TC Camp Gazette #24

BREAKING NEWS!

I got nothin’ for ya just now. I am keeping my cards close to the vest. But stay tuned. I think I’ll have some breaking news to report in the next Gazette. 

API Documentation

By the Roving Reporter

TC Camp morning workshop led by Tom Johnson

The Campers asked for a lesson on API documentation and voted for it as a top priority for professional development. So we looked to the community to find the right leader to mentor us all. Well, who do you think of when you think of API documentation? Tom Johnson, of course! When we asked Tom for help, he said “yes” — without hesitation!

Let’s get right to the point. Here’s what Tom will be teaching you. You’ll learn how to document Java and C++ APIs using Javadoc and Doxygen. You’ll also learn the basics of REST APIs, see sample REST API doc sites, and learn how to create interactive endpoint documentation.

Need we say more?! This is a must have skill set, so sign up to reserve your space for this extremely valuable workshop.

Here’s a little bit about Tom Johnson (in case you don’t already know him). He is currently a senior tech writer at 41st Parameter in the San Jose area. Here is his blog: idratherbewriting.com.

For us at TC Camp, we know him as one of our regular campers! Here is something you may not know about Tom: He is an avid bicyclist and Dutch-Oven Camper. One of the things he really enjoys is going on early morning rides before his four daughters and wife awake.

I asked Tom to share one of his memorable adventures, and here is what he had to say:

“One time, on an early morning ride in Yosemite, I saw a bear at the edge of camp. Rather than riding away from the bear, I rode slowly over to the bear. He sat calmly watching me approach and, seeing that he was such a curious bear, I decided to introduce myself. After the usual pleasantries, we sat together and shared my trail mix and drank orange juice as we watched the morning sun rise. It was one of the most interesting moments in my life. It turns out that the bear was a curiously minded creature who dreamed of documenting human customs and outdoor traditions — usually before eating the humans. But we connected on an intellectual level and decided to treat each other with mutual respect.”

Those were the Bear facts of his recounting, and I was so stunned by the story that I forgot to ask him what a Dutch-Oven Camper is. Maybe I’ll ask him at camp. Or, I maybe I’ll go find that bear in Yosemite…

Why I Attend TC Camp

By Cherie Woodward, 2013 and 2014 attendee

Why are you a fan (or at least an attendee) of TC Camp?

TC Camp is a one-day “unconference” that packs more into one day than some weeklong conferences I’ve attended. The seminars are interesting and provide a future view of our industry. The “unconference” format gives attendees control of what they want to learn during the day. The offerings are all so leading edge that it’s actually hard to pick the top few that interest me in what time allows. Lessons learned at TC Camp help keep me at the top of my game, and, therefore, highly marketable.

What was your favorite part of TC Camp?

Last year, my favorite moment at TC Camp was a customer-led seminar. She provided real-world usage of tool implementation, and that was so interesting. Information right from the trenches! Of course, it was a success story; however, the pitfalls were also outlined, so anybody moving to that tool could sidestep these issues.

The midday forum was another highlight of the day.

Camp Extras!

Tips and tricks for TC Camp participants

By Cherie Woodward, 2013 and 2014 attendee

What advice would you give someone attending for the first time?

If you’re attending for the first time, look for TC Camp veterans who can help you through the unconference process — choosing what seminars you’d like presented is your first task. Also, finding a veteran expands your network, and TC Camp (and Tech Comms, for that matter) is all about networking. I look forward to seeing my TC Camp buddies and meeting new TC Camp friends in 2015!

Help Run TC Camp 2015

Here is your chance to give back to the community! Be a TC Camp Volunteer!!

A lot happens on the day of the event, and we will need plenty of help setting up, organizing, and managing the event. Plan now to help. Let us know that you’ll help run TC Camp 2015 by emailingcounselor@tccamp.org.

Trail Mix

Are you a good team member?

If you’re on an agile team, you might find that you’re expected to work on any high-priority task. For example, if there’s more testing than the testers can manage, you might be testing.

But even if you’re the technical writer for a project where the rest of the work is the responsibility of a separate team, even a remote team, you should look for opportunities to help.

Can you help with usability testing? Can you check that the test cases cover all the important use cases in the documentation? Can you copyedit important internal and external communications? Can you clean up diagrams?

Look for way to demonstrate that you’re on the team!

And now for something completely different!

A photon checks into a hotel and is asked if he needs any help with his luggage. He responds. No I am traveling light.