New release of Adobe Story now available…

The February 2013 release of Adobe Story is now available. This major update lets you do the following and much more:

  • You can now manage camera shot numbers just like you’d manage dialog numbers.
  • While creating or comparing schedules, Story defaults to the last project opened.
  • While editing lists, clicking the blue cross opens the relevant list for user validation instead of directly adding the characters/sets.
  • Improvements related to headers and footers in reports
  • You can now choose to initialize dialog numbers for new scenes.
  • You can create customized scene-level tags in scripts. These tags are also reflected in schedules and relevant reports.
  • Scene headings and their count are displayed in the detailed running order report.
  • A new role called Writer is available for script writers. This role is designed to help manage permissions for freelance writers in particular.
  • The Irish TV screenplay template features several enhancements. For example, you can now edit the Story Day field in this template.
  • You can assign scene time to all scenes. Also, you can input the sunrise and sunset times in the same dialog.
  • You can create day-level camera cards.
  • You can see the Last Camera Info for the previous scene in the From box of the scene and the First Camera Info for the next scene in the To box of the scene.
  • You can now create Scene Breakdown reports from the script.
  • You can choose to print only the pages that have changed since Track Changes was enabled.
  • A news icon is now displayed next to the notifications icon on the Story home page. Important news bulletins published by the Story team are displayed in this area.
  • The Story landing page now gives you an option to join Adobe® Creative Cloud. Subscribing to Adobe Story Free gives you all the benefits of Creative Cloud free membership.
  • You can now view schedules in story order.
  • Critical bug fixes

You can review the updated documentation at this URL. For the latest news and information related to Story, follow the Adobe Story team blog.

Case Study: Using Adobe CQ to author technical communication

Peter Barraud and I are going to speak this February at the tcworld India conference in Bangalore. Here’s a short video introduction to our session:

A week in my professional life

Divya Upadhyay, friend and coordinator for MITWA News, encouraged me to sum up my typical week at work. Here’s what I came up with…


 

As I settle down to write this article, I realize it’s going to be hard to describe my “typical week” at work. The beauty of a week in the life of a technical communicator at my workplace is that there is no standard week. Every week is dynamic and brings with it new opportunities, challenges, and projects.

For starters, technical communicators are titled Content and Community Lead at my workplace, which implies that “conventional technical communication” forms only a fraction of our work responsibilities. The organization itself is called Community Help and Learning (CHL). Community Help is the guiding philosophy that documentation should be a curated body of content that leverages user community-created content just as seriously as it leverages conventional technical communication. As an organization, we are pretty focused on tracking how users are searching for and “consuming” the information that we create. Based on search and content-consumption patterns, we decide if a particular article in the documentation is “doing fine” or needs further improvement. This analytical engagement also empowers us to quickly identify the top issues that our customers are facing and drive those issues to closure.

Another core tenet of our organizational culture is multiplexing. While all content leads have their primary product assignments, most of us also work on additional projects and initiatives. We divide our time amongst these projects, constantly reworking our priorities. While that may sound like an awfully busy schedule to an outsider, most of us here would not have it any other way!

Here are some of the ground-level tasks I end up performing every week:

Meet colleagues: I engage regularly with my counterparts in the product engineering, customer service, and business intelligence roles. The discussions with the product engineering teams are largely centred on new features/enhancements and how to best create user assistance content around them. Discussions with the customer support organization, on the other hand, give me insight into the top issues that may require me to create troubleshooting/best practices articles or optimise already-published content. All of these interactions translate into a number of meetings through the week that we keep short and focused.

Also, since most of Adobe products are developed in an agile model, I attend a lot of product scrum meetings in addition to the CHL-level “stand up” scrum meetings every day.

Author content: For much of my working week, I plan and author content deliverables. When I author content, I strive to identify opportunities to represent concepts/procedures as graphics or instructional videos. Infographics, in particular, are an area of interest for me. Doc reviews happen in Adobe Acrobat and I work with the CHL production team to push documents live once they’re ready. Unlike the traditional doc-publishing model aligned with product milestones, we post and update content around the year.

Amplify content: I blog pretty regularly and engage users through social networks/other channels throughout the week. At one level, this engagement helps me drive customers to high-impact content. It also lets me lend a willing ear to customer issues and work with product engineering to address them.

As part of content amplification, I also moderate and post articles to the relevant content community pages—for example, http://blogs.adobe.com/cqpost.

Optimize content: Content optimization involves using Web traffic/content consumption parameters to optimize the reach/effectiveness of key documentation articles. I also keep an eye on the channels — doc landing pages, forums, community pages, etc — through which customers are reaching high-impact content and ensure that I maintain my presence there.

To optimize my content, I rely on reports from my business intelligence counterparts as well as my own research. Over the years, I’ve strived to develop specific skills in this area, including an Adobe Certified Expert certification in SiteCatalyst.

Give product feedback: Internally, technical communicators are recognised as power users of several Adobe applications and suites. Therefore, I often find myself alpha or beta-testing software. My experience helps me suggest usability improvements, workflow tweaks, or even new features that end-users like me find useful. It’s a privilege playing a part in the development of software that enables creative content creation and digital marketing initiatives all over the world.

Dream big: As an organization, we’re involved in several initiatives beyond our core responsibilities.  Some of us have a keen interest in text analytics and developing new methods to further human understanding of language. To that extent, we keep preparing, writing, and publishing IP deliverables. Like many of my colleagues, I also keep working on article ideas/papers for journals and conferences.

My workday, naturally, is also governed by my personal working style. Instead of “switching off” work at a particular hour, I tend to stay connected and work late into the evening. This pattern sometimes spills into the weekend as well. I usually prioritize tasks for the week ahead on Sunday evenings. My “to do” list (often an Evernote document) is flexible and has room for the surprises that the week may have in store. I also maintain a rolling list of long-term tasks essential to my professional growth. This list may include research topics, identified areas of learning, and often an audacious feature/product idea or two. As the week progresses, I ensure that I make some progress on these long-term “to do” items, however small that progress may be.

With that, I’ve pretty much summed up the exciting, challenging time I call my workweek. It offers me a lot of opportunities and little room for inertia. And that is the part I love about it!

 - Samartha Vashishtha

Two new best practice articles now live…

We’ve just published two new articles in the CQ best practice series:

A list of the five articles published so far is at this URL. In the days to come, we’ll post more best practices, tips, and tricks that you can apply to your work.

Stay tuned!

CQ Cloud Manager August 2012 version released…

The August monthly release of Adobe CQ Cloud Manager is now out! Here is a quick summary of the new features/enhancements in this version:

  • You can (optionally) encrypt scheduled and on-demand backups of CQ clouds hosted on Amazon EC2
  • Support for managed and unmanaged Rackspace accounts across 4 regions/data centers (DFW, DFW2, ORD, and UK)
  • Support for SSH access to CQ clouds hosted on Rackspace
  • Increased JVM memory configuration based on instance sizes for both Amazon EC2 and Rackspace
  • Better categorization of Packages
  • Several bug fixes and UI enhancements

For more information and list of known issues, refer to the documentation.

CQ Cloud Manager July 2012 version released!

The July release of Adobe CQ Cloud Manager is now out! This version rolls out the following new features/enhancements:

  • Full support for Rackspace Cloud Hosting (backup, scale, and delete CQ clouds)
  • Scale Publish tiers with auto-replication
  • Support for 7 Amazon Web Services (AWS) regions and 4 instance types
  • You can now remove CQ clouds with backups
  • Some UI enhancements

Refer to the documentation for more information.

Viewing CQ server logs for a system hosted on Cloud Manager…

To understand how you can view logs for a CQ Cloud Manager authoring server, look no further than this useful forum topic.

For more top issues and FAQ related to Adobe CQ Cloud Manager, see this documentation article.

New CQ best practice articles now live!

We’ve just published the following three CQ best practice articles:

These articles are the first few in the CQ best practices series. In the days to come, we’ll post more best practices, tips, and tricks that you can apply to your work.

Stay tuned!

 

Cloud Manager: How are Pause and Stop operations different?

When you pause a cloud, the cloud provider doesn’t charge for CPU cycles anymore. However, you are still charged for the allocated storage (for example, Amazon EBS volumes). Paused clouds are displayed in the Clouds dashboard with a yellow status.

However, when you stop a cloud, no memory, EBS storage, or instances remain allocated to it anymore. However, online backups for the stopped cloud are still retained and can be restored. The cloud provider continues to charge for the saved online backups. Stopped clouds are displayed in the Clouds dashboard with a red status.

For more FAQ related to Cloud Manager, refer to this documentation topic or consult this forum.

What’s new in Cloud Manager 1.1

Adobe has just released Cloud Manager 1.1, an enhanced version of the SaaS offering that enables reduced time and costs for provisioning, managing, and metering Web Experience Management (WEM) solutions for digital marketing initiatives. This new version rolls out the following major enhancements:

  • Rackspace support: In addition to Amazon EC2, Cloud Manager 1.1 now supports Rackspace Cloud Hosting.
  • Enhanced cloud deletion: You can now delete CQ clouds even if they have online backups. You can also remove failed or inconsistent clouds from the Clouds dashboard.
  • Numerous other bug fixes and improvements…

For more information about using Cloud Manager, refer to the documentation. If you have a question, post it on Adobe forums.