A different view of the screen

A different view of the screen
By Donna J. Jodhan

In most cases, when a blind employee navigates their screen, they do so
using their keyboard exclusively. Whereas a sighted employee uses their
mouse to point and click, a blind employee uses their keys to do the same.
They depend on shortcut keys to get them where they need to be on the

For sighted persons, their dependence on a mouse is almost exclusive and for
a blind employee, their dependence on shortcut keys is almost exclusive.
The tab, control, escape, and alt keys are a blind employee’s best friend.
Or should I say a blind person’s best friends. Various combinations of
these keys are also best friends and of course there is the find command to
help a blind person find things quickly.

This is how blind persons navigate their screen. In the workplace, a blind
employee can be just as fast as a sighted person when navigating the screen.
The one huge challenge comes when a screen freezes and a blind employee is
unable to tell what is going on because their access technology software is
unable to speak. Such situations would be during circumstances such as: A
system crash, a hard drive failure, or a screen interruption. A blind
employee would also depend on any sound that their computer gives off in
order to help them navigate their screen and/or decipher what may be going

For someone with enough vision to identify colors, they may use their vision
to help them identify such things as: Where the cursor is, an image of the
screen, and maybe location of fields and icons and/or images. Some blind
persons use screen magnifiers to help them navigate while others use close
circuit TV devices. It all depends on the level of vision.

I’m Donna J. Jodhan your free lance writer and roving reporter wishing you a
terrific day.
I wish all of my readers a very happy holiday season for 2012 and a special
thanks to Jill Walters for giving me the opportunity to write for her.

For more of my blogs, please visit:
http://www.sterlingcreations.com/businessdesk.htm and

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Top Google headlines for the week

Hi there and it’s your Sterling Creations team!
We are pleased to bring you some of the top Google headlines of the week and
we hope that you find them useful.
Have a great day.

rt Why Financial Services Brands Need Content Marketing Now More than Ever
Millennials are at a financial turning point, and the financial services
industry is … As Baby Boomers retire and grow older

Why Financial Services Brands Need Content Marketing Now More than Ever

rt Top tips for small business owners contemplating a PC purchase

rt Security Tips Highlight the Benefits of a Professional Agency, Notes
Spear Security Inc.

Work from home job listings

Exploring the 5 Biggest Healthcare Technology Trends in 2016

Exploring the 5 Biggest Healthcare Technology Trends in 2016

How to Outsource Security Services: Tips for Small Businesses

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Know when to use a JPG and when to use a PNG and always Squish them both

Hello there! From time to time we at the business desk are pleased to bring
you an article of interest and for this week we have a great one for you!
We now invite you to read on!
The Sterling Creations team


A Dan Thompson contribution
Know when to use a JPG and when to use a PNG and always Squish them both

Source page for this article:


The best rule of thumb for bloggers using images in their posts is:

Use JPGs for photographs, landscapes, and faces. Use PNGs for charts,
graphs, screenshots and cartoons. Use GIFs only for animations, and

As with all rules of thumbs, you should use your best judgment. You should
aim to understand how these two image formats work so you can make the right

JPGs (JPEGs) are “lossy.” That means
they lose data. They literally throw image data away that they figure your
eyes won’t see.

JPEG – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


A good example would be a landscape with a large blue sky. The image format
could hold all the detail of the blue sky, literally millions of pixels
saying blue, blue, dark blue, darkish blue, sky blue…or it could say “this
is a whole area of mostly blueish.” Sure, some detail is lost, but for the
most part, it’s a big blue sky, right? When you save a JPG in your paint
program (like
Paint.NET) and there’s a quality slider for the JPG, the lower the number
the more data you’ll throw away.

You can visit the link below to download a zipped version of



PNGs are
“lossless.” That means that they don’t lose data when they are saved. They
are more like ZIP files than like JPGs. PNGs also are known for their
ability to have transparent regions. With a JPG you might have a white
background, but a similar PNG could have a transparent background and be
overlaid on other graphics.

File from Wikimedia Commons

Regardless of which one you choose, chances are that the paint app you use
(even Photoshop) haven’t removed all the unneeded data from your graphics
files. Applications like PNGGauntlet or PNGOut can squeeze 10, 20, even 30%
from a already-saved file without any loss in quality. This is especially
important given the number of folks browsing on mobile devices. Bandwidth
matters, and you do everyone a disservice with every one megabyte graphics
file you upload to your blog.


I’m a huge fan of PNGGauntlet. There’s also
Trimage that optimizes JPGs and PNGs on Linux, and
ImageOptim for Mac.

PNGGaultlet works HARD. It will turn your PCs fan on, I’m sure, as it works
very hard. But PNGGauntlet tries all of
OptiPNG, and
DeflOpt and picks the best result to
create the smallest PNGs.

After you’ve got that blog post perfect, I recommend you add a “squish the
graphics” step to your workflow. You’ll only gain speed and happier readers.

All of the above mention programs can bedownloaded by following the
correspond links found at this page.


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The Keyword: Your Central Source for New and Stories about Google

Hello there! From time to time we at the business desk are pleased to bring
you an article of interest and for this week we have a great one for you!
We now invite you to read on!
The Sterling Creations team


A Dan Thompson contribution
The Keyword: Your Central Source for New and Stories about Google

Source: Gizmo’s Daily Tech Tip


Google logoGoogle has a new blog that merges many of its most popular blogs,
news, and tweets in one central location.
The new blog, called The Keyword, brings 30+ product blogs, news, tweets and
updates to one accessible location. Blogs for Google’s main products are
here such as Google Search, Android, Chrome, Gmail, Photos, YouTube, Maps,
Translate, Drive, Calendar, Docs, and Google Play as well as other popular
Google products like Inbox, Google Earth, Google+ and more. In addition to
blogs there’s a section called Topics devoted to categories, like Arts and
Culture, Doodles, Inside Google, Travel, Sports, Energy and Environment,
Journalism, Public Policy, and more.

Other useful Google blogs are still at their same sites:

* Google Security Blog


* Google Webmaster Central Blog
* https://webmasters.googleblog.com/
* Google Research Blog
* https://research.googleblog.com/
* Google Developers Blog


* Google Testing Blog


* Google Cloud Platform Blog


* Google Open Source Blog


* Google Inside Adwords (note that
some browser security add-ons may block this site, though it’s an official
Google site)


* Google Analytics
* https://analytics.googleblog.com/
* Google Scholar Blog


* Blogs and Social Media Directory


* Google Press Images
(official logos for various products, staff and lifestyle photos)


If you enjoy keeping up with various news about Google and its products,
this a good place to keep an eye on what’s happening and what’s new.

The Keyword: Your Central Source for New and Stories about Google


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What’s New in MacOS Sierra and the New MacBooks

Hello there! From time to time we at the business desk are pleased to bring
you an article of interest and for this week we have a great one for you!
We now invite you to read on!
The Sterling Creations team


Contributed by Dan Thompson
What’s New in MacOS Sierra and the New MacBooks

the United States, English is selected by default. The next pop-up menu is
selecting Siri’s voice. There are many options including American Female,
Male, British Male, British Female, and Irish Female.
Next are two radio buttons labeled “On” and “Off.” These control Siri’s
feedback. If you want Siri to speak, make sure the “On” button is checked.
Next is
the control for choosing an input source. The Mac’s internal microphone is
by default. If you are using an additional microphone, select it from the
menu. Next
is the menu for choosing a keyboard shortcut to activate Siri. The final
control is a
checkbox for whether Siri should be shown in the menu bar. It is checked by
Universal Clipboard
This new Apple Continuity feature lets you transfer text from your Mac to
your iOS
device and from your iOS device to your Mac. Sierra needs to be running on
Mac and iOS 10 needs to be running on your iOS device.
The following Macs can use this feature:
MacBook (Early 2015 or newer)
MacBook Pro (2012 or newer)
MacBook Air (2012 or newer)
Mac mini (2012 or newer)
iMac (2012 or newer)
Mac Pro (Late 2013)
The following iOS devices can use this feature:
iPhone 5 or newer
iPad Pro
iPad (4th generation)
iPad Air or newer
iPad mini 2 or newer
iPod touch (6th generation) or newer
Both devices need to be in Bluetooth range and have Handoff activated.
lets the user start work on one device and continue it on another device.
example, you can start an email on your Mac and finish it on your iPhone.
Handoff on the Mac in the General tab of System Preferences. On the iOS
go to Settings/General/Handoff and make sure the “Handoff” button is on.
To copy text from the Mac to an iOS device, select the text to be copied and
type Command + C. It will now be on the Universal Clipboard. Locate where
want to place the text on your device. Go to Edit on the VoiceOver Rotor.
select Paste. The text will be copied to the device. Copy text from an iOS
device to
a Mac by using the Rotor to select and copy the text. Locate where it should
placed on the Mac and type Command + V and text will be pasted. You can also
use the Universal Clipboard to copy from one iOS device to another.
Desktop and Documents Folder in iCloud Drive
You can now access your Desktop and Documents folders on your iOS devices
through iCloud Drive. Apple automatically gives 5 gigabytes (5GB) of free
space. Additional space can be purchased through the iCloud tab in System
If this feature has not been set up during installation, you can still do
it. Open
System Preferences and activate the iCloud tab. In the iCloud tab, activate
Options button next to iCloud. Activate the Options button next to iCloud
Then check the box for the “Desktop and Documents” folder. If there is
space in iCloud, you will hear an option to purchase more. Activate the
button in the lower right of the window.
On your iOS device, open iCloud Drive. Open the Desktop or Documents folder
select the file.
The syncing of the Desktop and Documents folders can be reversed. Instead of
checking the Desktop and Documents folders option, uncheck it.
Unlock Your Mac with Your Apple Watch
This feature only works on Macs made in mid-2013 and later and the Apple
must be running watchOS3. You need to be signed into iCloud and both the Mac
and Watch need to be on the same Apple ID. In addition, 2-factor
must be activated for your Apple ID.
Turn on Auto Unlock by going to System Preferences and activating the
and Privacy tab. Check the box that allows your watch to unlock your Mac.
must be wearing an Apple Watch to unlock the Mac. Press a key or open the
lid of
your computer. Your Mac should then unlock.
VoiceOver Volume
It is no longer necessary to go into the VoiceOver utility or use Command +
+ Option and arrow keys to change VoiceOver’s volume. Control + Option will
the volume and Control + Option + = (equals) will raise it.
New VoiceOver Verbosity Options
Sometimes a screen reader speaks too much. Apple has added a few options for
Twitter. In the VoiceOver Utility go to the Verbosity category. Once there,
locate the
Announcements tab. Then find the pop-up menu for when number of rows
changes under the VoiceOver Cursor. There are now three options, speak
do nothing, and play tone.
The Mail app now has a Filter option. It is located to the left of the
Also, if using the standard view in Mail, previews of each message are now
automatically spoken.
iTunes and Apple Music
The search form for finding music is near the top of the iTunes window.
+ F gets you to it. The first part of the form is an edit box. Next are two
buttons labeled “In Library?”and “All Apple Music.” Search results are in a
table to
the right of the radio buttons. Make your selection and go to the scroll
area. You
can get there quickly with Function + Control + Option + Right Arrow (VO +
The scroll area will present information on your selection and the option to
play it.
There are new radio buttons in iTunes and some have been removed. The first
button is set to Music by default. This button is a pop-up menu. Other
include Movies, Apps, and TV Shows. When the “Music” button is selected, the
radio button is “Library”. Activating this button will bring up a list of
all music in your
library. Use the tab key to get to the library contents. Tabbing past the
other radio
buttons brings you to the sidebar. The sidebar has categories including
Artists, and Recently Added. If you are an Apple Music subscriber, all
playlists will also be listed on the sidebar. Make your selection and tab to
the list of
songs. If you don’t want the side bar, tab to the “Hide” button and select
The next button is “For You.” When this button is activated, the scroll area
display some recently played songs and also recommendations based on your
listening preferences.
The “Browse” button brings up a list of links including “Playlists,” “New
Music,” and
“Top Charts.” The next two buttons are “Radio” (which controls iTunes Radio)
“Store” which brings you to the iTunes store.
Siri can be used to play iTunes and Apple music. For example, Siri can be
asked to
play a specific song, playlist, artist or album.
On October 27th, 2016, Apple held a press event called “Hello Again.” They
the presentation with a video demonstrating many of Apple’s accessibility
Apple now has an accessibility
website, where you can access the video and play it
with video description
Apple is coming out with a new app called TV, which organizes movies and TV
shows that you have been watching. It works with a variety of video services
will be available by the end of the 2016.
The main part of the event was Apple introducing the new MacBooks and their
features. One of the biggest changes, which is available on the 15-inch
Pro and one model of the 13-inch MacBook Pro, is a Touch Bar that replaces
top row of keys. It is located above the number keys and acts as a touch
What appears on the screen depends on which app is in focus. Given Apple’s
commitment to accessibility, VoiceOver users will have access to the Touch
VoiceOver can be turned on and off by holding down the Command key and
pressing the new “Touch ID” button three times. The Touch Bar will work
to an iOS screen.
All new MacBooks will have USB-C Ports. Minimum storage space will be 250GB.
The new MacBooks are thinner without decreasing battery power.
The 13-inch basic MacBook Pro still has standard function keys. It does not
Touch ID. The 13-inch MacBook Pro has four USB-C ports, Touch Bar, and Touch
ID. The 15-inch MacBook Pro has 4 USB-C ports, Touch Bar, and Touch ID.
Learn more about all the MacBooks at
the Apple website
Sierra has some excellent new features. Siri and Universal Clipboard make
update worthwhile on their own. Also, the new VoiceOver features including
voices and verbosity options are a welcome addition.

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Scam watch! the latest weekly scams

Hello everyone and we at the business desk are introducing a new feature to
help you become more aware of those nasty scams making the rounds.
This is going to be a weekly feature and we hope that you take advantage of
our info as it will help you to stay out of the way of scams and scammers!

1. The Bank of Montreal scam –
There is a fake email making the rounds from the Bank of Montreal asking you
to login to your online bank account and change your password because your
account has been compromised.
It is a scam because we received such an email and we do not even have a
Bank of Montreal online account.

2. Fake emails from Paypal –
Fake emails from Paypal have been showing up at all of our email addresses
asking us to update our account info. These are of course fake because we
do not have Paypal accounts that tie all of our company’s email addresses to
Paypal accounts.

3. A scam email from Apple –
This email asks you to change your password because your Apple Id has been
The problem here is that this email showed up at an email address that does
not even an Apple ID associated with it.

4. A Bell Canada scam –
You receive an email supposedly from Bell Canada asking you to collect your
refund by clicking on the link in the email. It is fake because the account
ID that they include in this email is false; it is not yours. Just check
your account ID and you will discover this.
No company in this world would send you such an email asking you to collect
a refund without letting you know why.
Finally, take a look at the grammar in this email and you’ll see that it has
been written by someone who does not pay attention to the English language.

Until next week then
The Sterling Creations team

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How to make parks more accessible

Hello everyone:
Each month I will be responding to a question; chosen from a pool of some of
the most commonly asked ones that I have been asked over the years and
continue to be asked.
This month, I’d like to answer the following question:
How to make parks more accessible.

At the best of times it may be a challenge to make parks more accessible to
those with a disability. I say this because in general, it is almost always
a city or municipality that has the final say as to how a park is laid out.

However, if you find at anytime that you can make a contribution to making
your park more accessible, then here are a few tips.

Layout of benches and tables and the various things found in the playground
section of a park are very important. The goal here is to ensure that these
are all very easy to find.

Benches and tables should be at an appropriate height to accommodate those
in wheelchairs.

There should be enough space left between benches and tables and the colors
of benches and tables should be bright enough so that they are easy to

The same goes for swings, merry go arounds, and other playground facilities.
Make sure that they are easy to see by ensuring that their colors are bright
and of course! You need to ensure that they are safe for all persons to
use; especially for persons with a disability.

The trick to making a park accessible is that you ensure that it is safe for
persons with disabilities. Be sure to install the appropriate railings and
ramps and be mindful of not having too many steps if you can help it or if
you do that there are corresponding ramps to accommodate wheelchairs.

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110+ Google Now Voice Commands You Can Use

Hello there! From time to time we at the business desk are pleased to bring
you an article of interest and for this week we have a great one for you!
We now invite you to read on!
The Sterling Creations team


A Dan Thompson contribution
110+ Google Now Voice Commands You Can Use
Source: ” Hongkiat”

Google Now is Google’s answer to Siri. It is a smart, virtual, voice-enabled
personal assistant developed by the search giant and acts as a handy add-on
to the pure Android experience. It integrates well with Google’s services to
provide you with updates and other information as per your preferences.

With Google Now, you become ‘Aladdin‘ while it is the ‘Genie of the magic
lamp‘. All you need to do is say “Okay Google” to your device to open Google
Now. Then, you say one of the magical voice commands to Google Now just as
you were Aladdin making a wish. The microphone icon starts pulsing – giving
you an indication that your phone (powered by Google Now) is listening. You
give a command, and it does the required actions to complete the given task.
Let’s have a look at the collection of over more than a 100 ‘magical’ voice
commands which provides you with touch-less control for your Android phone
or tablet. The Voice commands below are categorized accordingly for easy

I have placed a Double line space before each new section. There is a
greater-than sign at the start of each section as well.
The list starts next

>General Information
• “Search for [WordPress hosting]?
• “Say [where is the movie theatre] in [French]?”
• “How do you say [hello] in [Spanish]?”
• “What is [Android]?”
• “Who invented [the computer]?”
• “Define [contemporary]”
• “What is the meaning of [world]?”
• “Who is married to [Barack Obama]?”
• “Stock price of [Google]”
• “What is [Twitter] trading at?”
• “Author of [Da Vinci Code]”
• “How old is [Tom Cruise]?”
• “Where was [Martin Luther King Jr.] born?”
• “Show me pictures of [the Taj Mahal]”
• “Post to Google+ [I’m loving it]”
• “Post to Twitter [Google Now is awesome!]”

• “Open [Calendar]”
• “Launch [Hangouts]”
• “Take a [picture / photo / selfie]”
• “Record a video”

>Notes & Reminders
• “Remind me to [buy groceries] at [6 PM]”
• “Remind me [when I get / next time I’m at] [home / work / other
location] [to call John]”
• “Note to self: [My password for Google.com is 123456]”

>Alarms & Calendar
• “Set an alarm for [6 AM]”
• “Set a timer for [30 minutes]”
• “Wake me up in [2 hours]”
• “Create a calendar event: [Party with Colleagues] [Sunday at 9 PM]”
• “When’s my [next meeting]?”
• “What is my schedule for [tomorrow]?”

>Time & Date
• “What time is it in [San Francisco]?”
• “When is the sunset [in London (optional)]”
• “What is the timezone of [Hong Kong]”
• “Time at [home / work]”

• “Call [Sara]”
• “Call [the Asian Art Museum]”
• “Call [mom / dad / wife / uncle / aunt …]” (Relationship must be added
for your contacts)
• “Send [email] to [Storm], [Subject: Meeting], [Message: Re-scheduled to
• “Send [SMS] to [Sam mobile], [don’t forget to buy movie tickets]”
• “[Contact name]”
• “Find [Sam’s] [phone number / email / address]”
• “Listen to voicemail”
• “When is [Mary’s] birthday?”

• “Weather”
• “What’s the weather like?”
• “Do I need an umbrella today?”
• “Is it going to rain [tomorrow / Monday]”
• “What’s the weather in [California]?”
• “How’s the weather in [New Jersey] on [Thursday] going to be?”

• >Maps & Navigation
• “Map of [London]”
• “Where’s my hotel?”
• “Find the [Eiffel Tower]”
• “Where is [the Louvre]”
• “Show me the nearby [shopping mall] on map”
• “Navigate to [London] on car”
• “How far is [Washington] from [California]?”
• “Directions to [address / business name / other destination]”
• “What are some attractions in [New York City]?”

>Calculations & Conversions
• “[arithmetic expression] equals”
• “How much is [10] times [15]?”
• “What is [32] percent of [1024]?”
• “Square root of [441]”
• “What is the tip for [90] euros?”
• “Convert [currency / length …] to [another currency / length …]”

• “How are [the New York Yankees] doing?”
• “When is the next [Los Angeles Lakers] game?”
• “Show me the [Premier League] table”
• “Did [Bayern Munich] win their last game?”

>Flight Information
• “Flight [AA 125]?”
• “Flight status of [AA 125]”
• “Has [LH 210] landed?”
• “When will [AA 120] land / depart?”
• “Show me my flights”

>Web Browsing
• “Go to [Tech Crunch]?”
• “Open [hongkiat.com]”
• “Show me [android.com]”
• “Browse to [aksingh.net]”

• “Listen to / play [Gangnam Style] by [PSY]?”
• “YouTube [how to cook chicken]?”
• “Who acted in [Clash of the Titans]?”
• “Who is the producer of [Gladiator]?”
• “When was [The Last Airbender] released?”
• “Runtime of [Avatar]”
• >“Listen to TV”
• “What’s this song?”
• “What songs does [Britney] sing?”
• “Play some music”
• “Watch [Toy Story 2]”
• “Read [the Aesop’s Fables]”
• “What movies are playing [tonight]?”
• “Where is [Thor] playing?”

• “Help me”
• “Where’s my package?” (tracking confirmation must be in Gmail)
• “Show me the menu for [Los Cubanos]”

>Easter Eggs
• “When am I?”
• “Do a barrel roll”
• “What’s the loneliest number?”
• “Make me a sandwich!”
• “Sudo, make me a sandwich!”
• “How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck
• “Beam me up, Scotty!”
• “Tilt / Askew”
• “Up up down down left right left right”
• “Tea, Earl Grey, hot” (That’s a hard one)
• “Go go gadget [app name]”
• “When does the narwhal bacon?”
• “What is the Bacon number of [random actor]?”
• “What does the fox say?”
• “What is the nature of the universe?”
• “Who’s on first?”
• “Lions, and Tigers, and Bears…”
• “Who are you?”
• “What is the answer to life, the universe and everything?”

Voice commands are not only useful in various situations, but they also
prove to be fun sometimes. You can even experiment with various commands by
using different phrases, and you’ll be surprised at how much Google Now
understands you. Start using voice commands on your Android device and take
a leap forward to the future of mobile technology.

Source: “110+ Google Now Voice Commands You Can Use”

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The complete list of Cortana Commands

Hello there! From time to time we at the business desk are pleased to bring
you an article of interest and for this week we have a great one for you!
We now invite you to read on!
The Sterling Creations team


Contributed by Dan Thompson
complete list of Cortana Commands
(warning, there ads that automaticly play while exploring the list on line.
So I have included them below. The start of each section is marked with a
greater-than sign.)

Hey, Cortana
There are a few ways to get Cortana’s attention.
• Click or tap the Cortana button on the taskbar. If you do not see
Cortana on your taskbar, right-click the taskbar and go to Cortana > Show
Cortana icon.
• If you have ‘Hey, Cortana’ enabled, simply say “Hey, Cortana,” followed
by your question. Here’s how to enable ‘Hey, Cortana.’
• If you’re using a Windows Phone, you can press and hold the search
button to activate Cortana.

• Ask about the weather. Ex.: “What’s the weather like?” or “What will
the weather be like in two days?” or “Is it going to rain tomorrow?”
• Launch a program or open a website. Ex.: “Launch Mozilla Firefox” or
“Open CNET.com.”
• Make a phone call. Ex.: “Call Sarah,” or “Call John on speakerphone.”
• Hear Cortana read the top news headlines. Ex.: “Show me top headlines.”
• Take a note in OneNote. Ex.: “Take a note” or “Note it down.”
• Draft an email. Ex.: “Write an email to [contact] saying [message].”
• Draft a text message. Ex.: “Write a text to [contact] saying
• See texts or emails from a specific person. Ex.: “Show me emails from

• >Perform simple calculations. Ex.: “What’s 35 times 16?” or “What’s 23
minus two?”
• Perform conversions. Ex.: “What is five miles in kilometers” or “How
many teaspoons in a cup?”

• >Define a word. Ex.: “What’s the definition of ‘table’?” or “Do you
know what ‘gargantuan’ means?”

• >Track packages (needs email account configured in the Mail app). Ex.:
“Where are my packages?”

• Turn on/off Wi-Fi.
• Turn on/off Bluetooth.
• Turn on/off Airplane Mode.

• See your calendar events at a glance. Ex.: “How’s my schedule looking?”
or “What do I have next week?” or “When is my dentist appointment?”
• Add an appointment to your calendar. Ex.: “Add dentist appointment to
Thursday at 3 p.m.” or “Schedule phone call with Lisa tomorrow at 5 a.m.”
• Move an appointment. Ex.: “Move my dentist appointment to Friday.”
• Set up reminders based on time, person, or location. Ex.: “Remind me to
call Timmy at 2 p.m.” or “Remind me to ask about vacation time when I talk
to Jenny” or “Remind me to take out the trash when I get home.” Reminders
can be one-offs or recurring (e.g., every Wednesday), and location-based
reminders require a mobile device.

• >Set an alarm. Ex.: “Set an alarm for 9 a.m.” or “Wake me up in an
• Show me my alarms.

• >Ask about major holidays. Ex.: “What day is Christmas?” or “When is
Labor Day?”

>Find pictures, videos, documents, etc., on your device from a specific time
>frame. Ex.: “Find pictures from last week” or “Find documents from May
>2015” or “Find videos from yesterday.”

>Search files by name. Ex.: “Can you find a document called CNET?” or “Can
>you find a picture called ‘cute dog’?”

>See basic search results, such as information about public figures,
>companies, places, and pop culture in Cortana’s windows (without opening a
>browser window). Ex.: “How tall is Harrison Ford?” or “Who is the CEO of
>Google?” or “When was the Lincoln Memorial built?”

Where am I?
Show me driving/public transit/walking directions to [location/landmark].
How long will it take me to get to [location]?
What is traffic like on the way to [location]?
Show me a map of [location]. Ex.: “Show me a map of downtown Los Angeles,”
or “Show me a map of the area around Disneyland.”

Look up a sports score. Ex.: “What was the score of the last Detroit Tigers
• Find the run time of a movie. Ex.: “How long is Star Wars: Episode I?”

Identify the song that’s playing. Ex.: “What is this song?”

Track flight status (from your mail/messages). Ex.: “Is my flight on time?”
• Get a five-day forecast for any location. Ex.: “How’s the weather in
• Translate a word or phrase into a different language. Ex.: “How do you
say ‘dog’ in French?” or “How do you say ‘how are you’ in Japanese?”
• Convert currency. Ex.: “What’s 400 reais in Euros?” or “What’s 1,000
yen in US dollars?”
• Find the current time in another city/country. Ex.: “What time is it in
Los Angeles?” or “What time is it in Japan?”
• What are the seven wonders of the world?

> Random tips and tricks
Random tips and tricks
• Ask Cortana about her origins, aka Halo. Ex.: “Do you love Master
Chief?” or “Tell me about Halo 5.”
• What’s up?
• What does the fox say?
• Tell me a joke.
• Where’s Clippy?
• What do you think of Windows 10?
• What do you think of Google?
• Do you like Google Now?
• Who’s better, you or Siri?
• Sing me a lullaby/Sing me a song.
• Rock, paper, scissors.
• Play the movie game.
• Heads or tails?
• Roll a die/dice (one die) or roll dice (two dice).
• Surprise me!
Source: ” The complete list of Cortana commands – CNET”

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Helpful tips for January 2017

Hello there and welcome to our monthly feature of all kinds of tips.
We at the business desk are pleased to bring you our monthly feature of a
plethora of tips that cover a wide range of topics.
All of our tips are designed to help you save time, cut down on your
research, and help you get ahead.
So go ahead and read on.
This week we bring you our monthly tips.
It’s what we do for a living! We help you to help yourself!
From the business desk team at http://www.sterlingcreations.com.
Follow us on Twitter @accessibleworld


Helpful tips for January 2017

In this issue:

General tips
Articles of the day
From the pages of Donna’s travel diary

General tips
Courtesy of the research team at http://www.sterlingcreations.ca

About salt?
Salt has seasoned English in many ways. Because Romans put salt or brine on
their vegetables, the word
“salad” developed. Because Roman soldiers were given money to buy salt,
“salary” was coined.
In promoting the Louisiana Purchase, President Thomas Jefferson cited
reports of a “salt mountain” in
the territory. “This mountain is said to be
180 miles long and 45 in width, composed of solid rock salt, without any
trees or shrubs on it.”
The adult human body contains about 250 grams of salt – about half a pound.
According to superstition, spilling salt can cause bad luck – an idea that
may have originated with
Leonardo da Vinci’s painting “The Last Supper,”
which shows Judas Isariot knocking over a salt container.
Chicago is America’s salty center, thanks to the Morton Salt Co. The company
was owned by Joy Morton, a man who got his first name from the maiden name
of his mother, Caroline Joy.
There is an enormous salt mine under the city of Detroit, about 1,200 feet
below ground. According to Detroit Salt Co, the century-old mine spreads out
more than 1,500 acres and has more than 100 miles of underground roads.

About chocolate chip cookies:
If you use white sugar then your cookies will come out crisp but if you use
brown sugar then they will come out more chewy.

About those cigarette buts often found on the ground?
They often come from counterfeit cigarettes.

A Dan Thompson contribution:
Get the Maximum Burning Hours from Candles Plus
Other Great Tips
Am I the only one who didn’t know that there’s a definite protocol for how
to burn jar and pillar candles? I’ve made an ugly mess of so many candles
in my life-only to toss
them out long before their time.
But no more because I’ve learned the secret to keeping large candles looking
good and functional right down to the last bit.
Although it is absolutely counterintuitive, the fact is that
burning a pillar or jar candle for at least one hour per inch of diameter
each time you light up will give the candle many more burning hours over
time. This way, the flame
has enough time to melt the wax all the way to the outer edges so the whole
candle burns down efficiently. Each time you cut short a burning session,
the flame only burns the
wax in the center, which wastes the outer wax at that level.
If you’ve ever left something behind in a hotel room, you are
going to love this tip. Make this the first thing you do when you walk in
your room:
Take a hand towel from the bathroom and spread it out on the desk or other
counter top in the room. This becomes the de facto place for all of your
things that you have a
place for at home. Put your room key on the towel, your car keys,
sunglasses, rechargers, wallet-everything. Now every thing is visible in one
spot, rather than scattered
about the room. As you come and go, return these items to their place on the
towel. When you’re ready to check out, no searching, nothing left behind.
NONFOOD BARGAINS: Do not buy nonfood items at the grocery store. Items like
paper goods, garbage bags and cleaning supplies can all be purchased for
lower prices at discount
stores like Target, Walmart or Kmart. Grocery stores only sell them thinking
the convenience of buying these items at the same time you buy your food
will make you not mind
spending twice as much.
To stretch pricey ingredients like meat, avocados, cheese and
nuts, dice or chop them and sprinkle on top of your dish, rather than mixing
them in. You’ll taste the yummy richness and flavor without having to use as
Every year a woman I know would clog the garbage disposal when she peeled
the potatoes for Hanukkah latkes. It was as much a
tradition as candles and gelt. She and her family thought it was just a
quirk of her sink. Here’s the problem: Grinding potato peels in the disposer
turns them into a mashed-
like mass that’s almost guaranteed to clog any drain. An easy solution is to
line your sink with newspaper (or a plastic bag), peel the potatoes onto the
paper, and then chuck the whole thing in the compost heap or trash.
BRING ON THE BABY OIL: If your mascara seems to be dried out, but you need
to get just a few more uses out of it, trickle just a drop or two of baby
oil on the wand and then
mix it well. It should yield a few more coats of eyelash enhancement. (If
the mascara is more than six months old, it should be replaced.)
Always running out of lip gloss? Try running an ice cube over your lips
to “set” the stuff after each application. You’ll have to replenish only
half as often.
When you have just a few items spinning in the dryer,
they often cling to the sides of the bin and fail to tumble. That means they
take longer to dry-causing more wear on your dryer, and are more likely to
come out wrinkled
because they stayed bunched up. To cure this problem, add a heavier item-a
dry, clean towel is a good choice (or wool dryer balls) that will knock the
little items around and
help them dry more efficiently. Use a towel that is in the same color range
to reduce the chance of a noticeable lint problem or dye transfer.
Author: Mary Hunt on 11/29/16


Articles of the day
Chosen by the Business Desk team

Contributed by Dan Thompson
home improvement money-saving secrets
a. If you’ve been putting off updating or sprucing up your home because of
the high cost of home improvements, today’s readers
are sure to inspire you to do those projects yourself, for less!
HARDWOOD FLOORING. My husband and I wanted a hardwood floor but the estimate
of more than $3,000 (which worked out to
more than $7 per square foot) was out of our budget. We decided to try
4-foot by 8-foot
sheets of veneer plywood
at less than $45
a sheet, or about $1.40 per square foot. We installed the plywood and
sealed it with two gallons of
. The floor is
beautiful and cost about $675 total.
b. SHOWER CURTAIN RESCUE. In a house full of boys who don’t know their own
strength I frequently find the shower curtain
torn away from the hooks. To fix this I use clear packaging tape to cover
the hole, punch a new hole, replace the shower ring and
its good as new. Double the tape and it lasts twice as long.
c. VERTICAL BLIND RENEW. Do not throw away your old, faded, cloth verticals
blinds. I didn’t want to pay for new ones, so I
painted them with the same off-white paint I was using in another part of
the house. Any color latex paint will work. Just allow a
couple of days for them to dry. I discovered that with the extra weight of
the paint, they hang more beautifully than ever.
d. OUTLET COVER RE-DO. We recently painted the inside of our house a
lighter color. Suddenly the almond-color light switch
and outlet covers stuck out with their darker dated color. Instead of
replacing all of the outlet plugs and light switches from almond
color to white, we made a cardboard template to go around the plugs and
switches and sprayed them white with an epoxy spray
paint (must be epoxy to adhere to plastic). We bought the epoxy spray pain
at the local hardware store and chose a nice white
color. This saved an enormous amount of time and money and it looks really
e. REFINISH FORMICA. We bought an older house that had old, outdated
Formica countertops in the bathroom and kitchen.
Instead of replacing it we very successfully painted it. We used a product
found at at this link:
to prime the Formica, then the color paint we wanted in semi-gloss finish
followed by three thick coats of
Crystal Clear Top Coat
like the product by Krylon, to seal it and protect it from the water. For
over a year now it has held up against the toughest of tests-
two little boys. It looks beautiful and all for under $100. Check
this tutorial
for specific directions.


A Dan Thompson contribution
Unclog a Drain Yourself Without Chemicals

a. A plugged up sink, shower or tub drain sends most people running for
either a bottle of caustic drain cleaner, or a plumber’s
phone number. But wait. This could well be a job you can do yourself
without chemicals or a big bill.
Assess the situation. Turn on taps to allow water down other drains in the
house. If everything else is flowing freely, you can be
fairly certain you have a localized clog-and probably near that clogged
drain’s opening. If this is involving other drains, you could
have a bigger problem that may well require a professional. Assuming it’s
only the one drain, let’s move on.
Boiling water. Get a large pot and boil up as much water as it will hold.
Now carefully pour boiling water down the drain slowly, in
two to three stages so that the hot water can work for a few minutes in
between each pour. This is the easiest and quickest way to
unclog a drain if it works, which usually it does with a satisfying swoosh.
Reach in. Remove the strainer that is part of the drain plug, then reach
into the drain with your fingers (latex gloves would be a
good idea here) and pull out any solids. As gross as this might be, it is
often all that’s needed to clear a slow-moving or clogged
b. Zip it. If you cannot reach the clog with your fingers, your next best
friend is this cheap plastic tool,
Zip It
, available at home
improvement centers or online at
This simple tool is flexible enough to allow you to push it down into the
turns of the drain. It has teeth along each side that once
you’re in and you twist it, you’ll be able to pull out all manner of drain
offenders. Keep working at it, until you pull out as much as
you can. Now run the hot water and that should clear things up nicely.
A reader introduced me to
Zip It
years ago. At under five bucks, this handy dandy tool is worth its weight in
gold. It’s great to clear
drains, but also works well to
c. maintain drains before they get clogged.
Try this Wet dry vacuum.
ArmorAll AA255 Utility Wet/Dry Vacuum, 2.5 gallon,
If you have
one of these
, it just might help you to clear the drain without having to get your hands
dirty. First, set it to “wet” so it
vacuums liquids. Cover or close the drain’s vent. Make the tightest seal you
can with the hose end of the vacuum over the drain.
Get creative with duct tape or the like. With the vacuum set to its most
powerful setting, it can be powerful enough to pull that clog
right out of the drain. No guarantees here, but it’s worth a shot.
Baking soda and vinegar. Measure out 1/3 cup baking soda and get as much of
it down the drain as you can. Follow with 1/3 cup
white vinegar. It will fizz up and make quite a show. Allow it to sit for at
least an hour, or overnight if at all possible. In the morning
following with a quart or two of boiling water.
Related Posts
The Secret of Financially Mature People


From the pages of Donna’s travel diary
Check out Ottawa Canada

In just a few words; this is probably a city for all seasons and I’ll start
with springtime.

Ottawa is a blaze with hundreds of thousands of tulips as each year the
Netherlands sends them to Canada as their token of appreciation for what
Canada did for them during World War II. Here is the story behind this
particular story.

During said World War, the Queen of the Netherlands had been sent to Canada
as a safety precaution and in that time she gave birth to a little princess.
Canada declared the room where she was born to be Dutch territory in order
to enable the little princess to retain Dutch citizenship.

During the summer, Ottawa becomes a haven and a playground for all kinds of
outdoor activities; ranging from canoeing and white water rafting on the
Rideau River to biking, hiking, jogging, and everything summer.

Fall brings you to the countless trails of Ottawa; adorned with the fall
colors. You can take long hikes and walks on these trails, or if you like
you can walk along the Rideau Canal.

Now it’s winter’s turn and with this season comes the opening of the Rideau
Canal; the longest outdoor skating rink in the world. If you prefer you can
go skiing, snow shoeing, or just enjoy those to die for winter scenes and

Sleigh rides, playful snowball fights, eating beaver tails which is a French
Canadian delicacy, and so much more. Those majestic ice sculptures during
the Winterlude carnival week all help to make Ottawa a city to come back to
again and again.

Ottawa is a unique combination of a capital city coupled with downtown
living, country dwelling, and then there is more.

Check out the wondrous bakeries, eateries, restaurants, and five star hotels
and o yes! The multi language feature that certainly helps to enrich

I’m Donna J. Jodhan enjoying my travels.

To learn more about me, visit

On your next trip you could enrich your down time with some of my audio
mysteries. Take them with you wherever you go!
In the car, on the plane, on the bus or train, at the beach, anywhere!
Affordable, portable, (computer or i device) and you could either purchase
or Subscribe for unlimited access to my library at
and you can now take advantage of our free downloads here.

If you enjoy podcasts then check out my weekly one called take another 5!
From recipes to apps, and from mystery moment to tips for entrepreneur and
scam alerts!
Available for download at http://www.takeanother5.com and from iTunes and
Google music play!

Follow me on Twitter @accessibleworld and at author_jodhan
And like me on Facebook at
www.facebook.com/donnajodhan and at www.facebook.com/authordonnajodhan

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