(Originally published at The Technical Lens, republished on The Information Station with prior permission of the author and site owner.)
Monday, January 30, 2017
Monday, January 16, 2017
By: Gigi Frost
You’ve finally finished your masterpiece. Now what do you do?
Well, you need buzz. Someone who will honestly read your work, understand the content and deliver a whopping review to validate what you knew all along: that your writing would make a great impression on another human being. Getting an awesome review, or three, could potentially be the difference on the success or failure of your final product.
So do you go through and request comments from every reviewer that you found on Google? No. Finding the right reviewer is something that is easier said than done. This article will help in prepping to find the right reviewers that you need.
Step 1: Research, Research, Research
A boring word, but absolutely necessary. Think about it this way, you spent months, maybe even years finishing your masterpiece but now you drop the ball when you query for reviews. To avoid that horrible mistake, here are a few things that you should always check for:
- What kind of content does the reviewer usually cover? Generally, this is when you would find a section similar to “Content Reviewed” or “What We Review”.
- Always follow “Submission Guidelines” or “Review Requests” thoroughly. The last thing you want is your work to be ignored because you didn’t follow a specific rule or format.
- Keep a running list of where the reviewers actually leave their reviews. Those sites will be useful for linking to your own website or book.
- Go away if they ask you to pay. Corny. But true. You will never ever gain legitimacy, as it is a conflict of interest if you pay someone to review your book. Usually, a free copy is provided to the reviewer for “reviewing purposes” alone.
- Start a list of reviewers and develop a strategy to engage. It is always better to meet someone on their playing field. Connect on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media entities where the reviewers stay and play. Be engaging, respectful, and always be professional.
Step 2: The Details
Did you say format?
I know I did. The word is repeated in this article because you need to hook the reader. No one wants to do a review for someone who sends them a one sentence request along with an attachment. So prepare and follow this list before actually requesting a review:
- Include your name and the title of the book. Yes, that’s right. You would be surprised at how many people forget something so ridiculously simple.
- Let the reviewer know whether your book is in digital or paper format (there’s that word again). They will need to know if you are self-publishing, have an official online or brick-and-mortar publisher. This is an important detail, because the reviewer will specify that information in the review.
- A great introduction, genre, description. Show the reviewer a small glimpse into the intriguing world that encompasses your story. Include an excerpt or two... Just don’t go overboard.
Step 3: Gratitude
Established reviewers are a small community that is donating their time and effort into helping authors potentially achieve their dreams. Keep in mind that reviewers are under no obligation to oversell or undersell your book. Remember to be courteous and thank them for their work.
Wednesday, January 4, 2017
(Originally published at Techlens, republished on The Information Station with prior permission of the author and site owner.)
Can Silver Vanquish Burns?
High-Tech Burn Care
(Originally published at Techlens, republished on The Information Station with prior permission of the author and site owner.)
Can Silver Vanquish Burns?
Ouch! Burns are as much commonplace outdoors as they are in the home. Basically a burn can happen from any type of extreme acute exposure to heat, cold, elemental radiation (radioactive or fission materials), electricity, or caustic chemical agents. These injuries account for the greatest hospital stays and high care costs nationwide. Thermal exposure to hot surfaces, liquids, or direct heat is most common for the outdoor enthusiast. Regardless of the etiology, burn care requires important steps to provide comfort and promote healing. Below we will explore two medical technologies, one low tech and one high tech, which anyone can use to care for burns.
Most people may remember the simple steps mom or dad used as you scalded your hand with hot, running bath or sink water when you were a child. May be, no. Ok, what about accidently touching the camping stove or knocking the boiling water onto an arm or leg after reaching for the thermos? Now we’re cooking.
Nothing replaces proper training and experience in handling burn emergencies. Before plunging into the hot-tech water, a review of initial steps how to care is critical to this examination. The six-C's are all one needs to remember in burn care.
That is: clothing, cooling, cleaning, chemoprophylaxis, covering, and comforting or pain management.
Step one; remove hot or burnt clothing and jewelry from the wound area. Step two; cool the affected area with copious cool water. DO NOT use ice. Step three; clean the wound area with mild soap and cool water. Step four; all burns beyond superficial ones should be treated with infection prophylaxis. Here are two products just for this purpose.
Low-Tech Burn Care
Our Low-Tech product is actually a double dose of Over-the-Counter (OTC) Anti-Microbial Silver Gel and Hydrogel Pads. This double-punch burn care strategy is useful for the outdoorsman. The brand featured here is a CVS Pharmacy grade product available to the general public. The medical technology involved is twofold. First, the Anti-Microbial Silver Gel consists of 55 parts per million (ppm) of Silver Chloride where the Silver is in a nano-crystalline form. Silver has become a well know and evidence-based anti-everything. The heavy metal, naturally found in biology, is an anti-bacterial, anti-septic (used on living tissue), and disinfectant (used on non-living surfaces). Although some experts may disagree, most scientific research concludes there is a remarkable observation of the benefits of Silver nano-technologies in burn management.
Once placed onto a wound, the nano-crystalline technology begins to work within 30 minutes. So this would be the first layer of the double-punch low tech idea. Next, placement of a Hydrogel Pad directly over the gelled up area completes the tag team. The CVS brand is a product made in the United Kingdom (UK) and it is a great product for superficial or partial-thickness burn injuries. The 4.98cm X 7.49cm pad provides cooling properties since the material is mostly made of sterile water. The description even boasts their products have three times the absorbency compared to other hydro-gels. Each unit helps hydrate the skin without infiltration and facilitates drainage which, in collaboration promotes healing. They do not stick to the wound and Latex® free. Wrapping the pad covering with some gauze will help streamline the intervention by keeping everything in its place for up to three days.
High-Tech Burn Care
Patient care during burn management is critical. Smith & Nephew ACTICOAT® Flex is the most advanced new medical tech out on the market for burn care and wound management. The various sizes are a unique knitted polyester, single-layer sheet which is flexible to allow ease-of-movement. Flex 3 can remain in-place for up to three days without changing the dressing; Flex 7 – up to seven days. The technology is applied to the body easily despite size of affected area or person. The material is light in weight making for a very compact portable solution.
This product is specifically designed for First-Degree and Second-Degree, Superficial and Partial-Thickness burns only. Third-Degree Full-Thickness injuries require more definitive care. ACTICOAT Technology is activated when the material is moistened with sterile water or comes in contact with wound exudates. Activation is rapid upon initial contact. Within the first 30 minutes the affected area is fully preserved. Studies by the company have shown the technology kills more than 150 different known pathogens, offering a patient reliable protection during the healing process after injury. Silver concentration is within a range of 50-100 ppm. The material is breathable and promotes wound closure and healing by facilitating exudates. ACTICOAT Flex is the product of choice for burn wound management.
In conclusion, we worked our way through a burn scenario and examined two products to help with the fourth step in burn care management. The first, OTC Anti-Microbial Silver Gel & Hydrogel Pad are together, a piece of low-tech available at any hometown pharmacy. The second, Smith & Nephew ACTICOAT Flex is the next-generation high-tech product for the serious outdoors man or woman.
Oh wait, we forgot to complete the next two steps in our care. The fifth step is to cover the wound loosely but snug with one of our prophylaxis product in-place. You can do this with simple breathable sterile gauze. Finally, pain control measures (Acetaminophen or Tylenol®) and positive reassurance will assist in comforting the injured party.
Monday, January 2, 2017
By: Gigi Frost
One of the main keys to home improvement is gardening. There is a lot to be said from looking at the landscaping of a home. Most people will judge a house before ever stepping foot inside. So you have all of the products you need. What do you do now? How do you go about creating an immaculate scene that draws every visitor closer? This article will guide you through the technical tips and tricks of getting the most out of your garden.
Efficiency in Gardening
When you create a garden, there are a few things to consider. In making a garden more efficient, just purchasing the tools to allow for the maximum potential in gardening may not be enough. Many times, people will forget the most basic elements in gardening which will lead to an inevitable drain on time and their pocketbooks. Here are a few simple things to focus upon:
- One of the greatest ideas to hit gardening in a long time is the LED. LED lights are an incredibly efficient money saving product that come in two ways: one, plug and go, or two, recharge themselves with built-in mini solar capabilities. Oh, and did I say cheap? The electric bill will not give you heart palpitations with LED lights installed. Though initially, you will likely spend more for better options, you are also getting something incredibly durable for both hot and cold weather. Most of the companies offer some sort of guarantee with LED lights. They can range from a promise of lasting from one year to six years. Depending on the kind of garden you are fostering; to give an example, succulents or roses, LED lights may possibly be the way to go.
- Foliar sprays. Foliar sprays are a necessity when adding supplemental health to the life of your plants. This constitutes a direct spray onto the plant itself, usually around the leaves. Most places that offer foliar sprays incorporate some type of fertilizer in them. But if you have seedlings or the hazard of fungus growing around your plants, you can also add chamomile tea. Surprisingly enough, chamomile fights off those nasty, damp organisms that affect the growth of your seedlings.
- Getting your hands dirty working with soil? Spray your shovel with Teflon lubricant to get an easier dig into the soil. When the soil is damp, you will often get a lot of clumping on the metal. This is normal. Even though you may love to dig in the dirt, no one likes to stop so often to scrape the dirt off their shovels for maintenance. It is a small thing that makes a huge difference.
- The best spot for your plant. It sounds silly, but it is true. If you position flowers in a place that stays shady year round, you will most likely run into some issues. Shade may inhibit the growth and health of your plant. If you are a beginner gardener and not sure where the perfect places are to strategically set your plants, a solution to your issue is this: wheels. Placing a planter on top of a moving garden trolley may just save you that extra time and irritation to your back of having to lift and move your plants from one location to another.
- Pruning seems logical. Grab those gardening shears. Many new gardeners concern themselves with aesthetics before the life and health of the plant. Pruning and cutting is necessary for a long and happy life. Some plants will develop large, stunning leaves. Though the leaves may possibly be beautiful to look at, they are effectively cutting off ventilation toward the lower half of the plant. Larger leaves also means less likelihood of water reaching the base stem and roots. When a gardener sprays water, there is a huge probability that the leaf will cause the water to splatter farther away from the thirst roots. This will make it all the more difficult for the ultimate survival of the plant. Keep in mind that the smaller leaves are usually okay. Aesthetics and health both go hand in hand when pruning.
- Protecting plants during transport. A good rule of thumb when purchasing those fantastic potted plants is to ready your trunk or back seat ahead of time. First, grab a tarp, lay it on the surface that your future plants will sit for transport. The tarp will prevent any spills or mishaps from ruining your floors or seats. Then, set a ladder, flat side down, on top of the tarp. This allows for the gardener to place the plants directly between the rungs, allowing for the maximum potential of the plants getting home without any mishap. The longer your drive, the more imperative this becomes.
- Mulch. This is a life saver. Literally. It will save the life of your plant. Mulch made of organic matter, such as wood, compost, and shells are even better, as they decompose and allow more fertilization for your plant. Either way, whichever sort of mulch you decide upon, remember to layer the ground around the plant one to two inches deep, and pack it down a bit to give it a fighting chance in windy conditions. Mulch will protect the ground around the plant and prevent weeds from growing and taking over the garden. This even helps during the winter months, when you need to cover your plants. And, of course, the best part of mulching is the environmental factor of reusing and re-purposing matter.
- Adding an edge to your garden gives it that extra bit of life and protects the plants from being invaded by the rest of the lawn grass. You can choose any type of stone or trim that fits your fancy. Align it in any shape you like: round, square, rectangle, or oval, the options are boundless. The actual inserting of the stone into the ground is a bit difficult, as you should dig about six to eight inches deep, to make sure that tricky lawn grass does not pass underneath the stone to grow inside the garden bed. But stone is not the only way to go when edging a flower bed, you can also dig a few inches into the ground and clear a gardening spot, add the flower beds and remember number 7: mulch.
- Netting the garden. More than once, almost every gardener will have an issue with critters eating bulbs and plants. They are sneaky and tend to come and go in the blink of an eye. It is disheartening and quite angering to see those stunning orchids that you worked so hard to plant and water, get eaten down to the bottom of the stem right as they were just about to blossom. Beginner gardeners should especially take heed. Netting is an invaluable resource and money saving resource. Get some netting on top of your flowers, protect them ahead of time and save yourself the headache of going to war with a furry rodent.
- Start taking pictures and notes. This is absolutely necessary. Jot down notes in a notebook and paste pictures on there of successes, failures, and ideas. After getting a good groove in gardening, you will begin to lose track of certain details. Such as that product you used last year to keep the bugs from eating out the holes of every leaf, or the mulch that you bought to keep the plants safe and warm. Every time there is a major mishap, or minor struggle, the gardener should record the exact happenstance and steps that lead to the outcome. The more you jot and make notes, it will become second nature to detail and record. There is nothing better than being able to go over the mistakes of past gardening exploits, it is an outline of how far you have developed as a proficient gardener. That notebook will be a lifesaver when it comes to remember the smaller details in the haphazard adventures of gardening life.
- Consider raised beds. Raised garden beds are a dream because, depending on size, they can be made to fit virtually any sort of plant or vegetation. You can use other potting methods without difficulty in a raised beds and have an excellent drainage system. For a beginner gardener, a smaller size is recommended. Smaller raised beds are easy to care for, and give you a general idea of the work and planting style that will be the best fit. In lieu of stressing over the small details of getting the bed together after a long winter, it is simply easier to plan the future of your plant bed and get a head start coming out of winter when you garden on a raised bed.
- Composting is highly recommended. Composting allows the soil to breathe better, because of the breakdown in organic material, which adds to a better drain for the water. Stagnant water is not good for any plant. Compost is a positive resource that adds a lot of value to any garden and most gardeners will consider it a personal responsibility to their environments. It is a great cost-cutting measure that allows everyone to reduce on the amount of waste that leaves a home. It is efficient and biodegradable, both a win-win for the most conscientious of gardeners.
- Numbers. Numbers are important for vegetable and flower gardens, and numbers in association with note taking will yield outstanding results. Knowing how many seeds to plant for a variation of vegetables is the key to a well-formed garden. Most people do not consider how or what they eat on a daily basis. If the gardener is planting vegetables to ultimately be served at the dinner table, it is necessary to know how to segregate the gardening beds. As an example, if you enjoy using a lot of onions in your food, will need to calculate how many onions should be planted and in which part of the garden. Having sections of the garden prepared thusly will allow for the gardener to purchase the exact number of seeds and bulbs needed for planting. This lesson is also important for flowers. Some flowers grown in tandem with other breeds will end up dying. This is because one breed is more aggressive than the other, and will cause the weaker breed to eventually die from lack of nutrition or even sunlight. So the gardener must know how to section off the flower beds and to experiment with the number of seeds that must be planted.
- Last but most certainly not least on this list is an extension of number 13, plan accordingly. If you are designing a garden to look and feel a certain way, you need to know what colors you will be working with and also what design best fits the exterior of the home. Consider what is most important in this instance. Perhaps you would like a simple garden that frames the outside of an archway? Or act as a noise buffer? The list goes on and on. The garden landscape with vary immensely depending on your needs. Color and texture is one of the first things that comes to mind. As a gardener, you want to take pride in what you plant with your own two hands. And nothing does a garden better justice than a stunning array of colors and textures. Mix and match the blossoms that work for you, but study up a little on certain breeds and make sure that you understand the life cycle of the blossom. You would not want to plant something that blooms and dies faster, while others are in full blossom. It would look erratic and misplaced.
In essence, the technical guidelines above give an invaluable insight into the world of efficient and productive gardening. You do not have to be a professional gardener to understand the intricate value of home improvement through good gardening. If you are willing to take the time and energy to allow for the maximum potential of a truly stunning garden, use this guide as a reference to the best results possible.