Month: February 2014

Referencing in Research and Essays

Proper referencing is important in academic fields. Writers need to reference so that their readers can identify the sources of the materials used in their work. Writers need to reference, quotations, ideas, facts, statistics, and paraphrases. Besides being vital, referencing reduces any plagiarism accusations and allows readers to perform crosschecking with the to see the texts a writer consults. Writers need to appreciate the significance of referencing and they can learn that by looking at the manner in which the authors of the material they read have included references.

 Essays that lack or have little referencing always raise suspicions and are unprofessional. Essays normally ask students to discuss particular topics or materials. This implies that they should be doing some writing about texts that are relevant to the topics or materials professors and teachers instruct. Therefore, they need to do proper citation of the texts regularly and in a succinct manner. If students or writers do not follow this then they are probably doing the wrong things. There are myriad referencing styles, but most of them are simply variations of around two referencing methods. My aim is not to discuss these methods but to elucidate how one can employ integrative and highly interactive software to cite properly.

There are numerous referencing programs; commercial and non-commercial. Some allow better searching and reading while others are just good when it comes to referencing. This means that some referencing applications will give you better services and it is thus good to know them.

 Here are some of the best contenders:

 1.    EndNote: This application stands as the first of all referencing programs. It serves as a touchstone for other referencing program. It can collect, create, collaborate, and cite from any location. Parting with $250 for a full licence of the EndNote X7 is not much if you are a serious writer or researcher. Thompson Reuters also offers a student version of the program at just $114. For those with an older version of Endnote, upgrading to Endnote X7 costs $100. Shipping costs for the full version of the program costs $50 more.

2.    Papers: This, on the other end, works best for authors in need of e-journals and PDF documents. This small software is essential for  managing big information libraries and keeping writers at the top of their field. The number of journals and PDF materials are ever growing, and researchers have to stay abreast with the developments. Schools and offices used to stack journals in racks, but that is slowly fading with the diffusion of technology. The program does not cost much; $42 for commercial enterprises and $20 less for students.

3.    Zotero: Zotero offers users offers writers a Firefox extension ad well as a standalone program for referencing. It is amazing and straightforward. What’s more, it comes with a Word plugin to help authors and researchers cite while they write. The Firefox extension or standalone program organizes all research material being used by a researcher into a central library. It doesn’t matter if research material includes books, journals, PDFs, webpages, snapshots, or videos, Zotero will integrate them into a single searchable interface. The most interesting thing about Zotero is that it is completely free.

 4.    Mendeley: This fairly new software available for Mac and PC platforms is trying nothing less than evolving the way researchers share and conduct their research. With an MS Word plugin and a standalone program, Mendeley will allow you to cite while you write, save PDFs to use in research, and search literature from journal sites. It indexes, organizes, and most importantly, stores research material in the cloud making document management effortless.

In summary, I love Zotero because it is simple, free, and presumably best suited to small projects that do not need so many references. On the other hand, EndNote is good for researchers dealing with a wide scope of material. It can handle a database that exceeds 10,000 titles with ease.

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Facebook + WhatsApp; Good Deal, Bad Move

Someone might as well scream at the top of his voice, “What is wrong with Zuckerberg?” Facebook has struck a deal with WhatsApp in a move aimed at increasing competitive edge in a flooded market. Facebook shares went down by more than one percent following the announcement. The deal is not bad for WhatsApp, a company with around 55 employees, as the developer’s portfolio will subsume some Facebook shares and his bank statement will contain more digits than before. The question is not whether or not Facebook is reaping yet another mobile app developer off his innovative ideas. The main issue is whether Zuckerberg’s growth strategy is sustainable compared to other social sites such as Google, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

You could say that Mark Zuckerberg has slept on his laurels and has forgotten what it means to be innovative. When a company buys out its rivals, it only postpones the need to launch an innovative move that will match with the fast-paced technological advancements and the ever-increasing expectations of the consumers. This implies that buying out WhatsApp is not a solution for Facebook’s problems in itself. It is not contestable that Facebook needs to attract more users and advertisers, but buying out other people’s ideas is not the best way to go about it. Zuckerberg is stealing from consumers. Yes, stealing, because WhatsApp, in a few days, will lose its main appeal, absence of adverts. But for now we just have to hope that the next Facebook is expanding it won’t buy out LinkedIn or Google+ (if that is even possible).

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The Sound of Silence

The most obvious response to an insult would be an insult. Critics usually go round and round battling through words. Debates, arguments, and fights have one thing in common – competing parties. However, these are not the only ways to pass messages and ideas. There is a different, probably better, way of dealing with issues. People expect complaints, particularly when they know they have done something wrong to someone. Committees, executives, and other prominent professionals engage in thorough exchange of words. Meetings last for hours and others can take almost a whole day. It sure takes time for debaters to come to a consensus.

However, not every situation needs this activity to spur productivity or to pass a point. Some situations call for calm. Picture a hospital ward, a chapel, or any other place that commands respect. The precincts are always silent. Think of how we make friends, we don’t show how well we can debate on the first day. We don’t. We try to act as calm as we can be. Silence has power. It is loud. I have heard myriad people saying  they need a friend’s company more than the conversations that may crop up while hanging out. Silence is loud. Think of the last time you kept quiet for a long time. Eventually, calls started trickling. Unless you switched numbers. Silence ends arguments. It invites second thought, and even third and fourth thought. For this reason, I don’t argue, debate, or fight much. I just shut up and scream silently.

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Travels

Traveling is enthralling. It sure was for William Hazlitt.  He is remembered for stating that he would have loved to spend the entirety of his life traveling only if he could borrow another life to spend with his family at home. Many people travel. Some to reach their destination while others to enjoy the journey itself. Regardless of the reason, everyone longs to see a new world and explore an unseen destination. For tourists, it doesn’t matter where the destination is, they would love to go there.

Airplanes are good, and they will take you to your destination faster than you can imagine. However, for tourists, this means missed adventures. They’d rather travel by train, or any other slower means that are available. Half the happiness, they say, is from the actual journey, and when they go down roads, tracks, or boulevards for the first time, they enjoy the journey inexpressibly. Planes make real travelers feel impersonal because of myriad things ranging from busy staff to heightened security measures that exist at airports. Trains and vehicles aren’t like that. There is no sense of urgency involved in a bus or train station. People working at either train or bus stations are friendly and are not overly busy with innumerable things. Trains and buses are comfortable and do not seem to possess all the tight measures associated with planes. They allow travelers to stop for snacks and short rests; there is nothing to cause worry. Travelers sit and enjoy endless terrains, or so they seem. Buses and trains give passengers something planes rob from travelers: the ability to sit and just think with nothing bugging their minds.

Destinations. They leave memories to travelers. Even those who do not have Sony Cyber-shot or Nixon Coolpix. They all get to remember that place. That place that proved hardest to get to or that took endless ages to reach. They always remember where they had their best laughs, tasted novel dishes, or met amazing people. When it comes to destinations, every place has its own magic. Travelers will always have something to remember a destination for, whether it is the most developed corner of England or the most impoverished desert of Africa. Making discoveries of foreign locations is simply invigorating. The first time travelers see certain monuments they regard them as breathtaking. They ride on wheels, row in boats, dance, jump, hug, shower in streams, and do all sorts of things that may be otherwise be crazy to non-travelers. Lights from cameras flicker as they record panoramas. It is simply unforgettable for travelers. Indeed, traveling brings about amazing and unforgettable experiences.

My life has been full of traveling. I have amassed great experience from both the journeys I have made and the destinations I have ended up in. Still, like Hazlitt, I wish I could have another lifetime to spend at home with friends and family. Travelers wish for that one thing: to spend as much time as home as they spend in foreign lands.

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Some of the Top Android Apps

You might want to consider the following applications if you just bought a new android based smartphone and want the best from it:

1.    Documents To Go Install this app and turn your phone into a mobile office. This app will enable you to open, edit, and generate office documents (Word, PowerPoint, and Excel). In addition to that, Docs To Go, will allow you to view any pdf document that you download or transfer to your phone. Besides that, docs to go premium version contains amazing functionalities such as desktop and Google drive synchronization. Image

2.    Swiftkey There are several keyboards on Play Store, but none of them makes tapping words on android glassy screens pleasurable as Swiftkey. The app that retails for less than $5 is better than most keyboards that are available for Android users. It even proves better than iOS and Windows Phone keyboards. It exploits Android’s openness and replaces the existing keyboard that comes with Android phones giving you a better typing experience through its smart predictions and slide function. Imagine sliding your finger to form words instead of typing them, it’s just amazing.

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3.    TrueCaller Everyone hates receiving numerous spam or sales-oriented calls. Fortunately, this excellent app is developed to ensure that phone users don’t experience such frustrations. TrueCaller allows users to search any publicly listed number within their locality or even internationally. The app also comes with a simple call-block method that allows users to allow only certain calls. The app can locate the caller, display names of unsaved contacts, and offer social features. Besides that, TrueCaller also informs users of spam calls that target the database of the application.

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4. Olive Tree Bible The Bible stands as the bestselling, and probably most read book, in the entire world. Olive Tree makes this important life-giving book available and portable for Android, iPad, and iPhone users. This Bible, unlike others, is packed with amazing features, rendered in a gorgeous manner, customizable, and runs smoothly in Android devices. The app supports in-depth bible studies as it comes with several inclusions — commentaries, maps, and dictionaries — that are all available offline. Readers can take notes, highlight verses, bookmark texts and verses, and sync this information with other android devices. Now, Olive Tree Bible comes with free KJV and ESV Bibles.

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5. MyPhoneExplorer Managing Android phones can never be easier than when it is done with this powerful management app designed for PCs. Users install the desktop management software on their PCs and a similar app on their Android phones (accessible from Play Store) to enjoy outlook syncs, management of calls, SMS, Apps, backups, calendar, and so on and so forth. The management software connects to Android devices through WiFi, USB, or even Bluetooth. This is one client that you don’t want to miss in your phone. Download the desktop management application from http://www.fjsoft.at.

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6. Seesmic Seesmic is a good application for social sites frequenters. It offers users the ability to access multiple accounts – Facebook, Twitter, and others, and provides a widget on the homepage that provides users the latest tweets. Besides, it is slick and professional in design. It serves as the one of the best example of innovation in app development.

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7. WordPress for Android I wasn’t going to skip Android’s WordPress. This app began as an independent development of wpToGo, and then WordPress loved it so much that it hired its inventor to be an in-house developer. Now writers, readers, or even lovers of web logging can access all WordPress functionalities on their devices. Besides good integration, WordPress for Android allows users to write and post material at the touch of a button.

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8. WhatsApp WhatsApp grants users free texts letting them communicate with other WhatsApp users, regardless of the associated platform. It also comes with cool features that make it easy to customize, chat with groups, and add a location to chats. This app is an excellent choice for communication across platforms for use with both local and international contacts.

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9. Dropbox for Android As your love for Android escalates, you will find that you need, or simply have, more than one device. You obviously also own a PC somewhere. This makes syncing a need. Dropbox satisfies that the necessity nicely with a robust app that complements the desktop version. The app has a friendly interface, similar to the desktop Dropbox, allowing easy uploading and hasty syncing across all connected devices and computers, if any. Overall, Dropbox for Android is an outstanding and well-priced app (if you need more space than the 2GB that is given freely) for business minded Android users who are on the go.

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10. Evernote After Android’s Dropbox, Evernote stands as the next best option for managing business information in one place. This app lets you sync and stash text notes, files, and voice memos on the phone and gives you access to them through other devices or even a computer. This app is a sure blend of a cool interface, abundant features, and almost-limitless note variety. For this reason, everyone who uses it croons its praises. It is phenomenal and productive regardless of what you need it for.

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Longevity

We all want to live long or die old, or never die (if that is possible). In addition to that, we wish that if we life for long, or even an average life, our lives will not be full of strife such as diseases or even pain. We can achieve our wishes, improve the quality and quantity of lives we live, by assessing the habits of some of the longest-lived humans on earth. It is also noteworthy that the longest-lived humans are not the richest, or don’t come from the coziest homes, but are humble and principled. They respect natural laws and do not drive their bodies to extreme ends. The areas that have been home to some of the longest living people include Okinawa (a very remote island in Japan). Interestingly, Okinawa and two other islands are among the top five areas under study by scientists curious to uncover longevity secrets. Luckily, you don’t have to go the long-lives blue zone pockets to find out what secrets are behind a long well lived life, because I am going to discuss them to the best of my ability.

Okinawa, an archipelago located around 580 kilometers off Japan’s coast, is home to some of the world’s renowned centenarians. These people have the best life expectancy humans for humans in the world as well as the highest life expectancy. Myriad studies assessing the factors underlying human longevity in Okinawa agree on two things: genetic factors and lifestyle play a huge role in human longevity. Genetics, well, genetics is beyond our control, so let us look at lifestyle. Okinawan lifestyle ensures the people living there are healthy enough even in their old age. The theory of free radicals, one of the most common theories of aging, postulates that free radicals, which emanate food metabolism, cause damage to DNA, tissues, and the body as a whole. With time, the damage builds up, and like machines, we break down. Okinawan traditions enable Okinawans to maintain low levels of radicals in their body. These people manage to do this magic to their body through simple things such as regular exercise, healthy diet, avoidance of tobacco or smoking, BP control, management of stress, and psychospiritual outlook.

Loma Linda, a small community of Seventh Day Adventists in California, is considered as another Blue Zone. This religious group reports life expectancy rates that are relatively higher than those of regular Americans are. This ardent Adventist community focuses on healthful living habits such as vegetarianism, temperance, and warn against the use of tea, coffee, smoking, and alcohol. Besides this, Adventists drink plenty of fluids, eat high quantities of nuts, exercise frequently, and try to regulate weight gain. They nurture their spiritual as well as emotional health, prize volunteering, and value family ties or relationships. Excess or gluttony, even of good things, can cause detrimental harms to the body, and the Loma Linda community takes this to be a rule of the thumb. The amazing Adventist health diet encourages eating heavy breakfast. It also encourages taking foods with little or no refined or empty calories. In the place of meat, the diet encourages taking a lot of vegetables and fruits. Loma Linda Adventists also take foods with very little fats and resist from eating in between meals. Finally, they encourage plenty of exercises.

It is not much, but it counts, and in this case, the figures could mean years. Years that are well lived. Years of health. Vegetarian diets, exercise, plenty of water are considered essential for the well being of the chronically afflicted. Raw vegan recipes are constantly finding their way into kitchens and those who make a solid decision to follow such diets to the letter have to give their stoves to their neighbors. These concepts are not new. Thousands have followed them and added life to their days and days to their lives. However, if you feel like these concepts are new, don’t hesitate to enroll for a course at Google and do some random research. Image

Three Must Have Android Apps; according to me

You might want to consider the following applications if you just bought a new android based smartphone and want the best from it:

1.    Documents To Go

Install this app and turn your phone into a mobile office. This app will enable you to open, edit, and generate office documents (Word, PowerPoint, and Excel). In addition to that, Docs To Go, will allow you to view any pdf document that you download or transfer to your phone. Besides that, docs to go premium version contains amazing functionalities such as desktop and Google drive synchronization.

2.    Swiftkey board

There are several keyboards on Play Store, but none of them makes tapping words on android glassy screens pleasurable like Swiftkey. This app that retails for less than $5 is better than most keyboards that are available for Android users. It even proves better than iOS and Windows Phone keyboards. It exploits Android’s openness and replaces the existing keyboard that comes with Android phones giving you a better typing experience through its smart predictions and slide function. Imagine sliding your finger to form words instead of typing them, it’s just amazing.

3.    TrueCaller

Everyone hates receiving numerous spam or sales-oriented calls. Fortunately, this excellent app is developed to ensure that phone users don’t experience such frustrations. TrueCaller allows users to search any publicly listed number within their locality or even internationally. The app also comes with a simple call-block method that allows users to allow only certain calls. The app can locate the caller, display names of unsaved contacts, and offer social features. Besides that, TrueCaller also informs users of spam calls that target the database of the application. 

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Picture adapted from Google Play

Cyber Ratting and Fake WAPs

The term “ratting” is gaining popularity all over the world for all the wrong reasons. No, it is not related to murine rodents in any way. Instead, the term emanates from Remote Administration Tool and refers to the cyber-attacks that take advantage of a victim’s webcam. Ratting actually gets further than just that. Hackers, through the aggressive malware – Remote Administration Tool, can get access to the entire computer of a victim. What’s more, ratters can attack computers that don’t even have webcams. Attackers can see everything in your machine from files, archived passwords to typing histories. These are the last category of people you want to give unmitigated access to your computer. The case is even worse if the slave, another name for a victim, is a female, given that the most distinctive feature of Ratting is the ability to control webcams. Although modern laptops blink while the webcam is in use, ratters have developed a way to disable this notification and access to computers silently.

If you think that ratting is the worst form of hacking that we have today, you are misled. Hackers can also gain unmerited access to your PC by posing their laptops as counterfeit Wireless Access Points. Hackers can use a wireless network card and some software to publicize their PCs as available WAPs that then connects to a legitimate access point in some public place. Think how much you often try to connect to access points that appear on your device’s available list in some airport, coffee shop, or even public gathering. We all want free wireless, but that could come at a high cost at times. Hackers who call their fake WAP legit names have all sorts of people trying to access them. Once connected, hackers can then access unprotected data that is conveyed from the unwitting to the remote hosts that the hackers intend. Hackers misuse the information they get to access Emails, Facebook, and other important accounts belonging to victims. The victims may never get to know who did what or when it happened.

So there you have it, question is, what should you do to prevent these things?Image

Android or Windows?

The song has always been about Android, iOS, Blackberry, and, recently, Windows, when it comes to phones. Consumers truly have a lot to weigh when it comes to choosing the best OS for their mobile phones. Some, however, and it’s sad to say, just buy whatever is available. Well, you have got to choose what is best for you, at least if you have the money to play around with and make a few decisions that are independent of financial status. You have to consider if the pixels, processing power, RAM, internal space, and supported apps truly serve you or regrets will follow shortly after leaving that shop.

Let us begin by looking at Android. What are the pros and cons? Why should I or shouldn’t I go for Android? Well, it is the most famous OS world over. Even the lowliest paid person on earth can afford a handset that runs on one or the other older versions of Android. Android-based handsets simply suit the wallet. This has led to widespread support and myriad apps for Android phones. Every possible app you can think of is available in Google Play. What’s more, you can purchase movies and music using Android phones from various sources. The level of customization offered by Android, both to hardware manufacturers and end users is high. Not all devices that run on the OS are the same. However, the mere popularity of the devices means that consumers can get accessories and third party apps quite easily. Importantly, the ‘Android experience’ has gotten better with every update release. It is now highly intuitive, good looking, and it has a wide range of variety.

Android’s open source OS comes in various versions: ice cream, froyo, and jelly bean. The system is developed by a huge community of programmers who are devoted to releasing new and friendly applications into Google Play on a daily basis. The code keeps the developers hooked and devoted. Google had over 700,000 apps in 2012, competing closely with Apple, which was also bragging of the same number in its store. At this point, I just have to compare what Windows has managed to accumulate in its store, some 200,000 apps. Only. So in terms of software, Android is leading. However, vulnerabilities are high because of the high number of apps. In fact, some claim that Android is leading the race towards the wrong direction. Critics also suggest that Android stands as the most vulnerable OS to mobile malware. If that is a threat or not, I will you to decide.

By now you already know that Windows has an uphill task before it can beat Android, or even iOS, at least in terms of apps and software sleekness. However, it will not be fair to leave it at that, because the PC tech giant is not doing badly when it comes to hardware, especially considering that Nokia develops its hardware exclusively for Windows, not Android, or iOS. The latest Lumia, 1020, has a quad-core processor, good screen, and quite frankly the best camera that worries Google and Apple. Interestingly, Windows has a big AMOLED screen that is further furnished with Nokia’s Clear-Black technology leaving the phone to stand out above the rest. I think you are now seeing where my phone analysis and opinion poll are leaning. Lumia 1520 is dazzling compared to 1020. The best thing about Lumia, that leaves Android to be runners up is the fact that the phone won’t slow down or require you to keep on clearing the cache and list of previously running apps for it to be fast. In fact, Lumia will not even drain your battery for leaving apps running in the background. Without saying much, Windows, ahem, Lumia is greater than Android, but it needs to do more to woo developers to develop Windows-based apps. Till then, let me keep juggling with my not too fast phone that supports too many apps.

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Investing in the Stock Market

timtrends

Many people shun the stock market and assume that investing is a preserve for the rich, famous, and those who don’t have anything to do with their plethora of wealth. That notion is wrong. Everyone can invest, not just those who are well off. Almost everyone can set aside some small cash to invest, close eyes on it, and end up with more money than the original investment. Simply put, frolicking the stock market is not out of reach for anyone, but for those who have weak financial faith that they can grow their money. Investing is relatively simple, and the outcomes are sweet and plentiful. By acquiring shares of listed companies, you will have saved money for essential things such as education, retirement, business – or you could transfer the benefits to your family members so that they become the most cherished investors. Investment basics will assist elevate your…

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