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Here’s a vast collection of old radio shows from the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. The collection includes X Minus One, which featured much classic science fiction with stories by Robert A. Heinlein, Ray Bradbury, Murray Leinster, Isaac Asimov, and many others. I remember listening to some of these when I was a child.
Unfortunately you can’t download the shows for offline listening, but they offer three players so you should be able to stream the ep (more)
Tech Comm on a Map now displays all the 2015 technical communication conferences that I’ve found so far. Take a look, and let me know if there are any more tech comm conferences, groups, businesses or societies to add.
Tech Comm on a Map puts technical communication titbits onto an interactive map, together with the data and functionality provided by Google Maps. It’s a great way of seeing what we tech writers are up to, around the world. To find out more about the project, or to add some (more)
A new theme is emerging in the UX (user experience) world: Empathy. Putting humanity into technology. Product designers want to ensure they have empathy with the users of their product. We in the tech world want to design for what people need and want, rather than for what’s new and shiny. I think technical writers can contribute to this discussion!
One of the little tricks I’ve implemented with OxygenXML is dynamic content filtering. Our product supports four different programming languages – Java, PHP, C++, and .NET. Rather than producing 4 separate outputs, I produce just one output and provide a content selector option in the header.
Here’s a demo in my DITA QRG site.
When you select an option in the upper-right corner, the content dyna (more)
The term “strategy” is defined as “alternatives chosen to make happen a desired future, such as achievement of a goal or solution to a problem.” To borrow from the definition of management consulting, then, content strategy is the practice of helping organizations to improve their content performance, primarily through the analysis of existing content problems, and development of plans for improvement. A content strategy will assess an organization’s current state, understand the ideal future state, recog (more)
William Gibson was in town for the Toronto Book Fair this weekend. We didn’t go – instead we went to a couple of readings (Robert J. Sawyer and Peter Watts) at SFContario – the small fan-run convention being much more to our taste. Gibson has been on a tour touting his new novel, The Peripheral, and earlier last week he was at the New York Public Library where he was interviewed by James Gleick. The talk was recorded and is now up on the NYPL web site (in both video and audio formats) (more)
In this presentation delivered at tcworld 2014 in Stuttgart, Alan Pringle and Sarah O’Keefe discuss several factors that are required to adapt content for the US market. This presentation is especially relevant for European companies that want to enter the … Continue reading →
The post Adapting content for the U.S. market (presentation summary) appeared fir (more)
SmartDocs is a powerful Word add-in from ThirtySix Software that gives Word users many of the capabilities of FrameMaker (variables, conditional text, reusable snippets) with an interface that is much easier to use. I’ve been using it for about three years and the more I use it the more I like it. I’ve been using it to produce two different versions of our FIX protocol specification, a 300-page document full of complex tables, and SmartDocs has handled everything I’ve thrown at it with aplomb.
In SmartDocs, delet (more)
The Content Wrangler Virtual Summit on Advanced Technical Communication Practices takes place December 4-5, 2014. This free online event features eight one-hour presentations from some of the best and brightest in the technical communication field.
It’s time for another typography post. Gizmodo has an article about three typefaces that are designed to solve specific problems.
I’ve posted about Dyslexie before - it’s designed to help dyslexics read. The other typefaces mentioned in the article are Input, a good looking monospaced font (yes, it is possible) for programmers, and Burlingame, a font designed for extreme legibilit (more)
This is a sponsored post by Nicole Smith on the history of technical writing. I don’t often publish sponsored posts, but I think Nicole’s essay provides a brief yet informative history of the tech comm profession that is worth reading.The Internet has revolutionised communication completely, but this is especially apparent in technical writing. How often have you wanted to learn how to do something and gone to eHow or Wikipedia to learn about a skill or process? Helpful and informative written work has been around almost as long as writ (more)
A while ago, I posted a tip on adding collapsible sections to the OxygenXML webhelp output. Collapsible sections have their place, but more commonly now, users seem to prefer long pages that they can scroll. For this behavior, it’s better to add a mini-TOC near the beginning of the page that lists the sections on that page. As an example, look at pretty much any page on Wikipedia.
Here’s what my mini-TOC looks like:
SFContario 5 will be held in Toronto this weekend. For those of you not familiar with it or science fiction conventions, it’s a small fan-run convention focused mostly on the literary side of science fiction (though there will be filking and probably some costuming). This year, they’ve managed to get some funding from the Toronto Arts Council to put on a series of free authors’ reading during the convention. Readings will be held at Ramada Plaza Hotel, 300 Jarvis Street, in the Courtyard Room.
Among the authors reading are Karl Sc (more)