RE: in search for better tools

Subject: RE: in search for better tools
From: Mike Hamilton <mhamilton -at- madcapsoftware -dot- com>
To: "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 10 Dec 2009 13:02:56 -0800

OK, after two weeks of insane travelling and sporadic availability of web connectivity I am finally back into a connected mode.

I hope I can shed some light here.

The MadCap Feedback Server software has been VERY CAREFULLY crafted to not run afoul of privacy laws anywhere in the world, including the very restrictive privacy laws in European countries such as Germany.

To the AntiSpywareCoalition page referenced, after careful review the MadCap Feedback Server does not run afoul of ANY of the items listed in that document.

The key point to keep in mind is that the MadCap Feedback Server never, ever, tracks ANY information to ANY SPECIFIC USER. You cannot use the MadCap Feedback Server to find out the viewing habits, search habits, or anything else about ANYONE. It cannot be used to target specific information to anyone (and there are customers mad that we don't provide this). All the server does is provide documentation teams with macro-level data such as how many times the word "foo" was searched for in the last seven days. You can't see who searched for "foo", just the fact that it was searched for, and how many times in a given time period (as an example). Since no data is ever collected on any one particular user, it does not (and cannot) violate the privacy of any user.

This type of functionality has been vetted by many attorneys from several different countries. We would never provide software that allowed anyone to "spy" on any of their customers.

Now, having explained all of the above, it should also be pointed out that this functionality is completely optional. In order for the anonymous macro data to be reported one has to actively install the MadCap Feedback Server software and enable the functionality in their Flare project. If you have any concerns over the use of the MadCap Feedback Server software then simply don't purchase it, as it is not a core requirement for document publishing using Flare. It is an option, only for those who choose to buy and use it.

An earlier post questioned the benefit of such reports. One quick example. Let's say you have been very careful to be consistent and use the word "graphic" in 20 pages of documentation. However, your customers search on the term "image". You could have hundreds or even thousands of customers looking for the content that you have written, but they are unable to find it because of a simple vocabulary mismatch. With reporting software you will find this out very quickly. You can then create a synonym pair (graphic=image) and now your customers can search with the vocabulary that they are accustomed to using and they will find the content that will help them that is using your companies vocabulary. This is just one quick and simple example.

I do hope that this helps (and doesn't simply re-ignite the bonfire),

Mike Hamilton
V.P. Product Management
MadCap Software

> -----Original Message-----
> From: techwr-l-bounces+mhamilton=madcapsoftware -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> [mailto:techwr-l-bounces+mhamilton=madcapsoftware -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-
> l.com] On Behalf Of Gene Kim-Eng
> Sent: Wednesday, December 09, 2009 3:29 PM
> To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> Subject: Re: in search for better tools
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Sharon Burton" <sharon -at- anthrobytes -dot- com>
> > I would ask Mike Hamilton to step in here, but he got back from India
> Monday
> > and drove to Phoenix yesterday. I'm not certain he's conscious!
>
>
>
> If Feedback doesn't enable help authors the ability to display
> explanation and opt-out dialogs in their finished help, I would
> consider that a design flaw. It is possible for the software
> product's to be written to do it during the install process, but
> I wouldn't want to be a help author having to explain to the
> development team that they need to do this to prevent the
> product from being reported as a PUP because my help
> authoring tool can't produce help that will.
>
> If Feedback users aren't doing *something* to work around this
> and provide their customers with such explanations and options
> in the absence of the ability to make the help do it, they're
> producing help that meets the antispyware coalition's definition
> for "spyware and potentially unwanted technology" that most
> firewall and malware scanners are now using:
>
> http://www.antispywarecoalition.org/documents/definitions.htm
>
> See the last row of the table, "Tracking Software." Trackers
> that do not send personal information are still included if there
> is no end-user control over the transmission of data.
>
> I routinely block internet access for any program installed on
> my systems that attempt access without first informing me that
> they're going to do it and asking for permission. I have no idea
> how many of these blocks are caused by help files produced
> with this tool.
>
> Gene Kim-Eng
> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>
> Are you looking for one documentation tool that does it all? Author,
> build, test, and publish your Help files with just one easy-to-use
> tool.
> Try the latest Doc-To-Help 2009 v3 risk-free for 30-days at:
> http://www.doctohelp.com/
>
> Help & Manual 5: The all-in-one help authoring tool. True single-
> sourcing --
> generate 8 different formats and as many different versions as you need
> from just one project. Fast and intuitive.
> http://www.helpandmanual.com/
>
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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Are you looking for one documentation tool that does it all? Author,
build, test, and publish your Help files with just one easy-to-use tool.
Try the latest Doc-To-Help 2009 v3 risk-free for 30-days at:
http://www.doctohelp.com/

Help & Manual 5: The all-in-one help authoring tool. True single- sourcing --
generate 8 different formats and as many different versions as you need
from just one project. Fast and intuitive. http://www.helpandmanual.com/

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Follow-Ups:

References:
in search for better tools: From: GILLIOTTE Valérie
Re: in search for better tools: From: Robert Lauriston
RE: in search for better tools: From: Sharon Burton
Re: in search for better tools: From: Robert Lauriston
RE: in search for better tools: From: Sharon Burton
RE: in search for better tools: From: Combs, Richard
RE: in search for better tools: From: Kat Kuvinka
RE: in search for better tools: From: Sharon Burton
Re: in search for better tools: From: Robert Lauriston
RE: in search for better tools: From: Connie Giordano
Re: in search for better tools: From: Robert Lauriston
RE: in search for better tools: From: Dan Goldstein
RE: in search for better tools: From: Combs, Richard
RE: in search for better tools: From: Sharon Burton
RE: in search for better tools: From: Dan Goldstein
RE: in search for better tools: From: Sharon Burton
Re: in search for better tools: From: Gene Kim-Eng

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