3D Printing Is Out of This World

by Jean Fischer

Posted by: on Oct 12, 2016 in General Interest | No Comments


On Wednesday May 28, 2014 Reid Wiseman, an astronaut from Maryland,
launched into outer space. Wiseman will be on board the International
Space Station for six months. He is scheduled to do two or more
spacewalks, and to perform numerous experiments, including making
parts using the first 3D printer in space.

“If we are going to send humans to Mars, you’ll never know what
will break,” Wiseman told CBS News. “And if we have a 3D printers
where we could just fix whatever is broken, this really opens up a
whole new dimension of long range space travel.”

NASA is experimenting with additive creation of parts such as battery
mounts. What should be interesting, is to see what effects lack of
gravity will have on the consistency and mechanical accuracy of the
parts he attempts to print. Micro-gravity affects heating of the
additive materials used to make the parts. To compensate for the
issues of printing aboard the Space Station, printer maker “Made In Space”
has reported altered mechanical configuration of liquid handling.
The company has tested its prototype on Zero-g flights.

Other concerns were electromagnetic interference (EMI) caused by
the huge amount of radio signals produced inside the ship. Care
was taken in fastening the printer down so that vibrations would
not affect the printing. Commanding the printer programs from the
ground eliminates the need for a lot of interaction by the astronauts,
although the printer case includes a glovebox
for easy access by Wiseman and other members of the crew.

NASA also hopes to develop commercial uses for the knowledge gained,
including pharmaceutical applications. According to some, NASA may
plan on printing food. I am not too sure the world is ready for
printed food, but NASA is definitely taking 3D printing to new heights.

Slack and Salesforce Combine to Provide Collaboration and Customer Leads

by Jean Fischer

Posted by: on Oct 12, 2016 in General Interest | No Comments

This past couple of weeks I was researching collaboration software for MSD.
I had determined Slack to be one of the best alternatives, and was trying to
locate a contact email address or phone number for training, but the site
didn’t have one. They didn’t have any contact information whatsoever.
I thought that was odd considering they are such a well-known company.
I scanned each webpage for a clue, and finally saw at the top, in small
letters, “A Salesforce Company”.

I emailed the Salesforce training division to find out if they had any training for
Slack. The pleasant training rep said that Salesforce had just acquired Slack,
so there was no information yet on how they were going to use Slack, or if they
were integrating it with Salesforce.

The answer came this week. In case you have not used Salesforce, it is
one of the best sales tools around for locating and contacting prospects.
Slack announce that they were “officially partnering with Salesforce to deliver
several new integrations over the next month (with many more to follow).”

Search for Client Leads in Slack

Using the /salesforce slash command you can search for an opportunity,
customer, contact, or lead in Slack. Your search will return three results,
and when you click one, it will expand to provide you with basic account
details right where you’re working.

Keep Chatter and Slack in Sync

Use either the /chatter slash command or the /slack slash command to
send updates from Slack into Chatter and vice versa.

Connect Slack Channels with Salesforce Records

Assign a Slack channel to a Salesforce customer record and a new
section on that record will display the unread message count for the
connected channel. This way anyone working in Salesforce will be able
to see when an account is being actively discussed in Slack. Finally,
as an added bonus, Salesforce URLs will now “unfurl in Slack” and
include better formatting.

These integrations will be available for your team to use in the next
month. For more information on this topic, here is the site:


Contact me, Jean Fischer, if I can be of service as a Media Communications
Marketing Advisor or to provide emerging technology content for your site:

JeanF@MSD-corp.com or DaveJ@MSD-corp for contracting questions.


MadCap Flare Part II: Trial and Tutorial Review

by Jean Fischer

Posted by: on May 10, 2016 in Technical Writing | No Comments

MadCap Flare Trial and Tutorial Review

The Flare Tutorial is an 88-page PDF file with step-by-step instructions on using MadCap Flare. Creating a project called “San Diego”, using a pre-existing template, is fairly easy. That is covered in the first 19 pages. Once you have created a project, and a topic (or snippet or master page) it will be seen within the XML Editor. All writing, formatting, and editing are done in the XML editor.

Read More

MadCap Flare Part I

by Jean Fischer

Posted by: on May 8, 2016 in Technical Writing | No Comments

Flexibility of Formats
While technical writing documents, and content can be written using many different tools which produce many different formats, MadCap Flare permits the flexibility of being able to publish content in a large variety of formats including HTML5, WebHelp, PDF, Word, XHTML, EPUB, DITA and more.It also permits importation of legacy files in those formats. It is possible to import content from other applications directly into Flare.

Read More

Is Your Technical Writer a Story Teller?

by Jean Fischer

Posted by: on Apr 12, 2016 in Technical Writing | No Comments

I was relaxing at home one evening, watching one of my favorite travel channels.  I admit it.  I live vicariously through other people’s travel adventures.  The featured trip was a river cruise in Portugal. The most I knew about Portugal was that it’s native language is Portuguese, and that the language is shared with natives of Brazil. 

Read More

7 Things a Program Manager Should Look for in a Technical Writer

by Jean Fischer

Posted by: on Mar 18, 2016 in Managing Documentation Projects | No Comments

What should a Program Manager look for in a technical writer? There are many writers that write well, but do not qualify as technical writers. Technical writers have the ability to research many subjects related to technologies and business, finding answers to complex problems, even if the problems are outside of their normal knowledge base. Creative technical writers often come up with surprising and unexpected solutions.

Read More