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TechRepublic editors need opinions on new quick-start guides

By Erik Eckel Contributor ·
Several members have expressed the need for primers (quick start-type guides) that summarize essential information allowing them to quickly familiarize themselves with a specific topic. A team of editors is working to test publishing just such a file, but in order to make these guides as helpful as we can, we need your feedback. While these files will ultimately live on TechProGuild, we will make some of them available for a short period to all TechRepublic members.

Based on what we've heard in the past, the first topic we're going to develop an alpha version for is Windows XP Professional Security. After brainstorming, editors here think it makes the most sense to include the following elements: overview, planning, setup & configuration, troubleshooting, optimizing, and a glossary. We're also creating an interactive checklist you can use. It highlights common actions IT pros should take to secure WinXP Pro environments.

How well might such a completed tool work for you? And, would you be willing to review an alpha version when we publish it? If you're interested in participating, please e-mail me at eeckel@techrepublic.com.

Thanks much,

Erik Eckel
TechRepublic Executive Editor

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Painting oneself into a corner

by noellejc In reply to TechRepublic editors need ...

"Starting" often means a user does things incorrectly
and paints her/himself into the proverbial "corner".
Typical manuals do not take this into consideration,
much less give hints on how to fly over the wet paint!

How about warnings in the Quick Start Guide to help
"starters" avoid doing this?

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RE: Painting oneself into a corner

by Erik Eckel Contributor In reply to Painting oneself into a c ...

Thanks for sharing this idea.

Would having actual best practices handouts you could distribute to users be helpful? I think we can cover the common errors users make in the file we create, certainly, but we could also produce a separate handout IT pros pass directly to users, if you think that might help.

EE

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Put good reference links into the charts

by janiceannmichal In reply to TechRepublic editors need ...

Even though the charts/guides are hard copy to know where to go for further reference information can be priceless. It makes it a lot easier for someone searching for specifics regarding an answer.

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RE: Put good reference links into the charts

by Erik Eckel Contributor In reply to Put good reference links ...

Thanks for this tip.

We've created a few resources before that include links to related items. I'll pass this idea along to one of the editors on the project team. There may well be a way we could add a related resources section to the back.

EE

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sign me up,

by BHunsinger In reply to TechRepublic editors need ...

Sure I could help test this stuff- just so that everyone gets some chance to see it on the free side.

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RE: Sign me up

by Erik Eckel Contributor In reply to sign me up,

BHunsinger,

I'll be sure to post a link here once the alpha version is ready (sometime next week). I'd enjoy hearing your feedback once you've had a chance to give it a look.

Thanks for your interest.

EE

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first feed back

by BHunsinger In reply to RE: Sign me up

First thoughts on usefulness. A pdf only format can be a pain. I have a full version of adobe acrobat and making notes or comments even with that is ... laborious. Also it can be hard to read on a laptop if you are onsite doing support. So for comments, perhaps a rtf file might help. As a final tool, perhap HTML would be a good format, especially for trouble shooting.
Maybe it's just me, but onsite, people seem to give you more respect if you are following a checklist on a laptop rather than a piece of paper. Seriously, I really like to have my support tools with me, you never know when the opportunity to be a hero will arive, and not everyone has access to broadband yet.

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RE: first feed back

by Erik Eckel Contributor In reply to first feed back

BHunsinger,

Thanks for sharing these thoughts. We've debated other file formats, but we've hear from many members who prefer PDFs for their ease of printing.

We could create HTML files or RTFs, too, though. Ultimately we could probably create a PDF-accompanying standalone checklist as an Excel file. Might that help?

EE

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Quick Start Guide

by bobobrien In reply to TechRepublic editors need ...

I would be interested in participating in the review. A tool like this would help me in my consulting practice when talking to customer about security.

Bob

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RE: Quick Start Guide

by Erik Eckel Contributor In reply to Quick Start Guide

bobobrien,

Thanks for your interest.

I'll add you to my e-mail list and send you a copy next week when the alpha version is ready.

EE

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