Preparing a Review Article for the Orange Bytes
by Ted Littman, NOCCC Reviews EditorThe following suggestions for preparing a review article for the Orange Bytes have been extracted from an OCIPUG article and are intended as a guide only. As a reviewer, your audience wants to know your opinion (as an end user) of the product you are reviewing. Please fully identify the product and its cost so that interested club members may be able to purchase it. After you have tested the product consider these questions:
The following list contains more specific questions that apply to either software or hardware:
- Does the product meet its stated purpose?
- Within its category of software (i.e., spreadsheet, database), does it stand out?
- What are its major features?
- Is it easy to use? Can a novice use it?
- Can you quote or reference articles/reviews in the computer magazines?
After you have answered all these questions you should have enough information to write your review. Please be precise but do not make it so technical that only a few people can understand. Please advise the Orange Bytes Editor if you need graphics, pictures, or illustrations to get your point across.
- Operating systems?
- Disk space?
- Is a Mouse supported?
- Installation (do not overemphasize details):
- Was it difficult?
- Copy or write protected?
- Does it allow drive and directory selection?
- Does it automatically configure system? Can you control it?
- Information about your system:
- Operating system? Version?
- Video display?
- What is supplied? Tutorial? Templates? Table of Contents? Index?
- Was it concise and helpful?
- Product Support:
- How is the vendor's tech support?
- Does it cost anything?
- Is it a toll call?
- About the product:
- What comes with the product?
- What is the cost? (list & street)
- Version number and release date?
- How difficult is the learning curve?
- Would you buy/use the product?
- Do you recommend it?
- What don't you like about it?
- What improvements or changes would you like to see?
- What is the Name, Address, Phone number (including 800#), and WEB address (e-mail & URL) of the vendor?
Important! Please limit your submittals. We now request you limit general articles and software reviews to a maximum of 1300 words, SIG reports to 700 words, book reviews to 600 words, low cost CD-ROM titles to 600 words, and more sophisticated CD-ROMs to 1000 words. As far as the minimum is concerned, we'd just like to see you do justice to any general article or to any product that's reviewed. A $600 software package deserves close to 1,300 words. A $50 program or CD-ROMs title might have 500 words. Reviews must be completed within 2 months so that the Reviews Editor can, in a timely manner, send a copy to the vendor. If you change your mind about doing the review, please call him (714-779-1936) ASAP to make arrangements for returning the product for reassignment. I hope you enjoy writing your review.
Guidelines for SubmittalYou can now e-mail articles directly to the Orange Bytes Editor through the North Orange County Computer Club's Web Site: firstname.lastname@example.org Or just give the file on disk and printout directly to the NOCCC president (Cathy Margolin), Publications Chairman (Jim Sanders), or Reviews Editor (Ted Littman) on the next meeting day. If you e-mail your review, please send a copy to email@example.com.
To transfer your article from your Windows word processor, click at the beginning of the article with your mouse, shift down arrow to the end of the article, then Edit Cut (C), open your e-mail program, and Edit Paste (V). This will convert the file to ASCII. If your article is too long to include in an e-mail, please save as ASCII file with a .TXT extension. Then zip the article and attach it to your e-mail.
All documents should have flush left margins, and double carriage returns (skip a line) between paragraphs. This makes the article much easier to import into PageMaker. The editors will bold your paragraph headings, etc., in order to obtain consistent formatting throughout the Bytes.
Don't use CAPS for emphasis; that's like shouting at someone! We usually have to delete and retype them which can be a lot of work. CAPS are reserved for computer commands or file names, like AUTOEXEC.BAT or KNOW.TXT. For titles of books and software, capitalize the first letter of each word. We will add the underlining in PageMaker.
Also please spellcheck your article, and try to follow the ordinary rules of grammar. Don't use columns, tabs, indents, justification, hyphenation or formatting codes. (If columns or tables are absolutely needed, send us a hard copy to guide us.)
We will look forward to seeing your review in print and on the Web site.
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Last update: July 07, 2004
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