November 20, 2006

NI-TC 2006

Every year at NI, we have an internal conference for all the employees in the Technical Communications department. This conference, conveniently enough called NI-TC (for NI-Tech Comm) is in late October and lasts for two days. It's a time for us to bring everyone up to speed on what's going on the department. We have multiple presentations/seminars, a demo fair that showcases the neat products we work on, and (of course) a deck party with food, drink, and music. This year we had some cameras floating around, so I wanted to share the event with you...

Breakfast on Day 1 consisted of bagels, cream cheese, and a big fruit tray. Oh, and coffee of course! Breakfast on Day 2 was a plethora of breakfast tacos. Mmmm.

A group of us getting ready for the first presentation in the morning.

This year, we all voted on superlative awards, like "Most Likely to Build a VI for Home Use" and "Most Likely to Out-Nerd an Engineer." Yeah, it's dorky, but it's fun :-) Here we see Nick distributing a prize pinwheel to Kyle while Kip looks on.

Another group of us between presentations.

Colin (r) and me about to give our presentation. Colin's in marketing, so he's no stranger to a suit. But me being in R&D, well, let's just say I wear suits for only family occasions :-) But when you're presenting to a team of co-workers, it never hurts to look snappy, right? I thought it would be funny, given that I dress so casually all the time. Some people got the joke, but some didn't. In R&D, you wear a suit only when you interview!

Some of us watching a presentation on how Windows Vista's online help is different from XP's.

This is the demo fair, and we have Mark demonstrating the NI Vision Builder for Automated Inspection.

Again at the demo fair. Bradley gives us a hands-on sneak peek at Windows Vista.

Okay, the learning is over and it's time for the deck party!

One of our tech writers (Robert, on the left with the bass) plays in a local band called The Hackles. They graced our deck party and played some good ol' country music for us.

November 7, 2006

What We Do All Day

6-7 years ago, NI created a website, in partnership with Texas Tech University, that walks you through A Week in the Life of a Technical Communicator. Because the design is so 90s, and because the "star" of the web site is no longer with NI, in January 2006 a group of writers decided to update the site with a more "modern" look. (Wow, that's a lot of quotes here.)

The result is a new-and-improved A Week in the Life of a Technical Writer (notice the title change) web site. The goal of this site is to explain what we do all day. We have two audiences in mind: 1) prospective employees and 2) students who are unaware of what technical writing is - or at least what we say it is, because the job title can mean many things depending on where you work.

Creating the site was an interesting exercise in collaboration and group work. It took us longer than we'd anticipated to decide who to "feature" on the site, come up with a design, write the content, decide on the page navigation, and so on. We unveiled the site on Sept 8th, 2006, after nine months of planning and implementation. Some of the group members are currently writing an article for the STC's Intercom magazine based on the effort.

Anyway, check it out!

November 6, 2006

Guest Appearance on the VI Road Show

Every Halloween, the LabVIEW team sets up various demos of our products for other members of the company. This year, the VI Road Show invaded and caught some of what went on. The following video shows Varun, myself, and Alex discussing and demonstrating the LabVIEW Simulation Module. Beware the horrible scrolling CRT monitors!

P.S: I feel I should explain my bloody face :-) My costume this year was Ash from Army of Darkness.