TechWhirl: Technical Communication Recap for September 20, 2013

technical communication recap for July 5If you were to extract a list of keywords from the content TechWhirl published this week, plus chats on the email discussion list, and comments from the community forum it would be an odd-looking list:

  • Pigs and chickens
  • Koi
  • Spam
  • Swiss Army Knife
  • Badge
  • XML
  • PDF on Demand
  • Keyboard
  • Reward
  • Infinity Scrolling
  • Privacy
  • Mobility
  • Converter
  • Halloween
  • Grammar
  • Presumption
  • DITA
  • WIKI

Is it a scouting blog? A chat room for agricultural app developers? Maybe a new contender for Wikipedia? It’s actually a list that reflects the diversity of our community, and our commitment to sharing knowledge about what it takes to do this job of tech comm and content creation well. I’m not sure if Google Analytics could make heads or tails of how these keywords could possibly be related to each other, except they all have TechWhirl in common.

We also achieved a new milestone of a sort, publishing our 1000th piece of content since we took over TechWhirl in 2011. Maybe we’ll give you a special badge if you can guess which article or post got us over that threshold.  In the meantime, enjoy…

Have a great weekend!

-Connie and the gang at TechWhirl

 Tech Writer This Week

Tech Writer This Week for September 19, 2013

Tech Writer This Week is back and ready to share the best on the web. This week some thoughts on UX, tips on grammar, some job search advice and a gentle request from the editorial staff.


TechWhirl Third Annual Tech Comm Halloween Horror Stories Festival

Technical communicators are invited to share their encounters with the macabre mechanics of corporate existence, both real and imagined, in TechWhirl’s Tech Comm Halloween Horror Stories Festival


Word Wise: The Presumption Trap

We writers—whether we’re building an argument or documenting a procedure or creating a lookup table—must give up the fantasy of easy acceptance if we want to avoid the Presumption Trap. We must suspend the illusion of like-mindedness, of oneness with our readers. We must detach ourselves and acknowledge that readers see what we write in their own ways. We can presume only one thing about readers: that we can’t presume anything.

 antidot fluid topics

Antidot Fluid Topics: Two (DITA) Thumbs Up for Better Customer Experience

Fluid Topics is a DITA publishing option that delivers content to your customers on a website of your choice. It’s one possible answer to the “what do I do with my XML content” question that every DITA newbie runs into at some point. However, Fluid Topics is more than simply saving XML as HTML—it encompasses management of a whole user experience through content—an experience that most people are just starting to think about.

 mobility and writer productivity

Mobility and Writer Productivity (poll)

Back around the turn of the century, laptops were the cool new thing that only senior executives and other early adopters with large, full wallets could afford. They let you do stuff without being tied to your desk (supposedly). Like write columns, user manuals or help systems. Now devices are small, lightweight and really portable, mobile is the new cool thing. You can do a lot of stuff without being tied to a desk, or even a lounge chair, but can you write–productively?

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