TechWhirl: Technical Communication Recap for October 5, 2012

This week’s update on technical communication and the TechWhirl community is supported by Platinum sponsor Madcap & their Ultimate Communications Suite, MadPak |

We love October here at TechWhirl … LavaCon, tcworld, Halloween…what’s not to love?  As you’re reading this, the gang is winging its way to Portland in advance of LavaCon Conference 2012, where in addition to having a booth and organizing paper airplane races, Al and Connie will be presenting two must-see sessions: How to Build a Winning Business Case, and Dr TechComm, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Change Management. We like to go a bit Hollywood sometimes, and these are two topics that lend themselves to a bit of creative flair while we pass along wisdom and advice that are relevant to technical communicators looking to expand their sphere of influence.

Our crack writing team—Lois Patterson, Rachel Houghton, and Valerie Ball—will be covering as many of the great sessions as they can cram into their schedules, so you can get a taste of the proceedings even if you can’t be there. LavaCon is always a great event, filled to overflowing with great speakers, trendy topics, and lots of networking. And while none of us will make it to Wiesbaden for tcworld Conference and tekom Trade Fair this year in person, we’ll be there in spirit, as well as following the top technical communication glitterati who’ll be presenting and tweeting.

Before turning to our favorite holiday, we’ll be trying to answer October’s big question:  Is Tech Comm Art?  We’re featuring our own debate (no teleprompters or fact checkers around here) on both sides of this question, as well as looking into other aspects of creativity, and its place (if there is one) in technical communication.

At TechWhirl, the two most important holidays are April Fools’ Day and Halloween. So in the spirit of art and creativity, we’re hosting Tech Writer Halloween Horror Stories again this year.  We are looking forward to seeing and publishing those true, mostly true, or wish-they-were-true tales of mayhem and magic in the world of technical communication. Flex those artistic muscles and submit your most horrifying for publication during Halloween week.

If all of this activity leaves you a bit breathless or overwhelmed, it’s probably a good time to take a look at Cheryl Voloshin’s advice on how to reclaim the balance between work and life.  You can also get a sneak peek at a couple of hot topics to be presented at LavaCon in our Fast 5 Interviews with David Ashton of SDL, and Rick Schochler of Rocketsled.

Have a great weekend!

-The gang at TechWhirl

  Tech Writer This Week for October 4, 2012The first week of October brings out the fall foliage and political debates in the US, a major technical communications conference in the UK (TCUK12), and a cornucopia of great posts and commentary from tech comm, content strategy, UX, and technical editing luminaries. Where else could you find lessons from Tom Cruise side-by-side with discussions on fonts, low-cost documentation fallacies and adorable ducklings?
  Global Content Challenges: Fast 5 Interview with David Ashton of SDLOne of the highlights of LavaCon Conference 2012 undoubtedly will be the SDL Globalization Challenge on Monday, October 8, where David Ashton will preside over an educational and usually hilarious trivia competition. David, SDL International’s Vice President of Consulting Services will also be on the panel discussing The Content Revolution. He was able to squeeze an hour into his schedule to discuss global content challenges, translation, and trends with Connie Giordano and Al Martine in a recent TechWhirl Fast 5 Live Interview.
Nothing Teaches Like Mistakes: Reclaim the Balance Between Work and LifeIn the fall of 2011, I had a job where I loved the work, loved my boss, loved the company and hated my job. The reason was simple. I had lost any balance between work and the rest of my life. Looking back, I see what happened. Early successes in streamlining processes and improving productivity earned me greater responsibility, respect and raises, but no additional resources. I gave up whole parts of my life in five or ten minute increments over ten years …
  Tackling Content Reuse Head on: Fast 5 Interview with RocketSled’s Rick SchochlerCrowell Solutions will be attending the LavaCon Conference 2012 in Portland, ready to show attendees how its RocketSled™ XML editor can make content reuse a reality across the enterprise, because provides XML authoring in MS Word. Rick Schochler, Crowell’s COO took a few moments to answer TechWhirl’s Fast 5 Interview questions and offered an inside look at RocketSled and what’s on the horizon.
  TechWhirl wants your scariest story for Tech Writer Halloween Horror Stories — 2012We love Halloween here at TechWhirl. Bring on the ghouls, goblins and management consultants.  Their knives, torches and three-hour working “meetings” mean nothing to us. Whether it’s a Google algorithm change or a deadline from hell, we have our big kid Great Pumpkin Underoos, our trusty Webster’s Dictionary and our phasers set to stun so bring it on! Don’t cross us or we’ll change the cover of that TPS report.

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Marcia Riefer Johnston

12 years ago

Love this forum. How did it take me so long to discover it? Connie, Al, great meeting you at Lavacon.


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