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10 Aug 21:43

Mr. Gaiman, I've heard you say before that "If somebody says something doesn't work for them, they are almost always right, but if they tell you exactly why, they are almost always wrong." Well, I'm a young author trying to get an agent for my book and I've got a dozen rejections under my belt so far. All of 'em are polite but brief things along the lines of "this doesn't work for me." So now I'm agonizing over what about my book or my query needs fixed, and I just don't know. Any advice?


Perfect advice for a wannabe published author.

Get someone — or more than one someones — whose opinion you respect to read the book. Then ask them to tell you when they lost interest, what parts of the plot confused them, who they didn’t care about, where they decided they didn’t care to finish it, etc. Then use that as your guide to rewriting. (You can also pretend you’ve never read it before and try to read it as an audience, and work out where YOU feel frustrated or bored.)

Or you could put that book aside and use everything you learned writing it as you write your next book. Then go back to this book when you are ready and a more experienced writer.

09 Aug 16:45

CryptoLocker Encryption Cracked. How To Get Your Files Back.


This is good to know..

Over the past few months, one of the most dangerous viruses affecting computers has been Cryptolocker. Once infected, the virus encrypts all of the document files on your PC, and then demands payment (usually by Bitcoin) in order to divulge the necessary decryption key. While it's possible to remove the virus with standard antivirus software, and thus stop the infection spreading any further, the encrypted files remained encrypted.

Until now.

It turns out that some of the key servers used by the Cryptolocker scammers had been intercepted by the authorities, and they managed to capture enough information to allow them to decrypt the documents of anyone whose computer had been affected.
09 Jun 17:17

Maya Angelou (1928 – 2014)


Blessed Be.

Maya Angelou (1928 – 2014)

08 Jun 00:00

This Is Why You Don't Hide Under A Tree During A Lightning Storm

by Robert T. Gonzalez on io9, shared by Whitson Gordon to Lifehacker


This Is Why You Don't Hide Under A Tree During A Lightning Storm

Via the US National Weather Service comes this staggering footage of a lightning bolt making matchsticks of a tree in Upstate New York.


08 Jun 21:09

Why Does a Wooden Spoon Stop Pasta from Boiling Over?



You've undoubtedly seen this trick on the internet or from your beloved Italian nonna: balance a wooden spoon across a pot of cooking pasta to prevent the water from boiling over and creating an unsightly, sticky mess all over your stovetop. It's almost magical, that's how easy it is. The most popularly held belief is that the wooden spoon prevents heat from building up too much at the center of the pot, thus preventing the liquid from boiling too high—but this is not true. The Wooden Spoon Trick Works in Two Ways First, bubbles are unstable forms. When something hydrophobic (i.e. unable to... more

04 Mar 10:30

Prejudice by Tim Minchin

by timminchin

For all of the redheads out there,

'Prejudice' taken from the Australian 'Ready For This?' DVD.
Views: 6339058
51815 ratings
Time: 06:44 More in Comedy
09 May 00:57

Bitly alerts users of widespread account compromises, claims no accounts have been accessed

by Chris Parsons

If you've ever created an account for the url shortening service Bitly before, you'll want to listen up. Bitly has now announced via their blog that they have reason to believe that Bitly account credentials have been compromised and our suggesting users change their API keys and OAuth tokens.

24 Dec 12:21

Enable KitKat’s Full-Screen Immersive Mode For All Apps On Android

by Haroon Q Raja


Google introduced the new Immersive Mode in Android 4.4 KitKat that automatically hides the status bar and the navigation bar for certain apps, letting you view the app in full screen mode while still being able to bring up either of the system bars by swiping down from the top edge or swiping up from the bottom one. However, this mode works only in apps that have it enabled by their developers, giving users no control over the apps for which it gets enabled. Though thanks to Immerse Me Xposed Module by XDA Senior Member MohammadAG, you can now enable the full screen Immersive Mode for all your apps, as long as you have a rooted Android 4.4+ KitKat device with the Xposed framework installed.

In case you are unfamiliar with the Xposed framework, take a look at detailed guide on installing and using Xposed Framework, which will also guide you through the process of installing any Xposed module. To start using Immerse Me, simply install and enable the module as per the instructions in our guide, and restart your phone or tablet.

Immerse Me Xposed Mod for Android KitKat 1 Immerse Me Xposed Mod for Android KitKat 2

After you restart, you will notice that every single app (including your home screen launcher) is showing up in full screen by default, just the way it would in Immersive Mode. And you can bring the system bars by swiping from either of the top or bottom edges.

At the moment, Immerse Me applies Immersive Mode to all your apps when enabled, but the developer has promised to add the ability to selectively enable it for apps of your choice in a future update.

While something like this has been possible in custom ROMs like Paranoid Android, CyanogenMod and AOKP for quite a while in form of the Expanded Desktop feature, it wasn’t a native implementation of the AOSP Android itself, and wasn’t available on stock Android. With this mod, it is now possible for anyone with a rooted Android phone or tablet running Android 4.4 KitKat or later to put this native feature to use for all their apps.

To learn more about immerse Me, report bugs, stay up to date on development, and request features, head over to its XDA forum thread at the link below.

[via XDA-Developers]

Read Enable KitKat’s Full-Screen Immersive Mode For All Apps On Android by Haroon Q Raja on AddictiveTips - Tech tips to make you smarter

21 Dec 22:25

Six Settings To Enhance Your Safari Experience On OS X

by Shujaa Imran

Safari anyone?

Six-Tips-Safari-TeaserAlthough many Mac users now prefer using third-party options such as Chrome and Firefox over Safari, Apple’s Safari browser for OS X offers a well-integrated and easy option for viewing web content on a Mac. To further enhance your experience using Safari, we’ve compiled a list of a few tweaks that should help you out.

1. Set Your Homepage Options

The most important factor of a web browser is what you will see when you open up a new tab/window, and the settings required to tweak this appearance are located in the “General” section of the Safari preferences. Over here, you can choose to open new windows and tabs with an empty page, Safari’s Top Sites view, the same page that was loaded on the last active tab or window or a custom home page you specify in the Homepage field. In addition to this wide-range of features, you can choose to load an organized folder of tabs when you open up a new windows, which can be set up in Safari’s bookmarks organization interface.


If you use the Top Sites feature, you can also set the number of previews to show in the same preferences pane. By default it shows 12, but you can select either six or 24, depending on your needs.

2. Block Pop-Up Windows

Older versions of Safari had a famous option to block pop-up windows in the program menu. Apple has removed this option from the menu, but the feature is still available. All you need to do to now is to check the appropriate box in the Security pane of Safari’s preferences. With it enabled, web site will be prevented from launching new browser windows/tabs, which will stop spam sites opening too many windows and cluttering your display.


3. Clear Site-Specific Data

Web sites that you often visit store site-specific settings in cookies and caches. Most sites mention this on the top of their web pages to make the user aware of the fact that settings are being stored in your cookies/caches which will help your browsing experience. If this data is corrupted, then sites may not load properly, or they may show odd behaviour like not accepting log-in credentials. Often when websites have such problems, you can try clearing cookies and other site-specific data. But if this also does not work, the ultimate fix is to use the Reset Safari option, which will clear data from all of your websites, and thus will not be preferable. Instead, go to the Privacy section of Safari’s preferences and click “Details,” under the option to remove all Web site data. In the panel that appears, you can search for a site you’ve visited to remove data for that site only.


4. Manage Site-Specific Plug-In Options

Similar to the management of site-specific data, the plug-ins that Web sites uses to display content (such as Java) can be managed on a per-site basis. While Safari has an option in its Security Preferences to allow or block plug-ins, next to this option is a “Manage Website Settings” button that will allows you to specify not only how Safari handles each plug-in globally, but also how Safari will do so for specific Web sites.


To do this, after clicking the button, you can select a plug-in and choose the restriction level to use for other Web sites. This will bring up the global settings for the plug-in, as well as individual options for sites listed.

5. Enable The Develop Menu


As mentioned in the various tips above, while troubleshooting Web sites in Safari, it usually helps to clear your browser’s cache, or disable caches altogether. In this way, the site’s content is directly loaded from remote servers instead of from a local temporary store file. This option to disable caches is not available in Safari by default, but it is supported if you enable the Develop menu. This menu can be activated by checking the corresponding box at the bottom of the Advanced section of Safari’s preferences. In this menu, you will not only have various options for managing Safari’s cache, but also ones to enable WebGL, change user agent identifiers, and use developer tools such as JavaScript debugging panels, and HTML source code viewers and editors etc.

6. Tab through all Items on a Page

The last option that we have for you today is to be able to tab through all items on a page with which you can interact. By default, on most browsers, the Tab key will shift focus through various text fields and buttons. If you press the “Option” key together with “Tab”, Safari will highlight links and other objects, and pressing Enter will activate that link. While this is the default setup, you can reverse this behaviour in the Advanced section of Safari’s preferences by enabling “Press Tab to highlight each item on a webpage.”

Have any more useful tips? We’d love to hear them in the comments below.

The post Six Settings To Enhance Your Safari Experience On OS X appeared first on Make Tech Easier.


14 Dec 02:23

word-stuck: (submitted by starcrasher)


(submitted by starcrasher)

16 Dec 08:19

seriously though


Art History 101

17 Oct 17:19

Calvin & Hobbes Creator Bill Watterson Gives Rare Interview

by Laura Hudson

The world according to Bill Watterson.

Calvin & Hobbes Creator Bill Watterson Gives Rare Interview
The infamously reclusive creator of Calvin & Hobbes, Bill Watterson, spoke for the first time in several years in a new interview

16 Oct 17:00

Reading Made Awesome: The Features of Ebook Apps You Should Be Using

by Eric Ravenscraft

Just when you think you know everything.

Reading Made Awesome: The Features of Ebook Apps You Should Be Using

Reading books on tablets or phones is awesome. There, I said it and I'm not taking it back. While the biggest advantage of reading on a mobile device is convenience and a huge portable library, there are a ton of features that make the experience awesome.



26 Aug 13:32

9 Crucial Tips and Tricks for Skype

by Amy-Mae Elliott

Crucial may be too strong a word, but important never the less.


Here at Mashable we use Skype on a daily basis. It's part of a suite of essential online tools that keep us connected to our friends, families and colleagues

As regular users, we've picked up a few handy tips and tricks we thought we'd share with you. From customizing Skype sounds to setting up a called ID, we think you'll find our selection useful

Take a look through our top tips in the gallery. In the comments below, please share any of your Skype tricks to make using the VoIP service better.

Images, iStockphoto: zaricm, pated

More about Microsoft, Skype, Voip, Software, and How To
23 Aug 16:09

Kevin Spacey Warns TV Networks: Change or Get Left Behind

by Brian Anthony Hernandez

This applies to anyone who looks at any screen for entertainment.


Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey, who this year starred in Netflix's online-only original series House of Cards, chided the TV industry for not doing more to cater to changes in people's viewing behaviors that have spawned from tech changes and social media growth.

Spacey delivered the keynote speech at the Edinburgh International TV Festival on Thursday, on the heels of House of Cards earning nine Emmy nominations — the first time the TV academy has given nods to a series hosted online instead of on cable or network TV.

"Clearly the success of the Netflix model — releasing the entire season of House of Cards at once — proved one thing: The audience wants the control, they want the freedom," Spacey said. "If they want to binge as they've been doing on House of Cards and lots of other shows, then we should let them binge. I can't tell you how many people have stopped me on the street and said, 'Thanks, you sucked three days out of my life.'" Read more...

More about Entertainment, Netflix, Tv, Streaming Video, and House Of Cards
23 Aug 14:30

Grammarly Checks Your Spelling and Grammar As You Type in Your Browser

by Melanie Pinola

The pro version is expensive, but the free version works very nicely for me.

Grammarly Checks Your Spelling and Grammar As You Type in Your Browser

Chrome/Firefox/Safari: Grammarly's webapp provides an easy way to proofread your text for writing errors, but the full features require a pro subscription. The free Grammarly Lite browser extensions, however, are available to everyone for instant spelling and grammar checks, as well as dictionary and thesaurus lookups.



18 Aug 23:00

Take Photos of Your Kids Before Heading Into Crowds

by Shep McAllister

As someone who has looked for kids in crowds bigger than most cities, this is a GREAT idea.

Take Photos of Your Kids Before Heading Into Crowds

No parent wants to think about losing track of their kids in a crowd, but it's best to be prepared just in case.



19 Aug 12:30

Avast! Mobile Backup Regularly Backs Up Your Android to Google Drive

by Alan Henry

This one works.

Avast! Mobile Backup Regularly Backs Up Your Android to Google Drive

Android: There are plenty of great ways toback up your Android phone, but the new Avast! Mobile Backup makes it easy for anyone to do scheduled backups of their apps, settings, and data, and then sync all of that information to the cloud where you can quickly use it to set up a new phone.



20 Aug 16:59

No room for thick prose: Elmore Leonard's 10 rules of writing

by hollie

Only 10?

Column Tue 20 Aug, AT 17:41
Editor's Letter

Alongside thrillers like Get Shorty, the novelist leaves a classic handbook, writes Nigel Horne

21 Aug 06:02

Google Chrome 30.0.1599.14 Dev

Google Chrome is a browser that combines a minimal design with sophisticated technology to make the web faster, safer, and easier.
18 Aug 23:21

Parts of Speech


I could have skipped all those English classes if they just gave of this.

16 Aug 14:50

Everything You Need to Know About Email Headers

by Miguel Leiva-Gomez

This can tell you where the email REALLY came from and how to spot scammers.


email-headers-gmailEmail headers still remain a mysterious part of email transfers. Those with a basic understanding of how email works still have trouble deciphering headers. When you look at an email, all you usually see is the message body, subject line, sender, and recipient. When you dig into the header, you see a large amount of enigmatic text that can be very confusing. However, headers tell you a lot about a message and could possibly prevent you from falling into trouble. 

What Is an Email Header?

Whenever you send a message, it gets relayed across different servers until it reaches its final destination. To keep record of the entire transaction (and to verify whether the information within it coincides with the email sent), a header is created. An email header is the full record of everything that happened from the time the email leaves the sender until it arrives at the recipient’s inbox. They will give you all the routing information, showing you where the email message has been before it arrived. It’s a rather useful tool for determining whether an email is a scam or not. Servers like Google and Yahoo sift through headers and use the information to help them find scams and spam ahead of time. A typical email header looks like this:



It can look a little intimidating, but it stops being confusing once you read each line carefully.

2: How do You Know Where an Email Came From?

When looking through a header, you’ll notice several IP addresses (four groups of numbers from 0 to 255 separated by dots). These addresses represent either the sender’s or the relay server’s IP address. To read a header, you have to look from the bottom to the top. A header will show the oldest information at the bottom. So, the IP address you see at the oldest “Received:” between two brackets (“[" and "]“) represents the sender’s IP address. If the person isn’t using a proxy to send emails, this is most likely the IP address his/her computer used at the time the email was sent.

3: How to Tell if Someone Is a Scammer

When determining if a sender is trying to scam you, you have one significant advantage: Scammers don’t usually try to hide their IP addresses, since they know most people don’t pay attention to email headers. Once you get the scammer’s address, just pop it into a blacklist checker like the one from What Is My IP Address or the MX Toolbox. Both of these are highly reliable and check many blacklists that major email providers use.

You still have to use your eyes. Watch out for the obvious ones that tell you about large sums of money you weren’t even aware of inheriting or receiving. There are even others that are creative enough to imitate major credible companies such as FedEx, PayPal, and UPS. Blacklists have some difficulty catching up with scams because they operate on an “innocent until proven guilty” premise. That gives new scammers time to set up shop and email tens of thousands of unsuspecting victims, most of which won’t even think about looking through the email header.

4: How to Find The Email Header in a Message



If you’re trying to get to a header, you might have some trouble finding it. Gmail has a guide for many different email clients and webmail providers that’s updated and consistent with any changes that providers may make. Since email interfaces are always updating, it’s always better to use Gmail’s guide, since it will compensate for any changes.

For Gmail, you just have to click the “Down” arrow in each email and select “Show original”. This will load the original email, including its header, in a new tab.

Are You Staying Safe?

If you’re trying to understand email headers and still have trouble, post a question in the comments below and someone will be with you shortly. If you feel like you’ve got enough know-how to show us some cool new way to use email headers to detect troublemakers, go ahead and post it! Everyone benefits when we teach each other.

The post Everything You Need to Know About Email Headers appeared first on Make Tech Easier.


14 Aug 14:09

Back to school: software deals and student specials

by SarahDobbs

school software

Features James Hunt Aug 14, 2013
Going to uni, but can’t afford to spend hundreds of pounds on expensive software packages? Well, you’re in luck…

Going to university involves a lot of surprises. Doing your own washing. Buying your own clothes. And, of course, no longer being able to borrow every software package you need off your parents. If you’re finding this something of a shock, don’t worry. Software publishers might be control freaks who’d like nothing more than to stop people installing their programs entirely, but even they realise that there’s value in getting students hooked on their software before they head out into the working world.

Yes, if you’re a student (university or otherwise) who wants to buy what would normally be a rather costly software package, you’re in luck. Publishers do offer an alternative to shelling out your hard-earned loans and grants: the educational licence.

As the name suggests, educational-licence software is available to students (and anyone working in the educational sector) at a hugely reduced discount. The idea is that companies can treat the sales as loss-leaders: getting software into the hands of the next generation of workers so that, when the time comes, they’ll want to use it in their workplaces. The publisher’s endgame is to sell fat, commercial licences off the back of cheaper student sales!

Student editions are, for the most part, identical to retail versions in every way and entirely unrestricted. At most, expect multimedia tools to contain a restriction on any commercial use of their output, but this will be a digital watermark at most, rather than one which is visible on the video or pictures. The intention of these is to prevent companies and large organisations using educational copies rather than the fully licensed versions, rather than prevent students from profiting from their software purchase.

You may be wondering what measures there are to prevent non-students from buying educational editions at the reduced price and using those at home in a non-commercial manner. The answer, really, is nothing. There are checks along the way, but these mostly end at the point where you receive your product key with no follow ups.

That said, if non-students buy educational editions, the licence on the software is effectively invalid. By buying a licence for which they are not eligible, people who do this have effectively committed software piracy. This applies even if they’ve done so in such a way that ensures that the traditional supply chain receives some money in the process. A piece of software bought under false pretenses is no more legal than if it had been torrented from Pirate Bay!

It’s also worth pointing out that student editions tend not to be returnable, in order to prevent people getting refunds if they discover they can’t swindle the eligibility requirements. Non-students, buy these copies at your own risk!

Where to buy

Buying educationally licensed software isn’t particularly difficult - the only real hurdle is proving your eligibility to buy it! If you’re already enrolled in an educational institution, most will have some kind of on-site retailer (whether self-owned or franchised) that will be able to sell student editions to you over the counter. In most cases all you need is your student ID as proof. A number of websites also allow you to purchase software editions online. These will be retail boxed copies, which arrive in the post, rather than downloads. In some cases when buying online, you might not actually need to provide student ID, although some organisations insist that you provide digital proof at point of sale, for their records.

Most publishers have a dedicated student reseller program that allows you to perform a postcode-based search on retailers in your area who stock boxed student editions. This is ideal if you’re buying at short notice. Such retailers may require proof of your student status, as they could lose their ability to participate in the reseller program if they are found to be selling student software to people who are ineligible.

Although you may be able to find student software for sale at independent high street retail outlets, a simpler way of getting hold of academic editions is to buy them online. This can mean one of two things - either direct from the publisher or from online resellers. In the case of the former, you will probably find that the costs are higher and the postage considerably larger, but if you’re looking for specialist software there may be no other stockist around. If you go directly to the manufacturers, you may also be able to get download-only versions of software not available from other retailers.

In many cases, you’ll be required to provide a digitised copy of your student ID and proof of enrolment in order to receive the necessarily product activation keys for a student licence. This is done to prevent ineligible buyers from trying to save money by buying student editions. If you do not have a student ID, you should be able to get a certificate of enrolment from your institution’s administrative office, similar to those used to exclude yourself from council tax, although some photo ID - a passport or driving licence - might be necessary alongside this.

For those interested in boxed versions only, we’ve put together this short list of places to find the student discounts you’re entitled to:

Software 4 Students

A clean and accessible website with reasonably low prices and a decent range of software - although don’t expect anything in the way of hardware (the clue’s in the name). The on-site blog is a nice touch, too, featuring a variety of student-related content: reviews, competitions and ‘Top FIve’ lists, all of which help keep customers engaged with the products and the site itself. Web Of Truse ratings for this site are all 90%+, so even though are student days are well behind us, and we’ve never shopped here, we’re confident recommending the site as a top choice.


The National Union of Students doesn’t sell software directly, but its website offers a reasonably helpful description of the software discounts students are entitled to with links to places where you can buy the relevant software. As well as 15% off at the Apple Store, NUS Extra ISIC card holders can get 90% off Microsoft software and discounts on hardware from Dell.


Amazon’s virtual shelves contain a huge number of student-licensed editions of many popular packages, including the likes of Microsoft Office and Adobe Creative Suite. Student verification for its purchases are mostly done through the publisher, rather than the retailer - you’ll still have to activate the software online before it can be used! The discounts are reasonable, but as with most things Amazon-related, it’s really the selection that it’s worth turning up for.

What to buy?

The wide range of software available for students does beg one question: of all the wide variety of options out there, what do you actually need? Plenty of packages are optional, and if you really are committed to keeping your outgoings to a minimum, then if truth be told there are free alternatives available for most. There are, however, some distinct advantages to shelling out some money, so to help you make some decisions we’ve listed our top student software packages. Load your computer up with these and you’ll have everything you need to conquer the world of academia. Or, at the very least, set you on the path to blagging a 2:2!

Microsoft Office 365 University (£54)

Office 365 is Microsoft’s subscription-based online Office suite, offering access to a number of convenient services and cloud-based versions of popular Microsoft applications. As well as online versions of the 2010 editions of Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and Publisher, buyers receive 20GB of cloud storage provided by Microsoft’s own SkyDrive Service and 60 minutes of international Skype calls a month - making it especially attractive to international students studying here. The University edition is near-identical to the Home Premium edition, although the licence is only four years in length and it can only be used on two devices (PC or Mac) by a single user.

Amazon is currently selling it for £6 less than Microsoft is, but beware – the retail copy is just a download code, rather than a physical disc.

Microsoft Office University 2010 (£100)

Although it’s now been superceded by Office 365, those who want a student edition of Microsoft Office on disc can still buy the 2010 release from various suppliers. This academic edition of Microsoft Office comes with Word 2010, Excel 2010, PowerPoint 2010, OneNote 2010, Outlook 2010, Publisher 2010, Access 2010, as well as access to the Office Web Apps and is licensed for installation on two PCs. Notably, it’s restricted to ‘higher-education’ owners only, meaning it’s an offer that’s only applicable to university or college students and the staff of those institutions.

Eligibility is verified online rather than through a generic product key, meaning your going to need an International student identity card or academic email address to activate the software and begin using it.

Microsoft Windows 8 Pro Upgrade (£50)

The bad news is that, unlike previous versions of the operating system, there’s no Student-only edition of Windows 8 (at least, not yet). That means that student discounts are purely limited to those offered by the retailer. The cheapest price we can find the Windows 8 Pro Upgrade edition online is £49.50, a measly 49 pence cheaper than it’s available for if you buy it direct from Microsoft. Many high-street retailers will give NUS members somewhere between 10-20% discount, though, so if you’re looking for a new Operating System, it might be worth scoping out some bricks-and-mortar stores instead.

One word of warning: Windows 8.1 is due out within the next few weeks, so if you can stand to wait you might be able to get a fresher version by doing so. The 8.1 update should be free, though, so don’t worry too much!

Adobe Creative Suite 6 Design Standard Student and Teacher Edition (£286)

It might sound pricey, at almost £300, but the non-academic version of CS6 costs several times that amount, so this is actually quite a good deal - especially when you consider what you get. The package contains CS6 versions of Premiere Pro, After Effects, Photoshop Extended, Audition, SpeedGrade, Prelude, Illustrator, Encore, Flash Professional, Media Encoder and Bridge. It is available for students, teachers, school staff and any other educators who meet the eligibility guidelines, at any level of education, from primary school to university.

Eligibility for students is ascertained by providing digital proof of enrolment using a photo ID, (students under 18 do not need to provide a photo), while academic staff can use a payslip or a letter from the registrar. The software takes two days to activate, though you should be able to use it freely for a month before proof is required. The only restriction is that Student and Teacher editions of Adobe software can’t be upgraded (although you do qualify for discounted purchase on upgrade editions).

QuarkXpress 9 Education Edition (£98)

QuarkXPress is a WYSIWYG publishing program that runs on Mac OS X and Windows and can help users create a huge variety of layouts, from single-page flyers to the multi-media projects required for magazines, newspapers and presentations. Although surpassed by Adobe InDesign as the industry standard, QuarkXpress is still widely used, so students have good reason for wanting to buy a copy.

Educational editions are sold without a validation code and proof of educational enrolment is required in the form of an academic email address or a student ID showing school name, student name, a photo and the enrolment date AND either a tuition bill, transcript, letter of enrolment or report card. The software is available to university and college students, secondary school students, homeschooled students and the faculty or staff thereof.

SketchUp Pro 2013 Higher Education Edition ($49)

A fully featured 3D modelling program, SketchUp Pro is available to student users at a significant discount - the Pro version normally costs $590! Although the student version is available direct from Google, you do need a ‘.edu’ address to buy it, which is only a likely situation in the US. In other countries (including the UK) you can only buy the student edition through a reseller, although there are no further checks and the software can be activated immediately. Licences are valid for one year after the date of purchase and the educational edition of the software can be upgraded for free. You can install the software on two machines simultaneously and the only eligibility requirement is that you are enrolled at an accredited educational institution. Notably, the student edition of SketchUp Pro 2013 cannot be used for commercial purposes.

Kaspersky Internet Security 2013 Student (£35)

A security suite like this one is an essential purchase, especially if you’re going to be hooked up to a university network alongside hundreds of other computers containing who knows what sort of viruses and malware. Offered to students at a discount, Kaspersky internet Security 2013 contains the latest versions of both its antivirus and internet security suites. Available as a download, this edition comes with a one device/two year licence and can only be purchased from authorised student resellers. There are no other checks or restrictions on usage. 

Free student essentials

It’s hard enough being a student without expecting to pay for software as well, so to try and help you out further, here’s our list of essential free alternatives that you might want to use instead.

1. LibreOffice

Undeniably the student’s best friend, LibreOffice is a fully Microsoft-compatible office suite with a word processor, spreadsheet application, PowerPoint-style presentation creator and more besides. If you want to save the best part of £100 on the most commonly needed types of software, LibreOffice is the way to go!

2. Skype

If you’re not already using Skype, it’s an essential communication tool for students, making it easy to collaborate on work right from your university room and phone your relatives back home for free, no matter what country they (or you) are in. The only hard part is getting other people to install it too!

3. Audacity

If you’re looking for audio-editing tools, why let yourself get tricked into shelling out for Adobe’s high-end software when this open-source alternative is just as good and costs absolutely nothing to download and install? You can even use it to quickly convert and edit audio, which is especially useful if you have a lecture recorded that you want some or part of recorded to listen to again later on!

4. GiMP

Juvenile name aside, GIMP (the GNU Image Manipulation Project, if you were wondering) is a fantastic piece of software that has many of the image-editing capabilities of Adobe’s Photoshop package but doesn’t cost anywhere near as much. Image editing is an essential skill these days, whether you’re touching up images for presentation or just trying to make your Facebook photo albums look vaguely acceptable!

14 Aug 14:00

Fortunately, the book... (Explained)

by Neil Gaiman

It's Gaiman.

So I'm not certain right now if I have one book coming out or two, this September. So I will let you ponder the question for me.

I have a book called Fortunately, the Milk coming out from Harper Children's on September the 17th. It's published in the US, Canada, and many such places.

It's illustrated by the brilliant Skottie Young.

This is what the cover looks like:

I have a book called Fortunately, The Milk... (note the ellipses) coming out from Bloomsbury on September the 17th. It's published in the UK, Australia and various other places.

It's illustrated by the amazing Chris Riddell.

This is what the cover looks like:

(You cannot actually tell from this how astoundingly SHINY the cover is. Trust me. It is the shiniest cover you have ever seen.)

And I'm not really sure why there are two books. I know that different places and different publishers like different styles of illustration. And I am not grumbling, because I love Skottie's art, and I love Chris's art, and they are completely different -- in approach, in style, in storytelling.

You can get the feeling for Skottie's art, and the way the US version looks here:

You get a feel for the UK edition with the same pages told in a British Way at:

You are, of course, allowed to order the edition you like best from the country of your choice. But in UK bookshops you'll find the Bloomsbury, in US ones you'll find the Harper Childrens...

Why is the milk in a bottle in the US, where milk almost never comes in bottles? Why is the milk in a carton in the UK, where milk actually does still turn up in bottles? Why does the dad in Chris Riddell's artwork look mysteriously sort of like me?

There are no answers to be found in this video of Chris Riddell drawing...

there ARE however, some answers, to all of your Fortunately, The Milk (...) questions here, in this video.

Watch it. All will be explained. Well, something will be explained, at any rate...

14 Aug 00:00

The Complete Guide to Saving Money on Textbooks

by Adam Dachis

Any new college students out there?

The Complete Guide to Saving Money on Textbooks

With student loan debt at an all-time high, the high costs of text books hurt even more. This year, save yourself a ton of money by buying your textbooks the right way.



14 Aug 15:00

How to Encrypt Your Email and Keep Your Conversations Private

by Alan Henry

Between constant password breaches and the NSA looking in on everything you do, you've probably got privacy on the mind lately. If you're looking for a little personal privacy in your communications with friends and loved ones, or you just want to trust that the documents you email to your accountant or client aren't being intercepted and read, you'll need to encrypt those messages. Thankfully, it's easy to do. Here's how.



15 Aug 18:39

Google DNS Is Down. Here's How to Fix Your Internet

by Whitson Gordon

Google DNS Is Down. Here's How to Fix Your Internet

If you're having trouble accessing the internet on your computer today, it may be a DNS problem: Google's DNS servers are currently having issues. Luckily, changing your DNS is easy. Check out the post below for more information on what DNS is and how to change it on your computer.



14 Aug 05:58

Google Chrome 30.0.1599.0 Dev

Google Chrome is a browser that combines a minimal design with sophisticated technology to make the web faster, safer, and easier.
07 Aug 03:03

An Open Letter to David Cameron and the IOC

by Stephen Fry

Dear Prime Minister, M Rogge, Lord Coe and Members of the International Olympic Committee,

I write in the earnest hope that all those with a love of sport and the Olympic spirit will consider the stain on the Five Rings that occurred when the 1936 Berlin Olympics proceeded under the exultant aegis of a tyrant who had passed into law, two years earlier, an act which singled out for special persecution a minority whose only crime was the accident of their birth. In his case he banned Jews from academic tenure or public office, he made sure that the police turned a blind eye to any beatings, thefts or humiliations inflicted on them, he burned and banned books written by them.

He claimed they “polluted” the purity and tradition of what it was to be German, that they were a threat to the state, to the children and the future of the Reich. He blamed them simultaneously for the mutually exclusive crimes of Communism and for the controlling of international capital and banks. He blamed them for ruining the culture with their liberalism and difference. The Olympic movement at that time paid precisely no attention to this evil and proceeded with the notorious Berlin Olympiad, which provided a stage for a gleeful Führer and only increased his status at home and abroad. It gave him confidence. All historians are agreed on that. What he did with that confidence we all know.

Putin is eerily repeating this insane crime, only this time against LGBT Russians. Beatings, murders and humiliations are ignored by the police. Any defence or sane discussion of homosexuality is against the law. Any statement, for example, that Tchaikovsky was gay and that his art and life reflects this sexuality and are an inspiration to other gay artists would be punishable by imprisonment. It is simply not enough to say that gay Olympians may or may not be safe in their village. The IOC absolutely must take a firm stance on behalf of the shared humanity it is supposed to represent against the barbaric, fascist law that Putin has pushed through the Duma. Let us not forget that Olympic events used not only to be athletic, they used to include cultural competitions. Let us realise that in fact, sport is cultural. It does not exist in a bubble outside society or politics. The idea that sport and politics don’t connect is worse than disingenuous, worse than stupid. It is wickedly, wilfully wrong. Everyone knows politics interconnects with everything for “politics” is simply the Greek for “to do with the people”.

An absolute ban on the Russian Winter Olympics of 2014 on Sochi is simply essential. Stage them elsewhere in Utah, Lillehammer, anywhere you like. At all costs Putin cannot be seen to have the approval of the civilised world.

He is making scapegoats of gay people, just as Hitler did Jews. He cannot be allowed to get away with it. I know whereof I speak. I have visited Russia, stood up to the political deputy who introduced the first of these laws, in his city of St Petersburg. I looked into the face of the man and, on camera, tried to reason with him, counter him, make him understand what he was doing. All I saw reflected back at me was what Hannah Arendt called, so memorably, “the banality of evil.” A stupid man, but like so many tyrants, one with an instinct of how to exploit a disaffected people by finding scapegoats. Putin may not be quite as oafish and stupid as Deputy Milonov but his instincts are the same. He may claim that the “values” of Russia are not the “values” of the West, but this is absolutely in opposition to Peter the Great’s philosophy, and against the hopes of millions of Russians, those not in the grip of that toxic mix of shaven headed thuggery and bigoted religion, those who are agonised by the rolling back of democracy and the formation of a new autocracy in the motherland that has suffered so much (and whose music, literature and drama, incidentally I love so passionately).

I am gay. I am a Jew. My mother lost over a dozen of her family to Hitler’s anti-Semitism. Every time in Russia (and it is constantly) a gay teenager is forced into suicide, a lesbian “correctively” raped, gay men and women beaten to death by neo-Nazi thugs while the Russian police stand idly by, the world is diminished and I for one, weep anew at seeing history repeat itself.

“All that is needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing,” so wrote Edmund Burke. Are you, the men and women of the IOC going to be those “good” who allow evil to triumph?

The Summer Olympics of 2012 were one of the most glorious moments of my life and the life of my country. For there to be a Russian Winter Olympics would stain the movement forever and wipe away any of that glory. The Five Rings would finally be forever smeared, besmirched and ruined in the eyes of the civilised world.


I am begging you to resist the pressures of pragmatism, of money, of the oily cowardice of diplomats and to stand up resolutely and proudly for humanity the world over, as your movement is pledged to do. Wave your Olympic flag with pride as we gay men and women wave our Rainbow flag with pride. Be brave enough to live up to the oaths and protocols of your movement, which I remind you of verbatim below.

Rule 4 Cooperate with the competent public or private organisations and authorities in the endeavour to place sport at the service of humanity and thereby to promote peace

Rule 6: Act against any form of discrimination affecting the Olympic Movement

Rule 15 Encourage and support initiatives blending sport with culture and education

I especially appeal to you, Prime Minister, a man for whom I have the utmost respect. As the leader of a party I have for almost all of my life opposed and instinctively disliked, you showed a determined, passionate and clearly honest commitment to LGBT rights and helped push gay marriage through both houses of our parliament in the teeth of vehement opposition from so many of your own side. For that I will always admire you, whatever other differences may lie between us. In the end I believe you know when a thing is wrong or right. Please act on that instinct now.

Yours in desperate hope for humanity

Stephen Fry


The post An Open Letter to David Cameron and the IOC appeared first on Official site of Stephen Fry.

11 Aug 00:54

25 Editing Tips for Tightening Your Copy


Nixing "that" is a good start.

25 Editing Tips for Tightening Your Copy:

1. Cut long sentences in two
2. Axe the adverbs (a.k.a. -ly words)
3. Stick to one voice
4. Remove extra punctuation
5. Replace negative with positive
6. Replace stuffy words with simple ones
7. Remove redundancies
8. Reduce prepositions
9. Cut “in order to”
10. Don’t use “start to”
11. Nix “that”
12. Replace “thing” with a better word
13. Try really hard to spot instances of “very” and “really”
14. Make your verbs stronger
15. Ditch the passive voice
16. Refer to people as “who” not “that”
17. Avoid “currently”
18. Eliminate “there is” or “there are” at the beginning of sentences
19. Match up your bullet points
20. Use contractions
21. Steer clear of the ing trap
22. Check your commas with that and which
23. Replace “over” with “more than” for numbers
24. Hyphenate modifiers
25. Identify your tells 

Read the complete article here