Tip: Automatically Push Your Latest Blog Posts Across Twitter

I know Twitter isn't for everyone (even though David Pogue on the New York Times recently praised Twitter's ability to quickly gather information from your followers.) But if you have a blog, you'd be crazy not to provide a Twitter feed for it. On my blog, I give people three main subscription options: RSS, e-mail, or Twitter. Granted, with Twitter they also get other microthoughts, but they also get my post titles. It's generally a poor ...

Can SharePoint 2007 Be Used as a Help Authoring Tool?

Can SharePoint 2007 be used as a help authoring tool? Maybe. Giovanni from Italy asks the following about SharePoint: I am assisting a colleague with a complete overhaul of an existing Help system. It is in RoboHelp, but has legacy topics that have to be maintained in Word. The Help is for call center and business office employees regarding the proprietary, in-house computer program. We recently got SharePoint, and I would like to know yo...

Embedding HD Quality Screencasts in Your Blog

If you've ever uploaded a screencast into a video sharing site, such as Youtube, you'll notice that the screen quality is poor. Screencasts require a high degree of clarity to be watchable. For example, here's a screencast I uploaded to Youtube. It's hard to see what's going on. Other video sharing sites have the same problem. Here's the same video on Viddler. And here's the same video on Vimeo. [vimeo 3140858] Unlike the other video s...

WordPress Tip: Merging Worlds: DITA and WordPress

Sept 29, 2014 update: For an updated article on the topic of migrating DITA into WordPress, see Import DITA's XHTML Output into WordPress. The DITA-to-WordPress importer tool allows you to import the XHTML output from the DITA Open Toolkit as pages into WordPress. This  importer (created by Mike Little, a brilliant developer who had a hand in creating WordPress itself) is available for download here, along with a sample XHTML output. The ...

Free Screen Sharing Software: Adobe Connect

Adobe Connect Now -- free screen sharing software for up to three people If you ever need to share your screen remotely with someone, or see their screen, use Adobe Connect Now. It's free, doesn't require an extensive download or setup, and connects quickly. Other tools may perform better, or have more functionality, but are they free? Usually not. Adobe Connect Now is free for up to three users. If you need more, hosting 15 users costs o...

Documentation Review Techniques (videocast)

I believe that in order to learn something, you have to do it, for the most part. So forgive me if my first dozen videocasts here are experimental, because I'm learning. I'm finding that video is a little trickier than I thought. To create video, you first need some type of video camera (obviously). I have a Sony handycam camcorder that I bought in 2000 and never really used much -- until now. It records on miniDV tapes rather than a hard...

TiltViewer - About

TiltViewer Pretty amazing viewer for graphics.

Structured Authoring Survey from Scriptorium

Scriptorium Scriptorium has created a brief survey about structured authoring. The purpose of the survey is to gather "input from everyone: those who have implemented structured authoring, are planning to implement it, or have decided against it." The survey only took me about three minutes to complete. When the results are published, each participant receives a free copy (valued at $200). Take the survey here. You can read more details a...

10 Things I Learned from My Last Podcast

The last podcast I recorded, on "Make Your Help Indispensable, Safeguard Your Job," with Mike Hughes, was so full of good information about how to make your help more valuable and user-friendly that I couldn't help but write up notes on it. Here's a list of the ten things I learned from my last podcast: 1. Make your help a mile wide and thirty seconds deep. Users spend about 30 seconds on a help topic, so keep it short and get right to th...

Podcast: Make Your Help Indispensable, Safeguard Your Job

Listen here: In this podcast, I talk with Mike Hughes, second vice president of the STC, about his latest UXMatters article, "Straight Talk: Surviving Tough Times as a User Assistance Writer." We talk about how to make help more valuable, more worthwhile and user-focused, so you don't lose your job when companies begin laying off employees based on lack of value. Here are a few other topics we cover in this podcast: Whe...

A Five-Click Solution to Publishing and Uploading Screen Videos to SharePoint

Customizing Jing to auto-publish to SharePoint The other day a developer approached me at work to ask how he could quickly capture and upload video to explain database processes he was documenting. He said he downloaded a trial version of Camtasia Studio, but wasn't sure if it was the best solution. Of course I had an answer: Jing, I told him. I showed him how he could use Jing to quickly capture and save video, and he seemed impressed. I...

Customizing a SharePoint Site

Customizing a SharePoint site is not necessary -- you can use the default theme or related themes straight from the box. And this is really how SharePoint was intended to be used by the mainstream. But if you don't want your SharePoint site to look like the hundred other SharePoint sites at your company, you can customize the look and feel. This is something I've been experimenting with. I am, by no means, an expert on SharePoint customiz...

Added a Blog Wall to my site

I occasionally receive encouraging emails from blog readers, podcast listeners, people who attended my presentations, and others. These email messages float too quickly through my inbox, so I've created a new site feature called a Blog Wall (see the top navigation bar) to capture them more permanently. On my Blog Wall you can add any general feedback you have about the site, a presentation I gave, or anything else. Of course you can also ...

DITA Topics Tutorial

DITA Topics Tutorial (a Captivate demo)

Embracing Opportunity

In What Got You Here Won't Get You There, the authors explain that the same behaviors that lead to our success are paradoxically the same that can hold us back. This paradox leads to a predicament when it comes to opportunity. We live in a sea of opportunity, especially with technical communication. We can serve in our local STC chapter, serve on a SIG, write articles for newsletters, submit presentations for conferences, start our own tr...