very happy to finally have a house with a huge yard and friendly neighbors!


John is somewhat physically active when time allows; he studies Karate, enjoys bike riding, hiking, camping, and swimming. He's also recently taken up soccer, but admits to not being league material. He just likes kicking the ball around to have some fun, work off steam, and keep healthy. John also enjoys deep sea fishing, be it for bluefish in the Atlantic or salmon in the Pacific. Besides travelling to Europe, he has visited Canada and Mexico. He'd like to someday visit Japan, Egypt, and of course... the moon!

John is also a certified Star Trek fanatic. Over the years, he's built up a respectable collection of models, books, videos, autographs, and other memorabilia. His wife, Sue, is often accused of being a Star Trek fan by association (though she prefers Star Wars). And his daughter, Tamara, likes listening to the opening theme to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine! John likes reading Dirk Pitt novels, listening to classic rock, and learning all he can about Ancient Egypt. He saw the Treasures of Tutankhamun exhibit and remembers Tutankhamun's gold mask as if he saw it yesterday. He hopes to someday visit Tutankhamun's tomb and the Pyramids of Giza.

Biographies of People in the Artemis Project

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