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I think that the hot topics are always relatively unimportant, since
the fundamentals are eternal, and most documentation questions can
be answered easily enough by keeping a firm grip on fundamentals.
Hot topics, on the other hand, tend to be focuses on buzzword-compliance
(to which my flip answer is that you can stay buzzword-compliant by
adding one buzz per year), how much money other people are getting
by changing jobs.
Tim's sample questions are all pretty easy ones, from my point of view:
* How big is SGML? It's used only by people who are in deadly earnest,
or who fell into it by mistake. Such people are always a small minority.
* How much heat is being generated by DTP switchovers? It's an interesting
question. I've recently helped several clients convert from Interleaf
to Frame, mostly by converting manual sets from one to the other.
(I have some proprietary software and techniques that retain a lot more
of the original document than you will if you use the commercially
available packages.) They've generally been happy with the switchover,
yet I have sometimes been puzzled by their decisions. (Of course, you
have to walk a mile in someone else's shoes before their blisters have
real meaning for you.)
Robert Plamondon, High-Tech Technical Writing, Inc.
36475 Norton Creek Road * Blodgett * Oregon * 97326
robert -at- plamondon -dot- com * (541) 453-5841 * Fax: (541) 453-4139 http://www.pioneer.net/~robertp