| September 2002
Once upon a time, we lived in a world where a mysterious company or person created CDs for our CD players and computers. My, how far we've come. We all have nieces, nephews, or even grandkids who can create a CD in a matter of seconds.
But with this newfound power of creation, we have a new breed of problem. In most cases, the problems are due to lack of information about how to actually create a CD properly. Other factors, such as the type of CD used in the creation process, type of computer or CD player the disk is going to be used on, and type of program used to create the CD, play a significant role in determining the necessary steps to create your CD.
Over the next few issues of "On Target," I'll discuss these issues and, I hope, answer most of your questions about the CD creation process and how to make this process as smooth and painless as possible.
Here, I discuss the two types of CDs that you are able to record, or "burn," data to, CD-R and CD-RW.
CD-R stands for "CD Recordable." You can only write one time to these disks. You may hear the term "WORM" (Write Once, Read Many) used when talking about this format.
The advantage of CD-R is that you can play them in most CD players, which makes them the best choice when making music CDs. The disadvantage is that you only get to record one time on any particular segment of the disk. Once the disk is closed, you can never write to it again.
CD-RW stands for "CD Rewritable." This means that you can record over the data on the CD many times before the disk is ready for the circular file. They're very similar to Zip(tm) disks but hold three to seven times the information. CD-RW disks can be written to many times because the laser does not burn the disk as deeply as in the CD-R process.
The main advantage is that you can erase information and record over the top of it if you make a mistake. The main disadvantage is that you are limited in the devices that can read the CD. Most CD players can't play this type of disk.
In the next issue, I'll talk about making hybrid CDs.
When an issue becomes a crisis and everyone, including the media, is talking about it, I hear educators complain, "I just can't get people to listen."
First, let me explain that I am talking about a real crisis here, a heated issue to which we can contribute objective information, for example a food safety scare. In a crisis, numerous factors cause communications to go beyond our control. While we may not be able to control these factors, what we do before the crisis phase can help tremendously.
In other words, we need to plan ahead.
* Determine your priorities for the topic. What are your highest priority topics? Prepare crisis communication plans for those topics.
* Determine all the key players. This includes making enough key contacts, writing down their individual and collective roles, and talking to them about the issue to be sure you understand how they can be helpful or harmful to your cause.
* Develop timely, objective, and pertinent information. Make sure what you have to say about the topics is useable by the mass audiences.
* Deliver information to the news media, place it in your publications and newsletters, and post it on the Web ahead of time. Plan to get information into the hands of people who will have an influence on the issue. If the issue goes into crisis, that information will serve as a database of information for leaders, news media, and others.
* Prepare fact sheets. These sheets can help you explain an issue in clear and simple terms. Be prepared to distribute them--sometimes within minutes of an issue going critical.
* Put information in a convenient package. This package could be a ready-made folder of fact sheets, backgrounders, publications, and a list of contacts that can be delivered to service agencies, community and church leaders, news reporters, and others. Make sure these individuals know you are a point of contact on a particular issue.
* Speak to civic groups on the issue. Their members are community leaders and professionals who will act as good channels to get information out to the public.
Following these steps before an issue goes critical may be the difference between whether you're heard or not.
Lest you think I've totally lost it, put "pass" in front of both words, and you might see where I'm going. This is yet another case where our ears deceive us.
"Muster" means to assemble for inspection, so to "pass muster" means to pass inspection.
Example: The recruit hoped his bunk would pass muster.
"Mustard," on the other hand, is a condiment, a paste made from mustard seed. It's what people put on their hotdogs.
Example: Please pass the mustard and ketchup (or catsup).
"Mustard" is a common word, and "muster" isn't. I guess that's why some people mistakenly use the phrase "pass mustard" when they mean pass inspection. That's what they hear.
Do you have a grammar (or usage) trap you'd like to see discussed? Do you have a tip that will help the rest of us avoid one? If so, please let me know.
Visit http://www.agriculture.purdue.edu/agcomm/ontarget/grammartrap/ for past "Grammar Traps."
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