Writer's Guide for the SRS Encoder
The Encoder welcomes any submissions for publication. The intent of this page is to describe the procedure and introduce some guidelines for you to follow when you write your article. You will find it is easy to do, and very rewarding.
The Article Contents
The article should be related to robotics, machine control, microcontrollers, sensors, engineering, or otherwise of interest to the SRS membership. If you are unsure about suitability of your idea, send the editor mail with a brief description of the subject (or the complete text if you already have it). We aren't picky, but we would prefer that it is applicable to the group.
Since this is an online publication, hyperlinks and pictures are appreciated. The length of the article isn't a big issue, but pictures should be usable on a computer screen. Size wise, that means less than 480x300 pixels. We can do a thumbnail image if you need. See the section on picture submissions.
The Text Format
This is the easy part. Plain old ASCII text works just fine. Single spaced is preferred, no additional formatting. The editor will take care of formatting the text. Electronic media is preferred, though I do have a scanner if you have something pre-printed.
If you are capable and willing to generate HTML, that would be great. You are not required to include the Encoder formatting in any fashion as I simple drop your HTML into a preformatted page. There may be some variation in the look and feel of our article versus yours simply due to the fact that our standard paragraphs and headings may be slightly different than yours.
Pictures and Diagrams
Pictures and Diagrams are an important feature for any publication. Online publications have certain needs. A good rule of thumb is that there are two preferred formats for pictures. The best format for photographic pictures is the JPEG format, or .JPG files. The compression offered in a JPEG file is outstanding and most browsers worth owning support this format by default. Other art is commonly put in the .GIF format. (GIF 89a is the current spec). Again, browsers support these.
There are several programs around that support outputting these formats. Most newer (ie post 1994 era) graphics software packages will handle these formats. There are, of course, many other formats that pictures are saved in. I have the ability to convert many of them. If you are unable to generate GIF or JPG files, I can accept files in the following formats:
I can also scan paper diagrams or pictures up to 8.5"x11" if you have hand drawings or other pictures. If you have some other format, you should contact me via email first.
Pictures on the WEB make the material interesting to read. Too many big pictures make it slow to download. There is a happy balance between pictures and time. Plan on your pictures being no bigger than about 480x300. 320x280 is a great size to shoot for. If you have a picture that needs to be bigger, we can generate a thumbnail picture (say a 180x120 version) that is a link to the full sized picture.
Keep that in mind when doing your drawings. I normally scan hand drawings at about 100dpi. This means that each inch of your drawing requires around 100 pixels. A 3.2" drawing is 320 pixels wide. It should be legible at that size. I can vary the DPI, but this is a good rule of thumb to start with. I can resize images as needed.
Somewhere in your text, you should make it obvious which picture is inserted near the text. You can do this by placing a marking in the text, such as "[EDITOR: FIGURE1.GIF GOES HERE]".
Transferring the data
The preferred method is sending it via email to Encoder with pictures attached. Each attached picture should be named in such a way that I can easily figure out where your picture belongs. I have a high speed connection so large files (up to 20 MB) don't scare me. If your article is set up in the format and picture size noted above it will most likely not be too large.
The second method for transfer is to send me a diskette. I can accept 3.5" HD DOS diskettes. I do not have the ability to read Mac files.
The third method is to send me a CD with text and pictures included.
The fourth method is to send me a link to your website and specify which areas I should access.
The fifth method is sending a printed version.
Send diskettes, CDs, or printed versions to:
Seattle Robotics Society
c/o Action Controls Inc.
17625 NE 65th St., Suite 100
Redmond, WA 98052
I expect to be able to keep whatever you send me. If you wish it returned, please contact me before sending it so I know its final disposition.
For information about submissions or comments about the online Encoder, contact the Encoder Editor at Encoder.