microCHIP Submission Guidelines
microChip is the newsletter of the Mid-Hudson
Computer User Group
The newsletter editorial staff is looking for
computer-related news items, feature articles, tips, and hardware
and software product reviews for publication in microCHIP.
We can't offer you money, but we can give you the opportunity
to help people by passing on what you've learned about computers,
to give yourself more exposure to others in the field, and to
see your name in print.
Here are some guidelines we've developed that
you may find helpful in preparing your material for submission
to the newsletter.
A news story might describe a trip to a computer
fair or to PC Expo, a community activity or award involving some
of our members, or an event the club is planning. The major points
to be covered are:
- Who or what is the news story about? Include
individuals, groups, departments involved and check for correct
spelling of first and last names and titles.
- If this is an event, when did or will the
event take place? Where?
- If you went to the event, what were your
overall impressions? Would you recommend it to others and would
you go again?
Most of our articles are feature articles.
They are usually concerned with computer matters, but could include
almost anything: opinions, philosophical discussions, humor, computers
in the future or in the past, and so forth. Consider these points:
Why will members be interested in this article?
Why are you?
Are there sources for additional information
If this is a hardware or software review, include
product name, version number, and platform (DOS, Windows, OS/2).
Check for correct spelling of product name, i.e., WordPerfect,
not Wordperfect and Microsoft, not MicroSoft. Supply as much of
this information as you can:
- Documentation: Did it exist? How detailed was it? How easy was it
- Installation: How easy was it? Were there any problems with the
installation? Could the problems be overcome? If so, how? How
much space on the hard drive was required?
- Product Support: Was there a number to call if you had problems? Was
the number toll-free? Did you call the number? If so, what kind
of response did you receive?
- Product Performance: Did the product perform as promised? Did it do its
job well? If you have used a similar product, how does this product
compare with the one you use? Is it worth your while to continue
using the product? Is it worth the cost of the product, both
in money, time and disk space?
- Requirements: What does the product require in terms of hard drive,
level of computer (386, Pentium, etc.), video (VGA, super VGA),
amount of RAM. Is it a DOS or Windows product, possibly available
in both versions?
- Source/Cost: Where can you obtain the product? What is its list
price? If available, what is the street price?
- A Summary:
What I like or don't like. Possibly a simple list of phrases,
not necessarily sentences, which summarize your impressions.
If this is a book review be sure to include
author's name, publisher's name, address, and a telephone number,
if possible. Here are some guidelines for writing the review:
- Was the material useful to you? Give specific
examples if possible.
- What is your impression of how clearly the
book is written?
- How easy was it to find information on specific
topics? Was the book indexed?
- What audience is the book written to?
- If appropriate, were diagrams provided? Were
the illustrations helpful?
- What is the list price of the book? Is it
available at a discount?
General Writing Guidelines
- Our best advice: Keep It Simple. Don't use big words, jargon
or complex terms. Impress readers with your clarity. For example,
if you use an acronym such as "OCR," immediately follow
that first use with (Optical Character Recognition), thereafter
OCR alone can be used.
- If you are submitting a review write according
to the product level being reviewed: A simple $10 shareware product
might need only 50 words to highlight basic features. A major
new product might need a few hundred words. In general, go for
at least 500 words, or about a column in the microCHIP.
It's a small price to pay for obtaining an expensive piece of
- Write your reviews as though you are talking
to a computer friend who isn't quite up to your experience level
the reason for the "keep it simple" idea.
- Feel free to express opinions. If you are
biased, first tell us why and then express your opinion. A reader
can then more accurately judge your comments.
- Do expect that your material will be edited
-- but don't be offended. Often, editing is necessary for two
reasons: 1)Clarity of text, 2) Available space in the newsletter.
- Do expect to feel a bit of pride in seeing
your name in print.
Guidelines to preferred
- Do not use all CAPS when writing the story
-- or special formatting: unusual type faces, multiple sizes,
centering, boxes, columns, lines, etc. If you wish to call special
attention to a word or phrase, use italics, or hyphens on each
side of the word(s). Underlines and indents, especially in ASCII
files, can be troublesome.
- Stick with standard one-inch margins, left
and right, top and bottom.
- Do use a spell checker to help ease our job
- If you plan to use graphics for illustrations,
we prefer TIF format. If in doubt, check first. If there is more
than one piece of artwork, key them to the text with figure numbers.
- Perfect grammar isn't expected. We cherish
clarity far more than perfect prose.
Items to return with a
Material may be submitted on disk or sent via
e-mail. We prefer plain text format(.txt), although .doc and .rtf formats are also acceptable.
Be sure to include your name and phone number with your submission in case a question
arises. All submissions should be sent to the newsletter editor:
The deadline is the day of the Club meeting
before the month of publication (e.g., second Thursday in May
for the June microCHIP). Lengthy items or material requiring significant
editing may require longer lead time.
Uploaded to MHCUG Website 18 November 1998
Revised 30 January 2007