TechWhirler Recap for August 19

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

We’ve been in full collaboration mode here at TechWhirl this week. We’re not only writing about it, but we’re applying those lessons as well.

The Special Writers Unit is out doing themselves these days and this week was no different. First it was Geoff Hart’s “Getting Feedback on our Work” article ( and second was Chantel Brathwaite’s “Digital Asset Management (DAM) Systems and the Single Tech Writer” ( On a side note, we were very pleased with Chantel’s DAM article, because it allowed us Al to use the word DAM over, and over again on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. It was the best da—article we’ve seen in a while. J

Not to be outdone, Geoff’s getting feedback article will most certainly hit our instant classics list. We’ve already proposed a joint article from both of them titled “Getting DAM Feedback.” [I honestly wrote myself into a corner on this one.]

[Insert scratching of vinyl record sound here] Now, onto the second part of this piece – we’re also applying collaboration more and more – especially with our very Special Writers Unit. Yesterday, we held our Editorial meeting for September. This time, instead of just talking we used a Google Doc as our whiteboard. Everyone had access to it and could write whatever they wanted. It was a great session, with some really good conversations on next month’s theme: A User’s Experience in Design.

Last night was our first real online brainstorming session so we’re certain to improve but the online tools helped bridge the distance between the participants. Most of us can agree that collaboration is really best done when folks are around each other – in a room with a white board – but the new technologies out there are making things a little easier when that isn’t possible.

Next week, we’re continuing our discussions on collaboration with an article from Craig Cardimon, “Tips and Tricks: Staying Productive and Sane When Working in and a classic article from The Users Advocate Geoff Hart, “The Needs of the Many”. We’ll also talk a little bit more about our website replatforming and redesign.

Until then,

You folks have a nice Digital Asset Management weekend,

The friendly folks @ TechWhirl


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What You’re Talking About

Quick shout outs to our Tech Writers and their discussions in our email discussion group:

· Phil Stokes is wondering, “how useful are video tutorials/screencasts?” and the Whirlers are responding with a range of opinions predicated on the class tech comm answer “it depends.” Check out the discussion, which goes into the product context, preferred learning methods, and practicality of various types of output.

· Michael Johnson sparked a lively debate when he asked for comparative experiences between Arbortext and Framemaker to produce SGML documentation.

· More from terminology battlefront: Julie Stickler was facing the all-too-familiar block in trying to find an alternative to “lookup.” Simpler is better, and lookup has some specific meanings in various software contexts, so it looks as though “find” is ahead in the alternative list.

In Case You Missed it: This Week @ TechWhirl

· New: “Getting Feedback on our Work” by Geoff Hart |

· New: “Digital Asset Management (DAM) Systems and the Single Tech Writer” by Chantel Brathwaite |

· Poll question: Best technology for collaborating |

Upcoming Articles

· New: “Tips and Tricks: Staying Productive and Sane When Working in Isolation” by Craig Cardimon

· Classic: “The Needs of the Many” by Geoff Hart

· Poll question: Benefits of collaborating with non-writers


We want to send a very special “thank you” to sponsors. Without them, we’d still be in a corner, and no one puts Baby in a corner.

Platinum: ComponentOne, Madcap, Adobe

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

Silver: Vancouver Island University

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