tekom report

Sarah O'Keefe / Conferences4 Comments

I hope that the cognitive impairment resulting from jet lag has dissipated enough to write this post.

Last week, I attended tekom/tcworld. With approximately 2200 attendees, plus 1200 trade show-only visitors, this is the largest gathering of technical communicators in the world. Over 180 vendors were at the trade show, along with some fairly impressive accessories.

Things you don't expect to see at a tech writing conference

I am sorry to tell you that the chocolate fountain people showed up with a juice bar this year.

Wednesday morning started off on a fun note, as several people stopped by to congratulate us on the election. The European population is at least as interested in this year’s U.S. election as we were. (Side note: During an extended beer-and-sausage dinner at the Ratskeller, a group of us were sitting behind a group of German bikers. They were in full biker regalia, with patches for something like “Rolling Thunder Wiesbaden.” Lots of beards, beards with braids, long hair, and leather. In fact, other than the German language, they would have fit right in at Myrtle Beach during Bike Week. So, at one point, their table got loud(er), and we looked over to see them crashing their beer mugs together yelling, “OBAMA! OBAMA!”)

We had an opportunity to catch up with conference buddies and fellow consultants. Tony Self’s description of Australia’s fierce killer magpies was especially entertaining. I’m afraid I didn’t quite believe the story at first, but wikipedia says it’s true. (Bike helmets with fake eyes on the back to fool the magpies into attacking the back of your head instead of pecking out your real eyes!)

On a work-related note, I delivered two sessions, one on XSL and one on Web 2.0. If you’re interested in a (very) basic introduction to XSL, the content of the XSL workshop is now available. You’ll need the instructions (PDF, 1.1MB), the XML sample file, and the CSS file for formatting. The workshop is based on information from our three-day XSL class, which is obviously far more detailed.

The Web 2.0 presentation, in Flash format, is available below:

Notes: Use the arrow keys to navigate through the slides. The first slide may take a few seconds to come up; the presentation file is quite large. If you prefer a narrative white paper version, we have one here.

A few final thoughts about the conference:

  • Internet connectivity ranged from prohibitively costly to insanely expensive. I got three calls from AT&T while in Germany to tell me that I had exceeded my data plan allowance and needed to upgrade to prevent the ominous “overage fees.” I appreciate the customer service, but I’d appreciate an inexpensive international data plan more. Perhaps related to this, there was little blogging and less twittering coming out of this conference. People seemed less connected to their cell phones and laptops. This might be a good thing.
  • My favorite example of internationalized documentation is here (not for the very easily offended). I took this picture in Bingen, a lovely town on the Rhine about half an hour from Wiesbaden. If you’re interested in other pictures, you can see mine here (they were taken on a cell phone camera, so apologies in advance for the quality issues).
About the Author

Sarah O'Keefe


Content strategy consultant and founder of Scriptorium Publishing. Bilingual English-German, voracious reader, water sports, knitting, and college basketball (go Blue Devils!). Aversions to raw tomatoes, eggplant, and checked baggage.

4 Comments on “tekom report”

  1. Travelling for work in the US is much easier for internet connectivity and general free/cheap-ness of internet. As an Aussie, I don’t use my mobile phone in the US – I use a pre-paid SIM card in my phone instead. The costs otherwise with my Aussie telco are way too prohibitive. We had similar issues on holiday in Europe earlier in the year, rarely did we find free/cheap internet like you can find in many cheaper hotels and the conference venues of the US.

  2. Hi!
    I thoroughly enjoyed your presentation on Web 2.0 at the Tekom Tagung 🙂
    And yes, I was sad, too, that the chocolate fountain was substituted with a juicy bar this year. Healthier, but much less fun!
    I hope your jet lag’s over by now!

  3. I really liked the web 2.0 presentation, especially the graph. It perfectly describes the way I want to push my documentation into. I’m not alone, yippieh 😉

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