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Roblee | 09 Nov 2007 | 0 comments
One of our fine authors, Jeremy Geiger, has just finished up a document that details the reporting and querying features that are available when you first install Security Information Manager. You can find this document on the Symantec Support Web site at:
 
 
This document provides the following information:
  • An overview of the querying and reporting features
  • Steps for creating and managing queries and reports
  • A reference of all default queries

So give it a read if it interests you, and post any feedback that you have on it as a reply to this post.

Roblee | 26 Jul 2007 | 0 comments
One piece of feedback that I've gotten pretty consistently is that it's too hard for folks to find our documentation. So we're trying a little experiment with the documentation for the Storage Foundation manuals. We've put links to the product documentation right at the top of their STN support forum. Hopefully, folks who are looking for answers can find them there. Further folks who know the answers can more easily point people to the product documentation and save themselves some typing.
 
Here's what it looks like:

The links appear under the Announcements section, and just above the forum posts.

Please let us know if you like the idea. If it's a hit, we'll do this for more products pronto!

Roblee | 19 Jun 2007 | 0 comments
A lot of folks ask why technical writers don't include more screenshots in their work. Some readers really find it helpful to see images of the screen that they're working with. In fact many folks have suggested that we have a screenshot for every step in a procedure. One person commented that adding more screenshots should make our work easier. He said "After all, a picture is worth a 1000 words, right? So you guys can do less writing then!"
 
The truth is that it's just not that simple. There are many problems that must be overcome to include screenshots.
 
The most common problem with screenshots is related to translation costs. If the software and documentation are localized, screenshots that were captured in the US English version of a program will have to be reshot for each language. Given that many products are often translated into over 30 languages, this represents a huge effort. This is especially true when you...
Roblee | 27 Apr 2007 | 0 comments
Hi all,
 
I thought I'd answer another question that I've been asked a couple of times.
"Do technical writers actually use the products that they write about?"

I'm sure the reason that folks ask this is because what they're seeing on their screen doesn't match what they're reading in the documentation. So I'll talk about common practices in researching the documents that we write about, and try to give some insight as to why things sometimes go awry.

The amount of actual hands-on use of a product during the research phase of a documentation project usually varies based upon the product's complexity. With most consumer software it's not difficult for a technical writer to get a preview build of the software, interview the developer(s), and then write up the documentation based upon actual use. Source documents from Engineering may provide valuable technical tidbits, but most of the...

Roblee | 13 Apr 2007 | 1 comment

Greetings!
 
I'm Robert Lee, one of the Information Development managers here at Symantec. My team publishes docs for security products such as Security Information Manager and LiveUpdate. I'm starting this blog so that I can hear directly from the IT community what they like and don't like about our documentation. And I'll also try to answer some common questions about our publications. If you have comments about the documents that my team publishes, or any other Symantec documentation just let me know. I'll forward the feedback to the right team.
 
I also want to give readers notification when my team posts updates to our docs. We publish updates frequently, so hopefully you'll have an opportunity to update some of the docs that you've had on your USB drive since the beta!
 
I'd like to start off by answering a question an engineer friend asked me recently:
 
"Is it...