TechWhirl Tech Writer Recap for December 23, 2011

This week’s update is supported by Platinum sponsor ComponentOne & their Doc-To-Help Help Authoring Tool |

From the Desk of the Editor

It’s a been a pretty quiet week as the TechWhirl staff (that would be Al and me) get ready for the holiday.  No matter whether you’re into Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa, Solstice, Festivus, or just anticipating a few days off, we sincerely hope the holidays bring you everything you could hope for.

If you’ve had a chance to listen to the TechWhirl holiday podcast, you know that Al got his wish already, and in that same vein, I’m happy to be plunging into TechWhirl fulltime after a lengthy contract stint and the resulting weekend warrior status.  Actually my Christmas wish has been fulfilled, with a great team of writers on the SWU, but I have no compunctions about hoping that it continues to be fulfilled with new editors and writers joining our gang during 2012.  Most of the SWU is already enjoying the holiday status, but a few of them stuck around long enough to be a part of the podcast and enjoy their 59 minutes of holiday fame.

We managed to put a few more gifts under the TechWhirl magazine tree, with a review of Joe Welinkse’s book on user assistance for mobile apps, and an eye-opening guide to being more efficient in Word from the Users’ Advocate, Geoff Hart.  Try not to read them this weekend, they’ll be around after the big celebrations are done…

Have a happy, merry, jolly, joyous, restful and non-fattening holiday

– The gang at TechWhirl


In Case You Missed it: This Week  @ TechWhirl

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Letters to Santa:

Tech Comm News:

What You’re Talking About

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

  • Most Whirlers seem to be taking a long winter’s nap, but Kevin McLaughlin stayed awake long enough to request some feedback about the possibility of caution fatigue when he stated “Too many notes! Take some out.”  Respondents, noted that in addition to compliance and regulatory concerns, judicious use of notes, cautions and warnings benefits users, but reviewing long-standing docs for note creep is probably worthwhile.
  • Will Husa began experiencing “WORD weirdness” on a 30-page document that would not print the final page, even after converting to PDF.  After several suggestions for Maggie-ing the document (copy everything but the last paragraph mark and paste into a new document) and checking for text hidden in field codes, Will cobbled together a solution that included an extra section break.

Social Media and the Chance to Follow TechWhirl:


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Platinum B: Madcap Software, ComponentOne Software

Gold: Society for Technical Communication (STC), EC Software, Vancouver Island University,

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