Building a Website

Intellectual Property

Reach For Your Star

Tax Amnesty

Corrections or additions?

These articles by Bart Jackson and Jack Florek were prepared for

the April 17, 2002 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights

reserved.

New Challenges In Bioinformatics

When Cynthia Gibas was a graduate student in the

mid-1990s, one of her colleagues kept a file cabinet of information

on proteins. "There were 300 proteins," recalls Gibas, now

an assistant professor of biology at Virginia Tech. "You could

know them all by name." No more. "It has all changed

dramatically,"

she says. With the sequencing of the gene and the development of

supercomputers,

there has been a sea change, she says, "even in the kinds of

problems

there are to work on."

On Thursday, April 18, at 7:30 p.m. Gibas speaks on "Challenges

in Bioinformatics: From Single Molecules to Whole Genomes" at

a meeting of the Princeton ACM/IEEE-CS Chapters at Sarnoff

Corporation.

It is free and is preceded by dinner at the Rusty Scupper at 6 p.m.

Call 908-582-7086.

Gibas, the co-author of Bioinformatics Computer Skills, became

interested

in the potential of the computer in biology research while she was

studying for her Ph.D at the University of Illinois. She started out

to earn her degree in biophysics, but then, she says, "my boss

decided he wanted to gather information to better design

experiments."

She was sent off to study the potential of the computer in aiding

research, and "decided that was more fascinating than carrying

out the experiments." Shifting her emphasis to learning how to

craft queries to elicit information, she added the infant field of

bioinformatics to her studies.

In classic biology, observations are done by hand, creating a mountain

of paper. Teasing out patterns can be difficult. With bioinformatics,

the work is aided by automation. "You need all the work to be

there," says Gibas. "You need all the background, but the

user needs to see what is important. Not just everything."

Bioinformatics is a combination of biology research and computer

skills.

Pure programmers may not be the best practitioners of this hybrid

science, says Gibas, because they may not know enough about research,

about what questions are important. And biologists may shrink from

informatics because, she says, they "often end up in the field

because they’re afraid of math." Biology is the one science, she

finds, where it is possible to avoid most math.

Gibas is not crazy about the subject herself. "I’ve always hated

math," she says, "but I knew I had to do it." She forced

herself to study chemistry, a science requiring more math, because,

although she found it more difficult than biology, she believed what

she was learning had more substance, and would be more useful.

"Chemistry was my major in college," Gibas says. "It

challenged

me a lot more. In biology they were dissecting a frog. That’s okay,

but I asked `what am I learning here?’" She believes that students

who do best in bioinformatics "have had a little more chemistry

or biochemistry." While a math background is necessary for

designing

efficient algorithms, standardizing and storing large datasets in

databases, and developing tools to query those databases, a more

important

skill, she says, is "the ability to think logically, to understand

how a query needs to be constructed, to know what pattern of

information

you need to pull out to ask a question."

Gibas obviously finds fascination in all of this. A pioneer in

marrying

the power of computers to the questions of science, she is one of

a small number of female bioinformatics professionals. "Women

are pretty rare," she says. "Everybody knows who we are."

It is a problem finding top level women to address conferences, she

says, and she gets few inquiries from women who want to do double

majors in biology and computer science.

An obstacle is math fear, said to be more common in women than in

men. And then there is the lifestyle. "We get applications from

graduate students who say, `I’m able to work 17 to 19 hours a

day,’"

Gibas marvels. She doesn’t think that is a sensible work schedule,

but nevertheless, she says the hours that she works do not leave a

lot of time for other pursuits. She recalls that, at age eight, she

used her first computer to program the songs she was learning on the

piano — until a lightening strike fried the machine, whose memory,

she recalls, could only hold a few bars of music at a time anyway.

Asked if she still plays, she just laughs. Her work leaves little

time for music, vacations — or building a family. She knows

assistant

professors in the sciences who manage time to have and raise children,

but she hasn’t yet figured out how they do it.

Still, the groundbreaking work she does engrosses her, and she shows

no signs of ambivalence toward it. The joining of scientific inquiry

and the astounding speed and agility of computers is also the wave

of the future, and Gibas thinks women, as well as men, will

increasingly

gravitate toward it. An essential tool in delving into the secrets

of the genome, bioinformatics will almost certainly spread to other

areas of research. "Everyone will need more quantitative

skills,"

she says. "Biologists will not get away with no math."

Top Of Page
Building a Website

For technophobes, there is bad news: A website is a

now as basic as a Yellow Pages listing, something that clients expect

to see. There is also good news: A professional-looking website

providing

a wealth of information about a business can be had for under $10,000,

and a basic website for a professional can be up and running for

$1,000.

"You won’t get the bells and whistles," says Katharine

Wyland, owner of KWP Associates, a Bordentown-based web development

and Internet photography business. But that may not be bad news

either.

"Programmers are moving away from bells and whistles because of

bandwidth," she says.

Wyland speaks on "Building a Website for Artists and Art

Organizations"

on Saturday, April 20, at 10 a.m. at a Trenton Arts Connection event

taking place at Thomas Edison College. Cost: $35. Call 609-695-8155.

A member of the board of the Trenton Arts Connection, Wyland says

she became interested in helping to create an arts community in

Trenton

while she was a staff photographer for the Trenton Times, beginning

in 1988. Interested in computers before they even had hard drives,

she began her journey toward web development when an AP representative

visited the newspaper.

"AP said `we have this new thing. You can get images from around

the world electronically,’" Wyland recalls. The newspaper decided

that would be a good thing, but realized it would need technicians.

"Me, me, me!" was Wyland’s reaction. While learning how to

incorporate electronic images into a daily newspaper for her employer,

she bought herself a scanner. Running a part-time photographic PR

business, she realized, "this is something I can do for my

clients."

Ahead of her time, Wyland found herself educating her clients about

the time and money savings digital photography offered, a campaign

that did not turn the corner until the advent of desktop publishing

made the advantages obvious.

Meanwhile, Wyland was becoming enamored of the things a website could

do for her business. She started to put proof sheets up on her site

(www.kwpassociates.net), giving clients password-protected access.

"I would shoot an event on Wednesday," she says, "and

they could go into their offices and look at the photos on

Thursday."

Deciding to make the Internet not only work for her, but be her work,

Wyland left the Trenton Times in 1998 and went to work for the

Trenton-based

website development company, Tramp Steamer Media, so that she could

learn all about creating websites. While working there as a project

manager, she began to take on her own clients on the side. About six

months ago, she formed KWP Associates.

Among her specialties is web storage of photographs and other images.

"Hospitals and other mid-sized organizations have photos from

over the years," she says. The images, perhaps snapshots of a

conference, professional photos used in advertising, or logos, tend

to be scattered all over the place — stuffed in drawers, tacked

onto bulletin boards, or organized in folders. The photos deteriorate

over time, get lost, and are only accessible from one location.

Wyland scans these photos — or the film on which they were shot

— organizes them, and has a company that specializes in secure

servers store them. Once the images are online, anyone from the client

organization with password clearance can look at them any time from

anywhere, and they can easily be included in documents — perhaps

advertising brochures or commemorative booklets — that the

organization

puts together through the years.

This service is a relatively small part of Wyland’s business. She

spends the lion’s share of her time on website development. Since

going out on her own she has been far busier with website requests

than she thought she would be. "I thought it would be this nice

little business," she says, "but I’m at my desk from 7:30

a.m. to 11 p.m. I haven’t even had time to do marketing." Her

clients, most of them networking contacts, are telling her that they

need a website, but don’t have a lot of money to spend.

A typical client is the Mental Health Association of Rockland County.

The organization needed to get information out to clients, but had

a tight budget. For about $6,000, Wyland created a 50-page website

for them. For individuals, the tab can be about $1,000.

Getting the word out via website is becoming an imperative for all

kinds of organizations and for professionals in every field as clients

more and more frequently ask for a link to a website before signing

a contract. For artists and art organizations, a website can be the

most cost effective way of marketing and building community.

Advantages

of a having website include:

Inexpensive, flexible marketing. Wyland created the

website

for the Trenton Arts Connection (www.trentonarts.org) for about

$3,000.

"It’s a small organization," says Wyland. "A website is

a great economical way to reach out to a community of artists. They

don’t have to spend thousands on marketing." Instead of a

scattered

marketing campaign, with a need to constantly print new brochures

and announcements, an organization on a tight budget can get the word

out on the Internet, where updates can be added at no cost.

Increased scope. Wyland’s website has been up for three

years, but it has been only in the last eight months that it has begun

to feed her work. A magazine based in North Carolina recently

contacted

her after searching the ‘Net for a picture of Al Sharpton it liked

and finding one on her website. The medium, she says, delivers clients

an artist would never think to contact: "It takes you

national."

Community building. For arts organizations, a website

can serve an almost limitless number of purposes. It can attract

volunteers,

advertise upcoming events, give directions, and help artists connect

with one another.

When she works with individual clients who have limited budgets,

Wyland puts a lot of the work back on them. For a website costing

about $1,000, a clients are expected to choose among several palettes

and formats, and to write their own text. Using information the

clients

provide, Wyland creates a unique website for each.

A visual person herself, Wyland says the words on a website are key.

"That is why people come to a website," she says. "They

want to read about you, to find out about you." Increasingly,

busy clients, connected to the Internet all day anyway, turn first

— and perhaps only — to their computer screens to find goods

and services. Artists who want to capture all the business they can

need to turn up in those Internet searches.

Top Of Page
Intellectual Property

For educational film producers, screenwriters, and

others

who see themselves working in the media, theft may not come in such

a dramatic form as a bank heist or a hold-up, but it can be just as

damaging.

"These days, people need to be very protective of their

copyright,"

says Diane Bilello, vice president of sales at Films for the

Humanities and Sciences at 11 Perrine Road in Monmouth Junction.

"In

the past, film has always been a hard copy sale, but now in digital,

it is even more important to make sure the work is still protected.

Emerging technology is changing the way many people do business."

New technologies have made the theft of intellectual property easier

than ever. After months of researching, writing, shooting, and editing

your four-hour documentary on snapping turtles, it is more than a

bit discouraging to see it suddenly turn up on someone else’s website.

A seminar, "Protecting Intellectual Property in the Digital

Age"

will be presented by the Princeton Media Communications Association

on Wednesday, April 24, at 6:30 p.m. at Templeton Hall, Princeton

Theological Seminary. Admission is free for Princeton chapter members

and $15 for the public. Call 732-514-0090.

Bilello was originally scheduled to take part in the seminar, but

business commitments have called her away. She will be replaced by

Chris Dedrick, senior media consultant at Films for the

Humanities.

Other panelists will include Dennis Helms, a specialist in

trademark

and copyright matters, and Jay Milner, a screenwriter and

professor

at Mercer College (U.S. 1, March 20).

"This is a time of transition for many institutions," says

Dedrick. "I get six to ten calls a week from various institutions

that are moving into the digital age." To accommodate this growing

trend, Films for the Humanities and Sciences, which has been providing

educational media to schools, libraries, and universities for over

25 years, has recently licensed many of the 12,000 film titles for

digital transmission.

With the high profile customers that the firm deals with, intellectual

property theft is rare. "I primarily work with major colleges

and university libraries," says Dedrick. "They know what the

copyright laws are. The problems come when you get a professor who

isn’t so knowledgeable and does what he wants with the material."

Bilello, who graduated from City University of New York, has been

with Films for the Humanities and Sciences for 17 years. "When

I started, we worked with 16 millimeter film," says Bilello.

"We

were run by a husband and wife who sold the company to Primedia about

10 years ago. In that time the industry has gone through so many

changes,

from film to Beta, then to video, and now to DVD." Dedrick

graduated

from Trenton State in 1994 and has been at FFH for two and a half

years.

While digital format is becoming more commonplace — soon big

budget

motion pictures will be beamed to your nearby cineplex via satellite

— there is certainly no going back to the days of celluloid and

broken sprockets. Aside from doing the basics, like making sure to

copyright your work, Bilello offers this advice to anyone

contemplating

a plunge into the world of digital transmission.

Know your rights. Make sure you have full public

performance

rights. They allow for a non-theatrical showing without charge outside

the home to a gathering other than family or friends. These are the

gatherings normally found in schools, libraries, churches, and civic

institutions, and closed circuit transmission in a single building.

Know your customers. Before allowing your work into the

hands of another party, it’s important to know who your customers

are and what they are going to use the work for. "Make a list

of questions in advance," says Bilello. And make sure your

customers

get it and answer it before opening the digital floodgates.

— Jack Florek

Top Of Page
Reach For Your Star

At conventions the keynote speaker is supposed to infuse

the listeners with renewed energy, and follow-up workshops should

follow up with the nuts and bolts of self-improvement. That’s the

way it works at the one-day meeting for what used to be called

"Secretary’s

Day," now called "Administrative Professionals Day." It

is set for Thursday, April 25, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Princeton

Marriott: Cost: $129 (discounts for members and groups). Call

609-586-9446.

It is sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, Mercer County Community

College, and the International Association of Administrative

Professionals.

Suzanne G. Lee, keynoter, will inspire with "Reach for the

Star in You." Participants will enjoy continental breakfast,

lunch,

and any three of five hour-long seminars, including "Tune Up Your

Holistic Health," by Jane Keegan Daly, a registered nurse

and holistic health therapist; and "Boost Your Financial

Power,"

by Edward Kucharski, a certified financial planner.

Ozana Castellano, a business communications specialist, will

hone business writing skills using the topic "Sharpening Your

E-mail Etiquette." For those who already know PowerPoint, Art

Masotes will lead an advanced session. Surely one good way to star

as an administrative professional is to take your boss’s dull

PowerPoint

presentation and liven it up. Masotes will cover how to use the

drawing

tools, add word art, link a chart from Excel — even how to

integrate

sound and movie clips.

Top Of Page
Tax Amnesty

In the wake of the April 15 tax deadline comes some

good news for tax debtors: New Jersey has just started a tax amnesty

program. Until Monday, June 10, taxpayers may pay only the tax that

they owe — all liabilities and penalties will be waived. This

waiver covers tax liabilities for returns due between January 1, 1996,

and before January 1, 2002.

Eligible for amnesty are sales and use taxes, personal income taxes,

corporate income taxes, and other categories. Not eligible under this

program are federal taxes, local property taxes, and taxes paid to

other states.

The amnesty is a double-edged sword. After June 10 an extra five

percent

penalty will be added to any taxes that were eligible for the amnesty,

and a collection service fee may be imposed. This will be in addition

to all other penalties, interest, and associated costs. The state

expects the program to yield $150 million for this year’s budget.


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