Technical Communication Blog

A word is not the same with one writer as with another. One tears it from his guts. The other pulls it out of his overcoat pocket. ~Charles Peguy

That Special Book in My Life July 8, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — writenedit @ 6:17 pm

Sherlock Holmes is my favorite book to read over and over.

Sherlock Holmes Statue

I love reading books and one of my favorite books is Sherlock Holmes, which I can read over and over and not get tired. There are so many series that reading one again after 56 short stories, you immediately get hooked up with the suspense and intelligence.

Doctor Conan Doyle and Sherlock play a winner team in solving cases that no other can solve. The observation, sixth sense, dedication, obsession, and passion for investigation is marvelous. It has many book cases now and also the short stories are sold separately.

You can too have a collection of the four novels and 56 short stories from the Amazon, if you have a taste of suspense and thrill (:

 

WhiteSmoke – The software for your grammar July 7, 2010

Filed under: Products — writenedit @ 2:55 pm

Yesterday I was looking for help online that I can use to edit my written work. Many websites were offering online services with copy editors and some dead lines, few of them were copy-paste free services, and then I found few software products available for editing and proofreading. WhiteSmoke was the one that caught my attention.

This software is a winner of the 2010 Top Ten Reviews Gold Award. The prominent features are artificial intelligence, grammar checker, usage examples and writing review. The good news it is not limited to one internet browser or writing software. It works with Microsoft, IE, Chrome, Fox, Apple, Messengers, Works, etc.

It has received reviews from CNN, Yahoo!, and NBC as the best English tool. It has also been ranked in the Top 31 business ideas for 2010.

To now more about the product, visit http://www.whitesmoke.com

 

Google+Verizon+Motorola = Droid November 25, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — writenedit @ 10:31 pm

Google has been a source of inspiration, good business, and valuable partnerships. Google grabs anything that is worth to invest in and makes the best use of it. Google Maps, Google Wave, You Tube are few of the examples, how Google has made a difference.

Recently, you would be hearing the news of launching Motorola Droid phone; a combination of Google mobile operating system, Verizon’s network, and Motorola’s technology. Peeking a little into the history of the operating system; Droid, a word derived from Android was initially developed by Android Inc. later purchased by Google. Presently taken by the Open Handset Alliance – Android. In 2007, Google announced that OHA (Open Handset Alliance) will create an open platform for a Linux phone that can run Google applications (Schonfeld, 2007).

In 2009, Google and Verizon announced their partnership in bringing up Android powered devices through the huge cellular carrier (Verizon). Verizon has lack of phone with such modern operating systems, therefore Android was a major for them. Switched quotes John Gruber’s words as “Verizon should now have phones other than BlackBerrys that are actually good”.

Then it comes down to Motorola and Google inc. partnership, which will allow Motorola users access Google applications easily. According to Capital Markets analyst, Mark Sue, Motorola’s new handsets will have a Google button. This button will give one-press access to the Google’s homepage. Motorola needed a strong product to save itself. In June 2009, Motorola CEO Sanjay Jha “announced that the company would introduce two Android-based smartphones by the end of the year, confirming rumors that Motorola was planning to use Google’s operating system as the basis for its big gamble to once again become a presence in the handset market” (Thompson, 2009).

A combined partnership – “major partnerships” of Google, Verizon, and Motorola have produced a powerful smartphone.

Continued…

 

Farmville Pros and Cons November 20, 2009

Filed under: Social Websites — writenedit @ 7:19 pm
Tags: , ,

As I posted earlier in the blog, Farmville has become a trademark at Facebook. It is “the popular game” and everyone from every walk of life is playing it. How cool is that for a game like this to get so many members. Although, this game is earning praises from its members since its launch, it has some negative aspects as well. Not that they are harmful but are irritating to the players. I have gathered pros and cons of this game while playing it.

Farmville Pros:

  • Although, not a new concept in the virtual farms but Zynga has taken it far from what the others are right now
  • The attractions are strong for the players, almost addicting. For example, surprise boxes, awards, new items every season, free gifts, and others
  • Zynga developers have strong communication with the players. I admire that every term of lack of communication is avoided. There is discussion board, podcast, email service, and support. The team gives its players what they request, once in a while, which is a good gesture of saying thank you to them
  • The graphics and their quality is good. They don’t seem like, players are getting hold of cartoons. (Cartoons are fun but for a real-time game, Farmville has given its best)
  • The most important part of it is that everyone feels creative in their own way. No matter how, there is nothing that stops them from laddering up except themselves
  • They keep track of the errors and bugs now and then. In addition, the team keeps messaging its users that they are looking into the “present” issue. Players get solution in parallel to their visit on the farm, unless they are very unlucky to open Farmville
  • It has been a good addition to the Facebook.  Facebook is getting more clicks and new members just because of Farmville, which is a pretty good thing. According to AppData, Farmville’s monthly active users in October-November are near to 70,000,000 and daily users have been above 24,000,000. How cool is that?

I, myself have been a Farmville user since it came into being. I started playing Zynga games by the Pathwords and Scrabble. I loved them (still do…) but Farmville is a feeling, that you are really doing something with land, animals, crops, coins, cash etc. The new game in the pool is Fishville, which is equally interesting and better than the other fish games on Facebook that I have seen. Fishville has drived the Farmville members and I guess vice versa in case of new members.

Where I have passion for this game, I also get irritated by a few things that happen during my visit. They are not big issues but being a technical writer, usability tester, and knowing devices for user assistance; I feel the need to mention them. And if I may suggest a few ideas (as solutions) to the problems.

Facebook Cons:

  • The server keeps getting restarted when players are farming, which undo’s whatever thay have been doing before the game restarts
  • Saving takes a lot of time (in my case I just click “Play” again instead of waiting, which again undo’s everything)
  • Real spending of cash to buy virtual farm cash. This means a player is spending more than they would spend in purchasing an online game

Users totally understand the need to earn revenue and profit, but the team can come up with 1-2 plans to keep both the real-money spending players and only-coins spending players happy. Although, in some cases the team has put up one item twice with both cash and coin. I am not sure what comes out of it. I bet coins are being preferred in that case. In the Market, the things with coins are smaller and look like spending on them is not worth; when the cash items are more attractive. As a user and usability tester, I can see that this can make players feel they ar ebuying something uncostly and insignificant. That is why the hot topic in the discusison board of Farmville is “cash” and “items”.

I am sure the team would be working on something. This blog does not mean to doubt their abilities. I wish the team best of luck and appreciate what they are doing presently.

 

Do you Farmville your time?

Filed under: Social Websites — writenedit @ 5:55 am
Tags: , , ,

Farmville is a virtual farm game produced by the Zynga on the famous social networking website, Facebook. Facebook members join the game and start managing their farm by planting seeds and harvesting crops, animals, and trees. It allows the facebook friends to be neighbors at Farmville and earn points in the shape of coins and experience. The experience leads them to new levels of farming and coins keep the farmer busy with buying animals, trees, and decoration stuff. Farmville gives the virtual farmers awards, ribbons, and daily cash, which keeps them motivated in maintaining and leveling up the game. The good thing about it is that the male population, who have a general image of playing fight, sports, and action games are also taking deep interest. Facebook farmers are obsessed with the farming. And Zynga is doing a good part in keeping its farmers attracted to the game.

Farmville can become bored as it is only seeding, harvesting, and decorating but the new offers, incentives, and surprises keep the members stick to it. Professionals, house wives, students, and teachers all are enjoying being farmers. Members login to Farmville every 4-5 hours to check on gifts, surprises, harvest crops, or visit neighbors. A big part of everyone’s day goes into farming at Farmville.

People religiously decorate, send gifts to neighbors, expand and ask for more neighbors. Now, that Farmville has removed the free cash earning options, members are buying cash through credit/debit or paypal, just to buy the surprise gifts, seasonal objects and animals. It wouldn’t be wrong if I said that Facebook members’ login has increased due to Farmville. It is a fresh idea and addicting to city people. Not sure how long it will last, but definitely has a long way to go.

In my opinion, it is a good time passing game and in some cases, polishes the creative side of its users by letting them decorate as they will. I wish them luck and success in this game.

 

Google Wave Is in the Air November 11, 2009

Filed under: Social Websites — writenedit @ 8:39 pm

In 2004, two Aussie brothers, Lars and Jens Rasmussen teamed up with Google to create Google Maps from their innovative idea of “Where 2 Tech”. Google Maps has been a genius idea. Everyone uses it whether to look for a place, study the route, find something in a place, or get driving directions.

 These two brothers came up with a new definite genius idea of “Walkabout” a couple of years ago, which is now the Google Wave. The Rasmussen brothers claim that Wave will change the meanings of online communication. Google Wave was announced at the Google I/O Conference in San Francisco, California (2009).

 It was introduced as a magical product. Vic Gundotra, the vice president of Google Engineering was very positive about this product. he said, “It is an unbelievable, powerful demonstration of what is possible in a browser”.

 A communication and collaboration tool like Google Wave can change how we use emails, instant messages and social networking. The product demo is itself a very magical impression on the viewer. The email conversations are fast, in line, and users do not need to wait for the other users to type first and then reply; which in my opinion is a cool feature.

ss2

The most amazing part of the demo was the dragging of photos to the browser and it was quick like a wink. No software needed to install to share photos. Typing and changing photos’ names is easy and collaborative among the users of  a group. When you see the Blogging demo, you can easily assess that it is a collaboration of Twitter and Blogs. No time is wasted in sending and recieving updates and information. It is instant and still keeps the concept of blogging + twittering. Google Wave is like a big dashboard, which has a presentation of all kinds of communication. There are browsers within browser(s). Switching between the browsers is easy and to me it lookg familiar to iGoogle that has different tools opene din pone browser but much better for communication.

 The Google defines wave in three parts:

“A wave is equal parts conversation and document. People can communicate and work together with richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps, and more”.

“A wave is shared. Any participant can reply anywhere in the message, edit the content, and add participants at any point in the process. Then playback lets anyone rewind the wave to see who said what and when”.

A wave is live. With live transmission as you type, participants on a wave can have faster conversations, see edits and interact with extension in real-time”.

 Everyone can request an invitation from Google Wave to use in its limited preview.

To request an invitation

 

Adobe Technical Communication Suite 2.0 (An Upgrade) June 28, 2009

Filed under: Technical Communication — writenedit @ 11:42 pm
Tags: , , ,

Adobe has now put forward the new release and upgrade of the Adobe Technical Communication Suite 1.0 and 1.3.  The 1.0 release had the following features:

  • Single Source FrameMaker content in Robohelp
  • FrameMaker live link support in Robohelp
  • Ability to use Adobe Captivate show-me demos in FrameMaker
  • Rish media object incorporation
  • DITA 1.0 support

With a little upgrade in 1.3 release they added Interactive PDF Portfolio with video, SWF files etc, PDF maps in Acrobat as features, and Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro Extended as a Product. Now with the 2.0, Adobe has offered a big product giving the opportunity to write, integrate, publish, and deliver. It is a complete technical content management system.

It is a multitasking product giving all kinds of possibilities for technical communicators of all sorts. In my opinion, it is perfect for a single resource in any company dealing with the technical writing or producing product documentation.

Adobe is also publishing a book, Adobe Technical Communication Suite 2 Clasroom in a Book, which is scheduled to publish in Oct 8, 2009. It is available for Pre-order at Amazon.com in Books section, with search word “Technical Communication”. You can get to it easily if you sort by Publication Date.

The suite gives the following enhanced features in addition to the 1.0 and 1.3:

  • Online help output in Adobe AIR
  • DITA 1.1 and DITA 1.2 (beta) support
  • Online help review using Adobe AIR
  • Out-of-box CMS integration support
  • Live link support for Microsoft Word
  • Importing of comments from PDF files
  • Enhanced templates in RoboHelp and adobe Captivate
  • Roundtrip PowerPoint workflow in adobe Captivate
  • Scripting and automation support in RoboHelp
  • Text-to-Speech finctionality in Adobe Captivate
  • List and Table styles in RoboHelp
  • New, intuitive Frame Maker user interface

Products added to Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro Extended are, Adobe FrameMaker, Adobe RoboHelp8, Adobe Captivate4, and Adobe Photoshop CS4.

For further information, click Adobe Press Release

 

 
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