TechWhirl: Technical Communications Recap for February 10, 2012

Subject: TechWhirl: Technical Communications Recap for February 10, 2012
From: INKtopia Admin <admin -at- inktopia -dot- net>
To: Techwr-l <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 10 Feb 2012 12:45:11 -0500

This week’s technical communications industry update is supported by
Platinum sponsor Adobe & RoboHelp 9 <> |

>From the Desk of the Editor

Congratulations and welcome to Lauren Hart <@_laurenhart_Boston>, Ashley
Brown <@ashleyfullstop>, and Julie Grady who are joining SWU member Keith
Soltys <@ksoltys>, Al and me in Memphis to cover the WritersUA Conference
for Software User Assistance<>,
March 11-14. It’s just a month away, and the whole team is looking forward
to diving into content strategy, tools and techniques and emerging skills
for technical communications professionals who are immersed in software
user assistance.

*TechWhirl Top Tip: the discount on the marvelous Peabody Hotel (home of
the event) ends this evening so register today if you intend to go to the

Am I the only one who thinks February is actually the longest month, no
matter what the calendar says? We’re only into the second week of the
month, but it seems like at least three or four weeks already. Like the
duration of a pretty cold month, perception has much more to do with
technical writing and technical communications than we realize during the
course of a so-called average day.

How do you perceive your documentation and what really makes it useful to a
user? More important, how often are you checking with those users to see
if your assumptions and their reality are the same? We’d love to get your
input on the essential qualities of technical communication content—vote in
this week’s Technical Writer
and be sure to post a comment about it.

It does seem that technical communications industry moves at light speed
during the first quarter of the year, with new releases, tons of seminars
and conferences, and lots of issues to discuss (or complain) about. And
fittingly, our Technical Communications
is quite full this week with news from ComponentOne, Vasont, and
Ixiasoft just to name a few. Our news work is gaining popularity, with
TechWhirl becoming a destination for companies looking for press, and for
folks interested in learning about the latest and greatest in Tech Comm.
Do you have “news”—if so send us a press release, a little art and we’ll
get it out there. Submit your Technical Communications and Technical
Writing news and

While you’re at it, you really should check out Keith Soltys’ latest in his
e-Book series<>—the
list of tools and when to use them is pretty comprehensive. And speaking
of light speed, our industry appears to be moving towards cloud-based
solutions pretty quickly as well. Read more about how Author-it plans to
lead the way in my interview with Steve

We don’t care how long this month happens to be, we’re just glad to be here
and covering the stuff we love—technical writing and technical
communications. In fact, we may even send the entire industry a Valentine’s
Day Card.

Have a great weekend … now wouldn’t it be nice if those seemed longer than

- The gang at TechWhirl

In Case You Missed it: This Week @ TechWhirl

*New on <>:*

- Moving Technical Communications to the Author-it Cloud®: An Interview
with Steve Davis, by Connie Giordano |
- Building E-Books: A Tool Overview for Technical Writers, by Keith
Soltys |
- TechWhirl Poll: What Qualities are Important in Technical
Communications Content? |

*Tech Comm News:*

- ComponentOne Releases Wijmo v2 with HTML5 and jQuery |
- Tech Writer This Week for February 9, 2012 |
- Content Management Partnership between Vasont Systems, ForeignExchange
Translations |
- JBP Software Introduces Technical Writers to Register Designer for the
Mac |
- ig5 Authoring Tools Releases DITAToo 1.6 |
- SDL Completes Acquisition of Alterian |
- Alfresco Software Releases Enterprise 4 Content Platform |
- Ixiasoft Makes DITA CMS 3.4 Available |

Technical Communications: What You’re Talking About

A quick *shout out* to our Technical Writers and their discussions in our email
discussion group <>:

- Joe Weinmunson wondered “Is there a term for this?” for the phenomenon
that occurs when users complain about not being able to find an option,
then making that option obvious, and having users complain about not being
able to find another option. Besides a vicious cycle of UI iterations?
Gene Kim-Eng pointed to some research that shows this as an example of
Directed Attention Fatigue or the Stroop
which has some interesting implications for technical writing and UX.
- Phil Snow Leopard morphed the previous discussion when he opined about
“Stupid Users” and Apple’s adoption of the strategy of “protecting
incompetent users from their own mistakes,” with OS features that are
raising the ire of loyal Mac users. Great debate on power users versus the
rest, Mac versus Windows, the security risks as result of not being able to
control these features, and differing meanings for the word “autosave.”
- Monique Semp is looking for a fully automated solution to back up many
gigs of files, and asked for recommendations for “cloud backup services,
for EXE files ?” Carbonite, which she is trialing, and other options, Mozy
and Junglestick have various limitations and costs associated with

Social Media and the Chance to Follow TechWhirl:

- Our Google Plus Page – what’s happening behind the scenes |
- Will you be our Friend? Please, you know you want to click |
- Want all this TechWhirl goodness a few characters @ a time |
- Updates from TechWhirl delivered to your email in box |
- Or, try our RSS feed (great on Flipboard) |


We want to send a very special “thank you” to our sponsors for their

*Platinum*: Adobe Systems

*Gold: *Madcap Software<>
,* *ComponentOne

*Silver*: Vancouver Island University <>, Society
for Technical Communication (STC) <>

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