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Top Technical Communication News for January 2009

by Tom Johnson on Jan 11, 2009
categories: podcasts

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In this podcast, I cover the top 10 technical communication news items during the past month. This is a different type of podcast than I've normally done. The show notes below are excerpts of what I cover, but without any commentary.

1. Techcomm toolbox

One of the most common questions heard on many forums is “What tool do you use for [purpose]?” Answers vary, of course, because everyone has their own favorites and some folks will even answer that the right tool is “the one that best meets your needs”.

Sometimes, many people will answer that you need to look at the different tools, download trial versions, and test. But where is the list of tools to choose from?

It's here at TechComm Toolbox, your online resource for all applications, services, consultantsm, and trainers related to technical communication.

2. Emergence of STC groups on twitter

More and more STC groups are joining and participating on Twitter: stcaccess, stcchicago, stchouston, stcboston, stcintermtn. Also, Writer River now has a Twitter feed: writerriver.

3. WritersUA Salary survey and tools survey going on

The WritersUA Tools Survey is underway. The survey is designed to provide our community with a guide to the relative popularity and satisfaction of a number of tools. ... The Salary Survey provides a look at the various factors that contribute to higher salaries in the software user assistance community.

4. Jing Pro Released

Jing Pro brings you simply the best-in-class experience for quick visual online conversation. Imagine everything you already know and love about Jing, then add:

* HD quality video for the web
* Direct output to YouTube
* No more branding on the end of your videos.

5. I'm a tech writer photo gallery

Technical Writers (aka Technical Authors, Content Wranglers and Documentation Managers) have an unfair image. This project aims to challenge this image, by showing technical writers in a different light. The photos below are of technical communications professionals, doing a variety of activities.If you are involved in technical writing and you'd like to be included, contact us and send us a photo, together with your name and location.

6. STC to record and make available the entire Summit

Beginning this year at the Summit in Atlanta, STC will capture the content (audio and visuals) of almost every session and make it available to attendees at no additional cost. This will increase the value of your experience tenfold. After the conference, STC will sync the audio with the presentations and make them available (by passcode) for attendees on the STC website. This will allow [you] to “attend” all those sessions [you] missed. It will also allow [you] to revisit the ones that [you] did attend and to refresh [your] memory of the fine points made by the speakers. (From Mark Clifford's January News and Notes)

7. Wordpress 2.7 released.

This may be the last time you ever have to manually upgrade WordPress again. We heard how tired you were of doing upgrades for yourself and your friends, so now WordPress includes a built-in upgrade that will automatically notify you of new releases, and when you're ready it will download them, install them, and upgrade your blog with a single click. [Also, BuddyPress is in beta: "BuddyPress is a set of WordPress MU specific plugins, each plugin adding a distinct new feature. BuddyPress contains all the features you'd expect from WordPress but aims to let members socially interact."]

8. Alltop publishes Tech Writing category

Alltop is an “online magazine rack” of popular topics. We update the stories every hour. Pick a topic by searching, news category, or name, and we'll deliver it to you 24 x 7. All the topics, all the time.

9. Camtasia 6 released

When recording audio and video at the same time, it's hard to be perfect. So we've made it easier to fix mistakes. Simply decouple the audio and video tracks to edit them independently. And move audio clips between (and along) tracks to line everything up perfectly. Bottom line: fewer retakes and less time spent on editing.

10. Doc to help releases 2009 version, with ribbon-based interface

What's new: built-in xml based editor, dynamic help control for embedding help in .net applications. xhtml converter, drag and drop linking, and abbility to import project settings.

About Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson

I'm an API technical writer based in the Seattle area. On this blog, I write about topics related to technical writing and communication — such as software documentation, API documentation, AI, information architecture, content strategy, writing processes, plain language, tech comm careers, and more. Check out my API documentation course if you're looking for more info about documenting APIs. Or see my posts on AI and AI course section for more on the latest in AI and tech comm.

If you're a technical writer and want to keep on top of the latest trends in the tech comm, be sure to subscribe to email updates below. You can also learn more about me or contact me. Finally, note that the opinions I express on my blog are my own points of view, not that of my employer.