Technical Communications Recap for March 9, 2012

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

Packing for the WritersUA conference and dodging solar flares couldn’t keep TechWhirl from providing some insightful, humorous and questioning content, or giving our community a taste of all the news in technical communications this week.   We even found time to remember that TechWhirl turns 19 today… We’re taking our now fully adult status in stride as we prepare for next week’s conference.

Safe travels to everyone heading to Memphis and for the love of the ducks, don’t forget your towel. And, please drop by our booth at the event (dinner on Sunday #writersua, #writersua42) during the breaks.  We’d love to chat with each and every one of you.

If you aren’t heading to the Rocky-Top State, then we look forward to your feedback as we cover this year’s Software User Assistance Conference from all angles.

On behalf of everyone before us (Founders Eric and Deborah Ray) and us (Al & Connie), a very sincere thank you to everyone who has ever had a great discussion on our email list or ever visited the website.  We sincerely appreciate it.

Happy Birthday to us, Happy Birthday to us, happy Technical Writers everywhere, happy birthday to us.

Have a great weekend.


In Case You Missed it: This Week  @ TechWhirl

New features and articles on

Tech Comm News:

Technical Communications: What You’re Talking About

A quick shout out to our Technical Writers and their discussions in our email discussion group:

  • Dan Goldstein started casual Friday a bit early when he let the list know that “I have been waiting my entire career to use that word in a technical context.”  The word is defenestration. Whirlers commented on the history and the objects that would make good or not-so-good candidates for defenestrating, including Microsoft Windows, chamber pots, dictionaries, and bath water.
  • Joyce Fetterman was looking for a way to resolve a “Problem with Word 2007 tables,” caused by an ancient template. Several worthwhile suggestions including “Maggie-ing” the document (copy everything but the last paragraph mark and paste into a new document) and removing all the bookmarks.  Sadly, the results were less than ideal, and Joyce is starting with a clean slate, a blank template.
  • Debbie Hemstreet has a new gig in Israel, and she’s reviewing the design of a marketing brochure created by a graphic artist (emphasis on the “artist”). She asked “Mixed capitalization for marketing brochures – what do you think?” and got some sensible advice from folks like Bill Swallow and Janice Gelb who advise a step back to look at the overall effect on brand, and then look at elements and consistency to avoid distractions, and firmly suggest changes if distractions remain.

Social Media and the Chance to Follow TechWhirl:


We want to send a very special “thank you” to our sponsors for their support.


Platinum: Adobe Systems Incorporated

Gold: ComponentOne Software, Madcap Software

Silver: Society for Technical Communication (STC), Vancouver Island University


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