TC Camp Gazette #31


We have a new Ranger! 

Thank You, Vasont Systems, for supporting TC Camp 2015!

Camp Day Games!

by Janice Summers

Let the games begin!

If you’ve been reading the Gazette, you might recall that we mentioned a game or two. We’re replacing the typical panel discussion and the end-of-day summary with what we hope will be fun and engaging games. But don’t plan to sit back and be entertained, because you have a part to play in each game. Here’s what we’ve planned:

Campers’ Feud

Here campers face off to give you the best solutionto your Tech Pubs challenges.

This game show replaces the panel discussion. Two teams of campers compete to give you solutions or answers to challenges, issues, or questions that you supply. After a representative from each team gives its solution, you decide who won that round.

You can submit your challenges, issues, and questions by email to or by returning the paper you’ll get at registration to Janice or any other volunteer by 10:45 a.m.

Camp Minimalist

Here you win if you can keep it brief!

One of the most important events at any unconference is the end-of-day reports on the table topics. After all, the key benefit of TC Camp is thepeer-to-peer training you receive. Based on the feedback from last year, we’re trying this way for you to share the key points of the table topic without going into a lot of detail.

So, we give you Camp Minimalist, where you are challenged to say more with less. Each topic team will choose a spokesperson or spokespersons for the end-of-day report. They have 60 seconds to sum up the topic and discussion. Choose whatever means or method you want – sing it, act it, mime it, do a dramatic oration, or simply speak. Reuse is allowed. If you finish in 60 seconds, you’ll get areward. But if you go over, you’ll be gonged off. But don’t take it personally, it is all in good fun!

Camp Minimalist is also where companies will begiving away some very cool raffle prizes, so you don’t want to miss it!

Why You Should Attend TC Camp

By Michael Hahn

For the past several weeks we’ve heard from a few of the previous TC Camp attendees. What have we learned?

It’s all about the community

The folks who attend TC Camp are happy to meet and mingle with other members of the technical communications community. There is knowledge to be shared: problems and solutions, alternative approaches, and experience with a variety of tools and standards. Those of us who attend discover that we’re not alone in the daily challenges we face.

I like the unconference format

Many of us have spent hours sitting inuncomfortable chairs in faraway places listening to what other folks decided we need to hear. The unconference format lets us choose the topics we want to discuss and breaks down the barrierbetween the presenter and the audience. The rallying cry for an unconference event is: Let’s have a conversation.

It’s about the flexibility … and the cookies

The topics are ours – we decide what we want to discuss. Whether it’s the use and abuse of a particular standard, approaches for collaboration or particular working environments, or tips for getting a job or finding the right employees in technical communications, the topics are what we want them to be. You can decide what TC Camp has in store for you.

Oh, and we have cookies!

Camp Extras!

Tips and tricks for TC Camp participants

OK. Camp is less than one week away. Are you all set and ready to go? Do you know what to bring with you? Don’t forget $3 cash (dollar bills or coins) for parking! Trust me, you do not want to get a $35 ticket or worse.

Trail Mix

The Trail of Tears: major documentation-oriented standards through the years.

  • AAP (American Association of Publishers)
  • TEI (Text Encoding Initiative)
  • DocBook
  • DITA

What do they all have in common? Turns out, quite a bit. How many times must we reinvent that wheel?

And now for something completely different

Shake it off! (turn up the volume). I love this! What a trouper this person was to lip-sync the song and really ham it up. It’s even funnier when he has brief moments of being serious. Must watch!

TC Camp Gazette #30

Are You Getting Ready to Pack Up, Hitch Up the Wagon, and Head On Out to TC Camp?!

Here are some things you’ll want to bring with you.

Your Ticket Leap confirmation: It’s required!

$3 for parking (in coins or dollar bills): Last year, the Mission College folks waved the $3 all-day parking fee, but be prepared in case they don’t this year. When we know if they will, we’ll post the good news on the venue page.

Ideas: TC Camp is all about you and designed by you on that day. So bring your ideas for topics for the unconference and your challenges for the special panel game show.

Business cards (or something like it): There will be alot of people you’ll want to keep in touch with long after camp.

Smartphone or tablet: You’ll want some way toshout out about how much fun you’re having and all the new information you’re learning. (Yes, there will be WiFi.)

Pen and paper: If you like to keep it old school,then chances are that you’ll want a pad of paper and a pen to write with.

Food and drink: We do a pretty darn good job at having a wide variety of food throughout the day. There will be everything from water to coffee to tea to soda to juice to drink. We provide enough variety in food to meet the needs of just about any diet, no matter if you eat Paleo or raw vegan, or all points in between. If you’ve already purchased your lunch ticket, you’re set. If not and you want to join us for lunch, then bring $4. Otherwise, bring your own.

Your exuberant, fun spirit and your gracious patience and understanding (as always): It’s camp, after all. Chances are we might make a mistake or two.

The Unconference

By Janice Summers

Session topics, how to ….

If you have attended TC Camp in the past, then you already understand how the unconference part of the day works, and how you suggest and vote on session topics.

To suggest a topic in advance: Go to the Logistics and Schedule page and scroll to Leave a Comment at the bottom.

Why I Attend TC Camp

By June Harton, 2013 and 2014 TC Camp attendee

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

TC Camp is a great deal – it’s free! Lunch is only $4. For $35, you can attend a workshop given by a tech comm professional on a very relevant subject. It is held in Silicon Valley. That is always exciting to me because I get to meet people working on the cutting edge of technology and willing to share their knowledge. This will be the third year that I will attend.

What is your favorite part of TC Camp?

Networking – it’s great. I meet new people and refresh old contacts. The face time is very valuable.

Camp Extras!

Tips and tricks for TC Camp participants

By June Harton, 2013 and 2014 TC Camp attendee

Come ready to network, have a good time, and participate. Unlike other conferences with set agendas, attendees vote on the sessions and can actively share their own knowledge and experiences with others.

Trail Mix

SGML: Sounds Good, Maybe Later

XML: eX (used to be) [SG]ML

DITA (1996): Darwin Information Typing Architecture

DITA (2014): Damned Inconvenient Text Abstraction

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 emailing

And now for something completely different!

How’s the New Year Diet resolution going? How about this tempting treat? A donut stuffed with an apple fritter then covered in chocolate and sprinkles! Did I mention the custard?

TC Camp Gazette #29


Are you traveling to the Bay Area to join us at TC Camp?

A fair number of you are coming from out of town. By now, I hope you have found accommodations – but if you haven’t, the closest hotels are the Avatar Hotel and the Marriott Santa Clara. Both are walking distance from Mission College, and we’ve gotten positive feedback about both of them.

A few folks have expressed interest in getting together for dinner Friday night. If you want to join us, send an e-mail to

How Will You Start 2015?

by Janice Summers

Are you resolved to make a difference?

How you begin a thing is just as important, if not more important, than how you finish it. Think of anygood story you’ve read. The very tone of the story is set by the opening lines.

Life does indeed imitate art. How you begin a journey sets the tone and lays the foundation for every following move. So, how will you begin 2015? Are you resolved to make a difference in your professional career? Build stronger relationships? Advance your knowledge in the field of Tech Pubs?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you need to register for TC Camp now. There is still space available in the morning workshops, so make sure you reserve your seat!

Why I Attend TC Camp

By Wendy Shaffer, 2013 and 2014 TC Camp attendee

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

I really like the unconference format. It gives everyone a chance to contribute, and the sessions are often much more engaging than a typical conference talk.

What is your favorite part of TC Camp?

One of my favorite parts is when the session proposals go up for voting. It provides a really interesting snapshot of the variety of issues that technical communicators deal with on a day-to-day basis. It always gives me new things to think about.

Camp Extras!

Tips and tricks for TC Camp participants

By Wendy Shaffer, 2013 and 2014 TC Camp attendee

Get involved! Suggest a session, volunteer to be a note taker, or just share your ideas even if they seem half-baked. TC Camp is very much an event where you get out of it what you put into it.

Trail Mix

Actual apology from a client: Thank you very much for the detailed explanation of the attribute and its values and use. We understand our proposed use of the attribute with an alternate set of values is probably going to bite us later on.

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 emailing

And now for something completely different!

Do you wonder if these wacky health trends from 2014 will continue in 2015? Eating charcoal and more!