Re: What does it mean to be technical?

Subject: Re: What does it mean to be technical?
From: Jan Henning <henning -at- r-l -dot- de>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 23 May 2003 19:34:01 +0200

This is a rant of mine. I don't expect to have this understood or even
considered seriously. Every time I bring this topic with tech writers, I am
told that I am being a pain and unreasonable. Perhaps I am. Perhaps I have
had too much coffee now.

No, you're being entirely reasonable: A tech writer, like every other professional, must know how to use his or her tools.

One of my pet peeves are the recurring questions of people why "their screenshots look so blurry in PDF" - these so-called tech writers simply do not understand what bitmap graphics are and what resizing them means.

But in my opinion, this is a different set of skills from being able to repair your PC. It's the difference between being able to professionally use your tools and being able to fix them. If you can do the latter, more power to you. But I think you can still be a good tech writer thout this skill, whereas you cannot if you do not know how to adequately use your chosen tools.

(This does not mean that a good tech writer needs to know FrameMaker and PDF - if all you do is writing RFCs, neither is necessary. Put if you job is to create PDF from your documents, you better be proficient with Acrobat.)

Jan Henning

Jan Henning
Am Schlossberg 14, D-82547 Eurasburg, Germany

Phone: +49 700 0200 0700, Fax: +49 8179 9307-12
E-Mail: henning -at- r-l -dot- de, Web:


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RE: What does it mean to be technical?: From: Sharon Burton-Hardin

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