AODC 2010 wrapup
A couple of weeks ago I was in Darwin – ya know, that place where evolution started. 😉 It’s a bit warm up there. The insects are the size of Sydney’s birds. The spiders are the size of Sydney’s fruit bats. Crocodiles lunge out of the drains and grab your ankles. Technical writers lurk under banyans swapping tales of DITA, dragons and eggcorns.
I was attending and presenting at AODC 2010, the 13th Australasian Online Documentation and Content conference. This is the third AODC conference I’ve attended, and all have been awesome. Tony Self, the organiser, has the knack of selecting interesting topics. More than a knack, I suspect it comes down to lots of hard work. The speakers and attendees alike are knowledgeable and enthusiastic technical writers, making for a great all-round experience.
This year’s conference spanned three days and eighteen sessions. I attended every single session, even the one that started at 8am on Thursday! I’ve written summaries of most of them, as linked below:
- AODC day 1: Turning Search into Find
- AODC day 1: The Power of Controlled Language
- AODC day 1: An Update on DITA Features, Tools and Best Practices
- AODC day 1: UA Design and Implementation for iPhone App
- AODC Day 2: Managing a Documentation Project
- AODC day 2: A Beginner’s Introduction to DITA
- AODC day 2: Engaging your readers in the documentation
- AODC day 2: What Kind of Assistance do Users Really Need?
- AODC day 2: Optimising your Content for Google Search
- AODC Day 3: Converting to Structured Content
- AODC Day 3: Introduction to DITA Conditional Publishing
- AODC Day 3: Help Authoring Tool Comparison
- AODC day 3: I can’t spell Ambliance
These were the sessions I didn’t write notes for, or where my notes are too disorganised to compile a blog post from:
- Networking. This happened on the first day, and was a lot of fun. We divided into groups, based on random criteria devised by Tony, had a quick chat with our group then hustled to form the next groupings based on even more random criteria.
- The Wonders of SVG, by Tony Self.
- WinANT Echidna – The DITA Open Toolkit Made Easy, by Tony Self.
- A Walk through Google Apps, an interactive session led by a panel of experts.
- Creating Auto-Magic TOCs with XSLT, by Dave Gash.
Fun and networking
The conference is infused with fun and liberally sprinkled with grains of Tony’s inimitable humour. At one stage early in the proceedings, when Tony was introducing a session, a ribald and fairly loud comment came from the back of the room. Tony’s response was instant:
“For the new people: That’s Choco. Please ignore him.”
Of course, in real life Choco is a professional and dedicated technical writer and author. He’s also entrusted with the important task of presenting the final AODC session.
Here we’re looking uncharacteristically studious, waiting for one of the sessions to begin:
At one stage Tony announced, “There’s gold class seating at the back. We bring you your tea and coffee if you sit there.” True enough! Here’s Dave in said gold class seating. I don’t think the tea or coffee ever materialised though:
On Thursday night we all trooped down to the famous Mindil Market. The market is one of Darwin’s not-to-be-missed attractions, happening every Thursday and Sunday evening during the dry season. The thing to do is to grab a meal and a smoothie from the market stalls, then mosey on down to Mindil Beach to watch the sunset. You may recognise a few AODCers in these silhouettes:
If you’d like to see more pictures and words about Mindil Market and Darwin, take a look at what the Travelling Worm has to say. He was there at AODC too, strictly under cover of course. He did valiantly stand between me and a crocodile or two.
Uncle Dave’s Trivia Night
No AODC conference is complete without it. I’ve devoted a whole blog post to Uncle Dave’s Trivia Night.
More photos on Flickr
I’ve uploaded a set of AODC photos on Flickr. If anyone has any more photos, please add a comment to this post, linking to your photos. I’d love to see them!
See you at AODC 2011
I’m looking forward to next year’s conference already!