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About me…

I am a freelance indexer providing back-of-book indexing of general trade books, textbooks, and scholarly works.

My areas of education include medicine (with emphasis in neurology, epileptology,  neuroanatomy and neurosciences as well as general medicine and health sciences), and experimental/physiological psychology.

Special interests and hobbies provide knowledge of wine, food, cooking/culinary arts, gardening, organic farming, art/crafts, birds, and pets.


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It’s almost conference time again!

It really doesn’t seem that long ago that I was getting excited about the 2013 ASI conference–and here it is again–conference time.  I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone again. I appreciate! Facebook, Linked In, and Twitter for staying in contact, but nothing beats getting together face-to-face!

I’ve not been to Charleston SC before so I’m looking forward to that as well–and hope that by then we’ll have some nice weather.

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Tips for working at home

Working from home is wonderful, but it takes some discipline. A colleague posted this link on Facebook and I though it was helpful so I thought I’d share it.

Frome the Huffington Post “Working from Home: Here Are Ten Ways to Do It Better”

Some of these things I worked our for myself, but there are some suggestions here that I’m going to try to carry out–especially the workout time. That is the one that slips most for me.

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Injury prevention software

I’ve now worked (real world indexing work on the motor disorders book) with both the finalists on the ergonomic break timers for the last 30 days. Of all that I looked at, only  RSIGuard and WorkPace™ seemed worth serious attention.  Here’s what I found:

  • Both offer settings that will let you customize how they interact with your work habits. There are questionnaires in both to help you decide what settings you need–prevention, rehabilitation, etc.
  • Both give good stretch exercises include ones that were given to me by physical therapists in my post-surgical rehabilitation. The exercises are demonstrated and/or described for you, complete with where you should feel the effects if you are performing them properly. The RSIGuard has a verbal description as well as graphic demonstration of exercises, while WorkPace has graphic demonstration only.
  • Both provide work intensity and compliance statistics–in fact both are intended for organizational use and allow managers/supervisors to assess compliance with the data provided, but both have individual licenses as well as organizational licenses.
  • The work intensity information provided by RSIGuard is not easily used by individuals, where WorkPace provides very straight-forward information that is useful without much interpretation: each keystroke, in which software are most of you keystrokes, etc.
  • Both provide some ergonomic tips–RSIGuard can make you aware of some of your work habits with “forget-me-not” questions associated with the micropauses–such as asking you about your wrist position while keyboarding, or if your posture is good, etc.
  • Both can adjust settings manually as your needs change, and both allow you to select the degree of enforcement of breaks and micropauses.
  • Both have a lengthy enough trial period for you to test them adequately.
  • Both are licensed to the user, not to computer, so that they can be used on desktop and laptop by the same user.

…and the winner is WorkPace, even though it’s a bit more expensive ($89.00 versus $65.00).  I liked the straight-forward, uncomplicated statistics, the flexibility in displaying data and the clear graphic demonstration of where you should feel the effects of the exercises. Another plus for WorkPace is that during breaks it displays keyboard shortcuts for Windows. I found the WorkPace just a bit less intrusive–it displays a single status panel (if you wish). The RSIGuard also displayed an additional minute-by-minute work intensity in a separate window which I found to be distracting and I found the signal for breaks and micropauses to be irritating. Were WorkPace not available, I’d certainly use the RSIGuard though.

So–after all that looking, I’m right back with the same program that I’ve used for since about 2001!  Getting the program reinstalled has certainly made a difference in the comfort of indexing for five or six hours at a time. Micropauses DO make a huge difference.

I guess I should add a disclaimer here–no affiliate marketing, no commission for me from this–just a happy indexer with happy hands even with all the keyboarding–helps avoid those irritating wrist splints, even at night.

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Great webinar!

I do love technology!  From my desk in my home office I’ve attended an absolutely wonderful webinar on how to increase and maintain speed in indexing.  So much good information, and so accessible.

Kate Mertes is an excellent speaker, as well indexer.  If you’re interested in indexing, this webinar will be available for purchase from the ASI website in a week or so, and it’s well worth purchasing.

This webinar came at a wonderful time for me as I’m getting ready to start indexing a book on motor disorders which is about 400 pages longer than I thought it was going to be. Lots of the techniques that she described will certainly be put to good use shortly. There were some great tips on using technology–indexing software, Adobe Acrobat, etc. to help in the indexing process.

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Testing ergonomic break software

One of the things I discovered with the shift in computers is that I must have break-timer  software installed on my computer. (Yes, I’m on again about breaks being necessary for safe, healthy computer use.) Perhaps it is a combination of the warm weather (how about hot and muggy) and the time that I’ve worked without the break timer, but even with the fantastic autocomplete of SKY Index, I’ve had some recurring minor symptoms. That means that it’s time to get back to taking proper breaks!

I tend to get engrossed and let time slip away, only realizing too late that I haven’t taken a break in way too long even though I know breaks are important. WorkPace™ has been on my computers since about 1998, but now that I have to buy a new license, I thought I’d see what else was out there.

Judging by the number of free break timers out there we must be more aware of injury that can occur with intensive computer use. Most of the free programs have the sophistication of my kitchen timer. The only advantage of those is that you can’t forget (read decide not to) set it (but for that, I could just depend on the cat). I need something a little more insistent than that.

Having had both carpal tunnel and Guyon canal decompression on both hands, I want to avoid any further surgery! I want break software that will check and record activity so that if symptoms recur I can see if there has been a change in  the pattern of keyboard or mouse use.

Today I skulked about the Internet with Google looking to see what software was available.  There seem to be more programs for safe computer use now than the last time I looked–everything from the simple timer to software that will put you through an exercise routine at your desk, to some that put you through orthopedic tests to determine your risk and diagnosis.

I have installed the new version of WorkPace™ on the laptop-that-thinks-it’s-a desktop, and another (RSIGuard) on the notebook. The WorkPace program appears to have changed relatively little over the years. The second seems comparable to WorkPace in its flexibility, and monitoring–you can make both of them lock your keyboard or mouse if you really need encouragement to comply with breaks.

I installed several other programs to test; some didn’t have the features that I think are particularly important for prevention of cumulative trauma disorders (CTD)–also sometimes known as repetitive stress injury (RSI), or occupational overuse syndrome (OOS), or even some other epithets depending where in the world you are. Several got quickly uninstalled since they lacked much more sophistication than my kitchen timer, despite the descriptions. One that I tried multiple times to download (DeskDoctor) for a trial kept giving me a server reset error, so it’s bookmarked but on hold for now, but I suspect that one is serious overkill even for what I want.

There will be more information on the specific programs coming as I use each of them  while working.

Remember, prevention is better than rehabilitation!

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A huge sigh of relief…

As I listen to the rain coming down as Andrea passes, I can now give a sigh of relief.  New laptop/desktop is set up and ready, awaiting work.  SKY Index is re-installed, as are the Adobe Cloud components–Acrobat XI, and InDesign. The Carbonite back-up is set up again for off-site backup, and there is an external hard-drive, and Dropbox.

It’s a such a relief to know that there is a “spare” computer in reserve–with all the same software and backup capability.  The lesson learned from this episode: backup, backup, backup–on-site and off-site.

Despite the hassle, I really lost no files, and now that there is a resident backup computer, there will be no lost work time either!

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Grammar-ease: Lay versus Lie


One of my pet peeves–makes me a little crazy even in light recreational reading!

Originally posted on Live to Write - Write to Live:

I haven’t had a grammar post in a while, so here’s a new one!

A particularly challenging one for many people, the conundrum of lay versus lie. 

Lay is an active verb. A person picks up a book and lays it on a chair. A chicken lays an egg. (The person and chicken are active.)

Lie is a still verb. People lie on beds. Cats lie on people. Fleas lie on cats. (The people, cats, and fleas are still.)


Lay: to place or set something.

Simple Progressive Perfect Perfect progressive (action continues for a while)
Present I layYou layHe/she/it laysThey lay I am layingYou are layingShe is layingThey are laying I have laidYou have laidShe has laidThey have laid I have been layingYou have been layingShe has been layingThey have been laying
Past I laidYou laidShe laidThey laid I was layingYou were layingShe was layingThey were laying I…

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