TechWhirl Recap for the Week of Halloween

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


It’s been a scary, scary week here at TechWhirl. It started with our first (but soon-to-be annual) TechWhirl Halloween Playhouse, the soft launch of our new jobs website, TechCommJobs.Com, and followed by frantic organization \ coordination of our upcoming trip to the LavaCon Conference.

How in the world can we finish it all when the holiday season, now often called the “silly season” in the UK, is staring us in the face with those giant Great Pumpkin eyes?

Wow, lucky transition… that happens to be our theme for November—Managing Projects during the Holidays.  So far our weekly poll shows that two out of every three people feel they have things under control and won’t be eating holiday (insert your ceremonial food here) while staring at a requirements document.

Managing projects to a successful completion is tough even when everyone isn’t dreaming of sugarplums and planning strategic sick days, but the holidays—especially if you have a hard deadline—are darn tough.  This month we’ll be providing some tips and tricks plus some guidance on the subject and listening to you to get your ideas.  How do you do it? (add it to the comments and we’ll summarize them in a post.)


Scary All Year Long

Sniff. Put away the chain saws.  Sniff.  Put away the all black attire and hockey masks.  It’s over.  All over.  Sigh.

No more screams or puddlings or anything.  Now it’s all turkeys and that big guy who breaks into houses, it’s so depressing.  But wait!  Most of us work in corporate world and that’s scary all year long.  We and you know that those Tech Writer Horror Stories weren’t just scary, they were also true; so why do we have to put away everything just yet?

We invite you to have a read of our Tech Writer Halloween Stories and start preparing yours for next year.  Our TechWhirl Halloween Playhouse was also a lot of fun and if we do say so ourselves, it turned out pretty well.

What’s next?  We’d like letters from you to Santa (or the Great Pumpkin, or …) in a feature we’re calling Dear Santa—All I want for Christmas and Next Year is ___.  There’s plenty of time for thought pieces on Integrated Technical Communications ( later, for this feature any wish is fine.


The Road to LavaCon

To be blunt, we’ve never tried to cover an event like real life journalists so we’re spending a lot of time thinking about what we want to cover and how we’re going to cover it.  Just because we are an online trade magazine for technical communicators doesn’t mean we want to do a full documentation of it.   We want to present interesting things that help ping your thoughts and interests.

The theme is Developing Content for a Global Audience, and we’re looking to cover some of the big events live, others by quick summaries, and still others by a quick Twitter post.  Once it’s all done we’ll produce several feature articles exploring some of the subthemes that appear during the event.

What should we cover?  What should we avoid?  Add ‘em to the comments and we’ll do our best.

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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:

  • Becca Price referenced “Penguins?” when asking for advice about whether to include explanatory information on CSS on XHTML in a document describing how to create ebooks without them. Good solid advice on understanding the audience, and where the explanatory information might be included without disrupting the flow of the document.
  • Roberta Hennessey is seeking out “Career/Skill Advice” as she considers getting training in usability. Whirlers responded with thoughts about adding localization, accessibility and various programming languages.  Going with what interests you and matching that with current desired skills seems to be the consensus of the advice.
  • Guess what, lots more on the various incarnations of STC Certifications debates.  Big surprise, right?


In case You Missed It:  This Week @TechWhirl



We want to send a very special “thank you” to our sponsors for their support.  Without them our Ghost sheet would have too many holes and we’d only get a lousy stone when trick-or-treating.


Platinum AAdobe Systems Incorporated

Platinum B: ComponentOneMadcap

GoldSociety for Technical Communication (STC)EC SoftwareVancouver Island University


> What is this new jobs site in which you speak?  It wouldn’t be a soft launch if we promoted it a lot, not yet anyway.


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