We’re sharing some of the tools we use at Cherryleaf. This time we’ll look at video recording.
Video is becoming an important medium in technical communication. In addition to screencast videos (walkthroughs of application screens), software like Camtasia and Captivate enable you to include video of people in your presentations. Doing this creates a more TV-like presentation and a more professional feel to your output.
We’re sharing some of the tools we use at Cherryleaf, and this time we’ll look at audio recording tools.
It can be very useful for a Technical Author to be able to record what someone is saying. If you are gathering information from a Subject Matter Expert, you can let them just speak naturally and quickly. This can reduce the demands on their time, and it often leads to a more relaxed conversation. There can be other instances where it’s not practical to use a notepad or computer to write or type notes.
I thought I’d share some of the tools we use at Cherryleaf, starting with note taking. I’ve not covered audio recording tools, as we’ll probably look at those in another post.
Moleskine notebooks are a great way of taking written notes. The 13cm x 21cm size provides a decent page size, whilst being small enough to fit into an external jacket pocket. The large rule notebook contains 240 pages, which means you’re likely to need only two or three per year.
The elastic closure stops the notebook from falling open, and the bookmark helps you find the next empty page. These can be handy also if you sometimes wake up with an idea in the middle of the night. They enable you to open and find a blank page in the dark, without having to turn on the light. Once the thought is recorded, your brain can settle down to returning to sleep.
Uniball eye pens
The Uniball eye is a popular, everyday pen you can pick up from pretty much anywhere that sells pens. They are reasonably priced, so it doesn’t matter if you lose one, and they seem to last for ages. You can write with minimal pressure, as the ink flows smoothly. The pens are also comfortable in the hand.
One tool we all use is a mobile phone app called CamScanner Pro. CamScanner enables you to scan a document using your smartphone’s or tablet’s camera. It means everyone has their own personal scanner wherever they go. The app converts the image into a PDF, and then enables you to upload the document to a cloud storage service (such as Dropbox) or email it to someone. The Pro, paid, version can also convert scanned images to editable documents.
About four years ago, stenographer Mirabai Knight came to the conclusion that stenography had been a walled garden for too long — controlled and marginalized by big companies. She set about creating her own affordable hardware and open source software designed to set stenography free to the masses…
Note that this keyboard does need to be able to recognize multiple simultaneous keystrokes, so gaming keyboards (starting at $50) are the norm.
This could really help us when we’re transcribing the scripts for our online training courses. We’re not aware of any Technical Authors who use stenography – is there anyone out there?
Last week, we completed the third phase of our IT systems migration. With each phase, we’re gaining insights into how information can be best managed inside a company selling and delivering project-based services.
There are a number of basic IT systems needed to run a project-based business, such as ourselves:
Prospect database. This is essentially for sending out mailshots and any freebies offered on a website.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM). This is for following up new enquiries, past customers and carrying out other sales-related activities. This involves keeping a record of past conversations and next steps.
Project management. This involves keeping a record of conversations, repositories for files and contracts, time spent on a project, and other project-related activities.
Accounting. This involves invoicing and payments.
In numerous companies where I’ve worked there’s been a problem in finding the ideal solution. A single system that does everything may force you to work in a particular way of working, and these systems can be expensive for smaller organisations. Having separate systems can lead to information not being shared across the systems. For example, many of the project teams I’ve worked with have found CRM systems, such as Salesforce.com, too complex. They simply don’t use them often enough.
We have been asked to forward this message regarding the launch of Adobe Tech Comm Survey 2014:
The purpose of the survey is to understand how you create, publish and distribute content; and how you measure the effectiveness of content. We want to understand which tools you use, how you use them and how they can be improved.
It does not matter if you use Adobe products or not. As long as you are a Tech Comm professional and want your voice to be heard, you can fill out the survey. Please spare 20 minutes of your precious time to fill out the survey and stand a chance to win one of the 20 exciting prizes!