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Follow-up on yesterday’s talk about API technical writing

ffeathers - a technical writer's blog - Tue, 08/26/2014 - 09:24

Yesterday I was privileged and delighted to speak at a meeting of the STC Silicon Valley Chapter in Santa Clara. Thanks so much to Tom Johnson and David Hovey for organising the meeting, and thank you too to all the attendees. It was a lovely experience, with a warm, enthusiastic and inspiring audience. This post includes some links for people who’d like to continue playing with the APIs we saw last night and delving deeper into the w (more)

More posts around the web

just write click - Mon, 08/25/2014 - 23:14

Seems like more and more I’m writing everywhere but here! I wanted to do a round-up of some of my writing around the web.

On the Rackspace Developer Blog: Austin Ladies Hackathon

This weekend was a blast, hacking with all women at Rackspace, and wow were the projects impressive. Here’s how it went.

Friday night we gathered at a restaurant, the Flying Saucer, to meet each other and start to form teams. I’d guessimate that 20 of the 30 participants showed up. I helped (more)

Fall 2014 Scriptorium conference round-up

Scriptorium blog - Mon, 08/25/2014 - 12:53

We have a full schedule of stellar conferences coming up this fall. We hope to see you at one or more of these events. Let’s start with the big news. You should be able to recognize us at these events, as we … Continue reading →

The post Fall 2014 Scriptorium conference round-up appeared first on Scriptorium Publishing. (more)

10 tips to become a Wikipedia master

Core Dump 2.0 - Mon, 08/25/2014 - 05:15

Although Wikipedia may not be a perfectly authoritative source for research, it is still an incredibly useful resource if you’re aware of its limitations. It’s also a very deep resource with many features that most people never touch. Gizmodo has published 10 tips that will help you master Wikipedia. For example, I didn’t know you could do this:

1. Create ebooks and PDFs for offline reading

Wikipedia has a built-in Book Creator tool that you can take advantage of (more)

Five top picks from Content Strategy Forum 2014

Firehead - Fri, 08/22/2014 - 06:45
Content Strategy Forum 2014 happened in Frankfurt at the start of July. You can find slide decks, video coverage, and reviews collected on the CSForum website but we’ve particularly enjoyed catching up on our learnings via Script’s video playlist on YouTube. Here … Continue reading →

[[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]] (more)

Writing documentation for the games industry

Cherryleaf Technical Authors blog - Fri, 08/22/2014 - 02:45
Last week, I visited Gamescom in Cologne. Gamescom is the largest exhibition and trade fair for computer games in Europe, with over 335,000 people attending this five day event. We visited for social...

[[ For the full article, see]] (more)

Iceland bears watching

Core Dump 2.0 - Wed, 08/20/2014 - 19:31

It seems that one of Iceland’s major volcanoes may be getting ready to erupt. There’s been a lot of seismic activity under Bardardunga, indicating that magma is on the move. This could mean an eruption is imminent, though the scale of such an eruption is difficult to predict. A worst-case scenario isn’t likely but (more)

Talk about API technical writing in Silicon Valley next Monday

ffeathers - a technical writer's blog - Wed, 08/20/2014 - 17:41

I’ll be speaking at the meeting of the STC Silicon Valley Chapter in Santa Clara on Monday 25th August. Thanks to Tom Johnson for organising this get-together! I’m excited to meet the Silicon Valley writers. 

The talk is titled, “API Technical Writing: What, Why, and How“. The (more)

Author in DITA, publish with WordPress - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 10:23

If you’ve been following my posts lately, you’ve seen me explore the tools question numerous times. In this post, I’ll explore combining structured authoring with web publishing on WordPress.

In a nutshell, here’s the main idea: structured authoring tools are great for authoring content. Web platforms are great for publishing content. My plan is to leverage the best of both worlds by creating content using an XML editor like OxygenXML, and then publish it to a platform like WordPress.

Tech comm is great at authoring

Unquestionably, authoring content with a tool like O (more)

Engage before change: your content strategy mantra

Scriptorium blog - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 09:25

If you’re about to revamp your content strategy, repeat after me: Engage before change. The only way you’re going to plan—much less implement—a successful content strategy is to talk to all the groups who create and consume content. Without that … Continue reading →

The post Engage before change: your content strategy mantra appeared first on (more)

What’s new in DITA 1.3

Core Dump 2.0 - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 05:41

DITA keeps evolving. The DITA Technical Committee is hard at work finishing DITA 1.3, which should be finalized sometime next year. They recently presented a webinar outlining what’s new. If you don’t have the time to watch the webinar, you can view the presentation slides {PDF), which are quite detailed.


2014 Hugo Award winners

Core Dump 2.0 - Sun, 08/17/2014 - 18:20

The winners of the 2014 Hugo Awards have been announced at Loncon3, the World Science Fiction Convention in London, England. In true sfnal fashion, the award ceremony was streamed live over the Internet, and this time there were no glitches due to over-zealous copyright bots.

Ann Leckie won the Best Novel award for Ancillary Justice. It’s obviously the book of the year, as she also won the Nebula Award for it. I am a bit surprised that Robert Jordan didn’t win for his immensely popular Wheel of Time series. I was glad to see Charlie Stross win Best Novella for Equiod, par (more)

More Falcon 9 ocean landing video

Core Dump 2.0 - Fri, 08/15/2014 - 11:04

There’s video of the Falcon 9 ocean landing after last month’s ORBCOMM launch, this one taken from a chase plane. Unfortunately, the cameraman missed the actual moment of splashdown, but it’s still an impressive video.



Core Dump 2.0 - Tue, 08/12/2014 - 05:45

We watched an interesting movie on Netflix the other night – Womb. It turned out to be a drama about a woman who bears the clone of her dead lover and what happens as a result. Yes, it was technically SF but the emphasis was on the F, not the S. The acting was excellent (both former Doctor Matt Smith and Eva Green who is in the series Penny Dreadful) and the cinematography superb. It was much, much better than the IMDB rating would indicat (more)

Taking notes

Cherryleaf Technical Authors blog - Tue, 08/12/2014 - 03:43
One of the requirements of being a Technical Author is capturing information provided by others. This means you’re often taking notes, scribbling madly into a notebook as the other...

[[ For the full article, see]] (more)

Who is speaking up for Canadian English?

Core Dump 2.0 - Mon, 08/11/2014 - 08:53

When I was in university, one of the assignments in my linguistics class was to come up with a list of words that were specific to the part of Canada I was from. It was a harder exercise than it might seem. At the time, there was no dictionary of Canadian English to crib from, and there isn’t one now – the last specifically Canadian dictionary, The Canadian Oxford Dictionary, was last published a decade ago.

The Globe and Mail looks at who is keeping track of Cana (more)

Content strategy failure in ten easy steps (premium)

Scriptorium blog - Mon, 08/11/2014 - 08:30

Here’s how to ensure content strategy failure in ten easy steps. Follow these steps to guarantee that your project disintegrates in spectacular fashion. The top three are: Pick your tools first. Don’t talk to stakeholders. Make bad assumptions. 1. Pick … Continue reading →

The post Content strategy failure in ten easy steps (premium) appeared first on (more)

Woes of conditional text and topichead elements (DITA best practices) - Sun, 08/10/2014 - 16:01

When authoring in DITA, there are a couple of best (or worst) practices that I wasn’t aware of. The first is with conditional text; the second is with topichead elements:

Cautions with conditional text

Noz Urbina has written two excellent articles about the dangers of going overboard with conditional text.

Woes of conditional text and topichead elements (DITA best practices) - Sun, 08/10/2014 - 16:01

When authoring in DITA, there are a couple of best (or worst) practices that I wasn’t aware of. The first is with conditional text; the second is with topichead elements:

Cautions with conditional text

Noz Urbina has written two excellent articles about the dangers of going overboard with conditional text.

Benefits of tool diversity, part II - Thu, 08/07/2014 - 11:35

In my previous post, Is tool fragmentation a good thing?, I lamented the trend toward tool fragmentation in the tech comm community, noting several disadvantages that fragmentation brings:

  • fragmentation of community and knowledge sharing
  • increased overhead of learning new tools
  • frustration with HR departments who expect strong knowledge of their chosen tool (among hundreds)

I explored the appeal in having a standard method for tech comm that we can plu (more)