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December 2003

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Guidelines for Submissions to the VOICE Newsletter

Last Updated May 28, 2003


  1. General
  2. Legalese
  3. Topics
  4. Content and structure
  5. Formatting and HTML coding
  6. Links


First and foremost, please do not hesitate to ask if you have questions regarding these submission guidelines. We would rather work with you to ensure quality than to turn you away by being either too vague or too specific.

Here is how it works: You write an article and send it to If it consists of more than one file, please pack them with Info-ZIP. Please be sure your article is a HTML file, plain ASCII text file, or any format viewable by Describe, Lotus WordPro or StarOffice, which accounts for just about everything other than IBM Works, Papyrus and Clearlook formats. We do prefer HTML though.

There is no requirement as to length, since this newsletter is only in HTML and INF format. It can be as long or as brief as necessary, so be thorough in your descriptions and commentaries. However, please remember that you are not writing your master thesis, so you don't have to begin at the very beginning à la "And first the earth cooled...". The reader will get bored very soon, if you begin the review of a word processor with a nicely worked-out history of word processing software.

Your article will then be reviewed and run through a spell checker (something that you should also have done before sending the article). If there are any non-spelling changes we think should be made, we will let you know and we can discuss them. We do not make any major changes without input and approval from the author. We will work on it with you to get it in shape. We are not professional editors, but we believe we have done some decent work on the Newsletter.

As to professionalism of writing, please refrain from vulgar and abusive language, illegal subject matter, and slander/libel. While a casual writing style ("writing as you would talk") can be acceptable or make sense in some cases - as a stylistic device, in editorials or glosses - we strongly encourage you to choose a more professional approach in general (this does not mean that you cannot be funny). Our aim is to encourage readership and author participation by presenting a tasteful, yet useful medium for OS/2 related information.

Therefor VOICE reserves the right to reject any submitted article for any reason.


Sorry, but alas we cannot spare you the following. It is required for our and your own safety.

By submitting an article for the VOICE Newsletter you grant VOICE the irrevocable and perpetual right to translate, publish, store, and distribute the article (defined as text, included images and code) via any media without any compensation. You also grant VOICE the right to apply modifications to the translation if required for better comprehensibility. Otherwise you retain the full copyright. By submitting an article you also assure that it is free from copyrights of third parties, or that these third parties agree to the terms mentioned above, and that you are liable for any possible copyright infringements in your article (text, images, or code).


If you are not sure, whether your idea for an article is suitable for the Newsletter, have a look at the following list of general kinds of articles:

Here are some concrete suggestions for topics that we think are of particular interest:




Content and structure

The following should give you a rough idea of what to include in your article:

  1. Your Byline: Include your name, email and a web site if you'd like. You can also give a brief plug for yourself/your business if you want but that would be tacked on to the bottom of the page.
  2. Resources: Please list URLs of web sites you refer to or titles of books you have taken information from.
  3. Graphics can help a lot with explaining how things work, but try to keep them to 256 colors or less (this is a requirement of the INF version), and the smaller the file size the better, as some people download the Newsletter to read off-line. Depending on the size you may want to consider using thumbnails in the text. Please add descriptions, e.g. "Fig.1: LAN interface setup dialog".

    Images can be in just about any format, but we prefer PNG, JPG, or GIF (use a package like PMView that has a valid licence for the LZW compression). Note that the different formats are also suitable for different purposes. JPEG is likely to result in washed out fonts in screenshots of dialogs, for instance. Remember to put in your document where you want the images to go if you don't use HTML format.


If your article is a review, you should definitely read Esther Schindler's article How to write a product review from the November 2000 issue of Extended Attributes. Anyway, it generally should cover the following additional information, but don't feel locked into this:

  1. Introduction: What is the problem the software aims to solve? Why did you choose this particular package? How did you go about deciding on it? What alternatives did you consider? What were your initial impressions about it?
  2. Setup/Installation: Was it complete out of the box (or zip file), or did you have to purchase or find additional items like cables and drivers (this mostly applies to hardware)? Did you have to read the manual? Was there a manual, if so how good/helpful was it? Did you still have to boot to plain DOS or heaven forbid Windows9x to run any kind of setup or calibration software? What hardware are you using it with (major PC specs if applicable, ie CPU, RAM, HD) and what version of OS/2? Any minimum hardware/software requirements for this application? What kind of Support is provided? Did you have reason to ask for help, if so how was the response? Normally, installation itself shouldn't be talked about, since a well-working one is expected from every product. But if you had problems or you think that certain things have been solved in a very intelligent way, do comment on that.
  3. What is it capable of and how does it Work: What does the manufacturer claim that the product can do? Does it hold to this promise? Is it better or worse than comparable products? Are you missing a feature which is essential for solving the problem? Give some details on how you use the application. No need to get into every detail, just the basics is fine. Be aware that your way of doing things isn't necessarily the same as our readers'. Many people seem to be temped to write something like a user's guide in this case. If you are reviewing a product, don't write about which menu you have to select to invoke a feature. Better tell the reader how good that feature works. Graphics and figures are nice and help a lot in showing how a product works,
  4. Conclusion/Final Thoughts: Are you satisfied with this product? Can you give a comparison to any similar product as far as quality and general usability? Is it a good value? Would you make the same decision again, or advise others to buy it? What do you see as it's main strong and weak points? Did you have to contact the manufacturer or vendor for support? If so was it any good?
  5. Resources: List any URLs for getting information about the device and any software used specifically with it, if any. Also give the manufacturer's suggested retail price and/or a general price range for it and possibly the vendor or vendors where it can be purchased.


If your article is a How-To, i.e. it explains how to achieve certain things with certain applications, tool, etc., please mind the following:

  1. Restate what the problem was and what the steps and tools you used to solve it were.
  2. Try to bring the steps into a chronological order and leave out things that aren't related, since they might just confuse the reader.
  3. Begin the article with a short description of the problem, maybe a statement about why you think it is worth the hassle, and perhaps a short lookout on how it can be solved.
  4. List the required tools (if not too much this can also be done at the very point in the process they are used at, perhaps at the beginning of each chapter). Do these tools require any other things? If complex preparations are required to use the tools, describe them before beginning with the description of the problem-solving itself.
  5. Is any extra-knowledge required to solve the problem that is not directly related to the steps? Describe it prior to dealing with the problem-solving itself. Don't insert chunks of it in between like e.g. "And, by the way, xizzy works by doing blah."
  6. List the steps which are required to solve the problem.
  7. List sources where interested readers can obtain further information which deals with the background, digs deeper, etc.

Formatting and HTML coding

Formatting the text in certain ways can increase readability a lot. Please ensure that your article conforms to the following to keep the Newsletter's interface consistent.


How to write a product review by Esther Schindler
The essential steps to writing an effective product review, by Esther Schindler, extended attributes, November 2000
A freeware tool for checking and formatting HTML code. It is also capable of correcting errors.
WWW Consortium
The WWW Consortium offers extensive informationen on the HTML standards defined by itself, an online validator for web pages, and more.

Again, if you have any questions regarding the submission itself or how to write an article, feel free to ask.

Thank you,

The VOICE Editors.

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