FAQ Misc

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This is a page for miscellaneous FAQs often asked of Jose.

Other J-group pages:

Policies and Procedures, Practical Reference, Papers and Presentations Policies

Computing FAQs

How do I edit a page in this Wiki?

This is very easy. Just go to this test page

Then log in (top right corner) and the click the edit tab or the edit buttons to the right. Enter some text and click "preview" or "save" and it'll be there.

We use the Wiki because it makes posting info on the web extremely easy.

For more detailed help, there is always a link on the left of every wiki page that says "Help", which takes you to the MediaWiki help page

We use the "MediaWiki" software to run the Wiki, so that help is what's relevant. Note that Wikipedia also uses MediaWiki, so once you learn, you can create an entry for something you are interested on in Wikipedia!

How do I create an email list?

After trying various tools, we have found that the email lists provided by Google Groups are a very good solution. They are free, they have an easy web interface to subscribe and unsubscribe, they keep an archive of all the messages sent to the list, and can be customized with various levels of access.

To create an email list with Google Groups, follow these steps:

  • You need an Google Account (preferable associated with a Gmail email address). If you don't have one, you need to create one first.
  • Go to http://groups.google.com/
  • After you login, click "Create a Group"
  • Choose a simple name, and the access level. For most of our work, we use "restricted" lists.
  • On the "Add Members" page, click "Add Members Directly", and enter the email addresses of the members and a welcome message. This is better than "inviting" the members as you avoid bothering people and associated delays. However Google is cautious to avoid that people set up lists for spam purposes, so they may not let you add everyone at once. Just add them in a few times over a day or so, if needed.
    • After adding them, check that all the members are set to receive "All Email." Especially when you add them directly, it defaults to "No email."
  • Click on "Group Settings" on the right, and then on the tab "Email Delivery". A few important settings are there:
    • Set the "Subject Prefix" to e.g. "[test:%d]", where in this case "test" is the name of the group.
    • Under "Message Footer", activate the "Default Footer." If needed, you can then change to "Custom Footer" and edit further, e.g. by adding a link to the webpage for this particular project.
    • Under "Replies to Messages" change to "Replies are sent to the author of the message"
  • In some cases, you may want to allow anyone to send emails to the list. This can be activated on the "Access" Tab, under "Who can post messages?", by choosing "Anyone can post".

How do campus phones work?

How can I do conference calls with multiple people?

  • This can be done with some CU phones and some cell phones, however it can be complicated.
  • The easiest way is to set up a free conference line can be obtained from http://www.freeconferencecall.com. We have used it a lot recently (summer 2013) and it worked great. Everyone dials a long distance call to the conference number, so it is not toll free, but that's not really an issue anymore, as long distance calls are pretty cheap these days.

How can I share screens with collaborators etc?

  • You can do this with Skype and Google Hangouts. These services as changing quickly, and as of Summer 2013 Google Hangouts may be a better system.
  • As of 2020 CU uses Zoom for this.

What is the easiest way to create a web page?

  • To create a new web page with some content and links, the easiest way is to add the content to a Google Doc, and then make the Doc publicly viewable as a web page. This appears to people on the web as a web page, and they CANNOT edit the Doc and change its content. (If you do want to give Edit permission to people, that can be done with the usual File --> Share features of GDocs)
  • The procedure is:
    • create a new word-processing GDoc
    • add some text
    • If you want to add links, highlight the text that will have the link and click the "link" toolbar item (looks like a chain), and enter the URL
    • Then go to File --> "Publish to the web", click "start publishing" and copy the link
    • Go to http://tinyurl.com and create an easier to remember shortcut such as http://tinyurl.com/MyPageName
    • Any changes you make to the GDoc get updated to the web within 5 min.
    • You can format your doc any way you want
    • The same could be done with spreadsheet or presentation GDocs, if those formats are more appropriate for what you are trying to share

How do I connect to CU VPN from an Android Phone or Tablet?

These instructions are from CU OIT in May 2013. They are not yet on their website.

1. Go to the Google Play store, search for and download the Junos Pulse App
2. Open Junos Pulse on your device, it will take you to the app home screen
3. Press the “Connections” button.
4. Press add connection at the bottom of the screen
5. In the “Connection Name” box Type “Colorado”
6. in the “Url” box type https://cuvpn.colorado.edu
7. In the “Username” box type your Identikey username
8. Leave “Uses certificate” unchecked and leave the “Realm” and “Role” boxes blank
9. Press “Save” at the bottom of the window.
10. Press your phone’s back arrow to go back to the main page of the Junos Pulse app
11. Now, press the “Connect” button.
12. On the page it brings up, at the top of the page, select “Colorado” from the drop down menu
13. In the boxes at the bottom, fill in your Identikey and password.
14. Press “Sign in”
15. It will bring up a warning asking if you trust the application, check the “I trust this application” box, then hit “OK”
16. Once you have a key logo in the top left corner of your screen in the notifications menu, you are connected.
17. When done, open your notifications window, click the message about the VPN and a popup will appear.
18. Press “disconnect” to end the session.
19. Exit the app.

Writing and Presenting FAQs

  • see this list (in 1st year ANYL students FAQs)

Meeting FAQs

How can I set up a meeting with you or including you?

  • I need to participate in a large number of meetings. Setting up meetings with multiple busy people (such as oral exams with several faculty) can be very difficult if done by email, and lead to a lot of confusion and wasted time.
  • For this reason I ONLY reply to meeting requests involving multiple people if they are set up in the form of a Doodle poll. This also has the advantage that if a conflict arises, we can look back at the poll to find alternative times, rather than start from scratch and have to go through another 30 emails. A few details:
    • Please include multiple days and times. A common mistake in setting up polls is to choose too few days, and then one person may be out those days and we have to start from scratch.
    • Under the Step 3 "Options" of setting up the poll, always select YES-If Need Be-NO. This allows more nuanced answers and increases the chances of finding a time that can work for everyone.
    • In some cases it may be useful to first set up a poll to choose a day amount e.g. 30 options (or a week among many options), and then set up a 2nd poll with specific times for only the days (or weeks) that work for everyone.

Letters of Recommendation FAQs

Can you write a letter of recommendation for me?

  • This obviously depends on who you are and on the position or fellowship you are applying to. Please send an up-to-date CV and PDFs of your last few first-author pubs, as well as any links or info on the position(s) or fellowship(s) when you ask about letters.
    • In some cases I may agree to write a letter for one position but not another, depending on the nature of my interactions with you, the requirements of the position being applied to, etc.
    • For people from our group you can see here for students and here for postdocs & research scientists.
    • For people not from our group with whom I've worked closely for a substantial period of time, it would be rare that I don't agree to write a letter.
  • The more I know you and the more closely we have worked together, the more effective my letter can be. It works best when I can say lots of specific things about working with you. From experience reading lots of letters of recommendation for various types of applications (faculty, researcher, postdoc, student positions), letters from someone prominent (e.g. a Nobel Prize winner) that don't say many specific things about the person don't help. The person reading the letter thinks "the letter writer is famous, but doesn't know this person well, so I can't count this letter for much."
  • For people with whom I have interacted less, and since I can only write about what I have directly seen, I may ask you to think whether a letter from me where I cannot list lots of specific examples of working closely with you is on your best interest. I.e. if my letter reads as a rewriting of your CV "this person did her PhD with this prestigious group, wrote this paper that was highly cited, gave good talks at important conferences..." it will not be perceived as very strong. So you should think whether there is someone else who can write a stronger letter with more specific examples.

How far in advance do I have to warn you about a letter of recommendation?

  • Well-written letters take time to write, and we are typically quite busy. Note that I am often in the field for several weeks during which I don't have any time for these matters. The following advance warnings are requested:
    • If I have already written a letter for you in the last 2 years, I request 2 week notice.
    • If I have not written a letter for you before, or I have done so more than 2 years ago, I request 6 week notice.
    • If you give me much less time than this, I'll see what I can do, but typically I cannot guarantee that I can submit a letter on time.

Peer-Reviewing FAQs

How do I respond to the reviews of a paper?

  • See the instructions for our group in this link.

Scientific Literature FAQs

Why does your group publish so much on ACP?

ACP has several key advantages over traditional journals:

  • Free open access to papers
  • Papers are public BEFORE they are reviewed. In "secret review" journals, nobody knows that the paper even exists until it has been accepted and appears on the web. That represents a delay of typically 4-8 months, sometimes more than a year, in the paper being public, which hurts the visibility of the work and increases the probability of being scooped.
  • The reviews and the author responses are public. This is advantageous for at least two reasons:
    • The reviews and responses are often very useful to learn quickly what is new, controversial, or well-established etc. about a paper
    • The transparency of the publication process is also increased.
  • Non-reviewers can also publish short comments on any paper. This is very useful to receive input from other researchers in the community (even as it creates more work in responding to those extra comments).
  • In ACP also the special issues are particularly easy, a web page is created for the issue and papers are posted there as they are accepted, and they are ongoing special issues where people can publish papers as the analysis proceeds. E.g. for the MILAGRO special issue papers were published over 2.5 years, and for the MCMA-2003 special issue they were published over 5 years. It was a great benefit, then and now, to have all the papers together there.
  • For all of the above reasons, ACP has effectively become the prime journal in Atmospheric Chemistry, surpassing JGR and others in e.g. Impact Factor, Special Issues, etc.
  • Much of this also applies to AMT (Atmospheric Measurement Techniques), a recent journal on the ACP system)

That said, it is always good to publish on a variety of journals as they reach different readerships etc.

How do you determine whether a paper is "Highly Cited" according to Thomson ISI

Thomson ISI publishes thresholds for papers in each field (e.g. Chemistry, Geosciences, or Mech Eng -- this depends on the classification of each journal into fields by ISI) and each year, above which a paper is highly cited. As of Mar-2020, the thresholds are posted in this page (although ISI often moves them around). Basically they rank the papers by the number of citations, and they report the number of citations that separates the 1% most cited from the 99% less cited. So e.g. every year we look up the list on the web, and then we compare the citations of our papers with the relevant thresholds for each year of publication and journal field. In our group publications page we highlight in bold all of those papers.

The categories for the journals most relevant to us are:

  • Geosciences: JGR, GRL, ACP
  • Environment/Ecology: ES&T
  • Engineering: AS&T
  • Chemistry: Anal. Chem.

Can I join your group's Google+ Literature Survey Feed?

  • Several interested colleagues have joined this feed, which we find very useful. It is focused on the topics of interest to our group and colleagues, including aerosols, tropospheric chemistry, and instrumentation, including developments in mass spectrometry.
  • We recommend Feedly as a tool to monitor the literature.
  • Colleagues interested in joining should agree to the following points:
    • The number of total papers posted to the feed is limited to 3 per day, to avoid having too many posts that people can't keep up with. If there are already 3 posts, please wait until the next day.
    • Every participant should post at least one paper per month, preferably 2 per month, which can be their own publication, or other paper of interest.
      • If you are interested in helping monitor a particular journal(s), let Jose know and we'll keep track of it on this page.
    • The detailed format of the posts matters to make it as useful as possible. Figures should be of sufficient resolution, and a sub-figure should be taken if the whole figure will be too difficult to see. The text should have an explanation of why you thought it was useful, either as the title + key text from abstract, or a summary in your own words. Also please use bold by *enclosing in asterisks* to emphasize key idea for rapid reading. Use the "+1" button for posts you find most useful.
    • To post a figure, you need to upload a "photo" which is really a graphic file, JPG, GIF, PNG etc. On a PC you can do one of these: (1) open the HTML version of the paper, for the journals that have that, click on the large version of the figure you want, and just save it in your hard drive. (2) use the "snipping tool" which is part of windows, you can find it on the Start Menu under All Programs --> Accessories. You just drag the cursor around the area that you want to copy, and then save the resulting picture into a JPG. With the snipping tool method it is important to make the graph as big as possible (to have enough resolution) and then you upload into your post as a photo. (3) You can also use the "snapshot tool" in Acrobat to copy a picture into the clipboard, and then you can paste into powerpoint, and right-click on the image and select "save as picture." Again you want to make the figure as large as possible. Note that you should upload the picture into Google+ first, before you paste the link into the text, otherwise it recognizes the link and you need to remove the link before you can upload the picture (hitting the cross on the upper right corner of the link).
    • Note that comments are only emailed to the person who posted the original post and other people who have commented on that post. If you have a comment that you'd like to share it with everyone, please make it a new post.
    • These rules will be reviewed regularly (every 3 months or so) as the use of the feed evolves and we gain experience

Faculty Positions & Research Groups

Do you have some advice on searching for faculty positions?

  • I gave this presentation in 2012 to the CU Postdoc Association, that you may find useful.

Do you have some advice on managing a research group?

  • This is always a challenge! I gave this presentation in 2012 to the CU Postdoc Association, that you may find useful.

Can you do a chemical analysis for me?

  • We are a research group and generally don't do chemical analyses for others, as our techniques are very specialized for aerosols and generally are too complex for other samples. We can always discuss if you have an aerosolizable sample and there is a common research interest, or if the analysis would be quick.
  • We don't have a gas or liquid chromatograph, or an electrospray instrument, or an ion chromatograph.
  • If you want to run a mass spec analysis on an organic sample (e.g. GC-MS, electrospray), you should contact Dr. Shuji Kato of the CHEM/CIRES Central Analytical Facility
  • If you need to do elemental analysis, you should contact the ICPMS Facility in CU Geology, operated by Prof. Tom Marchitto

Miscellaneous Questions

Where can I get those small whiteboards that you use in class?

  • At Home Depot. They are "melamine white panels". Mine are 1/4" thick and a bit too heavy, I've seen others use thinner ones that were easier. I believe this is it. These were suggested by Jenny Knight in MCDB as part of her Scientific Teaching course.