Technical Writing

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  • Why Disney Believes Your Product Instructions Should Be Perfect

    Intext Writing
    Bill Kerschbaum
    13 Feb 2014 | 5:18 am
    Photo credit: Joe Penniston (Flickr) Here’s a great article about Disney’s dedication to “overmanaging”—the commitment to ensuring that every detail of a guest’s experience is perfect. Not just acceptable, not enjoyable. Perfect. “People can feel perfection,” Walt Disney once said. Every touchpoint with Disney’s guests is planned for excellence, whether it’s the way a phone call is answered or the temperature of your hotel room or the presentation of a meal on a plate. Why does every touchpoint matter? Because that’s where the customer experiences…
  • World’s best API documentation – what do you think

    ffeathers
    Sarah Maddox
    8 Feb 2014 | 11:36 pm
    I’m curious to see how things have changed since I last asked this question, back in March 2012: What’s your favourite API documentation, and why? Part of the reason for asking is that I’ll soon present a session at STC Summit 2014 on API technical writing. I want to give examples of excellent documentation. I have some favourite documentation sets myself, but it’s great to get the opinions of developers and other technical writers too. So, have at it! Please comment on this post. What’s your favourite API documentation, and why? I’ll also collect any…
  • Why Are You Boring Your Customers?

    Intext Writing
    Bill Kerschbaum
    17 Mar 2014 | 5:05 am
    You want your customers to be glad they used your user guide, right? So why is it so darned BORING? No one is glad to be bored. And boring instructions make your product feel boring too! Instead, take a cue from Air New Zealand. As Jay Heyman writes, Air New Zealand and a few other airlines are catching on to the fact that customers pay more attention to your instructions if they’re more interested in them. And, they’ll enjoy using your product more, too. So these airlines made their safety instructions a bit more creative and fun lately. Engaged customers who love using your…
  • Login or log in – a way to choose one word or two

    ffeathers
    Sarah Maddox
    5 Apr 2014 | 12:42 pm
    ‘Login’ or ‘log in’? One word or two? It’s an oft-debated question. I’m not proposing a hard-and-fast rule, though I do have my preferences. What this post offers is a handy way of choosing between one word and two, if it’s important to you. It’s not just logging in that’s affected. There are plenty more cases where we need to choose one word or two: ‘logon’ or ‘log on’ ‘logout’ or ‘log out’ ‘signup’ or ‘sign up’ ‘shutdown’ or ‘shut down’…
  • My DITA journey begins

    I'd Rather Be Writing
    Tom Johnson
    16 Apr 2014 | 9:00 am
    I have decided to try out DITA in a more extensive way. I think it will work for my situation, and it’s always fun to experiment with a new method for authoring help material. A few people have asked that I keep them updated on my progress. While the details of my foray into DITA will expose my naiveté, it might also lead toward guidance and advice from DITA gurus, who will likely look at my strategies and reasoning and shake their heads, laughing at my attempts and deciding to give me a few pointers. My basic setup Just to describe my basic setup, I have about 8 guidebooks, with…
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    ffeathers

  • Login or log in – a way to choose one word or two

    Sarah Maddox
    5 Apr 2014 | 12:42 pm
    ‘Login’ or ‘log in’? One word or two? It’s an oft-debated question. I’m not proposing a hard-and-fast rule, though I do have my preferences. What this post offers is a handy way of choosing between one word and two, if it’s important to you. It’s not just logging in that’s affected. There are plenty more cases where we need to choose one word or two: ‘logon’ or ‘log on’ ‘logout’ or ‘log out’ ‘signup’ or ‘sign up’ ‘shutdown’ or ‘shut down’…
  • Are conference proceedings papers useful

    Sarah Maddox
    15 Mar 2014 | 5:10 pm
    I’m composing my proceedings paper for STC Summit 2014. Not all conferences require a proceedings paper. This set me wondering: Do people find proceedings papers useful? Do you read them, either during or after the conference, or perhaps not at all? The “proceedings” of a conference is a collection of papers written by conference speakers. The content of a proceedings paper may be a summary of the talk, or an academic treatment of the topic of the talk, or a deep dive into one aspect of the talk. My upcoming presentation at STC Summit 2014 is API Technical Writing: What,…
  • What I get from speaking at conferences

    Sarah Maddox
    8 Mar 2014 | 11:57 am
    I’m in the throes of composition. My presentation for STC Summit 2014 is in good shape, and I’m working on the proceedings paper right now. I got to thinking about why I put myself up for speaking at conferences. It’s a lot of work! Is it worth it? I also saw a post from Neal Kaplan, who doesn’t get conferences. So I decided to blog my thoughts. If you’d told me five years ago that you’d seen me speaking at a conference, my reaction would have been Ha ha, nope, that must have been some other Sarah. Public speaking scared me to death. (Actually, it still…
  • API types

    Sarah Maddox
    15 Feb 2014 | 11:25 pm
    I’m putting together a list of the various types of API we might encounter. This is primarily a resource for technical writers, who may need to know what type of thing they could be asked to document if they take on the role of API tech writer. A Google search didn’t reveal much material about API types. The best source of information is the Wikipedia page on APIs. I tried searching for “API classification” and received plenty of information about engine oil. :D So here goes… my attempt at an API classification. Before we start: What is an API? API stands for…
  • World’s best API documentation – what do you think

    Sarah Maddox
    8 Feb 2014 | 11:36 pm
    I’m curious to see how things have changed since I last asked this question, back in March 2012: What’s your favourite API documentation, and why? Part of the reason for asking is that I’ll soon present a session at STC Summit 2014 on API technical writing. I want to give examples of excellent documentation. I have some favourite documentation sets myself, but it’s great to get the opinions of developers and other technical writers too. So, have at it! Please comment on this post. What’s your favourite API documentation, and why? I’ll also collect any…
 
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    Just Write Click

  • Tearing down obstacles to OpenStack documentation contributions

    annegentle
    10 Apr 2014 | 9:17 am
    Rip. Shred. Tear. Let’s gather up the obstacles to documentation contribution and tear them down one by one. I’ve designed a survey with the help of the OpenStack docs team to determine blockers for docs contributions. If you’ve contributed to OpenStack, please fill it out here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/136-BssH-OxjVo8vNoOD-gW4x8fDFpvixbgCfeV1w_do/viewform I want to use this survey to avoid shouting opinions and instead make sure we gather data first. This survey helps us find the biggest barriers so that we can build the best collaboration systems for documentation…
  • How to Build OpenStack Docs and Contributors through Community

    annegentle
    21 Mar 2014 | 1:25 pm
    I’m well past the three year mark, working on a new open source project that grows and grows every six months. I’ve been working closely with Diane Fleming at Rackspace to focus completely on upstream OpenStack. Upstream means that all of our documentation work goes to the open source project itself. So while Rackspace runs OpenStack in production and for our customers private clouds, Diane and I focus on documentation that helps any organization run and use OpenStack. We have put together an outline of what we do to make upstream OpenStack documentation better all the time.
  • Finding an OpenStack Mentor

    annegentle
    2 Mar 2014 | 5:21 pm
    Last week I ran an internal “So You Want to be an OpenStack Contributor?” workshop showing the different ways to work on OpenStack. Here’s the slide show so you can see the way I approached it. As the Documentation Program Technical Lead you’d think I’d steer people straight to the documentation bug backlog, but I try to find out where interests lie before going straight to doc fixes. Definitely people should read the docs as a great start. So You Want to be an OpenStack Contributor from Anne Gentle You can work on OpenStack in non-code ways, such as bug…
  • OpenStack Operations Guide Mini Sprint

    annegentle
    2 Feb 2014 | 10:19 am
    We held a two-day mini-sprint in Boston at the end of January to update the OpenStack Operations Guide. You may remember the first five-day sprint was in Austin in February 2013. This time, the sprint was shorter with fewer people in Boston and a few remote, but we had quite specific goals: Update from Folsom to Havana (about a year’s worth of OpenStack features) Roadmap discussion about nova-network and neutron, the two software-defined networking solutions implemented for OpenStack Add upgrade instructions from grizzly to havana Implement and test the use of parts to encapsulate…
  • A Few of my Favorite Things for 2013

    annegentle
    29 Dec 2013 | 3:31 am
    This year has been filled with interesting finds, discoveries, and productivity. Plus oxford commas! Here are my favorite things for 2013. The Hunger Games trilogy, because it’s like a window into a mind of a smart writer who writes with purpose. The Documentation chapter of the Developer Support Handbook has to be one of my very favorite things I discovered this year. I’m on the Developer Relations Group team at Rackspace and this is a great handbook for all of our team. Animated GIFs, pronounced jifs, am I right? OpenStack Reactions cracks me up. Grace Hopper Conference by the…
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    I Came, I Saw, I Learned...

  • eLearning & Training: How Long is Too Long?

    Kevin Siegel
    23 Apr 2014 | 6:38 am
    by Kevin Siegel    You can create the best-looking, most well-written eLearning lesson anyone has ever seen. But for the lesson to be effective, one of the most important things to keep in mind is that more does not mean better. If your lesson plays too long, you run the risk of losing the attention span of your learner and lowering the effectiveness of the lesson in general. So how long is too long? The answer is directly tied to the average attention span of an adult learner. According to Joan Middendorf and Alan Kalish, Indiana…
  • Localization: Training & Development in the Czech Republic

    Kevin Siegel
    21 Apr 2014 | 5:54 pm
    by Jen Weaver   Frequently ruled by outsiders in its history, the Czech Republic now faces happier times. Let's take a jaunt over to Central Europe and explore some common cultural facts about the Czech people and their expectations when it comes to training and development. Test Your Knowledge of Czech Culture: True or False. Bohemia is another name for a section of the Czech Republic. Is "Czech" the English or Czech spelling of the name of their language? True or False. Budweiser beer was named after a town in the Czech Republic. Quick Tips for Training &…
  • Localization: Training & Development in the Czech Republic

    Kevin Siegel
    16 Apr 2014 | 11:29 am
    by Jen Weaver   Frequently ruled by outsiders in its history, the Czech Republic now faces happier times. Let's take a jaunt over to Central Europe and explore some common cultural facts about the Czech people and their expectations when it comes to T&D. Test Your Knowledge of Czech Culture: True or False. Bohemia is another name for a section of the Czech Republic. Is "Czech" the English or Czech spelling of the name of their language? True or False. Budweiser beer was named after a town in the Czech Republic. Quick Tips for Training & Development in the…
  • eLearning: Is Right-Clicking Right?

    Kevin Siegel
    15 Apr 2014 | 11:59 am
    by Kevin Siegel    Most computer programs offer multiple ways to accomplish any one task. For instance, in Microsoft Word you can make a selected word bold using a menu, a toolbar button, pressing a keyboard shortcut, or by right-clicking the text. If you're responsible for creating a software simulation that teaches a learner how to make Word text bold, which of the commands are you going to simulate? While you could simulate multiple options, I'd encourage you to focus on just one (adding multiple options is going to take you too long to produce). Personally,…
  • eLearning & Presentations: More Free Images. A MILLION more!

    Kevin Siegel
    11 Apr 2014 | 10:16 am
    by AJ Walther   Want more free images for your eLearning or PowerPoint presentations? How about over a MILLION more? In December of last year, the British Library released into the public domain a huge collection of scanned images from more than 65,000 books spanning the 16th to 19th centuries. Yes, that's right, I said public domain. That means these images are free to use, share, and modify in any way that you see fit. The library asks only that you help to populate the metadata for the images to help make them more easily searchable--and to help spread the knowledge.
 
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    I'd Rather Be Writing

  • DITA folder hierarchy, conref, mapref, and more

    Tom Johnson
    22 Apr 2014 | 8:59 am
    This is my second entry in my DITA journey series. Here, in no particular order, I cover a miscellany of DITA challenges – content re-use, maprefs, folder structures, ditamaps, topicsets, and authoring-publishing workflows. Content re-use DITA allows you to re-use content in several different ways. The most obvious way is that you can use the same topic in different maps through the topicref element. This allows the whole topic to be re-used. But if you have smaller re-use needs (more like “snippets” rather than topics), you usually use the conref tag. Here’s how you apply the conref…
  • My DITA journey begins

    Tom Johnson
    16 Apr 2014 | 9:00 am
    I have decided to try out DITA in a more extensive way. I think it will work for my situation, and it’s always fun to experiment with a new method for authoring help material. A few people have asked that I keep them updated on my progress. While the details of my foray into DITA will expose my naiveté, it might also lead toward guidance and advice from DITA gurus, who will likely look at my strategies and reasoning and shake their heads, laughing at my attempts and deciding to give me a few pointers. My basic setup Just to describe my basic setup, I have about 8 guidebooks, with…
  • The need for robust tech comm authoring tools

    Tom Johnson
    13 Apr 2014 | 8:22 pm
    Neal Kaplan recently posted about the search for a perfectly adequate authoring tool, which got me thinking about the tools I use. At the time I joined my current company, I had to change my help authoring tools quite a bit. At my previous company, I used Mediawiki and Madcap Flare. Both tools worked pretty well. At my present company, we publish on Drupal, which is a web-based CMS similar to WordPress but more robust. All the content lives primarily on Drupal. At first we authored directly in Drupal. However, authoring and managing tech comm content in Drupal isn’t ideal at all. After a…
  • Strategies for using links with DITA

    Tom Johnson
    8 Apr 2014 | 7:00 am
    One of the strategies that always seems to cause me dilemmas with DITA is how to best handle linking. Mark Baker has an in-depth essay on linking, where he explores many of the issues associated with links. I would point you to the post, but whether to insert the link here or elsewhere is at the heart of many discussions about linking. So I’ll briefly delay inserting the link while exploring the risks of doing so. If I insert the link to Mark’s post here, two potential problems occur: 1. You might immediately jump to his post and, because it is rather long, never return here.
  • STC Chapter provides lavish “all expenses paid” outing to San Diego zoo for members

    Tom Johnson
    1 Apr 2014 | 10:15 am
    Note: This was an April Fool’s Day post. The West Bay STC chapter recently provided a special expedition to the San Diego zoo for all chapter members who wanted to participate. 67 members signed up for the special zoo tour, which involved several exclusive behind-the-scenes encounters with animals, including but not limited to the famous China panda, Xena the giraffe, and a habitat for Capuchin monkeys. The chapter president, Mark Zimmerman, explained that the chapter had surplus funds and needed to spend them in a way that benefitted the members. Asked how the zoo trip benefitted the…
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    CyberText Newsletter

  • Word: Tracking changes by date

    Rhonda
    23 Apr 2014 | 2:30 pm
    Word doesn’t have an easy way for you to track changes by date. You can track by author, but not date. And it’s not even easy to see the date a change was made — yes, you can check each one by hovering over the tracked change, but getting a list of them isn’t so easy. But it can be done. And with the use of a clever macro, you can even get a table of all insertions/deletions and information such as author, date, page, line number of the change. The instructions below are for Word 2010, though Word 2007 and later versions should work similarly. Display the dates for…
  • Word: Cut/paste tracked changes from one document to another

    Rhonda
    22 Apr 2014 | 3:30 pm
    Thanks to Pete C who alerted me to this procedure. Important notes: This procedure CUTS (i.e. deletes) the text from the original document; if you wish to keep that text in the original document, you have to go back to the original document after pasting into the target document and undo your previous action (e.g. with Ctrl+z). I could not find out how to just COPY the original text instead of cutting it. This procedure does NOT work for table rows, columns, or whole tables — if you select any of these, then only the first cell of the selection will be cut to the clipboard, and when…
  • Word: Track Changes : Moves

    Rhonda
    2 Apr 2014 | 2:30 pm
    Based on a Writing Tip I wrote for my team. Some people on my team have asked why Microsoft Word doesn’t always show moved text as a move (double green underline by default), even though ‘track moves’ is turned on (Review tab > drop-down arrow next to Track Changes button > Change Tracking Options). I investigated the circumstances under which moves are *meant* to be tracked in Word. Despite the official word on this from Microsoft, the reality is that tracking moves in Word is flaky—sometimes full sentences aren’t tracked as moves and just show as deletions/insertions, which…
  • Word: Make all tracked changes the same color, regardless of author

    Rhonda
    1 Apr 2014 | 2:30 pm
    You have a document that many people have worked on, reviewed, edited, changed etc. Track changes is on for all these amendments. The default setting in Word is to track changes by author, which means that your document is like a rainbow with all those different colors — one for each person who made a change! For example: You need to send the document to someone else, but the recipient only needs to see what has changed, not who changed it — in other words, you don’t want all those rainbow colors to show. Instead, you want a single color to show the multiple insertions (e.g.
  • Word: Change caption numbering from sequential to chapter numbering

    Rhonda
    30 Mar 2014 | 2:30 pm
    Scenario: You have a Word document that uses outline numbering for each chapter/section heading (e.g. 1.1, 1.2, 2.4.3 etc.). You have table and figure captions in this document that are numbered in two long sequences — one for tables, one for figures (e.g. Table 1 through 53; Figure 1 through 26). You want to convert the caption number sequences from a single number sequence to a separate sequence in each chapter/section (e.g. Table 3.2 for the second table in chapter 3). You want to do this because your document is long and readers can’t easily find the tables/figures they want…
 
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    Cherryleaf Blog for Technical Authors & Content Strategists

  • MadWorld 2014 conference review

    Ellis Pratt
    20 Apr 2014 | 4:18 am
    Once again, I enjoyed immensely Madcap Software’s MadWorld conference in San Diego. This was Madcap’s second annual conference, building on the success of MadWorld 2013. Ch..Ch..Changes... [[ For the full article, see http://www.cherryleaf.com/blog.htm]]
  • Destination San Diego

    Ellis Pratt
    11 Apr 2014 | 4:36 am
    Ellis will be in San Diego next week, speaking at Madcap Software’s MadWorld 2014 conference. If you’re going to the conference, be sure to say hello. Madcap makes a big thing about the... [[ For the full article, see http://www.cherryleaf.com/blog.htm]]
  • Issues for developers moving from on-premises software to Software as a Service.

    Ellis Pratt
    2 Apr 2014 | 7:18 am
    On Monday, I spoke at the Visma Developer Days conference in Riga, Latvia, about some issues software companies have to address when migrating from developing on-premises software to Software as a... [[ For the full article, see http://www.cherryleaf.com/blog.htm]]
  • Lars-Po Faydöl: The man you see in every Ikea installation guide

    Ellis Pratt
    31 Mar 2014 | 10:06 pm
    Lars-Po Faydöl is a person you’ve probably seen hundreds of time, yet it’s unlikely any of you know who he is. Lars-Po works for Ikea, and the reason why you’re likely to have seen... [[ For the full article, see http://www.cherryleaf.com/blog.htm]]
  • Topic-based authoring: The undiscovered country

    Ellis Pratt
    21 Mar 2014 | 7:18 am
    Many software companies, when they start out, provide user documentation as downloadable PDFs or as web pages. As they develop more products and versions, and as they expand into countries that use... [[ For the full article, see http://www.cherryleaf.com/blog.htm]]
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    Communications from DMN

  • Productivity techniques for writers (of all stripes)

    DMN Communications
    10 Apr 2014 | 7:44 am
    In February, Scott gave a talk about productivity techniques for bloggers to a Meetup group to which he belongs in Auckland. While the talk was aimed at bloggers, writers of all stripes can use these techniques to become more productive. After a period of (more than) a bit of procrastination, Scott’s finally posted the slides and notes to his talk to Slideshare. Here are the slides for the talk: Reaching Done – Slides from Scott Nesbitt And here are the notes: Reaching Done – Presentation Notes from Scott Nesbitt Thoughts? As always, your comments are welcome.
  • Open Help Conference 2014 announced

    Scott Nesbitt
    25 Mar 2014 | 7:05 am
    Once again, Shaun McCance is running the Open Help Conference, an event that: brings together leaders in open source documentation and support, as well as people from across the technical communications industry who are interested in community-based help. This year’s edition of the conference takes place in Cincinnati, Ohio on June 14 and 15. On top of that, the conference is hosting documentation sprints for open source projects from June 16 to June 18. If you’re interested in running a sprint at the conference, contact Shaun. If you’re interested or involved in writing…
  • Taking a look at APE (Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur)

    Scott Nesbitt
    13 Feb 2014 | 6:10 am
    (Note: This post was originally published, in a slightly different form, here.) I don’t have to tell you how much publishing has changed since the advent of the personal computer. In the last decade, that change has been massive. Now, it’s easier than ever to bypass traditional publishers and put your own books on the market. It takes more than a good idea and a well-written book to translate into sales, though. You need to become an Author, Publisher, and Entrepreneur. And that’s the thrust of APE by Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch. If you’re a technical communicator (or…
  • A review of Frictionless Freelancing

    Scott Nesbitt
    9 Jan 2014 | 6:04 am
    Friction. We run into it in all aspects of our lives. Sometimes we cause it ourselves. But more often than not, that friction happens. It slows us down and causes problems. If you’re a freelance technical writer (or a freelancer or any stripe), chances are you’ll know all about friction. In all sizes — from the uncomfortable chair that you use in your home office to a slow internet connection to clients who decide not to pay you on time (or at all). Battling that friction is difficult. But it can be done. That’s the thrust of Frictionless Freelancing by Aaron Mahnke.
  • Moving our content to a Creative Commons license

    DMN Communications
    8 Jan 2014 | 6:57 am
    As the title of this post says … Most of the posts in this space are now licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. That’s definitely a mouthful! But what does it mean? You can use the post that are under that license in any way you see fit — in their current form, as part of a remix or mashup, or as the basis of something else. Let’s say that you do want to use one of our posts. Remember 1) to give us credit, and 2) refrain from using the content for commercial purposes. We’re a bit more flexible on the…
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    Core Dump 2.0

  • How to lie with data visualization

    Keith
    24 Apr 2014 | 2:08 am
    I make my living with words, not numbers, but I’ve always had a good head for math (I took two years of honours math and physics in university). I’ve taken statistics courses and I have a decent grasp of probability theory. So when I see things like the graphs and charts in shown in this article, they usually jump right out at me. At first glance, it looks like gun deaths are on the decline in Florida. But a closer look shows that the y-axis is upside-down, with zero at the top and the maximum value at the bottom. As gun deaths increase, the line slopes downward, violating a well…
  • It ain’t easy

    Keith
    22 Apr 2014 | 4:18 pm
    (With apologies to Three Dog Night) The Economist has a fascinating article about the travails of ebook production. Producing the printed book turned out to be much easier than the ebook edition, though as The Digital Reader points out, had some different choices been made at the beginning of the process, a lot of trouble could have been avoided. Both articles are well worth reading if you have any interest in ebook production, but do read the Economist’s article first. ONE might easily think that print publishing is a fussy business: all of that preparation to put ink on paper seems…
  • 2014 Hugo finalists

    Keith
    22 Apr 2014 | 2:39 am
    The finalists for the 2014 Hugo Awards have been announced. These awards are nominated by and voted on by SF fans who are members of the World Science Fiction Convention, which this year is Loncon 3 in London, UK in August. I’ve not yet read any of the best novel finalists, although I have Charlie Stross’ Neptune’s Brood in my Kindle’s to-be-read queue. He’s also nominated for Equoid in the novella category.  I’m disappointed that Robert Charles Wilson’s Burning Paradise didn’t get a nomination. Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series is…
  • Off for Easter

    Keith
    19 Apr 2014 | 7:33 am
    Just in case you’re wondering where I am, I’m taking the weekend off – actually an extra long weekend because I’ve booked off Monday too. I’ll be back on Tuesday.
  • Google Camera – a review

    Keith
    17 Apr 2014 | 2:39 am
    In my brief review of my new Samsung Galaxy S4, I mentioned that I was a bit frustrated with the performance of the camera. It takes excellent pictures outdoors or in good light, but its low light performance is less than stellar. Most of the pictures I’ve taken indoors suffer from either motion blur or are a bit out of focus. So I was excited to hear that Google was going to release the stock Android 4.4 camera app through Play Store (if you have Android 4.4 KitKat). It was released today and I downloaded and installed it as soon as I got home. My first impressions are mixed. The…
 
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    Tech Writer News (Elephant)

  • Translatable But Debatable — Mas'eer (מסעיר)

    17 Apr 2014 | 10:30 pm
    The Targemni website gives “exciting, sensational” as its definition. Morfix, on the other hand, says “inflaming, inciteful.”  Read more...
  • Israel and the US moving ahead on banking information exchange agreement

    20 Mar 2014 | 12:52 am
    (Reposted with permission from Rachel Berger, Director of Employment at Nefesh B\\\'Nefesh) Israeli business newspaper, Globes, has recently reported that the Ministry of Finance is in late-stage talks with the US Department of the Treasury on a reciprocal agreement to transfer information concerning foreign resident bank accounts. Under U.S. tax law, U.S. persons (including American citizens living abroad) are required to report and pay taxes on income from all sources. Israel decided to seek an agreement with the US, under which the Israeli banks would have no contact with the IRS, but…
  • Salary Information

    18 Mar 2014 | 3:07 am
    Jacob Richman posted his annual Computer Jobs in Israel Survey for 2014 to http://www.cji.co.il/docs.htmRead more...
  • Translatable But Debatable - There Is No Zero

    17 Mar 2014 | 11:00 pm
    Shlomo Hillel (of all people), serving as Speaker of the Knesset in 1988, refers to the phrase as if it’s familiar.  In the Knesset transcript, he says “I have the honor to call on MK Haim Ramon to present before us the proposal for insurance against vaccination mishaps.  As I said, today every number’s a winner. Ein efes (There is no zero).” Read more...
  • Translatable but Debatable - Higzamta

    17 Feb 2014 | 11:00 pm
    In the news, you often see “exaggerate” used inappropriately to translate \"l\'hagzim.\"  For example, an Israeli colonel was quoted in the Jerusalem Post as saying, “We did not exaggerate in our use of firepower.”  Presumably he didn’t mean exaggeration in the sense of trying to inflate a story, he meant simply “We did not use too much firepower.” Read more...
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    STC AccessAbility SIG

  • IDL-SIG Webinar: Making Instructional Video

    Cynthia Lockley
    5 Apr 2014 | 7:13 am
    Making Instructional Video: What We Learn from Pro-Am Content on the Web When: Wed, Apr 16, 2014 1:30 PM – 3:00 PM EDT Registration: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3021021804461343234 Increasingly, users of all manner of technology (software, most notably) are turning to their peers on the Web for guidance. There, users find a mix of homegrown instructional content that ranges in quality from frightfully bad to quite good, with plenty in between. Where users are not turning for help is to printed documentation, instead preferring to roll the dice with peer-generated content.
  • Multiple system atrophy (MSA)

    Cynthia Lockley
    5 Apr 2014 | 7:04 am
    Multiple system atrophy (MSA) is a rare neurological disorder that impairs your body's involuntary (autonomic) functions, including blood pressure, heart rate, bladder function and digestion. Formerly called Shy-Drager syndrome, the condition shares many Parkinson's disease-like symptoms, such as slowness of movement, muscle rigidity and poor balance. Multiple system atrophy is a degenerative disease that develops in adulthood, usually in the 50s or 60s, and affects more men than women. The condition progresses gradually and eventually leads to death. Treatment for MSA includes…
  • PANDAS

    Cynthia Lockley
    20 Mar 2014 | 9:05 pm
    PANDAS, is an abbreviation for Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections. The term is used to describe a subset of children who have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and/or tic disorders such as Tourette Syndrome, and in whom symptoms worsen following strep infections such as “Strep throat” and Scarlet Fever. U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) ClinicalTrials.gov Ongoing Studies of Intravenous Immunoglobulin for PANDAS, ClinicalTrials.gov A service of the U.S. National Institutes of…
  • Talk to the Elephant: Design for Behavior Change webinar

    Cynthia Lockley
    25 Feb 2014 | 8:54 am
    Announcing the IDL-SIG’s March Webinar “Talk to the Elephant: Design for Behavior Change” on Mar 19, 2014 1:30 PM EDT Speaker: Julie Dirksen Register at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3372555462276337153 Frequently, learning design is about showing people how to do the right things, but actually getting them to change behavior can be another challenge. It’s particularly challenging to get people to change those intractable habits and behaviors that we all struggle to avoid, despite the wealth of available information about better choices. In this session, you…
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    EServer TC Library: Recent Additions

  • Value of Recording Conversations with SMEs

    8 Apr 2014 | 10:20 am
    As technical writers, we are often tasked with writing about a subject or product we know almost nothing about. Sometimes we must create quality documentation on this unfamiliar material within an aggressive time frame. This can be a daunting task, so it’s essential that we get the most from our conversations with the project subject matter experts (SMEs). Davidson, Ben
  • A Web for Everyone

    7 Apr 2014 | 4:56 pm
    In their new book, A Web for Everyone: Designing Accessible User Experiences, Sarah Horton and Whitney Quesenbery make a case for accessibility that begins and ends with people. "We believe that great design starts by thinking about how to make products work for everyone." Horton, Sarah and Whitney Quesenbery
  • Making the Most of Your Conversion to XML, Part 2

    7 Apr 2014 | 4:14 pm
    You’ve made the transition to an XML workflow for publishing your technical content, converted all of your legacy content, and started authoring in the new system, as discussed in part 1 of this post. Although you now have a much better outlook on sustainability, you’re still facing a problem: your content creators are having trouble with the idea of separating content from formatting. Kinsey, Gretyl
  • Making the Most of Your Conversion to XML, Part 1

    7 Apr 2014 | 4:14 pm
    Your publishing workflow has been the same for years, but new technology, different customer requirements, and company growth are making you realize you might need a change. Your print-based processes won’t always be sustainable, and XML is looking like a possibility for the future. There’s just one problem: you have thousands of pages of legacy content that you’ll need to convert, and it’s not exactly XML-friendly. Kinsey, Gretyl
  • Samalander DITA XREF Manager Fills A DITA Tools Void

    7 Apr 2014 | 4:12 pm
    Although DITA is a fantastic infrastructure for content in a digital age, DITA tools are…well, where the heck are they? Putting your content in XML ought to allow you to do really cool things with your content because it’s no longer tied to format. In essence, having your content in XML makes it available to be handled programmatically in a way that’s just not possible in unstructured content (FrameMaker or Word). Samuels, Jacquie
 
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    Intext Writing

  • Now You Too Can Write Like Hemingway!

    Bill Kerschbaum
    14 Apr 2014 | 5:21 am
    The great American author Ernest Hemingway was known for his minimalist writing style. It was both simple and elegant, light and clear. It also happens that good content writing and technical writing are simple and clear. If only there were an app that could help you write more like Ernest Hemingway. Well, now there is. Hemingway is a new web app that monitors key components of sentence structure and highlights problems in your text. For example, adverbs are highlighted blue (Hemingway hated adverbs); passive phrases (also a no-no) are marked green; convoluted phrases are shown in red. The…
  • What Are You Forgetting to Tell Your Customers?

    Bill Kerschbaum
    1 Apr 2014 | 4:52 am
    What’s wrong with these instructions? (Click the image to see full size.) There’s something missing—a key piece of information. How long am I supposed to microwave this pastry? Every time I take one of these to work, I have to guess how long to microwave it. After some trial and error, I’ve gotten pretty good at it, but what a shame that it took trial and error! I have no doubt that the full instructions are on the box, but the box is in my freezer at home. The lesson: When you’re writing instructions for your user, make sure you know how the product is going to be used, in the…
  • Why Are You Boring Your Customers?

    Bill Kerschbaum
    17 Mar 2014 | 5:05 am
    You want your customers to be glad they used your user guide, right? So why is it so darned BORING? No one is glad to be bored. And boring instructions make your product feel boring too! Instead, take a cue from Air New Zealand. As Jay Heyman writes, Air New Zealand and a few other airlines are catching on to the fact that customers pay more attention to your instructions if they’re more interested in them. And, they’ll enjoy using your product more, too. So these airlines made their safety instructions a bit more creative and fun lately. Engaged customers who love using your…
  • User Manual Fail: This Beard Trimmer Doesn’t Make the Cut

    Bill Kerschbaum
    4 Mar 2014 | 5:29 am
    My wife recently bought me a new beard trimmer. I was really impressed with the packaging, but the product instructions left a lot to be desired. They were ugly, cheap-looking, and hard to read. I felt like I was only important to them when they were asking for my money, but once they had it they didn’t care much about my experience with their product. The thing is, your product instructions are your product—at least, that’s how your customer sees it. If you want your customers to get the most satisfaction and enjoyment out of using your product, you’d better also invest into creating…
  • Why Disney Believes Your Product Instructions Should Be Perfect

    Bill Kerschbaum
    13 Feb 2014 | 5:18 am
    Photo credit: Joe Penniston (Flickr) Here’s a great article about Disney’s dedication to “overmanaging”—the commitment to ensuring that every detail of a guest’s experience is perfect. Not just acceptable, not enjoyable. Perfect. “People can feel perfection,” Walt Disney once said. Every touchpoint with Disney’s guests is planned for excellence, whether it’s the way a phone call is answered or the temperature of your hotel room or the presentation of a meal on a plate. Why does every touchpoint matter? Because that’s where the customer experiences…
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    Kai's Tech Writing Blog

  • Second day at MadWorld 2014

    Kai
    16 Apr 2014 | 6:29 am
    A well-rounded program and excellent organisation at the second MadWorld user conference avoided many of the traps that can mar a sophomore effort and point to a way of growth into the future. The second day again saw great informative sessions and networking around doc issues and careers, not to mention lunch and drinks under the San Diego spring sun… Advanced single sourcing of content in Flare uses a clever combination of snippets and conditions which are called, not surprisingly, “snippet conditions”. These allow you to maintain reusable chunks of content with slight…
  • First day at MadWorld 2014

    Kai
    15 Apr 2014 | 5:52 am
    The applicable advice about MadCap products from speakers and staff, the profound discussions about tech comm in general, and attendees’ enthusiasm to share and learn from another make MadWorld 2014 a perfect combination of a tool-centric user workshop and a “regular” tech comm conference. The hip Hard Rock Hotel adds a flair of giddy excitement – after all, some of us 200 tech writers are a little too nerdy to feel comfortable when they’re treated like rock stars… The welcome event started with a tongue-in-cheek video: MadCap’s signature cartoon…
  • Rate and improve tech comm with the Net Promoter Score

    Kai
    31 Mar 2014 | 7:00 am
    You can use the Net Promoter Score to rate and improve technical communication – but it works best on the scale of corporate content for which the score was designed. Here’s why and how. The Net Promoter Score (NPS) The Net Promoter Score measures customer loyalty and satisfaction with a company or offering.  It boils down difficult issues with perceived quality to a simple question: How likely are you to recommend our company/product/service to your friends and colleagues? Usually, the answers are ranked on a scale from 1 (highly unlikely) to 10 (very likely). You distinguish…
  • Tech comm conferences too far, too costly?

    Kai
    24 Mar 2014 | 2:00 am
    European tech writers who don’t have the time or the money to attend a tech comm conference can still get a lot of knowledge and networking by attending the tekom Europe Roadshow – right in their backyard, comparatively speaking! The tekom Europe Roadshow puts on one-day events which are easier to get to from many places around Europe and waaay cheaper than full conferences. They bring together professionals from the region for presentations, discussions and networking. Find the roadshow event nearest to you: Paris, France: Monday, September 8 Ghent, Belgium: Wednesday, September…
  • Why a content spec saves you time and money

    Kai
    17 Mar 2014 | 8:00 am
    A content specification will save you troubles, time, and money, especially when you’re not the lone writer on a documentation project. It will ensure that you offer your users consistent and holistic documentation across a team of writers. A content specification is a list of all topics to be created which ideally maps planned topics to requirements and/or designs to ensure comprehensive and complete documentation. It usually comes in a table with one row per topic, listing: Topic heading and/or file name Topic type (concept, task, reference, or whatever else you may use) Topic owner…
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    I Came, I Saw, I Learned...

  • eLearning & Training: How Long is Too Long?

    Kevin Siegel
    23 Apr 2014 | 6:38 am
    by Kevin Siegel    You can create the best-looking, most well-written eLearning lesson anyone has ever seen. But for the lesson to be effective, one of the most important things to keep in mind is that more does not mean better. If your lesson plays too long, you run the risk of losing the attention span of your learner and lowering the effectiveness of the lesson in general. So how long is too long? The answer is directly tied to the average attention span of an adult learner. According to Joan Middendorf and Alan Kalish, Indiana University, "Adult learners can keep tuned in to…
  • Localization: Training & Development in the Czech Republic

    Kevin Siegel
    21 Apr 2014 | 5:54 pm
    by Jen Weaver   Frequently ruled by outsiders in its history, the Czech Republic now faces happier times. Let's take a jaunt over to Central Europe and explore some common cultural facts about the Czech people and their expectations when it comes to training and development. Test Your Knowledge of Czech Culture: True or False. Bohemia is another name for a section of the Czech Republic. Is "Czech" the English or Czech spelling of the name of their language? True or False. Budweiser beer was named after a town in the Czech Republic. Quick Tips for Training & Development in…
  • Localization: Training & Development in the Czech Republic

    Kevin Siegel
    16 Apr 2014 | 11:29 am
    by Jen Weaver   Frequently ruled by outsiders in its history, the Czech Republic now faces happier times. Let's take a jaunt over to Central Europe and explore some common cultural facts about the Czech people and their expectations when it comes to T&D. Test Your Knowledge of Czech Culture: True or False. Bohemia is another name for a section of the Czech Republic. Is "Czech" the English or Czech spelling of the name of their language? True or False. Budweiser beer was named after a town in the Czech Republic. Quick Tips for Training & Development in the Czech…
  • eLearning: Is Right-Clicking Right?

    Kevin Siegel
    15 Apr 2014 | 11:59 am
    by Kevin Siegel    Most computer programs offer multiple ways to accomplish any one task. For instance, in Microsoft Word you can make a selected word bold using a menu, a toolbar button, pressing a keyboard shortcut, or by right-clicking the text. If you're responsible for creating a software simulation that teaches a learner how to make Word text bold, which of the commands are you going to simulate? While you could simulate multiple options, I'd encourage you to focus on just one (adding multiple options is going to take you too long to produce). Personally, I'd simulate…
  • eLearning & Presentations: More Free Images. A MILLION more!

    Kevin Siegel
    11 Apr 2014 | 10:16 am
    by AJ Walther   Want more free images for your eLearning or PowerPoint presentations? How about over a MILLION more? In December of last year, the British Library released into the public domain a huge collection of scanned images from more than 65,000 books spanning the 16th to 19th centuries. Yes, that's right, I said public domain. That means these images are free to use, share, and modify in any way that you see fit. The library asks only that you help to populate the metadata for the images to help make them more easily searchable--and to help spread the knowledge. The project is…
 
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    Technology Depot

  • Stay Anonymous and Protected with your Privacy Online

    TechnologyDepot
    20 Apr 2014 | 8:54 am
    Protected with your Privacy The privacy on internet is very important and concerning matter that you look for every time. Tracking your movement on internet by Advertisers make you bother and risky with your profile security. This serious concern prompts you to apply for many tricks and tips to ensure your privacy. These steps help you in protecting your identity online and keep you secure.   protecting your identity online Methods need to be applied: There are some methods that may help you in protecting yourself and providing the best security. Some of these are little hard but to…
  • Scan the Internet traffic for Illegal Activities

    TechnologyDepot
    10 Apr 2014 | 2:53 am
    Scan the Traffic Today everything is viral on the internet. Including the entertainment, the privacy concern is also being viral and intrusion. Sometimes, when we track something, the owner of the data becomes unsecure and this increases the illegal activities. According to the researchers, “They have found a way with which they would be able to scan the traffic on the internet to track the illegal photographs.” With this statement, It is assure that we can then track the child pornography. Being this activity of tracking or scanning traffic, it is another point of intrusion but no-As the…
  • Want to Improve Business productivity? Use the Cloud Computing!!

    TechnologyDepot
    10 Feb 2014 | 7:55 am
    cloud-computing Establishment of the business is not so easy in the very arguably competitive market where it is being challenge to fulfill the customer expectations. The competitive business market where you have to increase the work productivity to attract clients and maintain their loyalty has become challenge. With the invention of more powerful technology is it being easy for the Small and Medium-size Business to establish them in this very tough market. One major developed technology that has increased the business productivity is Cloud Computing. Cloud Computing has empowered people to…
  • 4 Commonly Overlooked Things About Unlimited Broadband That You Need to Know

    TechnologyDepot
    10 Feb 2014 | 6:46 am
    With internet being a necessity these days, unlimited broadband is sought by everyone. This is probably because of the word “unlimited” in it, which causes a lot of problems for ISPs. Uninformed users often flood ISPs with complaints about how unlimited is not really unlimited. And the fact that ISPs don’t really explain it really well for the sake of sales isn’t helping either. It always helps to talk to ISPs and ask what their internet packages include. Also, here are four important things you need to know about unlimited broadband. 1. There May Be Capping ISPs…
  • Get Introduce to Gi-Fi!! A Technology with Standard Features

    TechnologyDepot
    30 Jan 2014 | 5:17 am
    Gi-Fi In recent years, the technology has changed a-lot from wired connection to wireless connection. Weather it is wired connection of optical fibers or wireless connection of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, the need for better bandwidth and data rates never ends. As still we used Wi-Fi for better data exchange rates and ranges having good network coverage but the needs always look-up for better. This need lets to the new technology that is more up-to-date and has standard data exchange rates named as Gi-Fi. Gi-Fi or Gigabit Wireless is integrated on a single chip operating at 60GHz. About its transfer…
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    ProgrammingFree

  • Spring MVC 4.0: Consuming RESTFul Web Services using RestTemplate

    15 Apr 2014 | 4:49 am
    This article is a continuation of my previous article on Spring MVC 4.0 RESTFul web services. So far I have written two articles on how to create restful web service using Spring MVC 4.0. Last tutorial explained how to create a RESTFul web service in spring that would return user information from mysql table in JSON format. Let us now implement a Spring MVC application that issues web service requests and fetches the response returned by the web service.Articles on Spring MVC RESTFul Web ServicesSpring MVC 4.0 RESTFul Web Services Simple ExampleSpring MVC 4.0 RESTFul Web Service JSON Response…
  • Spring MVC 4.0 RESTFul Web Service JSON Response with @ResponseBody

    13 Mar 2014 | 10:49 pm
    Article Recognitions*A mention about this article in official spring blog here.Big Link in DzoneThis tutorial is a continuation of my previous tutorial titled Spring MVC 4.0 RESTFul Web Service Simple Example. I explained the basics of how Spring MVC can be used to build RESTFul Web Services with a simple example that returns greeting message in the form of plain text. Let us extend that example to see how to use Spring MVC REST functionality to return json response from server. Articles on Spring MVC RESTFul Web ServicesSpring MVC 4.0 RESTFul Web Services Simple ExampleSpring MVC 4.0 RESTFul…
  • jTable Pagination in Java Web Applications

    7 Feb 2014 | 2:36 pm
    This article is a continuation of my previous articles on how to use jQuery jTable plugin in Java Web applications. jQuery jTable plugin offers an easy way to achieve AJAX based crud (create, read, update and delete) functionality and present the data in a table. This article explains how to use the pagination component to do server side paging for jTable in Java web application.Articles on jTable in Java Web ApplicationsjQuery jTable plugin in Java Web Applications - An IntroductionSetup and Load Data in jTable using Servlets and JSPAJAX based CRUD Operations in Java Web Applications using…
  • Spring MVC 4.0 RESTFul Web Services Simple Example

    29 Jan 2014 | 12:45 am
    REST(Representational State Transfer) is an architectural style with which Web Services can be designed that serves resources based on the request from client. A Web Service is a unit of managed code, that can be invoked using HTTP requests. Let me put it simple for those who are new to Web Service.You develop the core functionality of your application, deploy it in a server and expose to the network. Once it is exposed, it can be accessed using URI's through HTTP requests from a variety of client applications. Instead of repeating the same functionality in multiple client (web, desktop and…
  • List/Grid View Switcher with fade-in/out transitions using jQuery

    29 Dec 2013 | 12:54 pm
    In almost every e-commerce website that you are designing, the feature to switch between list and grid view is very essential to facilitate better display of the huge product catalog. This is very simple to achieve using jQuery, as you can visualize the very minimal version in the jsfiddle showcased here.To make this more complete, I experimented showcasing product catalog with fade-in and fade-out transitions while switching between grid and list views. In this post, let us see how to create fading list/grid view switcher with components to display product catalog using jQuery and…
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    Webfries

  • MUST HAVE FEATURES IN ECOMMERCE SOLUTIONS

    22 Apr 2014 | 3:07 am
    What Are The Features Every Ecommerce Platform Should Have? The potential are everlasting, when it comes to choosing a platform for your e-commerce website. Yet, make sure the e-commerce stand you choose supports these key features that will help to get better your business. • SEO friendly custom page titles and URLsFor getting good ranked in Google and attract more clients you have to play by Google’s rules. Avoid non friendly URLs. This URL makes no sense to Google or your potential customers. It won’t rank fine. An SEO friendly URL should display related keywords.• Design…
  • Review your Website to get better Search Engine Results

    15 Apr 2014 | 12:52 am
    A high quality website does not just mean launching a website and forgetting about it. Websites take maintaining and updating to keep them working to your advantage. To know how well your website is performing for your company, it is compulsory to perform a website review. Using this information and feedback can help you determine what needs to be done in order to increase search engineresults and overall website visibility. A site review is a complete report that analyzes and reports on every phase of your website. These are a few of the key areas on which a web review focuses.
  • Is Brand Building exercise overvalued??

    21 Jan 2014 | 11:51 pm
    Many companies still have a question in mind whether to invest in brand building as a focused area or to keep it as a side activity. To understand the importance of branding activities we need to first introspect the activities involved in brand building and its impact on one’s business.  Why is brand building required? We all know that target audiences have to be targeted with the right message so that they form a certain positive image of the company and this activity has to be recurring in nature. A well planned media mix can enable sending the message you want to send across…
  • Webfries Cab Booking Mobile app

    25 Dec 2013 | 2:36 am
  • PROMOTE YOUR BUSINESS USING “VIDEO” AS MEDIUM!!!

    18 Dec 2013 | 5:14 am
    PROMOTE YOUR BUSINESS USING “VIDEO” AS MEDIUM!!!
 
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