Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Penultimate (probably!) Almost Final Ramblings Through Social Media – Fridays

Penultimate (probably!) Almost Final Ramblings Through Social Media – Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays

I use #FF for my specific Friday tweets on a single author.

  1. Each week I select one of the authors I follow.
  2. If I haven’t read any of her/his work, I check on Amazon for reviews of one of her/his books.

My #FF tweets always look something like:
#FF for a great #scifi read: The Cosega Sequence "Cosega is still a
dangerous word" @
BrandtLegg http://ow.ly/P3WOR@SherryFrazier

Due to the 140-character length restriction of Twitter, I’m forced to present much less enticement to read the book as I’d like. However, I always include either an abbreviated quote from one of the author’s books or a review. The link is always to Amazon’s page for that book.

If I have room—usually far from the case—I’ll attach a photo of the book cover. However, the Amazon link frequently does that. I’m not sure why that’s not 100% of the time, but…

I have received very complementary feedback from authors I have included in #FF’d. Below is an example.

Besides #FF on Fridays I include a #SciFact and an announcement of and a link to that week’s Expressions of Faith blog post.

On both Friday and Saturday I SEVERELY restrict my Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook professional presence to a single tweet, update, or status. The copy is the same in all three venues. It’s recaps my past weeks blog post and previews the blog posts in the upcoming week.

#BLOG 7/28 #writing – 7/31 - #EoF: Power 
8/3 #Almanacre: 8/3/1958 – 8/7 #EoF: Qualified Check it out!http://ow.ly/PaGp7

Next blog: Absolutely the Last Ramblings Through Social Media – For now!
In this concluding post on social media for this go around, I’ll discuss my #SciFact posts and give a update on my expanded list of lists and my use of those lists. Whew!

Follow me on Twitter: @CRDowningAuthor and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CRDowningAuthor

My website is: www.crdowning.com

Monday, July 20, 2015

A Science Guy's Almanac #2: Sputnik and Moon Walks Re: 7/20/1969

A Science Guy’s Almanac #2: Sputnik and Moon Walks  Re: 7/20/1969

July 20, 2015
Re: July 20, 1969

This date in 1969 was a Sunday. I’d finished a week of counseling at “Boys and Girls Camp” in Running Springs, California the day before. I considered myself to be the luckiest 19-year old in the world because I’d met the cutest, sweetest girl counselor at that camp—we were married two years and two weeks later.

But, back to the science context of the date.

Sputnik’s launch on October 4, 1957, had given the Soviets the undeniable early lead in the space race. Americans were appalled how a bunch of communists could do something like that at all, let along before we could.

There was a massive influx of programs and money into science and math education. I went through school with new math, the Biological Science Study Curriculum, Chem Study, and PSSC Physics. What we were about to witness would be evidence that America had overcome their stumbling start of the race.

My family was invited to our pastor’s home to watch the moon walk. The pastor had a color TV, which was still a big deal for my family, whose first color television was over five years away.
I remember sitting around the console TV with my mom and dad, my sister, the pastor and his wife, their four kids, and a newly-engaged couple, the girl of which I’d known for years.

Talk before the event centered on how it would be so good to finally put the Soviets in their place in the space race. This moon landing and walk would raise America to what we considered to be an unassailable first place position.

Probably the most humorous comment I remember was about the lunar lander. One of the adults quipped, “That looks like Wayne’s lifted ’65 Mustang!”

As the hands of the clock neared 8:00 PM, the chatter faded. What would we see first?
Finally, at 7:56, Neil Armstrong stepped out of the lander and down the ladder onto the surface of the moon.

Funny retrospective. All the video shot on the moon was in black and white—the color TV was of no value beyond the size of the screen.

What was my take-away?

I am part of a generation that really believed America do anything. To us, the entire space program was proof of that. We left our pastor’s home that evening proud to be Americans.

Next Almanac Post: 

Follow me on Twitter: @CRDowningAuthor and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CRDowningAuthor

My website is: www.crdowning.com

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Still More Ramblings through Social Media – Thursdays

Still More Ramblings through Social Media – Thursdays

Let’s review.

Blog wise, my week looks like this:
Blog: A Day in the Life of a Science Fiction Writer
1st and 3rd Mondays are Almanac posts with comments on life—mine, with examples, and life in general
2nd and 4th Tuesdays will continue the Day in the Life posts with thoughts on writing and associated topics
No regular blog posts
No regular 
blog posts
Every Friday there will be and Expression of Faith post. These are short devotional thoughts on specific Scripture verses
Twitter: @crdowningAuthor
#(book title)

New Stuff—mostly.

Since today is a Second Tuesday, this is a blog on writing and the business of writing. Specifically, this is another post what I’m doing with social media.

Twitter, Facebook, and this blog are my primary foci for social media. I also post daily to LinkedIn. LinkedIn posts are the same as my Twitter tweets. Hootsuite allows me to direct any message to Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn at the same time. Therefore, the amount of time I spend on planned tweets also fuels the fires on Facebook and LinkedIn—a BIG saving of time!

When I put up the message through Hootsuite, all three of the media channels are set to release the message at the same time. That’s fine with me for Twitter and LinkedIn. But, since my CRDowningAuthor Facebook page is set to automatically forward whatever I post there to Twitter, I don’t the Facebook post to be at the same time as the Tweet. So, I edit the LinkedIn post-time to later in the day.

Changing the time of the Facebook post gives me two of the same posts on Twitter. I have a goal for all scheduled tweets to be tweeted twice during the day—once in the AM and again in the PM—so I copy and paste my tweets into a new Hootsuite message for just Twitter if they are only tweets. All I have to change is the release time.

I described #apbioanswers in the last blog. They are only on Twitter and are targeted at AP Biology students.


#TBT is the typical “throwback Thursday” most of you are familiar with. My goal here is to highlight some of my collection of Golden Age (1940-1970ish) sci fi anthologies or novels—or a book by my Birthday author that week.

Here’s a sample Tweet.
#TBT Remember this classic by John E. Stith? http://ow.ly/NC0AN The link shows the cover of one of his books, Redshift Rendezvous.

And this is the Monday b’day tweet for that week.
#SciFiBdays John E. Stith 68 Prolific hard sci-fi @SherryFrazier http://ow.ly/NBZVM http://ow.ly/NBZVN

I try to include a photo of the cover of the book listed on #TBT. The cover is a link to where the book can be published, if it’s still in print.

You probably noticed that #SciFact is ubiquitous. More on the rationale for the ubiquity in two weeks in the next Tuesday blog.

Next blog: Ramblings through Social Media (continued) – #SciFact

Follow me on Twitter: @CRDowningAuthor and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CRDowningAuthor

My website is: www.crdowning.com

Monday, July 6, 2015

A Science Guy’s Almanac #1: My First Computer Re: 6/19/1983

A Science Guy’s Almanac #1: My First Computer - Re: 6/19/1983

July 6, 2015
Re: June 19, 1983

When I first started teaching, grades were hand-written in a gradebook. Then, at report card time, we used a manual calculator (we always had an electric one at Monte Vista). The machine added and subtracted. You took the final total, determined the letter grade by hand dividing by the total number of points possible. Then, on Progress Reports, you called each student up, one at a time, and hand-wrote the academic, conduct, and effort grades on the yellow top sheet of a two-sheet document with carbon paper in between the original and the copy. You could also write a comment in the space at the end of each line. Today, having a last period preparation period is kind of a perk. Back then, however, you wanted to have a last period class because you got to have the students tear the report cards apart and collect the copy with the carbon paper. Free carbon paper—now that was a perk!

Owen Miller, my closest colleague, and I went together and purchased a KayPro computer in June of 1983. It used a CP/M based operating system. Memory was 64K RAM and 195K storage on each of two floppy disks, although the A-drive was where you put the software disk. The computer itself was a metal box that housed the actual computer and a 9” green screen. The keyboard was attached to the front of the box and had to be unlatched to be functional. The back of the keyboard was placed under the box to provide the proper viewing angle for the green screen. But it had a handle, so it was a portable computer. The total cost for this technology was almost $2100, but we did get dot-matrix printer with cable and a box of 5.25” floppy disks in the deal.

Our software was “perfect”: Perfect-Writer, Perfect-Calc, etc. The software was based on old mainframe software, so you had to write command codes for whatever you wanted to do. @B{text} was the code to boldface any amount of text. If you neglected the closed parenthesis after your selected text, the rest of your document, from that point onward, was bolded in the printout. Owen and I both went to the word-processing class. I was chosen to learn the spreadsheet and Owen went to the database class. I learned less of the database than Owen learned about the spreadsheet. However, it is amazing how much I learned from Perfect-Calc transferred over to Microsoft Excel and other spreadsheet programs later in my computer-life.

The effect of having computer-calculated grades was both immediate and astonishing. We would post grades by student-generated codes about every other week, something no teacher I knew at the time would have considered because of the intense manual labor involved in all grade calculations. We expected that the ability of students to track their grades would be one of the results of our computer. What we did not expect was the second effect: Kids almost completely stopped questioning grades. I guess they figured if a computer calculated it, the grade must be right. They were blissfully unaware of the reality of operator error at that time.

Because of the blind faith of students when it came to computer-generated grades, I found myself checking my accuracy more often than ever. While that was easy, it was a pain. So, once, for an assignment in one of my better classes, I just put random numbers in as scores with absolutely no basis of fact, past history, or current grade. It took a couple of weeks before one student finally wondered how she got such a poor score, when the paper she had gotten back had only positive comments and a higher score than on the printout. I apologized for my “mistake” in recording her score and changed it to the correct number. As others came forward, I decided to “fess up” and told them of my plot. From that time onward, I admonished all my students to keep all returned papers at least long enough to check the recorded score on the grade printout.

Next A Science Guy’s AlmanacSputnik and Moon Walks - 7/20/1969
Follow me on Twitter: @CRDowningAuthor and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CRDowningAuthor
My website is: www.crdowning.com

I’d appreciate your thoughts about these A Science Guy’s Almanac posts
Feel free to email me at: dr.d@engage-in-science.com

A Science Guy’s Almanac: Introduction

A Science Guy’s Almanac:  Introduction

The blog that follows this in 30 minutes is the first of a new, continuing series. I’ve titled the series A Science Guy’s Almanac—mostly because each post will focus on a specific day and year. What you are reading in this Introduction is a bit of background of me and the concept. All remaining Almanac posts will go up at 0700 Pacific Time

Almanac posts are significantly different in content and style from the other posts in A Day In The Life Of A Science Fiction Writer.

Day In The Life postings deal with issues of authorship, writing as a profession, and related topics. Those posts appear on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month. Those posts will continue on those days. I suspect they will be shorter in length starting than in the past, but the content will not change.

Almanac postings are an eclectic collection of short articles on life—mine and life in general. These posts will be the first and third Mondays of each month.

You’ll have to check on Monday and Tuesday of any 5th week in a month to see what I’ve decided to post for that week.

I started teaching high school in September of 1973. My last day in a high school classroom was in June 2012. During the 39 intervening years, my life happened.

Top: October of 1973 at Monte Vista. Bottom: June of 1012 at my retirement party. 
Between 1996 and 2004, I was full time faculty in Teacher Education and Biology at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, California. From 1973-1996 I taught all levels of biology and Coordinated Science at Monte Vista High School in Spring Valley, California. Beginning in 2004 and ending at my retirement in 2012, I taught biology and Global Science at Great Oak High School in Temecula, California.

All three of my teaching experiences were wonderful. I wouldn’t trade any of those days away.
Since I am a teacher, the firs blog post in the Almanac relates directly to teaching. I hope you enjoy this initial post…

And those that follow.

P.S. Check my blog every Friday for another NEW series of blog posts: Expressions of Faith. This series of posts—averaging 100 words each—are very short devotionals consisting of combinations of thoughts, observations, admonitions, and prayers. They present a view into a very important part of me! They should make you think. I hope you enjoy them.

See you in 30 minutes.

Follow me on Twitter: @CRDowningAuthor and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CRDowningAuthor
My website is: www.crdowning.com

I’d appreciate your thoughts about these A Science Guy’s Almanac posts

Feel free to email me at: dr.d@engage-in-science.com

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