If you’ve been worried you’ll be replaced by overseas competition, think again. You’re biggest competitor may just be a baboon. Humans and higher primates are a lot alike. Not only do we share approximately 97% of the same DNA, we also share the ability to program in Visual Basic. Recent research in primate programming suggests software development is a task that most higher primates can easily perform. Skilled primate labor can allegedly perform code maintenance and report writing for as little as 45 cents (US) per hour. Find out what the folks at Primate Programming Inc. are up to....Read More
Author: Scott Abel
One third of all computer users who seek technical support say they never find the solution to their computing snafus. A recent survey by Consumer Reports magazine puts IT technical support among the lowest-ranked services—even lower than the support offered by cell phone vendors! Common gripes include: poorly designed help systems, difficulty obtaining telephone support and technical support specialists who don’t know what they are talking about. While these problems are due in part to the inability of software vendors to provide useful and convenient support services, the brunt of computing problems can be traced back to software coding errors—sloppy development practices that cost the U.S. economy an estimated $59.5 billion a year (just short of 0.6 percent of the gross domestic product), according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Over half of the costs associated with software bugs are paid for by users in the form of lost productivity and increasing support costs. See “When Good Software Goes Bad” for the...Read More
Information architecture consultant Louis Rosenfeld makes the case for abandoning the search for the perfect business title. Many professional titles exist for those whose job it is to make information easier to use. Some call themselves information architects, others experience designers, technical communicators, content strategists, usability consultants, and so on. Rosenfeld writes, in Boxes and Arrows, “I like to think there are more fruitful communal pursuits, such as finding better ways to market ourselves, organizing ever more outstanding conferences, and setting up local professional groups for networking and...Read More
By Scott Abel with additional contribution by Lisa Woods What in the heck is a weblog? In an article entitled Getting Through the Blog! Living in the Blog-Osphere, Janie Payne of the Montana Chapter of STC, described weblogs (also known as blogs) as “personal web pages containing short, frequently updated messages – often with links to other items or articles on the Web – arranged in reverse chronological order, newest first.” Payne says “Blogs are usually maintained by one person (although some blogging software allows multiple contributors) and are written in a conversational manner. There are blogs about cats, knitting, TV shows, baseball, life in the Antarctic – you name the topic, and there is probably a blog devoted to it.” The folks at blogger.com, a software provider whose offerings include a popular weblog publishing tool of the same name, offer a similar description of blogs, but add, “Weblogs help small groups communicate in a way that is simpler and easier to follow than email or discussion forums. A blog can help keep everyone in the loop, promote cohesiveness and group culture, and provide an informal voice of a project or department to outsiders.” And some blogs stimulate dialogue by providing a way for readers to comment on what they read. In a nutshell, a blog is a place for an individual or group to present current information, insights,...Read More
If you’re involved in creating, maintaining, publishing or managing content (and who isn’t nowadays), you should consider becoming a member of the Society for Technical Communication. STC is the world’s largest professional association for technical communicators with over 150 local chapters on six continents. Members include technical writers, help authors, web content strategists, information architects, graphic artists and illustrators, editors, instructional designers, usability pros, translation specialists, and software programmers. Members receive myriad benefits including subscriptions to Technical Communication and Intercom. Membership application is located...Read More
Receive exclusive access to members-only content, invitations to in-person and virtual events, and sneak peeks at new tools and emerging technologies. Join today!Join Now!