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The Upcoming TC Camp Unconference and my morning API workshop - 47 min 25 sec ago

On Saturday, January 24, 2015, there will be a TC Camp unconference held at Mission College in Santa Clara, California. The unconference is a one-day event that draws about 150–200 technical writers in the area to participate in an informal, attendee-led day of events.

During the morning of the unconference, there are several workshops available (for a small fee). This year Marta Rauch will teach a workshop on mobile, Maxw (more)

Upcoming API Workshop with Sarah Maddox - 1 hour 13 min ago

Sarah Maddox will be teaching a full-day technical writing API workshop at the Google campus in Mountain View, California, on January 23, 2015. You can read all the details here.

This workshop is free and includes a catered lunch. It will be held on Friday, January 23, from 9am to 4pm. There is no cost to the workshop, but there is a capacity limit of 110 people for the room. If you want to attend, sign up now so you have a spot.

If you change yo (more)

Removing conditional text with ExtendScript in FrameMaker

Core Dump 2.0 - Thu, 11/27/2014 - 04:48

I’m currently cleaning up a bunch of conditional text in an Adobe FrameMaker book. I need to reduce eight conditioanl tags down to two. Because of the complexity of the content and the required updates, I can’t simply just delete the tags or the text en masse – I have to go through the book and figure it out item by item. It makes me pine for the Content Map feature of SmartDocs for Word, which wouldn’t reduce the manual processing, but would greatly reduce the time I have to spend searching for condition tags.

Coincidentally, I cane across (more)

Not so cool tools for Technical Authors – speech recognition software

Cherryleaf Technical Authors blog - Thu, 11/27/2014 - 03:06
Our method for creating online courses involves making an audio recording of the presenter, transcribing it, editing the script and then recording the final, video presentation. We’ve tried...

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

DITA Open Toolkit 2.0 now available

Core Dump 2.0 - Wed, 11/26/2014 - 04:51

Robert Anderson has announced the availability of version 2.0 of the DITA Open Toolkit. From the dita-users list email:

Last week at the first DITA-OT Day, we were excited to announce the availability of DITA-OT Release 2.0. This release has been under development for a long time now, and comes nearly ten years after the initial release of DITA-OT 1.0.

DITA Open Toolkit Release 2.0 includes the following significant enhancements:

  • New dita command line tool provides a simple command interface
  • XSLT stylesheets have been converted to XSLT 2.0
  • (more)

Tech comm on a map: See all the tech comm groups, meetups, conferences, events, and consultants on a Google map - Tue, 11/25/2014 - 15:28

Sarah Maddox recently recently launched a project called Tech Comm on a Map. It lists all the tech comm groups, meetups, conferences, events, and consultants on a Google map. You can filter by the type of content you want to see. Check it out here:

What’s nifty about this map is how you feed data into it. There’s a Google spreadsheet that has certain data columns, including longitude and latitude. The map automatically pulls in data from the spreadsheet and pl (more)

Russia to launch new heavy-lift booster

Core Dump 2.0 - Tue, 11/25/2014 - 04:11

Russia is close to launching a new heavy-lift booster to replace the aging and failure-prone Proton. The Angara 5 is a completely new booster that uses new engines that are an upgraded version of those used on the Zenit and Atlas 5 launchers. Lets hope the engines are more reliable than the ones that the Antares booster used.

Weighi (more)

Content strategy: first steps (premium)

Scriptorium blog - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 08:10

Content: You’re doing it wrong. That’s easy for me to say—we rarely hear from people who are happy with their content. But are you ready for a major transformation effort? Our approach is to assess the overall content lifecycle, meet … Continue reading →

The post Content strategy: first steps (premium) appeared first on Scriptorium Publi (more)

Survey: Tell us about your tech comm tools

Firehead - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 06:11
Dear tech comm readers, our friends at Adobe are seeking information from technical authors and editors around content workflows and tools. The aim is to help them improve their products for the tech comm community and serve their needs better. … Continue reading →

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

Global warming may make our winters worse

Core Dump 2.0 - Mon, 11/24/2014 - 04:59

It seems counter-intuitive but global warming may be making our winters worse. The reason – the melting of Arctic sea ice is changing the path of the jet stream  – remember last winter’s polar vortex? It may become a permanent fixture.

Back in 2012, two researchers with a particular interest in the Arctic, Rutgers’ Jennifer Francis and the University of Wisconsin-Madi (more)

Old Time Radio Shows

Core Dump 2.0 - Sun, 11/23/2014 - 08:56

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 2015 now on the map

ffeathers - a technical writer's blog - Fri, 11/21/2014 - 14:39

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)

New online SF magazine

Core Dump 2.0 - Thu, 11/20/2014 - 04:02

There’s a new online science fiction magazine, Terraform, part of Vice’s Motherboard online site. They plan on publishing new short stories each week starting with stories by veterans Cory Doctorow and Bruce Sterling.  It’s a good start.


Empathy in UX design and development

ffeathers - a technical writer's blog - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 20:44

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!

Last month I attended Web Directions South 2014, a conference for people who “design, imagine, create or build digital products, web sites and applications”. A strong them (more)

Dynamic content filtering with OxygenXML’s webhelp output - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 18:55

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)

“Float” – CSS Feature and Symbol of Change

Hyper/Word Services' Technology Blog - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 05:41

Ever since I started the Bleeding Edge session at the Society for Technical Communication Summit in 1999, I’m asked how quickly something new really emerges to affect technical communication. It doesn’t happen that often but it does happen – Microsoft’s introduction of HTML Help at the WinWriters conference in 1997 turned online help in a new direction in an hour. This column discusses another such example of change, the CSS “float” property. The float property’s impact won’t be as quick or dramatic as that of HTML Help but I think that what it symbolizes for tech comm is (more)

Refer a client and receive a financial bonus

Firehead - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 02:30
Just a quick note to remind our readers that if you recommend Firehead’s recruitment services to a client, you can receive a financial thank-you bonus for supporting us. Firehead offers niche recruitment services in the field of digital communications – mostly across the … Continue reading →

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

Cool tools for Technical Authors – travel equipment

Cherryleaf Technical Authors blog - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 02:26
We’re sharing some of the tools we use at Cherryleaf. This time we’ll look at travel equipment. The role of consulting technical communicator can involve travel to exotic places, such as...

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

Why Content Marketers Need to Know about Content Strategy

The Content - Tue, 11/18/2014 - 12:43
By Rahel Anne Bailie, Content Strategist, Intentional Design

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 at NYPL

Core Dump 2.0 - Tue, 11/18/2014 - 04:54

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)