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Last update: 2013-02-24

PODCAST 39: Three levels of Help

2013-02-24 :: ITauthor

ITauthor Podcast 39 - Three levels of Help

Graham Campbell and I met up after work for a pint and a chat in The Oxford Bar. For those of you who haven't had the pleasure, The Oxford Bar is a tiny little two-room pub in the New Town of Edinburgh which first became a pub back in 1811. More recently it has become well known through mentions in Ian Rankin's Rebus novels. The evening we met there was a very smoky coal fire burning and, as I mention in the recording, we came away from there with clothes stinking of coal smoke. This is the reason you can hear quite a lot of coughing in the background, although we both managed to get through the podcast without spluttering or gasping for breath. We were in the side room, which filled up while we were there, so there's a lot of background noise. It actually sounds like we're in a big place with lots and lots of people – we weren't: we were in a small room with just a few other people. I hope you are able to make out what we're saying amid all the background chat. I was recording this using an iPod Nano and an iPhone and I'm actually quite amazed the recording turned out as well as it did.

In this podcast:
- Graham discusses the 3 levels of user assistance he's implementing for a project he's working on: 1) "Guide me", 2) "Read more", 3) Guided tours using Bootstrap Tour
- I scratch the surface of the subject of translating software documentation. Managing documentation translation is a whole career in itself, so I really only touch on this and mention just a few of the issues I've faced working on this over the past few months. These include: allowing plenty of time, supplying the translators with a glossary, and figuring out how you're going to verify the translation.
- We both chunter on about about attempting (as British technical writers) to write in US English. We agree that, even if you remember to drop the Us in words like colour, and to use a single L in words like canceled, and when there's punctuation immediately after a quotation to put it inside the closing quote mark, you're unlikely to prevent a US reader realising that your documentation has not been written by a native writer of US English.

Recommendations
Graham: The Art of Explanation by Lee LeFever
Alistair: REAPER audio editing application

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The intro/exit music is by Amplifico. You can hear more of their music at musicalley.com: http://tinyurl.com/amplifico
--------------------------

If you'd like to get in touch with me about anything you hear on the podcast, drop me an email at: comments@itauthor.com

Alternatively, you can post a comment on my website by going to www.itauthor.com/podcastarchive, clicking the link to this show and using the comment form at the bottom of the page.

Thanks for listening
Alistair Christie

=======================

The ITauthor Podcast is a series of audio recordings of no set length, published to no set schedule. The content is generally, but not exclusively, focused on technical writing and, specifically, issues involved in the business of documenting software. The podcast is not sponsored, endorsed or supported by any organization. I put this podcast together in my own time and, while I try to make the audio quality listenable, I make no promise that the content will always be of any particular quality. But, if you're interested in documentation and software I hope you'll find something interesting in here.

All views expressed in these podcasts are entirely the personal opinions of the individual speakers, come with no assurance of veracity, are not sanctioned or endorsed by any third party, are not made on behalf of any organization the speaker is or has been connected with, and do not reflect the views of the speaker's employer.

The audio recordings and accompanying text and images that make up this podcast are available to share and/or remix under the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0). See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/

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PODCAST 38: Documenting IT architecture

2013-02-03 :: ITauthor

ITauthor Podcast 38 - Documenting IT Architecture

Andy Tucker is Head of IT Strategy and Architecture at DWP, and an old friend. I asked him to explain what "architecture" is in the context of computer systems and software. He also talks about the importance of documentation and the types of documentation used by systems architects.

--------------------------
The intro/exit music is by Amplifico. You can hear more of their music at musicalley.com: http://tinyurl.com/amplifico
--------------------------

If you'd like to get in touch with me about anything you hear on the podcast, drop me an email at: comments@itauthor.com

Alternatively, you can post a comment on my website by going to www.itauthor.com/podcastarchive, clicking the link to this show and using the comment form at the bottom of the page.

Thanks for listening
Alistair Christie

=======================

The ITauthor Podcast is a series of audio recordings of no set length, published to no set schedule. The content is generally, but not exclusively, focused on technical writing and, specifically, issues involved in the business of documenting software. The podcast is not sponsored, endorsed or supported by any organization. I put this podcast together in my own time and, while I try to make the audio quality listenable, I make no promise that the content will always be of any particular quality. But, if you're interested in documentation and software I hope you'll find something interesting in here.

All views expressed in these podcasts are entirely the personal opinions of the individual speakers, come with no assurance of veracity, are not sanctioned or endorsed by any third party, are not made on behalf of any organization the speaker is or has been connected with, and do not reflect the views of the speaker's employer.

The audio recordings and accompanying text and images that make up this podcast are available to share and/or remix under the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0). See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/

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PODCAST 37: Return of the podcast

2013-01-29 :: ITauthor

ITauthor Podcast 37 - Return of the Podcast

I met up with Graham Campbell the other day for a beer and his enthusiasm for his new job made me think it was about time to dust off the microphone, fire up Skype and record another episode of the ITauthor Podcast.

So in this episode Graham talks about his time in the South of France and compares that to his new job back in Scotland. Previously he found working for a large company with a rigid style guide and way of working was a bit of a straitjacket and sometimes prevented him from communicating information in the most effective way. Now, working as the sole technical author again, he enjoys being able to input his ideas about design and usability.

Recommendations
Graham: The musical one-of-a-kind that is Ronald Jenkees - http://www.ronaldjenkees.com/
Alistair: Podcast interview with Mark Baker where he explains his concept of "Every page is page one" - http://idratherbewriting.com/2012/12/11/podcast-include-it-all-filter-it-afterwards-interview-with-mark-baker/

--------------------------
The intro/exit music is by Amplifico.
You can hear more of their music at musicalley.com: http://tinyurl.com/amplifico
--------------------------

If you'd like to get in touch with me about anything you've heard on the podcast, drop me an email at: comments@itauthor.com

Alternatively, you can post a comment on my website:
- Go to www.itauthor.com/podcastarchive.
- Click the link to this show.
- The comment form is at the bottom of the page.

Thanks for listening
Alistair Christie

==========================

The ITauthor Podcast is a series of audio recordings of no set length, published to no set schedule. The content is generally, but not exclusively, focused on technical writing and, specifically, issues involved in the business of documenting software. The podcast is not sponsored, endorsed or supported by any organization. I put this podcast together in my own time and, while I try to make the audio quality listenable, I make no promise that the content will always be of any particular quality. But, if you're interested in documentation and software I hope you'll find something interesting in here.

All views expressed in these podcasts are entirely the personal opinions of the individual speakers, come with no assurance of veracity, are not sanctioned or endorsed by any third party, are not made on behalf of any organization the speaker is or has been connected with, and do not reflect the views of the speaker's employer.

The audio recordings and accompanying text and images that make up this podcast are available to share and/or remix under the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0). See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/

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ITauthor podcast #36 – Acrobat and shared review of Web pages

0000-00-00 :: Alistair Christie - ITauthor.com
Length: 35s

ITauthor Podcast 36 - Acrobat and Shared Review of Web Pages Looking for a better way of reviewing a WebHelp system brought it home to me how good Adobe Acrobat shared review is. I want something that does pretty much exactly the same thing but for Web p…

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ITauthor podcast #35 – On Crammond Island, thinking about technical writing

0000-00-00 :: Alistair Christie - ITauthor.com
Length: 27s

Took the dog for a walk and talked to myself about documentation. Crazy? Or just missing technical writing? Didn't have my camera with me, but I snapped these with my Blackberry: View Full Album Want to get emailed next time I publish a podcast? Enter you…

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ITauthor podcast #34 – Testing testing 123

0000-00-00 :: Alistair Christie - ITauthor.com
Length: 1s

Test Manager Richard Paterson joins Graham Campbell and me over lunchtime sandwiches in a rather noisy office to talk about software testing. Technical writers in a software development department often feel like third-class citizens, with programmers as …

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ITauthor podcast #33 – A history of RSS

0000-00-00 :: Alistair Christie - ITauthor.com
Length: 1s

Ever wondered how news and blog posts appear in Google Reader or how podcasts get onto your iPod? It's largely thanks to something called RSS. What does RSS stand for? Who invented it? What happened along the way? This podcast tells the story of RSS, from…

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ITauthor podcast #32 – Unscripted screencasts and Flare extensibility

0000-00-00 :: Alistair Christie - ITauthor.com
Length: 35s

ITauthor podcast #32 – Unscripted screencasts and Flare extensibility For this edition of the ITauthor podcast, I just turned the microphone on and started talking. So if ums and ahs annoy you, this podcast probably isn't for you! I ruminate over whet…

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ITauthor podcast #31 – Matthew Ellison looks forward to the UA Europe Conference 2009

0000-00-00 :: Alistair Christie - ITauthor.com
Length: 40s

ITauthor podcast #31 – Matthew Ellison looks forward to the UA Europe Conference 2009 Matthew Ellison runs his own UK-based training and consulting company, specializing in user assistance design and technology. He coordinates the annual UA Europe Conf…

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ITauthor podcast #30 – Being a technical writer

0000-00-00 :: Alistair Christie - ITauthor.com
Length: 1s

ITauthor podcast #30 – Being a technical writer The voices in this podcast belong to: Graham Campbell and Alistair Christie. This time round – recorded over Skype – Graham and I discuss: * “technical author”, “technical writer” or “tech…

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ITauthor podcast #29 – Twitter, Facebook and moving help from RoboHelp to Flare

0000-00-00 :: Alistair Christie - ITauthor.com
Length: 52s

ITauthor podcast #29 – Twitter, Facebook and moving help from RoboHelp to Flare The voices in this podcast belong to: Graham Campbell and Alistair Christie. This time round – recorded over Skype – Graham and I discuss: * Migrating online help pro…

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ITauthor podcast #28 – Professor Geoffrey Pullum and the Elements of Style

0000-00-00 :: Alistair Christie - ITauthor.com
Length: 53s

ITauthor podcast #28 – Professor Geoffrey Pullum and the Elements of Style Professor Geoffrey Pullum, Professor of Linguistics at University of Edinburgh, recently wrote an article called ‘50 Years of Stupid Grammar Advice’ in the Chronicle of High…

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ITauthor podcast #27 – Rambling tech writer

0000-00-00 :: Alistair Christie - ITauthor.com
Length: 27s

ITauthor podcast #27 – Rambling tech writer I thought about calling this “the heavy breathing episode” because there’s a lot of puffing and panting in this recording: the puffing from me, the panting from my Italian Spinone, Lottie, as she sprint…

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ITauthor podcast #26 – Colin Paterson (Part 1)

0000-00-00 :: Alistair Christie - ITauthor.com
Length: 31s

ITauthor Podcast #26: Interview with Colin Paterson - Part 1 - What's the difference between a programmer and a software developer? - Why are there so many programming languages? - What's .NET ("dot net")? In the first of two interviews with Technol…

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ITauthor podcast #25 – Tech writer recruitment

0000-00-00 :: Alistair Christie - ITauthor.com

ITauthor Podcast #25: Tech writer recruitment The voices in this podcast belong to: Graham Campbell and Alistair Christie. This time round, Graham and I discuss the best way of interviewing technical writers. Skills/attributes we mention as being things…

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ITauthor podcast #24 – Bid writing

0000-00-00 :: Alistair Christie - ITauthor.com

ITauthor Podcast #24: Bid writing Tenders, proposals, bids – call them what you will, they’re not the standard output of a technical writer, but if you’re working for a company that wins contracts through a tendering process then you can expect to …

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ITauthor podcast #23 – Release notes

0000-00-00 :: Alistair Christie - ITauthor.com

ITauthor Podcast #23: Release Notes They're a pain to produce, and we often feel like time spent doing the release notes is time wasted, when we could have been writing more important documentation. But I'd argue that release notes are among the most imp…

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ITauthor podcast #22 – Getting into the writing zone

0000-00-00 :: Alistair Christie - ITauthor.com

ITauthor Podcast #22: Getting into the writing zone The voices in this podcast belong to: Graham Campbell and Alistair Christie. On a recent StackOverflow podcast, a listener asked the presenters for tips on how to "get in the zone" as a programmer. We …

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ITauthor podcast #21 – Three generations of computer users (Part 2)

0000-00-00 :: Alistair Christie - ITauthor.com

I wanted to find out how people of different generations use computers, what they use their computers for, how they use them and what they feel about computers and software generally. So who better to ask than three generations of women from my family. I…

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ITauthor podcast #20 – The Mallcast

0000-00-00 :: Alistair Christie - ITauthor.com

The voices in this podcast belong to: Graham Campbell and Alistair Christie. This extremely ad hoc podcast (we didn't plan it, but Graham offered to buy lunch, so it seemed like a good idea), was recorded in the food court at East Kilbride shopping centr…

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ITauthor podcast #19 – Three generations of computer users (Part 1)

0000-00-00 :: Alistair Christie - ITauthor.com

I wanted to find out how people of different generations use computers, what they use their computers for, how they use them and what they feel about computers and software generally. So who better to ask than three generations of women from my family. In…

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ITauthor podcast #18 – ISTC Conference 2008

0000-00-00 :: Alistair Christie - ITauthor.com

Graham Campbell talks to attendees at this year’s ISTC (Institute of Scientific and Technical Communicators) Conference in Nottingham. First, Graham talks to Mike Hamilton from MadCap Software about recent and future software releases and some of th…

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ITauthor podcast #17 – Mike Hamilton talks about Flare 4

0000-00-00 :: Alistair Christie - ITauthor.com

Recorded at the UA Conference Europe 2008. I talk to Mike Hamilton from Madcap Software about the newly released version 4 of Flare. He describes a lot of the new features and explains the relationship between Flare and Blaze. Mike also mentions the work …

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ITauthor podcast #16 – Flare and Chrome, the pubcast

0000-00-00 :: Alistair Christie - ITauthor.com

A lack of meeting rooms forced Graham and I to adjourn to the pub to record this podcast (shame). In between munching on burgers and chips and sipping on beer, we talk about Google’s new Web browser, Chrome, and the newly released Flare 4 from MadCa…

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ITauthor podcast #15 – September 13th, 2008 – Virtual Machines

0000-00-00 :: Alistair Christie - ITauthor.com

Virtual machines. What are they and why are they useful for a technical writer? Get in touch! I'd love to know who's listening, where you are and what you think of the podcast, so contact me at: comments==AT==itauthor==DOT==com Or just let me know you've …

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ITauthor podcast #14 – August 29th, 2008 – Documentation and Agile Software Development

0000-00-00 :: Alistair Christie - ITauthor.com

What's it like doing documentation as part of an Agile software development team? Why is it a better way of working? I mull this over these and other questions with Graham Campbell. If you want to find out more about the Agile software development methodo…

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ITauthor podcast #13 – August 20th, 2008 – Being the only tech writer

0000-00-00 :: Alistair Christie - ITauthor.com

I talk to Graham Campbell about being the only technical writer at a software company. Graham describes his experience of being a year into tech writing and having his Documentation Manager (me) disappear off to do another job, leaving him in a team of on…

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ITauthor podcast #12 – November 14th, 2007 – Ellis Pratt, Cherryleaf

0000-00-00 :: Alistair Christie - ITauthor.com

       Ellis Pratt is Sales and Marketing Director for UK documentation specialists, Cherryleaf. He joined me via Skype to talk about Cherryleaf and to discuss questions such as: What kind of skills do you need to be a techni…

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ITauthor podcast #11 – October 31st, 2007 – Flare: the good stuff

0000-00-00 :: Alistair Christie - ITauthor.com

As an antidote to podcast #10, which dwelt a bit heavily on problems in Madcap Flare, this time round I talk about some of the things I really like about Flare. Get in touch! I'd love to know who's listening, where you are and what you think of the podcas…

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ITauthor podcast #10 – October 24th, 2007 – Why do we use Flare?

0000-00-00 :: Alistair Christie - ITauthor.com

So remind me: Why do we use Flare? In this podcast I talk to fellow technical writer Graham Campbell about Madcap Flare. Graham is relatively new to Flare but has been using Flare 3 in anger recently and went on a training course run by Mike Hamilton of M…

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ITauthor podcast #9 – May 27th, 2007 – What I look for in a tech author

0000-00-00 :: Alistair Christie - ITauthor.com

What does it take to be a technical writer? What should you be looking for if you're recruiting a technical writer? In this podcast - recorded while driving home from work – I describe some of the skills and personality traits I expect in someone wh…

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ITauthor podcast #8 – May 19th, 2007 – The Dogcast

0000-00-00 :: Alistair Christie - ITauthor.com

The dogcast (from an original idea by Tom Johnson). In this episode of the ITauthor podcast I puff and pant my way up the Pentland hills just outside Edinburgh, walking my dog, thinking back to my first impressions of computers and software, and talking a…

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ITauthor Podcast #7 – recorded 17 October 2006

0000-00-00 :: Alistair Christie - ITauthor.com

Tom Johnson is the creator of the technical writers’ podcast Tech Writer Voices. In this edition of the ITauthor podcast he talks to me about why he started up Tech Writer Voices and about the benefits of podcasts as a medium of technical communicat…

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ITauthor podcast #6 – recorded 03 October 2006

0000-00-00 :: Alistair Christie - ITauthor.com

Back after 6 months. I start off with a short recap of what’s been happening in tech authoring while I’ve been away. Most of this show is about DocBook and the DocBook XSL Stylesheets. More about DocBook at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Docboo…

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Podcast 05 – recorded 28 March 2006

0000-00-00 :: Alistair Christie - ITauthor.com

Warning This podcast weighs in at a whopping 1 hour 32 minutes! Next time round I’ll try to be more concise, and I’ll try to cut out some of the ums and ahs, which should slim things down considerably. Sound quality I don’t know what hap…

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Podcast 04 – recorded Tuesday, 31 January 2006

0000-00-00 :: Alistair Christie - ITauthor.com

Rather like the difficult fourth album, this, the fourth itauthor podcast, has been long in the making. Well, actually the reason for the long gap between podcast 3 and this one is partly because of Christmas and partly because I just haven t got round to…

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Podcast 03 – recorded Friday, 16 December 2005

0000-00-00 :: Alistair Christie - ITauthor.com

In which I talk about my attempt to upgrade Plone. For details of what I did (step by step) see: www.itauthor.com/authtools/plonezope/upgrading-to-2.1.1…

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Podcast 02 – recorded Monday, 5 December 2005

0000-00-00 :: Alistair Christie - ITauthor.com

In which I break Russell Beattie s golden rule of podcasting by talking about podcasting.…

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My first podcast

0000-00-00 :: Alistair Christie - ITauthor.com

I've got the day off today (using up my annual leave before the end of the year). So I decided to have a go at creating a podcast for myself. By the way, in yesterday's posting I said I was using Lemon, which "used to be called iPodder". Scratch t…

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