2019’s STC Summer Patio Social took place on the top floor of the Hemingway’s patio in downtown Toronto this August 18, and was attended by TechCommers from a range of backgrounds including those just starting out in the world of TechComm, seasoned vets and everything in-between. Attendees enjoyed delicious appetizers provided by STC Toronto on a stunning patio while sharing tales of the strange and varied world of Technical Communication.
Press Enter to Continue is the clever title of a book written by Joan Francuz, a friend, colleague, former STCer and now author—in her own right, for what do we do, in our profession, but write books, tomes, pages, testaments and scripts of various sorts for our clients, just not for the general public in most cases.
When Joan autographed my copy of the book, she added “…and Ctrl S to save” after the title. That’s quintessential Joan Francuz and gives a taste of her witty style. While the book is historical—comprehensively so, but distilled to perfection—it is also chatty and full of personal treasures and stories too. In fact the book reads like Joan is talking to you, which makes it even more engaging. All of which makes this history of writing through the ages both personal and universal, as Joan discovers and exemplifies this “character trait—some call it a flaw—that compels people throughout history to sit down and write everything they know.”
And so it is that we learn of Joan’s love of gardening, her family, various jobs, travels and homes. But the meat of the book is the wealth of information on how scribes came to be and how they fashioned and used the tools of their trade through the ages.
With Joan’s deft touch and skill it all comes to life—from the Sumerians, to the Greeks, Romans, so-called Barbarians, and Renaissance men (I’m sure they had women too!); from symbols to characters to alphabets (first uppercase only, then lowercase) and the introduction of numbers and publishing; from all of these to the effects of religion, commerce, patents, railroads and more, including telegraphy and photography and how they influenced the dissemination of information. And all the while Joan relates to the material anecdotally, personally or with modern day comparisons. This is no dry history text!
A section entitled “Then people became data” introduces the digital age and brings us to “the time called now.” The book concludes with the thought that in every age people had a need to document the world around them. Press Enter to Continue carries on this tradition in exemplary fashion. It is a well researched piece of work documenting the history of our profession, with a bit of humour and personality thrown in for good measure. It is well worth the read!
Eliane Tozman is a Montreal-born, Toronto-based designer, currently working in UX Design (User Experience Design) at IBM. Tozman works in software development, where she researches, conceptualizes and designs ways for IBM to make the technology work for the user, so the user doesn’t have to work for the technology.
Tozman’s presentation focused on Designing for Disruptive Innovation and why it’s so important for creating successful outcomes. She provided insight and examples of how design thinking empowers multi-disciplinary teams to solve complex problems by considering many options, integrating ideas and opportunities, and testing multiple solutions before going to market.
IBM Design builds user-targeted products and experiences: this session offered an overview of this human-centered methodology. This method challenges people to see the world through the eyes of the user every step of the way.
There’s a lot of talk about Content 4.0 and microcontent, but what can technical communicators do about it?
Intelligent agents and AI-powered cognitive content solutions perform best with machine-ready content—intelligent content designed to be read by humans and processed by computers. To deliver the right answer to prospects and customers who have questions, you’ll need to optimize your content production approaches and begin crafting content with the precision humans appreciate, and machines require. Welcome to Intelligent Microcontent.
Join us to talk about our next steps in future-proofing our content.
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