TechWhirl Recap for December 9 2011

Subject: TechWhirl Recap for December 9 2011
From: INKtopia Admin <admin -at- inktopia -dot- net>
To: Techwr-l <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 9 Dec 2011 13:57:19 -0600

TechWhirl Recap for December 9 2011

This week’s update is supported by Platinum sponsor Adobe & RoboHelp

This week’s TechWhirl Tech Writer update is brought to you by the letter

It’s been a “U” type of week for us here at Tech Writer Today with us
focusing on upgrades, understanding, and when dealing with changing ad
servers, U really only tells half the phrase we’ve most often uttered.
George Carlin would have been proud.

I’m unsure if there’s a Monkey Doing a Math Problem Muppet but if not then
TechWhirl’s claiming copyright on it. Why not own how I (Al) felt most of
this week?

My Muppet moments have been occurring as I attempt to follow the very
sparse directions provided by one of the largest search companies in the
world. No name, but this one right now tends to have an affinity for
me-too products and unnecessary white space. Hmm, maybe this week should
have been brought to you by the letter G, and U in addition to F. Go head,
figure it out. We have time. Got it? Excellent! Let’s move on.

The backstory is simply that right now we’re running our own server (OpenX)
but to finish off our {ahem} very public and searchable tech writer email
discussion group archive upgrade we decided to sunset this tool. It’s not
just our desire to avoid the need to restructure it for our final changes
that got us to decide to make the change, but also that some of the other
solutions in the market are faster and more robust.

To be fair to our ditto-machine mobile operating system friends, there’s a
lot of user error in this story too. I don’t have an advertising
background so all the language is new. This was an understood challenge so
instead of jumping in headfirst I took time to read the online directions. The
directions were well laid out, direct and very simple to understand. However,
things went south when I started putting the ads into the system. Each
time I enabled an ad, the system kept telling me that there wasn’t enough
inventory for all of them.

Huh? How can that be? I have 10 ads and 10 spots for them.

Reaching for a banana, I knew something wasn’t right. Which tiny box
somewhere that wasn’t checked (or ticked so I can claim this note has been
translated into the Queen’s English)? So back through the directions I go,
looking for the answer. But, this time I find their simplicity and ease of
use unhelpful because it makes no mention of my inventory problem. Now
hanging from my tire swing, I introduced our final half-phrase “U” in a
torrent of verbal delivery not heard since we ran the site on Drupal.

Finally after searching, searching, and more searching, I discovered that
the new system is far smarter than me (not that this was a huge shock). It
tracks site traffic and adjusts “inventory” to accommodate the volume. And,
since Connie, a few spammers, and I are the only visitors to this test
server, it projects that our traffic for the site is approximately zero. The
simple solution was to override and move forward. Yet, there was no word
on this particular topic in the “getting started” documentation. Come on
‘man document something more than the happy path.

Personally, I think it’s a great strategy to drive search. Create terrible
documentation and some gotcha functionality and then watch the daily
searches increase. So there you have it, our TechWhirl Top Tip for Friday:
Don’t improve your documentation, in fact, make it more useless; start a
search company that sells online advertising and watch the second revenue
stream start rolling in.

I tell you what ALIWEB.Com. If this situation doesn’t improve, I’m about
done with you.

Have a great weekend! Enjoy this week’s articles and send us your Santa’s
wish list by Sunday at the latest if you want it published ( .

- The gang at TechWhirl
In Case You Missed it: This Week @ TechWhirl

· TechWhirl’s (first) Weekly Summary of news, posts, and [other stuff]
from the World of Technical Communications: Tech Writer This Week |

· New Article: Getting Started on Managing (and Measuring)
Interdepartmental Technical Communication Requests |

· LavaCon 2011: Interview with Val Swisher on Tech Writing Terminology

· How to Create PDF Bookmarks in @Acrobat Training Video |
What You’re Talking About

A quick *What you talkin’ ‘bout* to our Tech Writers and their discussions
in our email discussion group <>:

· Nancy Allison wondered “Can you figure out what tools produced a
PDF?” Whirlers responded with a number of ways to find out what the source
application might be, including using the PDF properties function.

· Michelle Viña-Baltsas is leaning on the experience of list members
to determine good practices for “Revision control.” Many advised her to
consider a formal version control system, embedding part numbers for the
documentation, and matching release numbers for the documentation to
release number for the product (including major and interim release

· Ryan Minaker wants more efficiency in reviewing help content and
asked for “Help! Authoring/maintaining content directly in RoboHelp 9
(HTML) -- Best practices...?” Responses focused on ways to keep reviewers
away from source files by using Robohelp’s PDF review functionality.

Social Media and the Chance to Follow TechWhirl:

- Our Google Plus Page – what’s happening behind the scenes |
- Will you be our Friend? Please, you know you want to click |
- Want all this TechWhirl goodness a few characters @ a time |
- Updates from TechWhirl delivered to your email in box |
- Or, try our RSS feed (great on Flipboard) |


We want to send a very special “thank you” to our sponsors for their
support. Stocking stuffers! Think stocking stuffers for the technical
communicator in your family.

*Platinum A*: Adobe Systems

*Platinum B: *Madcap
ComponentOne Software<>

*Gold*: Society for Technical Communication (STC) <>, EC
Software <>, Vancouver Island

> Any inferences made to other search companies in this post are the fault
of the reader and cannot be held against TechWhirl.Com or its owners so
please don’t fiddle with our search rankings.

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Choose your authoring formats and get any output you may need. Try
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