Dec 242013

“The coming year” is already here for STC New England. We follow a September-June “school” calendar, and as I write this, we’re gearing up for six months of great programs in 2014. (What happened last year? Check out “What Happened in 2013.”)

January — Google Docs, Google Drive, and the Whole Damn Googleverse

Everyone knows Apple and Microsoft, but Google is the third major player in our tech world. Android devices and operating system, Chrome, Google Drive, and all the Google Apps create a full-featured ecosystem for office productivity and collaboration. And for many people, it’s free!

YouTube, Picasa, Blogger, AdWords, AdSense, and Google Analytics are part of it too, and there are still more options. More and more companies are living in the Google cloud. Actifio Documentation Architect John Sgammato will introduce the components of the Google ecosystem that you might find the most useful. He will show their strengths and weaknesses and offer strategies for effective use. January 15, 2014

This Is Not Your Mother’s Technical Communication

Andrea Ames, past president of STC, will take us on a tour of the imaginative and powerful kinds of technical communication that new technologies make possible. If you are still working in the PDF-to-online-help paradigm, this presentation will reveal many new possibilities. February 19, 2014

Taming the Information Scavenger Hunt

The volumes of information available to us on any given topic are multiplying faster every year; in seemingly direct proportion, it become ever more difficult to find what we need. Interfaces vary and limit our ability to find information, but other factors also complicate matters. How can we make our task easier? With more than two decades of experience, Cheryl Landes has some ideas to share. One may even surprise you: incorporating search with indexes! Join Cheryl in thinking about new ways to find information, and be prepared to share your own insights. March 19, 2014

UX and Technical Communication: How We Can Work Together

As you may have noticed, the field of user experience (UX) has recently taken off like a shot. Because tech writers frequently fill the role of the pre-alpha tester, it has often fallen to us to act informally as usability advisers, advocating for the end user by requesting improvements to user interface elements, error messages, and the like. Todd Chapin, President of BostonCHI, will be speaking to us about the overlap between the fields of technical communication and usability and the ways that we can mutually benefit. April 16, 2014

Surviving (and Thriving) in an XML World

For those of us used to desktop publishing tools, moving to a DITA or XML environment seems daunting. It challenges our way of organizing material as well as our skill in creating it. Steve Jong and Anna Pratt, two veterans of both the old and the new way, demonstrate the process and share their experiences surviving, and thriving, in today’s XML world. May 21, 2014

Under Consideration: Presenters’ Bootcamp

As 2013-2014 VP of STC New England, I have the pleasure of planning the program schedule and coordinating with our presenters. Our speakers are confident, witty, informed, and generous with their knowledge. It is one of my ambitions to develop the speaking skills of STC members who have never made a presentation, but who would like to try. Therefore, I am tentatively planning a workshop called Presenters’ Bootcamp, to be held in late winter. If you would like to hear more about it, please email me!