June 27, 2005

Today I emailed a link to this blog to the LabVIEW team, as well as the Tech Comm team (which includes all technical writers, artists, and others who assist in document creation). It's funny to think that within a single company, not everyone knows what everyone else is doing. Then again, my last job was at a company with 25 people; NI has several thousand employees worldwide. I'm still getting used to the size increase.

On a spur-of-the-moment impulse, I went looking for other technical writer blogs (Google for "technical writer" +blog). I found a couple that look interesting. It seems that most of these guys are freelance and not attached to a company, like me. Regardless, I'll list them here:
  • Document Hack - This looks like a good resource. I'm going to peruse this site and get more ideas about topics I can write about. Plus, "Document Hack" is a cool title. Much better than mine, I think :-)
  • Writers India - This could be good for getting a global perspective on user documentation and technical writing.
  • Rob Caron's blog - This guy is at Microsoft and works documentation for the Visual Studio team.
And here is a fun article from the NYC chapter of the STC about the presence and usefulness of tech writing blogs.

It's nice to see there is precedent for a technical writer to be blabbing about his or her job function on the Internet.

June 22, 2005

Welcome to Technically Speaking!

My name is Ryan. I'm a technical writer for the LabVIEW Control Design & Simulation group at National Instruments. When people ask what I do for a living, I respond with "I write software manuals." I follow that up with an explanation and then maybe a little bit about what the LabVIEW Control Design & Simulation products do. Somehow I don't think there is a common definition of "technical writer" the way there is for "district sales manager" or similar positions. Along these lines, I intend for this blog to explore various aspects of technical writing that I deal with on a daily basis. Because my work is about combining technology and writing, you can expect that synthesis to spill over into this blog. I promise to stay somewhat on topic and to try hard not to misspell any words.

A little bit about me:

I joined National Instruments as a technical writer in October 2004. I moved to Austin from Richmond, VA, where I lived for a year after graduating from Virginia Tech in 2003. In my spare time I do fun things like produce electronic music, spin techno records, read lots of books, and enjoy the sunny weather in Austin.

I encourage you to check out our other other blogs if you want to pick the brains of more NI employees.

Stay tuned!