Tuesday, July 22, 2014

STEP-UP and Be a STEM Mentor: Mentees, STEP-Into STEM

When I walk around my local high school and neighboring areas, I see signs that read "STEM 2M." It seems as if the promotion of STEM, meaning Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math is all around me. Sometimes I see it as STEM(M) with the second M meaning "Medicine."

Thus, I created STEP at http://www.raskinfo.com/step.html as a portal to some comprehensive secondary sources on information on STEM.

I was surprised to learn that STEM starts in pre-school and thanks to a recent book, Reflections & Connections: Personal Journeys Through the Life SciencesI received permission to post this photo of a preschooler here on my blog:


An interesting paper on STEM is in the works, and we hope to include a link herein soon.

Getting back to what does "STEM 2M" mean? Does it refer to $2M for STEM education in regard to grants at http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2014/nsf14512/nsf14512.htm#pgm_desc_txt, Please notice the  next due date for grant submission is November 6. 2014!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Hidden Data Elements of a File, NOT a Secret!

In the last post I explained how to right click on a file, then click on Properties, and then click on the various TABS that come up including Security, etc.

Here is what the "Hidden" information on my file included, but it is not that hidden as I saw the information each time I worked on the file but did not pay attention to author entry, which included
a name of an unknown author in the author field of my paper. I wondered why there is a name in the hidden file that is different from my co-author or me?

And why is my name or my co-author's name not in the "Author" field?

I continue to investigate why the name is of a real person, but to my knowledge not someone working on my document. Was it this person's computer that the project was created on, or did that person really participate in the writing the document by editing something?

A more important question, if a family member borrows my computer, does my name appear
on all their work? If I borrow a friend's computer, is my friend's name on all my work?

In any case, journals say to delete any hidden data on the file before submitting and our first job was to find that data.

Now you can see my name, Rosa, as the author, but the journal we are submitting to wants "NO names"
in the Author Field, so I will delete any personal information at the last moment, before I submit the file to a potential journal publisher.

FYI, this information shows up when one right clicks on the file in Microsoft WORD, Open Office,

If you are ever concerned about what hidden data might be on a file, just right click on it, go to "Properties," the last item in my Windows box, click on Properties, and check each tab presented
including "Security."

How hidden information on a file was easily changed in the days of DOS, was by using the file command "attributes" and designating whether certain attributes were permitted or not.

I could chose to permit "sharing" of the file," make it "Read-Only" so that no one can Edit, etc.

To see a sample set of Metadata from an article, see  http://www.jotmi.org/index.php/GT/rt/metadata/1251/0

The next blog post will be on how to remove Hidden Information!

Friday, July 18, 2014

How Not to Write an Article

Before you start writing,  decide the purpose of your article or your thoughts may be scattered!

What is your purpose in writing the article?

Is it to review the literature, post an opinion, document original research, or to advertise a service or product? Do not try to hide your purpose, it will show up in the product!

Have a few targets in mind, but understand the difference between a blog (max at 700 words, but the most popular  blog posts are under 600 words) and an article in a peer-reviewed journal, which may not allow citations to secondary sources, opinions, blogs, etc. If you are writing a blog, check the length of the most successful blogs posts. If you are writing an article, try to stick to the word count, going over has impacts beyond ones you might think of in our online world and interfere with sponsorship.

Check out the complete "Instructions for Authors" before you start writing, including any footnotes or hyperlinks now as it will save you much time in redoing later! Collect the appropriate data from the onset, or you will be doing it on the back-end, and taking a ton of time to reinvent your wheel! Double check your links as you go, as unless you have much experience as a webmaster, it may be difficult to trace intended links.

The more you read your text, the more you may read over typos, but do not forget about the
hidden information included with any file, like a file's attributes or what I think is a much broader concept, the file's metadata.

Be aware of the hidden data elements of a file. I had completely forgotten about attributes of files until I worked on an article with my mentor of 40+ years and noticed a third name in our two-author article! Our names were not included but another name was. No matter what I tried, this third name would come up and I could not help but wonder, Why? I am still not positive per the "why?"

File attributes have been around since the days of DOS, but metadata is a broader and more recent term.  A file has data connected with it, to describe the file. This data is called "metadata" and includes the author's name. I used to change "attributes" on a file by adding  terms like Read-Only, Write, etc, and had forgotten about metadata, etc., and hidden information tagged on to file. The file information may be hidden, but most journals want the author field blank in regard to metadata, and for sure one would not want one author's name on the hidden file and another set of authors on the visible file!

If you are submitting an article as "anonymous," you are defeating your purpose if a name appears in the metadata. Some of the hidden data can be changed, some can not.

For example, in Windows, if one right clicks on a file, the attributes of the file appear, usually in a box. In both Microsoft Word and Open Office (open source), the metadata appears in each file, again on right clicking and then selecting "properties" of that file, then clicking on the various tabs including the "security" tab.

I am noticing that it is very easy to make changes in a document in Word, but Open Office is my choice for making the best PDF Files. Since I have been moving the text from Word to Open Office and back again, I have much extra code on my manuscript which needs to be as my mentor states,

He copies and pastes the text into another Word file, I would write my document in simple HTML, look at it in a web browser, and copy and paste into my target word processing application as it is easier for me to write code in very simple HTML using notebook and hand coding, than to edit in any word processing program, especially features like tables!

I right clicked on a file called Blank 39 (below) and the dialog box opened with the last option as "properties." Click on "properties" and then tab over to "security," and check out the information.

Thursday, July 17, 2014


Stay tuned, as I am going to write about "How NOT to Write an Article" in the very near future!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Adding Pages Numbers to Your Book?

I love CreateSpace, but my book does not have photos and photos must be in the proper resolution to be clear and crisp in any medium, especially print where paper quality may vary, and text may be seen through the photo. I am happy with my decision to put the photos on my web site and link Walk Forward to the photographs.

Per page numbering in 2012, I spent about 30 hours trying to figure out how to do page numbering and here is what I think is a great YouTube on page numbering as the professionals do and sometimes do not. As a former librarian, having the binding of a thick paperback book break apart and trying to fix unnumbered pages is a nightmare, or having a patron come in with a page out of a paperback from somewhere?


Making a Business Card for Walk Forward

The last time I attended a meeting, I did not have a business card for my book, so I wrote the title and URL on my personal business card, certainly not very professional and it took time to write the information out. Unfortunately, it was an international meeting and I did not write out the entire set of international Amazon nodes on which the book is present.

Of course, anyone can search for Walk Forward on their country's Amazon website, but it would be faster to include the exact URL, as I don't know how many future books might have the same title?

Walk Forward's cover is a photo of my mother from 1938, and I am searching for a missing half sister, thus, any photo must be both clear and crisp. The missing half sister is not my mother's daughter,
but was my father's first born.

To make the card which can be single sided or folded like a little book, I have to make the following decisions:

  • For the graphic, portrait or landscape, I am choosing portrait
  • For the photo itself I need to create one that has a resolution of at least 1200 X 1200 and
  • Sized at 3.5 X 2".
  • Need to figure out what program to use to increase resolution or the photo will look grainy, "pixelly" as I call it.
  • Bleed needed on the photo, or I will have to border it, which means leaving it white, black, or in my case maybe dark brown if I can match the color with its proper color code, thus,
  • Find code for the darkest brown color on the photo.
Notice that the area in back of the words "Walk Forward," is lighter, I did this as making the background exactly match might look like I put too much hair on her photo. I tried many different colored backgrounds and I know this background may be blotchy in the final product, but I will try my best -- maybe I shall proceed to one of the programs which include layers and try to get the original photo?

I would like to include the following in the card and will probably use the folded option:

"We walk forward, but we will never forget."
  1. YouTube
  2. Blogs
  3. Amazon Nodes --long list on web site all of them
  4. CreateSpace address
  5. Book's Facebook Page
  6. Pinterest Board 
  7. Goodreads  
  8. Website
  9. Press Release(s)
  10. Photos on Walk Forward's website
 Stop by again to see my progress and authors who have done this, please join in. 

Notice that light spot to the very far right --- that is my grandfather's ear as I cropped my Mom from her family photograph. I am keeping my grandfather's ear no matter what!