TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
While I disagree with Updike's statement that printed books are
inherently superior to words on a computer screen, I also disagree
with Richard Lippincott's implicit statement that anyone who
objects to a new technology is necessarily wrong. Yes, when I go
to the dentist I want him to use Novocaine and sterile instruments.
But if I send a birthday card or thank you note, it's likely to be
neither typed nor word processed, but hand written, and possibly
in a colorful envelope or decorated with rubber stamps. The idea here
is appropriate technology. At the current state of the art, I prefer
word processing to draft any long piece of writing, since it is far
easier for me to revise there than with a typescript, but I prefer
a printed book for most other purposes: it weighs a lot less, it's
enough cheaper that I don't worry that someone will steal it (these
are both important for those of us who like to read on subway trains
and in city parks), and I can take it into the bathtub without risking
electrocution. More immediately relevant to technical writing,
perhaps, is that most users don't have screen displays with the sort
of resolution that would enable them to read long texts without
eyestrain, so printed manuals still have a place alongside onscreen
Just some Friday afternoon musings from
vr%acmcr -dot- uucp -at- murphy -dot- com
New York, NY