Two days after Helsinki we landed in Stockholm for the second stage in our tour across Northern and Northwestern Europe. The venue was of a totally different style, in a modern hotel conveniently located next to the main railway station.
A unique opportunity that we could not pass up was the presence of an ice bar in the hotel. This is a smaller version of the ice bar that is part of the famous ice hotel, which opens every winter season in the far North of Sweden. The ice bar in the hotel is open all year round and is built from ice blocks that come from the same river that delivers the building materials for the ice hotel. Guests of the ice bar get insulating coats and gloves before they are allowed into the small bar. And where you would normally order some kind of drink on the rocks, you are getting treated with a drink IN the rocks here: large ice cubes with a cavity in the middle where the drink is poured in. Skol! Needless to say that the ice bar personnel is often asked to take group pictures and they never fail to call out “Say freeze”.
But there was also work to be done, so we got out of our insulating coats, slept off the vodka cocktails and got down to business. The room filled up nicely and there were very interesting presentations by various consulting companies that operate on the Scandinavian market. A fairly large portion of this day’s presenters were consulting companies and some of them proved to have an impressive list of clients with world-wide market leader positions in their respective business domains. One of these companies is Elekta and the department that presented their insights is market leader for devices that allow radiosurgery on brain cancer. Very impressive and with high demands on the correctness of their documentation and the speed with which translations can be created. They mentioned that my presentation on making a smooth transition from unstructured to structured and modular documentation should have come a couple of years earlier – it would have saved them a lot of problems and could have kept them within the FrameMaker arena.
During the breaks, I had some time to talk to various customers who have been using FrameMaker for a long time. Boo Engstrand of Autotech Teknikinformation was happy to hear that the Technical Communication Suite is now available in the subscription model, as this enables him to optimize the licensing cost for his company. He has a team of technical authors who work on various projects with widely varying demands on the types of software to be used. Sometimes there will be more work in InDesign, at other times the tool of preference will be FrameMaker. The subscription model will give him more flexibility in deciding when to increase or decrease the number of active licenses in his company. Another long-time customer, Miss Claudia Helms of Ascom, mentioned that she was very happy to move to FrameMaker after having worked in Pagemaker and Word for a long time. For large technical documents there is no better solution than FrameMaker, she stated. Her company is looking into moving toward XML-based documentation without leaving FrameMaker behind, and with the new developments in that product there is no need to.
All in all, the event proved to be quite succesful for most of the visitors. New insights were found, new contacts were made and several people were inspired to come to the tcworld conference that will be held in Wiesbaden in November (for the last time, before moving to Stuttgart in 2014). We are looking forward to the next event, tomorrow, in Copenhagen.