ISTC Newsletter December 2004 ISTC Newsletter December 2004 The ISTC is the United...

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Transcript of ISTC Newsletter December 2004 ISTC Newsletter December 2004 The ISTC is the United...

  • The Newsletter for technical authors, technical illustrators and information designers This Newsletter is posted at www.istc.org.uk/pages/newsletters.php 1

    © ISTC December 2004

    IISSTTCC NNeewwsslleetttteerr December 2004

    The ISTC is the United Kingdom’s professional association for technical authors, technical illustrators, and information designers.

    ISTC Office: PO Box 522, Peterborough, pe2 5wx. Tel: 01733 390141. E-mail: istc@istc.org.uk Web: www.istc.org.uk

    This monthly Newsletter is e-mailed to about 1500 people. As well as ISTC news, the Newsletter aims to cover anything of interest to the profession. To subscribe, contact the Office.

    Advertising: Felicity Davie or phone 01344 466600. Editorial: Newsletter Editor. Letters: Letters Editor. Events: Events Editor.

    If you’re reading a printed copy of this newsletter, go to www.istc.org.uk/pages/newsletters.php and open it online to explore the links mentioned.

    For all e-mail addresses given in the Newsletter, don’t forget to remove the bonus amphibian before e-mailing.

    In this issue:In this issue:In this issue:In this issue:In this issue:In this issue: ISTC news Mike Austin and John Crossley

    It is with great sadness that we have to announce the death of two long-standing and highly respected members of the ISTC.

    Mike Austin, a distinguished technical author and Publications and Publicity Officer, and a former vice-president of the ISTC, passed away in September 2004, and John Crossley, an ISTC Council member until two years ago, passed away in October 2004. Our thoughts are with the families and friends of both of them.

    In honour of all that Mike did for the ISTC, the award for services to the ISTC will be renamed as the Mike Austin award for outstanding service to the ISTC. Further details will be published on the ISTC website in due course.

    Full obituaries will be published in the Winter Communicator.

    ISTC Conference 2005

    The dates of next year’s Conference have had to be rearranged and it will now be taking place on 23–25 September 2005 and not in October as previously published.

    ISTC office

    A reminder that the office will be closed from 2–7 December (inclusive).

    Links in the Newsletter

    As you might have noticed, the Newsletter is now produced using visible rather than embedded links. This started out as a way around the difficulty of getting links from Word into Quark Xpress for Mac, in which the Newsletter is now produced; but along the way I was advised that some people actually find visible links more useful, so I decided to keep them rather than re-embed them.

    As some links are quite lengthy, however, the Newsletter will sometimes be using tinyURL (http://tinyurl.com/) or Make A Shorter Link (http://masl.to/).

    As their names suggest, they both offer a short link that redirects you to the longer actual link. For instance, the streetmap.co.uk URL of a map where you live can be reduced from, say, 124 characters to a 24-character one that can be easily e-mailed. Both services say their redirects will last indefinitely.

    Make A Shorter Link is looking for volunteers to help localise it into more languages.

    Communicator . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Internet news . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Annual Distinguished Lecture . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 SfEP news . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 ISTC Conference 2004 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Why bother with gender-neutral writing? . . . .6 Manual for dyslexia sufferers . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 General news . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 Members’ news . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 New software releases . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 Training courses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 Events . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11 The back page . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12

    In this issue:

    http://www.istc.org.uk/pages/newsletters.php mailto:istc@istcFROG.org.uk http://www.istc.org.uk/ mailto:newsletter.editor@istcFROG.org.uk mailto:letters@istcFROG.org.uk mailto:felicity@tou-canFROG.co.uk http://www.istc.org.uk/pages/newsletters.php mailto:events@istcFROG.org.uk http://tinyurl.com/ http://masl.to/ http://streetmap.co.uk

  • Communicator Report by Marian Newell

    Editorial calendar for 2005

    This time of year always sees a flurry of messages from media directories and press agents, asking about plans for the coming year in Communicator. It’s a bonus if we can give potential contributors and advertisers some idea of what we expect to carry in each issue. Planning in advance also enables me to offer a better balance of content.

    So far, Spring 2005 is about 50% booked and I have a few items booked in each of the other three issues. If you would like to write for us, please download our template and guidelines from: www.istc.org.uk/pages/journals.php.

    These will tell you most of what you need to know about writing for Communicator. When you have decided what to write about, please send me a synopsis at: journal.editor@istc.org.uk.

    I can then let you know how it fits with other content already lined up. All being well, we can agree what form the article will take and the deadline by which you will submit copy.

    Topics on which I would like more articles include: managing documentation projects, methods for improving one’s writing and document design skills, trends in document production, usability testing, and academic research in any relevant field.

    No time to rest on laurels It is vitally important for us to enlarge ISTC membership and Communicator circulation. Council has placed the highest priority on marketing the Institute in 2005.

    I have two requests for Communicator circulation:

    • If you receive the Newsletter but do not yet read Communicator, please consider carefully whether a subscription or ISTC membership might be useful to you.

    • If you already read Communicator, please consider whether you can identify anyone else for whom it should hold interest. I will be glad to send sample issues to contacts or larger stocks for events.

    A very kind offer Ralph Maciejewski, a delegate and speaker at Conference, has very kindly offered to scan Les Best’s Communicator library. The collection goes back almost to the birth of the journal and we hope to make the digital versions available from the ISTC website, complementing the existing archive that starts with the new look launched in Spring 2001.

    Some past content will still be useful for reference purposes and the collection is even more valuable as a record of ISTC activities over the years. In the future, anyone will easily be able to check what has been done in the past, without needing access to physical records that may be stored elsewhere.

    Coming in Winter 2004 INTECOM MARGERY WATSON Uniting technical communicators globally

    Disks ’n’ docs RALPH MACIEJEWSKI Preserving our digital heritage

    A testing time NICK ROBSON Extending the role of technical author

    Does usability have to be so complicated? JODY BYRNE Taking first steps towards improved usability

    A Visio kit for the sales force VIV MITCHELL Creating stencils for use in various documents

    Autodesk Inventor Series 9 BRIAN WHITE Improving drawing output in record time

    Golden rules of online Help design MATTHEW ELLISON Guiding principles for a better help system

    Doc-To-Help Professional 7.2 JUSTIN DARLEY Putting the latest version through its paces

    AECMA Simplified English MIKE UNWALLA Giving a brief overview of this specification

    The writing process: evaluation DAMIEN BRANIFF Gathering reactions to your documentation

    Finding FrameMaker’s features JANE DARDS Launching a new series about this popular tool

    The Newsletter for technical authors, technical illustrators and information designers This Newsletter is posted at www.istc.org.uk/pages/newsletters.php 2

    © ISTC December 2004 222

    mailto:journal.editor@istcFROG.org.uk http://www.istc.org.uk/pages/newsletters.php http://www.istc.org.uk/pages/journals.php

  • Internet news

    WHAT WHAT (Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group) describes itself as a “loose unofficial collaboration of Web browser manufacturers and interested parties who wish to develop new technologies designed to allow [software] authors to write and deploy applications over the World Wide Web”. Ultimately, many everyday applications could be available from within a browser. The group is currently working on four projects that, when finalised, will be submitted to the W3C. WHAT’s Ian Hickson writes, “While the decision to operate independently of the W3C may be seen as controversial, many feel that formal standards bodies move too slowly to react to proprietary technologies such as Microsoft’s forthcoming XAML.” You can find out more at www.whatwg.org/.

    Firefox 1.0 released Open-source browser Firefox was launched on 9 November. It is available for the Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms in 23 language variants, with another 6 in the pipeline. UK readers will be pleased to know that these include English (British), though the British Firefox Start page currently points to www.google.com rather than www.google.co.uk.

    The browser’s features include pop-up blocking, better security through not downloading harmful ActiveX controls, live bookmarks, and tabbed browsing. See their news release (www.mozilla.org/press/mozilla- 2004-11-09.html) for more.

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