Here are a few posts on a variety of topics. Enjoy!
Because I don’t jump all over the latest trends and tools in the tech comm world, I sometimes get labeled as old school or as a dinosaur. And that’s one of the nicer things that’s said about me …
It’s not that I’m afraid of technology or of change. That just bad thinking, pure and simple. But I do take a measured approach to just about everything. Simply because a new tool or technique promises to make my job easier, to write documentation by itself, to make me more charming, and brew me a perfect cup of green tea doesn’t mean I’m going to swallow those promises whole. I like to investigate. And, for the most part, those promises have fallen short. Sometimes far short.
Take, for example, screencasts. I like screencasts. I’ve used them. I’ve recorded them. I’ve written about them in this space (use the search box in the top right if you don’t believe me). But, like anything else, screencasts have their strengths and their limitations.
My good friend Sarah has always used a tablet — a laptop computer that has a stylus interface (inkless pen for handwriting) and a swivel monitor. For some reason, I have always thought of these types of laptops as the convertible car model: a laptop that would be really nice to have, but a type that I couldn’t afford.
Now, with the Slate, the Google Tablet and other devices like the iPad on the market or soon to be, I needed to determine if I should buy that convertible now or wait for my Gen X mid-life crisis.
I was inspired to put this post together when I was introduced to an HP tablet at a recent faculty workshop at the college where I teach. I was hooked. It was that simple. I could interact with the teacher and with other students. I could erase my work on electronic handouts. The tablet even had a polling feature, so if I didn’t understand the concept, only the teacher would know that I needed another example. No embarrassment necessary.
You may want to visit here for specifications . This post is more about how people use tablets in their day-to-day professional lives. The following list of links showcases the classic models:
One of the technologies that intrigues and excites me, both as a computer user and as a technical communicator, is virtualization. I’ve been following the progression of virtualization for a while and it’s something that not only has a number of uses it also appeals to my inner geek.
But what exactly is it? In an article that I wrote about virtualization software, I described it as:
a form of software sleight of hand. The trickery involved enables a computer to run two or more operating systems simultaneously.
While it’s overly simplistic, I think the description works.
But what does this have to do with technical writing? Potentially quite a bit. Read on to find out more.
OK, the books won’t comfortably fit into your hand (unless you’re using an ebook reader). But they’re definitely ones I recommend to any technical communicator.
You’ll notice that none of them deal with technical communication directly. Remember that there’s more to a career in tech comm than a knowledge of things like single sourcing, topic-based writing, wikis, and the latest tools.
Here we go …
As Keith Soltys mentioned in a comment on a recent post in this space, librarians are the people that companies shoud turn to wen creating a taxonomy for … well, for just about any content. But librarians also have some interesting insights into search. Not just about what to look for and where, but how to search. And, just as important, the connections betwen items and (of course) the taxonomies that apply to those connections.
I really believe that technical communicators and content strategists can learn a lot from librarians, and the techies who work along side them. That belief was reinforced when I read these posts at the Toronto Public Library’s Web team blog.