TechWhirl Recap for November 18, 2011

This week’s update is supported by Platinum sponsor Madcap & their Ultimate Communications Suite, MadPak

LavaCon Conference 2011: We came, we saw, we met to incredible people and learned some valuable things.

This week’s TechWhirl update has to be about LavaCon since Connie, Al, Jacquie, Lois and Roger spent five days in Austin and four full days covering the event and interviewing some of the thought leaders in the technical communications industry (but not all of them, more coming soon).  Frankly, we can’t really summarize in this update everything we learned because we learned so much that we’re still trying to digest the entire thing (like one of those great Hut’s Hamburgers or the natural beauty of the Lady Bird Lake.

Some things we learned:

Our little flyers were a success.

Some other stuff we learned:

  • This industry of technical communications that we as professional communicators work in, is seeing a new movement to take it from competent, thorough and thoughtful desktop publishers to a full profession worthy and necessary for the long term success of any company.  Anywhere.
  • Social media and the tools available provide fantastic opportunities to unleash the creativity and knowledge of everyone. Our job as technical communicators and as the industry’s online magazine is to encourage it and enable it while also helping to provide context for it.
  • It seems the number 950 fascinated many of the presenters.  We heard it over, and over, and over again.  [no hurry we’ll wait]
  • The greatest content in the world is useless if it can’t be found.
  • Content strategy may inform a wide array of tactics and outputs, but it starts with understanding what customers want and how they want to use it.
  • We believe more than ever in the authoritative role of the STC in helping define this profession.
  • The start of one of the most fascinating software stories in tech comm history.
  • People can’t seem differentiate TechWhirl from TechWorld if the speaker has any type of a southern accent.
  • We really enjoyed covering this event and working in a larger team and from the feedback to the TechWhirl LavaCon Conference 2011 session summaries others have enjoyed our coverage too.

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What You’re Talking About

A quick What you talkin’ ‘bout to our Tech Writers and their discussions in our email discussion group:

  • Janice Gelb’s wonderful home décor find – “Punctuation-shaped Lamps,” was good for a few giggles and groans well before the Friday funnies—Light editing indeed!
  • Monique Semp is looking for help in “visually describing command syntax ?” and has gotten some suggestions ranging from reviewing SQL and API descriptions, to referencing sentence diagramming techniques and following IBM’s visual syntax guidelines.
  • While Bonnie Turner asked for assistance in “digitally signing help files”—the old fashioned .hlp files, Dan Goldstein let us know that even though it’s deprecated, WinHelp downloads are provided by Microsoft for Vista and Windows 7.

In Case You Missed it: This Week  @ TechWhirl


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

Platinum A: Adobe Systems Incorporated

Platinum B: Madcap, ComponentOne

GoldVancouver Island UniversitySociety for Technical Communication (STC)EC Software


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