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TechRepublic looks at how well OpenOffice ODF files transfer between Google Docs and Microsoft Word. As you might expect, there are issues, although nothing that couldn’t quickly be cleaned up, at least for short documents.
Fortunately, Google re-enabled support for ODF in December 2014. That means you can leverage the collaborative capabilities of Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides, then export your completed work to a file in an open, non-proprietary format. (more)
Robert Anderson, one of the DITA architects, compared the transition from DITA 1.1 to DITA 1.2 to the difference between having a couple of drinks with friends and a huge party. The DITA 1.2 specification introduced broad changes in the … Continue reading →(more)
I use conditional text a lot in my documents, both in FrameMaker, which has had the feature built in since its inception, and in Word, with aid of SmartDocs or WebWorks ePublisher. There are obvious reasons for using conditional text; for example, creating multiple documents that apply to different versions of a product. Less obvious ones include putting notes in a document about content that might need special attention; for example, something that might need to be reviewed by a specific developer before inclusion.
Many technical writers do other types of writing too. This week I had the pleasure and privilege of meeting one of them in person. Cynthia Chin-Lee is a manager in information development at Oracle, and also the author of a number of books. She made me a present of two of them – such a generous gesture.
One of the books Cynthia gave me is Amelia to Zora, Twenty-Six Women Who Changed the World. Cynthia is the author, and the illustrations are by Megan Halsey and Sean Addy.
Earlier this week I was thinking about all the different things my Samsung smart phone could do. Not counting pure Internet applications like IMDB or Cineplex, I came up with about thirty. Now I can add another one to the list – my phone is now a slide rule.
A slide rule? What’s that, some of my younger readers may be asking. Wikipedia has a good, detailed explanation:
The slide rule, also known colloquially in the United (more)
To communicate with a REST API (or other web service API), you need to construct a request, send it over HTTP or HTTPS, then receive and parse the response. When creating an app, you do all that with code. But what if you just want to take a look around the API to see what it offers, before diving into the code? API explorers are your friend.
I’ve been putting together some information for a workshop on API technical writing. It’s been a rewarding exercise, because it’s made me think in a structured, educational way about what I do every day. A section of the works (more)
If you own an ereader or tablet, you may decide that you want to upgrade or change your system – perhaps to move from a Nook to a Kobo or a Kobo to an Apple tablet. Even though these devices all nominally use EPUB as the base format, the DRM (Digital Rights Management) software they use to prevent piracy makes this task difficult, and potentially impossible.
This ABC news article explores some of the options.
Efforts to stamp out the Ebola outbreak in Africa have been remarkably successful. Despite the fact that almost 10,000 people have died, it could have been much, much worse. But it’s now almost a year since the outbreak started and it’s not contained by any means. What happens if Ebola can’t be completely eradicated, and keeps flaring up in different places, or worse, spreads to other, more populated countries? Discover looks at this disquieting scenario.
Google has made a major investment – $1 billion dollars – in SpaceX. They’ll get a 10 percent ownership stake in the company. Google apparently wants to put up a network of satellites that could bring Internet services to almost anywhere in the world. They may also be planning to launch Earth observation satellites to improve the quality of the imagery in Google Earth. I like this news – a lot.
Over the past year or two, our typical XML customer has changed. Until recently, most XML publishing efforts were driven by marketing communications, technical publications, or IT, usually by a technical expert. But today’s customer is much more likely to … Continue reading →
A company in China has used 3D printing technology to build a mansion and a 6-storey apartment building. The mansion wouldn’t look out of place in an upscale Toronto neighbourhood. The article doesn’t go into a lot of detail on how they handle things like plumbing and wiring, but the 3D printing technique certainly seems capable of handling the structural elements.
The second trick up their sleeve is the printer used to build the h (more)
I came across a mention of Mylyn WikiText on the dita-users mailing list the other day and had a quick browse through the web site. It looks like it might be useful for me at work as it can read TWiki format, which is the wiki format we’re currently using. I know that some of our development teams are using Eclipse so I may be able to get this installed to test.
Mylyn WikiText provides lightweight markup (wiki) parsing, editing and display capabilities to the Eclipse platform and Mylyn. Mylyn WikiText can also (more)