Like many people, when you hear the word DOS you probably cringe. You remember the days when you had to type a bunch of commands to do anything; no graphical point and click there. But, as Cameron Moll discovered, in some cases DOS can be the most efficient user interface for a task.
We also have some product announcements. I’m not saying anything but this is going to really upset the competitors in the industry. The stuff we have planned over the next year is going to make your life so much easier.
I don’t know about the making your life easier part (at least not yet), but the company’s upcoming offerings look really interesting. They include:
- MadCap Team Server, a content management tool.
- MadCap X-Edit and X-Edit Express, a word processor and a reviewing tool, respectively.
- MadCap Press, a page design and layout tool that uses XML.
Oh, and a beta of Blaze is available for download.
Aaron and I will definitely be keeping our eyes on these products. We hope to get our hands on some beta versions when they’re available and will discuss them more both in this space and in our podcast.
If not, then you should consider signing up. Scott Abel (a.k.a. The Content Wrangler) has created a community that’s already attracted almost 1,000 technical communicators from around the world. And it’s only a week or so old.
According to Abel, the community enables you to:
Network with peers. Find jobs. Share information. Start a blog. Upload and watch videos. Join a group. Begin a discussion. Learn about software. Find events. Ask for help.
If nothing else, you can ask and answer questions in a couple of dozen groups, including writing for reuse, blogging, converting legacy documentation to DITA, among others.
To be honest, we have little time for social networking sites (don’t get us started on Facebook …), but we joined the Content Wrangler Community. Why? Unlike most other social networking sites, this one is actually relevant to us and our professional interests.
- Is documentation important? At least one person things so.
- In a number of organizations, technical writing has become part of the design process. This post outlines why this might not be such a good thing.
- If your organization has the budget, you might be able to work with a technical editor. Here is some information on how.
- The DITA Infocenter offers “a searchable knowledge base of specifications for DITA users.”
- Whether you’re interviewing developers or product managers, you need to ask the right questions. Here’s how to do it the smart way.
- This post illustrates why reading the manual is important.
Being someone who writes for a living, I tend to read a lot. Among my friends, I’m known for having a large collection of books. At least, I did until late last year when I gave away close to 600 of those books. Strangely enough, though, my bookshelves are far from bare …
One small, but not insubstantial, part of my library is a set of technical books — on subjects like UNIX and Linux, Web authoring, scripting languages, and the like. About half of those volumes were given away, mainly because I wasn’t using any of them very often.
Of course, there are times when I need to refer to books like the ones I no longer have; lately, I’ve been running into that need quite a bit. But instead of heading to Amazon.ca or Indigo.ca, I’ve found a much cheaper source of information.
If you’re a technical communicator living in Toronto and have a library card, you’ve got a great opportunity to brush up or expand upon your skills. Safari Books Online is available through the Web site of the Toronto Public Library.
Safari is a an electronic reference of computer and technology books from publisher O’Reilly Media. Through Safari, you can get access to books from a number of publishers. And using it at the Toronto Public Library Web site, it’s free. I don’t know how up-to-date the library’s version of Safari is, but the selection of books is quite good.
Note that during the day, the library’s Web site can be glacially slow.
Have you used this resource? If so, leave a comment and share your experiences.