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.
>I'm interested in learning what type of computers technical writers use
>a regular basis. <snip>
>What hardware and software do your companies provide?
My hardware is currently a Gateway 2000 P5-60 with a 500MB hard drive,
3.5 floppy, 5.25 floppy, CDROM and 20-inch monitor. For word processing
and hard copy creation we use AMI PRO 3.1. I am currently using ForeHelp
1.2 (soon to be upgraded to version 2.0) for WinHelp creation and Adobe
Acrobat for converting existing paper documents with an electronic source
to on-line documents.
>What computer brand do you feel more comfortable using at home and at
I am not particularly brand name conscious these days. I have a USA Flex
486DX2-66 PC with a 720MB hard drive, 3.5 floppy, CDROM with sound card
and speaker, 14.4 FAX/modem and 15-inch monitor.
>What computer do tech writers use most often, Macs or PCs?
The corporate world seems to be most aligned with PCs and not Macs.
There are places that use Macs and departments within PC dominated
companies that use Macs because it better fits their needs.
>Is either the PC or the Mac more appropriate for creating on-line
Remember, they are just tools. Neither is more appropriate except in the
context of what you are trying to do. Once you know what the project is,
what is required and expected, the platforms that must be supported,
etc., then you will know what platform to develop on. There is also the
fact that the company you are working for may supply the workstation and
may have settled on PCs or Macs.
Also note that some companies that produce long and complicated documents
may use UNIX-based workstations and applications like Framemaker to
develop paper and on-line documents.