TechWhirl: Technical Communications Recap for February 24, 2012

Subject: TechWhirl: Technical Communications Recap for February 24, 2012
From: INKtopia Admin <admin -at- inktopia -dot- net>
To: Techwr-l <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 24 Feb 2012 12:50:23 -0500

This week’s update on technical communications and the TechWhirl community
is supported by Gold sponsor ComponentOne & their Doc-To-Help Help
Authoring Tool <> |

>From the Desk of the Editor

Happy Spring! Or, at least happy that it’s a little warmer somewhere on
the map that you look at each day (like us folks in Dallas and Charlotte
enjoying 75 degrees yesterday). The springtime brings giant parties (Mardi
Gras) and sacrifices (for some Lent), and the chance not only to finally
get caught up from our holiday time off, but also to get out and meet a few
people. The birds, the bees, the sound of clicking of mobile phones with
Twitterific quotes – from wherever you technical communications world
travelers happen to be.

We can only be referring to Conference Season – Part Spring [insert
appropriate movie sequel references here].

For many it is quickly approaching while for others it’s already here—like
those attending the Intelligent Content Conference
2012<>or Technical
Communications World India 2012 <>.
We’re already prepping for our coverage of WritersUA, lining up an ace team
of SWU members, and figuring out the most hopping places to hang before and
after those amazing sessions of technical communications goodness in
Memphis. There’s a whole swath of regional STC events, vendor roadshows,
and focused workshops and conferences on all aspects of technical
communications all over the world (even where it’s not Spring)… you can
post any and all of them on the TechWhirl Events
totally free of charge.

We always have some interesting news to pass along to you (check the list
below), and this week also includes a feature that is a good introduction
to using storyboards in technical
Greg Larsen. You have plenty of time to drop by and take our weekly
communications poll on what you would be willing to
and post a comment about why. And, you can look forward to some really
interesting articles next week to finish out our month on visual technical

So as you’re following the happenings at conferences, completing a short
work week, or doing your usual 40+ hours, take a break and cruise around
TechWhirl for timely tidbits and longer-lasting features and how-to’s. Let
us know what you think, and what the season is bringing into your corner of
the technical communications universe. On the list or on the magazine, we
love hearing from you.

Have a great weekend!

- The gang at TechWhirl

In Case You Missed it: This Week @ TechWhirl

*New on <>**: *

- The Storyboard: An Outline for Visual Technical Communications, by
Greg Larson |
- TechWhirl Poll: What Would You Give Up? |

*Tech Comm News:*

- Tech Writer This Week: February 23, 2012 |
- Tech Comm U to Serve Technical Communications Industry |
- Liquid Technologies Liquid Data Mapper for XML Data Now in Beta |
- MeetingKing Web-Based Meeting Workflow and Documentation Tool |

Technical Communications: What You’re Talking About

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

- Daniel Feiglen wants recommendations on “Tools for Producing
Datasheets,” and provided some specifications and requirements, such as XML
roundtripping, format preservation, and affordability. Whirlers responded
with ways to better utilize his existing tool (Microsoft Word) and going to
an open source alternative.
- Carla Martinek’s “Question for writers in New Zealand and Australia”
prompted a lengthy discussion, both about cultural sensitivities in
combining countries for purposes of configuring settings, and about the
necessity of determining a recommendation absent complete information from
the client. Once clarified, Australian and New Zealander Whirlers were
able to offer an appropriate context.
- Doughty Tech Writer is in the somewhat enviable position of first
full-time tech writer with management support for an effort with “Bloated
Docs: Identifying What's Useful.” Surveys OK, local client visits OK,
travel to countries where 14 language versions in use not OK. List members
made excellent suggestions about whether and how to develop a survey, using
web analytics to get hard data, and taking a mind-mapping approach to
analyzing the existing documentation.

*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: *ComponentOne Software <>,* *Madcap

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

Online Magazine and Discussions for Today's Tech Writer

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Twitter: @TechWriterToday

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