Mike Mccallister

Mike McCallister is devoted to the idea that technology need not be feared, and can be mastered by anyone. After all, he grew up in the days when computers filled entire rooms, and spent 13 years as a civil service clerk doing nothing more technical than recording WordPerfect macros. Mike is also devoted to making computing easier for the full spectrum of user levels and experience. As a technical writing consultant, freelance computer magazine writer, and book author, he understands that ordinary people can and should make the most of their tools.

Besides Linux and open source software, interests include tools for communicating via the Web (blogs, social networks, wikis, and the like) and bridging the digital divide. McCallister has been running Linux as his primary day-to-day desktop operating system since 1999, but he also documents software for a variety of platforms as a technical communication consultant.

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TechWhirl’s Top 12 Technical Communication Articles of 2012

Another busy year comes to a close here at TechWhirl. The members of our Special Writers Group have a simple job description: write stories that matter to technical communicators, whether they read the discussion list or are otherwise occupied. The most popular TechWhirl technical communication articles of the year reveal a readership interested in both the big picture and the more practical. Continue reading ...

Product Documentation as Conversation

Book Review: Conversation and Community — The Social Web for Documentation

Anne Gentle has been involved in creating documentation in wikis for awhile now. In the 2009 first edition of Conversation and Community: The Social Web for Documentation, she offered her experiments as a practical guide to persuading management to bring users into your documentation projects. In the expanded second edition, Gentle adds the experiences of other technical communicators to make the case for taking advantage of passionate users to create the best possible docs for your software. Continue reading ...

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Adobe RoboHelp 10 Review (Full): Help Authoring for the Modern Era

What's so exciting about RoboHelp 10? Aside from moving away from the X versioning symbolized in Adobe Acrobat and the Apple MacOS, that is? Quite a bit, indeed. RoboHelp 10 offers many new features, but I’m focusing this review on two areas important to technical communicators: producing online help for mobile applications and simplified review workflows with PDF comments enabled for Adobe Reader. Continue reading ...

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Adobe RoboHelp 10 Review: TechWhirl First Look

For the last decade or longer, the idea of “online help” really has been something of a misnomer. With more applications living on smart phones and other mobile devices that can access the Internet at will, the promise of genuinely online help can now be realized. The most extensive upgrades in the Adobe Technical Communication Suite 4 come to RoboHelp 10. Continue reading ...

technical communications juggler

Technical Communications Juggler: Balancing Work, Life and Writing Books

It's a hard slog writing technical books, especially when juggling a full-time technical communications job and the usual set of family responsibilities. Structure and discipline are the keys to success. Here are some guidelines based on hard-won experience, to balancing the technical communications work, the personal life and the book writing dream. Continue reading ...

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Book Review: Developing User Assistance for Mobile Apps

Remember when the Windows Start button was a new thing? When printed manuals for software applications were first making way for electronic “Help” files, Joe Welinske was part of a team that produced an essential work for technical writers wrestling with new technology, Developing Online Help for Windows 95. Now at the dawn of a new age, Welinske, president of WritersUA in Seattle, offers technical communicators another help in navigating new waters with Developing User Assistance for Mobile Apps. Continue reading ...

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More Highlights from International Freelancers Day: Two Answers to the Eternal Conundrum: What Do I Charge?

When considering going into the freelance writing business, one of the hardest questions you have to ask yourself is: “How do I make a real living doing this job?” If you've been working as a full-time employee for awhile, that question becomes “Can I maintain my existing standard of living working as a freelancer?” Continue reading ...