An article Ellis wrote for the ISTC’s Communicator journal has been uploaded to the ISTC’s website. It’s called Can we quit QWERTY?, and it is about our trials and tribulations in transcribing training videos.
Whenever Apple launches a new product range, there’s a great deal of buzz and excitement. There’s lots of speculation as to how the technology could be applied by different professions and by consumers. Yesterday’s launch of the Apple Watch was no exception.
The title of this post may give away the fact that this post contains wild guesses. We may well look back on in five years time and ask, what were we thinking?
Our method for creating online courses involves making an audio recording of the presenter, transcribing it, editing the script and then recording the final, video presentation. We’ve tried using speech recognition software to create the transcribed script, and it has been a deeply frustrating experience.
While speech recognition is proving successful for searching and issuing commands (using Siri, Google Voice and Amazon Echo), we’re not sure it will replace the keyboard as the way we create written content.
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.
Which tools do you use to take notes?
Let us know, using the comments box below.
Jared Spool tweeted this morning:
PLEASE, PLEASE! Tell me that Apple is going to release Hypercard for the iPad!
— Jared Spool (@jmspool) September 9, 2014
HyperCard was a hypertext program that came with Apple Macintosh in the 1980s. It allowed you to create “stacks” of online cards, which organsiations used to create some of the first online guides. It also contained a scripting language called HyperTalk that a non-programmer could easily learn. This meant HyperCard could do more than just display content: it could be used to create books, games (such as Myst), develop oil-spill models, and even dial the telephone.
Last night, we watched Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview on Netflix. It’s a lengthly (70 minute) interview from 1995, in which Steve Jobs discussed his recipe for a successful business. The interview was made 19 years ago when Steve Jobs was still running NeXT Computers, and just six months before he rejoined Apple.
Here are some highlights.