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Get this essential cloud security certification training bundle for only $49

Most businesses operate via the cloud. That means now is an ideal time to consider a career keeping them secure. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’d have to go back to school for professional training. Instead, you can easily learn from home — and prep to earn valuable credentials that’ll help you land a job — with The Essential Cloud Security Certification Bundle, now just $49.

The cloud isn’t exactly a new thing. The technology has, in fact, been around for years. But it’s evolving at a pace that’s lightning quick, which means that the people required to keep it secure need to possess skills that are on the absolute cutting edge. And that’s precisely what you’ll walk away with when you train with The Essential Cloud Security Certification Bundle.

This package offers lifetime access to four courses that introduce students to the basics of cloud security plus it prepares them to acquire valuable, industry respected certifications. With these in hand, you’ll be equipped to gain either an entry-level position as a cloud security professional or use it as a platform for continued studies. Either way, it’s training that has the potential to pay huge dividends.

The bottom line is that cloud computing is here to stay. If you want a career that offers long-term employment, then this is an area you should be checking out. And, since The Essential Cloud Security Certification Bundle is being offered to readers at just $49 — a huge discount of over 90 percent off its $2000 valuation — now is the perfect time to get it.


The Essential Cloud Security Certification Bundle – $49

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Prices subject to change.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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3 Essential Design Trends, December 2019

This month’s collection of design trends is a gift to behold. Each of the trends are highly usable options that are versatile, giving you plenty of room to play and make them your own. That’s the best kind of trend, right?

Here’s what’s trending in design this month.


Whimsical Illustrations

It seems like whimsical illustrations are practically everywhere. Fun drawings that can be anything from line-style illustrations to full-color pieces of art are popping up in all kinds of projects – even for brands, companies, of business types that you might not expect. Whimsical illustrations are trending for a number of reasons:

  • They create just the right feel for a project that doesn’t need to be heavy;
  • You can design the main imagery to be whatever you want;
  • They provide a source of delight for users;
  • Every project using illustrations looks a little different, creating a custom design;
  • The proliferation of illustration kits has made creating this style easier than ever.

The thing that might be best about using whimsical illustrations is the personality they bring to a project. The right illustrated element – or series of elements – can emotionally tie users to the project while setting a scene. The possibilities are almost endless. Illustrations don’t have to apply only to lighthearted projects, even though “whimsical” might imply it. The illustrations for Violence Conjugale feature a sense of whimsy for a serious topic, and it works. (Maybe we all need a little more whimsy in our life?)



Black and Blue

It’s a classic color combination that’s making a big return to projects – black and blue palettes.

The contrast of a dark background and blue accents is eye-appealing and creates a harmonious and pleasing visual aesthetic. The projects below use this color trend in different ways, all with the same cool result.

Arm Yourself uses a black background with a black and white illustration to make bright blue lettering and accents pop off the screen. Color draws users into the interactive part of the homepage design with a drag to the bullseye instruction.


Carey uses a lighter, more teal blue on a charcoal black background for a lighter feel. The blue color pulls from the logo and brand mark with buttons that have a lot of contrast from the background and brighter elements in the design. The blue continues on the scroll with bold text on a fully black background, showing the versatility of this color choice.


Adera uses a simple blue button on a black and white image to create contrast and draw the eye to the active part of the design. The color palette flips on the scroll to a blue background with darker elements on top. Contrast is a vital factor here, helping dictate user flow and how to digest and interact with information on the screen.



Anything-But-Flat Scroll Transitions

Disclaimer: I am totally in love with this trend and can’t get enough of it.

Anything-but-flat scroll transitions is a versatile design trend that’s visually interesting and contributes to usability. (It’s a win-win!) This trend is exemplified by a transition element between “screens” or “scrolls” with a visual that isn’t just a box or flat line. Think of how most parallax designs or screen-based vertical viewpoints advance from one box to another. With this trend the transition is more fluid. The examples below do this in different ways:

Oroscopo takes advantage of the blobs trend that’s been popular all year with blob elements that create waves between content elements. Contrast between light and dark backgrounds magnify this effect, while other blog shapes create visual consistency.


MAHA Agriculture Microfinance uses a simple line between scroll elements but it’s got a texture to it that makes it just a little more visually interesting that having a flat line between the hero image area at the top and the secondary content block.


Akaru uses a pretty amazing animated fluid design to offset the branding in the center of the screen. The animation carries into the background of the content below the scroll. (You’ll want to scroll all the way to the bottom of this one to see the transition from the dark animation back to white.) The effect is stunning.


Here’s why this trend works so beautifully: The fluid transition is somewhat disruptive because the user doesn’t expect this visual and seeing the edge of a transitional element encourages scrolling. Whether the user scrolls to see how the transition changes or to preview more content is irrelevant as long as the interaction happens. It’s brilliant and beautiful, especially on desktop screens.



The best design trends are versatile enough that you can use them in new projects or incorporate them into websites that are already live for a little refresh.

A custom illustration can add extra interest to a hero area or page within your website, a tweak to the color palette can create a brilliant black and blue combination, or a neat transition can help users engage with the scroll.

If you want to spice up a project, these trends fit the bill for sure.

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Essential Facebook Etiquette: 10 Do’s and Don’ts

Facebook has more than 1 billion users. They use it to connect with friends, share life events, and/or read interesting content. It is a huge platform that has its own set of rules.

Some of these rules are official, while others are unwritten. A kind of Facebook etiquette. And in this article we list the essential Facebook do’s and don’ts you should be following.

The Facebook Etiquette Do’s

Here are the things that are considered appropriate on Facebook.

1. Do Accept Requests From People You Know

Facebook etiquette - Friend requests

It’s best not to accept friend requests from strangers but if you get a request from an old school friend or your aunt Betty, it’s considered appropriate to accept it. It’s also OK to find old classmates and colleagues and send them friend requests on Facebook

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Facebook helps you achieve this by showing you people you may know. These people generally share some mutual friends with you. Or they could be from the same city, school, or workplace as you.

2. Do Acknowledge Others’ Posts and Comments

If you have posted a selfie and people are complimenting you on your new hairstyle, it’s considered polite to reply to them. You’ll see a reply link below their comment. Click on it and start typing your reply.

Similarly, when someone on your friends list shares any good or bad news, do acknowledge it by using the appropriate Facebook reaction and adding a suitable comment.

3. Do Have a Healthy Discussion

If someone from your Facebook friends list posts something and you have an opinion on it, you can have a healthy discussion about it. However, if it turns into an argument, it’s best to leave it at that rather than ruin your friendship over it.

Even if you do have an argument with someone, don’t impulsively remove them from your friends list. You can just ignore them instead. Here’s how to politely ignore someone on Facebook

How to Politely Ignore Someone on Facebook

How to Politely Ignore Someone on Facebook

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Keep in mind that even if it’s an online discussion, you are talking to real people. It’s a good idea to keep your tone polite and respectful at all times.

4. Do Evaluate the Genuineness of Something Sharing

Facebook etiquette - Fake News
Image Credit: rawpixel/Pixabay

There are always fake news stories doing the rounds on Facebook. You might think sharing something could be beneficial to your friends, but it’s important to check its accuracy before sharing it.

Avoid spreading rumors and hoaxes

Avoid Fake News and Verify the Truth With These 5 Sites and Apps

Avoid Fake News and Verify the Truth With These 5 Sites and Apps

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. Content that becomes viral quickly has the potential to mislead others. Always do a quick Google search to find out if the content you’re sharing is accurate.

5. Do Ask for Permission Before You Tag Someone

If you go out with friends and then choose to post their photos on Facebook, be sure to ask permission before you tag them in them.

Don’t share unflattering photos of your friends, as they can get upset by this. The golden rule is to treat your friends as like you’d want them to treat you.

The Facebook Etiquette Don’ts

Here are some things you shouldn’t do on Facebook.

1. Don’t Send Friend Requests to Everyone

If you had a brief conversation with someone and sent them a friend request, they might not be ready to add you. Be sure to only send friend requests to people you actually know.

If you often send friend requests to people because you found someone’s comment on a page and agreed with them, they will probably turn you down. They might also mark it as spam, and if you get reported too often, you can get banned from Facebook.

2. Don’t Post Inappropriate Photos

Facebook etiquette - private chat group

Facebook has rules about the images you can post on its platform. For example, it will not accept nudity or sexually suggestive photos. Even if a photo doesn’t break Facebook’s rules, be sure to consider the people in your friends list.

If your 13-year-old niece is on Facebook, you might want to reconsider posting about crazy parties where you passed out on the floor. If you really want to share such photos with your close friends, create a private chat on Facebook and share them there.

To create a private chat, open the Facebook Messenger app, tap on the Pen icon in the top-right corner to create a new message and simply start typing the names of your close friends in the To field.

3. Don’t Overshare

Each social media platform has its own sharing etiquette. While it’s acceptable to post hundreds of posts in a day on Twitter, Facebook doesn’t work that way. People generally share interesting stories or vacation photos on their Facebook pages.

Also, make sure you don’t share too many personal details on Facebook. If you’re going through a breakup, it’s not appropriate to share all of the gory details on social media.

4. Don’t Post Something You Won’t Tell Anyone in Real Life

Bragging about something illegal will not just make you look bad, it can also land you in legal trouble. If you drink and drive, you shouldn’t be posting about it on Facebook. Not only will it reveal you to be a law breaker, someone could report you to the authorities.

Also, there are certain things you should never share on social media

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such as your private or confidential information. Even if you think it’s shared only with your friends, that data can be read by someone with malicious intent. Don’t take a chance. Facebook privacy policies keep changing and it’s always best to stay safe.

5. Don’t Bully Others

Bullying isn’t just nasty, it can also be illegal depending on the context. Don’t make offensive comments over someone’s gender, race, or sexual orientation on Facebook. It’s important to understand that a few words written by you can harm others in a big way.

Research has shown that cyberbullying can lead to self-harm and suicidal behavior in young people. It’s a serious offense that can land you in legal trouble. Be polite and respectful on Facebook.

Facebook Is Pretty Much Like Real Life

When it comes to posting on Facebook, just assume it’s like real-life. So, before you post something on Facebook, stop and think if you would say or do that in real life. While it’s good to be yourself and to reflect your personality, it shouldn’t come at the expense of others.

There are many ways to improve your Facebook experience

16 Quick Tips to Make You a Facebook Power User

16 Quick Tips to Make You a Facebook Power User

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and the above mentioned Facebook etiquette tips will make it all the more fun for you and your friends.

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7 Essential LinkedIn Profile Tips to Guarantee Success


Professionals turn to LinkedIn to make connections and search for new opportunities. Knowing how to make your profile stand out is the key to getting noticed. So, if you’re struggling to get noticed, these LinkedIn profile tips should help you attract recruiters.

1. Make Your Headline Specific

With millions of people on LinkedIn, you need to stand out from the crowd. So the first of our LinkedIn profile tips concerns headlines. When you show up in a search, a recruiter will immediately see your headline underneath your name. It’s the sole deciding factor in whether someone will click on you.

If you’re a writer, you won’t want your headline to say: “Freelance Writer.” That’s way too vague. Instead, go with a more detailed headline that clearly states what you do. Use a descriptive headline like “SEO Marketing Copywriter with experience increasing web traffic” would make a recruiter more likely to click on your profile.

2. Get LinkedIn Recommendations

LinkedIn recommendations are a great way to show that you’re a reliable worker. If you don’t know what recommendations are, they’re a positive remark that a coworker, boss, or client writes about you. It gets displayed on your profile for other companies and potential clients to see.

To get a LinkedIn recommendation, you have to request it. It’s best to request recommendations from your current boss, or from a previous manager who you got along well with.

When sending a recommendation request, provide context for the request. Let your manager know that you want to keep your profile updated, and you’d like them to leave feedback on a recent accomplishment or project. Make it your goal to have at least three recommendations on your LinkedIn profile.

3. Join Groups Related to Your Field

One of the best ways to connect with other professionals in your field is through LinkedIn Groups. Joining a Group gives you access to experts and even potential clients.

To search for a Group, head to the LinkedIn search bar. Enter the term you’d like to use to find a Group, and the site will redirect you to the search results page. You’ll want to filter these results by Groups only, so head to the dropdown menu that says More and then click Groups.

LinkedIn Groups Search Results

Once you join, you can get advice from other experts, find new connections, and establish your expertise in your field. In addition to joining Groups, you should also follow these popular companies on LinkedIn to stay updated on some of the biggest influencers.

4. Tell a Story

Your LinkedIn profile shouldn’t look bland. Simply listing your experience and a brief description isn’t enough. LinkedIn leaves lots of room for other details about yourself, and you should definitely take advantage of that.

First, take a look at your profile summary. Use your summary to let your personality and character shine through. Include your biggest achievement, and don’t hesitate to add some creativity.

You should also fill in your list of accomplishments, skills, and try to get some endorsements. Make sure to continually add to these sections as you learn new skills or accomplish big feats. You could also use LinkedIn Skill Assessments

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to showcase your abilities.

Have any volunteer experience or know another language? Add those in too. The goal is to make your profile as thorough as possible. That way, a recruiter can really get to know you and your story.

5. Add Publications, Videos, and Pictures

On LinkedIn, you aren’t limited to expressing yourself via text. You can add presentations, videos, and pictures to your profile as well. Visual media attracts recruiters to your profile and makes it more memorable. Opt to include an introduction video or a quick clip of your latest presentation.

LinkedIn Publications List Example

You can also choose to link to articles, academic journals, or blog posts that you’ve written. Not only does this help increase the views on those articles, but it also helps prove your proficiency. If you don’t have any articles to link to, you can always write and share a helpful article on LinkedIn itself.

6. Use the Right Keywords

Keywords are the words or phrases that recruiters use to search for potential employees. To find the right keywords for your profile, pretend you’re a recruiter that’s searching for someone in your field. What words would you use to find someone that does what you do?

LinkedIn's keywords your searchers used view

Let’s say you’re a graphic designer who specializes in creating product labels. For this example, you’ll want to include “graphic designer” and “product labeling specialist” as your keywords. You can find even more relevant keywords by searching for a position you would qualify for, and adding some of the words that these posts incorporate.

Sprinkling keywords throughout your headline, projects, publications, summary, and positions can help boost your placement in search results. Just remember not to include too many keywords in your LinkedIn profile. An excessive number of keywords is obvious to recruiters and sounds very unnatural.

After you start adding keywords, you should slowly start getting more views on your profile. You can see who has viewed your LinkedIn profile to find out if the right people are clicking on you.

7. Stay Active on LinkedIn

By liking, sharing, and commenting on posts, you’ll get your name out there even more. Other LinkedIn users will see that you commented on their post, which can spark a new conversation and a connection.

LinkedIn Post Activity

You can also improve your visibility by frequently making posts. These posts obviously have to remain related to your profession—posts about promotions, recent publications, and sharing relevant articles are most appropriate.

LinkedIn Profile Tips to Help You Get Noticed

LinkedIn is more than just a social media site—it’s a method of recruitment. By following the above steps, you’ll see an increased number of potential clients and recruiters flocking to your LinkedIn profile. It’s a great way to start your networking journey.

Do you want to take your LinkedIn use to the next level? Here are some reasons why LinkedIn Premium is worth paying for

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.You may also want to read this: https://namastenourished.com/the-secret-to-success-with-micro-habits/

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5 Essential Apps & Websites for TikTok Fans and Creators

TikTok is one of the fastest-growing social networks today, with some of the best video content you’ll see on the internet. These five websites and apps only make it better than ever before.

For the uninitiated, TikTok is a social network much like the old Vine, and similar to Instagram or Snapchat. It only supports videos, with a maximum limit of 15 seconds. You can merge multiple videos into one longer Story.

If you want to know more, check out our primer on what is TikTok and how does it work. If you already know TikTok, jump on to the apps.

1. TikTokforWeb (Web): Unofficial Web Client for TikTok

TikTok for Web is the only unofficial web client to browse TikTok on computers

Now, TikTok is only available as a mobile app for Android and iOS. We’ve seen this before with Instagram and other social networks, where the web client is launched years later. And till then, you get third-party developers making unofficial versions like this one.

TikTokforWeb doesn’t let you sign in with your own account, so this is a generic web viewer for random TikTok Videos. You can search for an account or hashtag you already know. You can also select your country to see the top TikTok posts currently in your region.

The TikTok web viewer also allows you to watch TikTok Live channels, where users are live streaming to the masses. There is also a TikTok TV option, where you can watch a continuous stream of TikTok videos with other users in a channel.

TikTokforWeb also includes a mini-app you can use to download TikTok videos.

2. Video Downloader for Social Media (Android): Easiest Way to Download TikTok Videos

If you want to download a TikTok video to your drive, perhaps to make a reaction video or make it a part of your own clip, check out the strangely named Video Downloader for Social Media by Avalon Inc. It is one of the most highly rated among thousands of other such apps on the Play Store.

The app’s claim-to-fame is that it removes the TikTok watermark from the video, so it’s easier for you to use.

Just copy-paste the link and the app does the rest. You can even download only the sound from the video to use it as a ringtone. A handy video manager tab lets you decide what to do with all the files you’ve saved.

Download: Video Downloader for Social Media for Android (Free)

For iOS Users:

Unfortunately, this is only available for Android users and there aren’t any particularly good iPhone apps now. For now, you can use a web-based app like TikTok Video Downloader.

It doesn’t remove the watermark, but you’ll be able to save an MP4 video to your phone or computer. TikTok videos can also be downloaded through the TikTok Lite app if you’re using that.

TikTok is still new and so it isn’t yet supported by many of the best free all-in-one apps to download any video on the internet

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. But hopefully, this should be fixed soon enough as TikTok gets more and more popular.

3. TikTok Lite (Android): Best for Lurkers and Casual TikTok Users

If you use TikTok to check out the videos rather than make your own, the main app is overkill. It is packed with features that you won’t use, and it drains your battery. Instead, get the official TikTok Lite app.

As with other storage-saving lite apps for Android

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, TikTok Lite is smaller in size. It also focuses on ensuring it uses less data than the main app, which is critical to anyone on mobile networks and not Wi-Fi. Heck, it even lets you download and save a few videos for watching them offline.

TikTok Lite is best for passive users since you don’t even need to sign in. Download the app and you can use it without a TikTok account, thus protecting your privacy a little more.

TikTok Lite didn’t let users upload videos, but now there is an update. When you tap the upload button, it prompts you to download a 10MB “Video” feature before being able to use it. It is a stripped-down version of the main uploader though, so we still wouldn’t recommend it for serious TikTok users.

Download: TikTok Lite for Android (Free)

4. Vizmato (Android, iOS): Best Video Editor for TikTok

Vizmato is the best video editor for TikTok today. Even the free version is packed with enough features for you to make great videos, and the paid pro version ($11.99 / year) only adds more fun.

It covers the basics of everything you’ll need to create videos. Here’s a quick run-through of the best features available in the free version of Vizmato:

  1. Split any video, trim a video, or join multiple videos to make a single video.
  2. Select multiple photos and turn them into a slideshow video, complete with background music.
  3. Add several sound effects.
  4. Record videos through the app itself, adding music and filters live.
  5. Add popular filters to any video, and video effects like ripples, shocks, transitions, etc.

The free version has a few limitations in the use of filters, effects, songs, and the time limit of the videos. It also adds a visual watermark at the end, but you can always trim that out in the TikTok app before you post your video.

However, if you love the free app and want to avoid all that, just buy the Pro version. It’s worth it for any serious video creator.

Download: Vizmato for Android | iOS (Free)

5. Hashtags for TikTok (Web): Hashtag Generator for TikTok

TikTok Hashtags automatically generates trending hashtags based on a keyword to get you more fans and followers for

It is important to use trending hashtags and popular topics if you want to get more fans and followers on TikTok. Not sure which hashtags to use? There’s an app for that.

You can easily think of one hashtag based on the video you have made. For example, if you shot a cute video of your puppy, you would tag it with #dog.

So type the word “dog” into Hashtags for TikTok to instantly generate a box of 15-20 hashtags. Tap “copy” and paste it into your new TikTok video or as its first comment.

Think about this though: Hashtags for TikTok is the only generator of its kind right now but doesn’t say where it is getting the data for these hashtag recommendations.

There are plenty of similar apps for Instagram though, and this app even recommends keywords that are based on hashtags for Instagram. Make of that what you will…

Best TikTok Tips and Tricks

Third-party apps and websites will only get you so far. If you really want to be a TikTok power user, you need to dive into the main app and tweak it to suit your needs. Check out these TikTok tips and tricks for beginners

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and transition to a seasoned TikTok user.

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6 Essential macOS Features for Hearing-Impaired Users

In the past, many technology companies made minor efforts to provide accessibility features for their products. Phones and computers have become a part of us, making them even more important than ever.

As the age of technology continues forward, Apple has perfected a variety of features for hearing-impaired users. From visual guides to new versions of Siri, Macs are now able to become primary tools for more individuals. This guide focuses on several macOS settings and tweaks that are perfect for anyone with hearing impairments.

6. iMessage

iMessage Example

A free and simple solution for those who are hearing impaired is to communicate with others via a messaging service app. Apple, in an intelligent move, decided to bring the free iMessage messaging app for iPhones and iPads to Mac devices.

In the moments where you don’t have your phone by your side, this preinstalled app is the perfect alternative. The handoff feature allows those of you who own an iPhone to get iMessages on both your iPhone and Mac simultaneously. As long as you have a Wi-Fi or hotspot connection, your Mac can send and receive messages for free.

5. Mono Audio

Mono Audio Instructions

Some individuals might have the ability to hear in only one ear. And while those of us with average hearing can use two headphones to hear directionally, macOS offers a simple solution. Mono Audio lets you play both audio tracks in each ear, allowing all sounds to be audible in all situations.

You can access this by bringing up Spotlight Search (keyboard shortcut Command + Spacebar), then typing “Accessibility” and looking under the Hearing tab for the Audio section. Make sure to check the box that says “Play stereo audio as mono” and you should now hear mono audio in both headphones.

4. Closed Captions

Closed Caption Options

Apple works closely with their products to provide accessibility in all formats. For those hard of hearing, a great tool is Closed Captions. The iTunes store hosts movies, television shows, podcasts, and music that are all fully captioned.

Although not every piece of media on the iTunes store has Closed Captions, it’s always best to check. The best way to know if a product has Closed Captions is to check for the little CC icon once you are viewing it, as featured above. And if you’re into customization, you can even use different fonts and sizes to help make the text more visible.

Perhaps you already use Closed Captions due to the volume never feeling loud enough. Curious if you should get a hearing test? Consider giveing yourself a hearing test for free

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3. Face Time

FaceTime Example

While features such as phone calls are catered towards those who can hear, Face Time is perfect for anyone who can use sign language as well. Included in most Apple products, from Macs to iPod touches, this free software allows users to communicate via audio and visuals. The Mac app works seamlessly on Wi-Fi and can even be used to Face Time those who are using their iPhone.

Face Time was worked from the ground up to provide a quick frame rate and visuals that work even in low lighting—perfect for those who need to capture every detail on screen.

2. Type to Siri

Type to Siri Instructions

Siri is Apple’s on-screen assistant, found in Macs and iPhones. With the push of a button, you can babble any request, question, or alarm you wish to set. Siri is prompted via voice, by either directly saying her name or by a button. But the new Type to Siri feature allows anyone to inquire from Siri.

First, let’s go back to the Accessibility screen under Mac settings. Under the Interaction tab, you’ll see a Siri header, select “Enable Type to Siri” and watch as you communicate to Siri and receive answers without the need for voice. She’ll even dictate her answers back to you.

1. Screen Flash

Screen Flash Instructions

The greatest accessibility tool that Apple includes in the newer Macs is Screen Flash.

Screen Flash is a helpful tool for those who want alerts on their computers but would be unable to register the noises. You can use Screen Flash with every App and program that uses system sounds. This means a complex network of notifications can all be signified via Screen Flash, making this feature absolutely critical for those who are Hearing-Impaired.

To access this feature, first, head back into the Accessibility window. Under Hearing, click on the Audio tab. You’ll find a button that says “Flash the screen when an alert sound occurs.” Check the box and make sure to test the screen flash. If it is too bright, adjust your brightness setting to make things more comfortable.

Along with these great Mac features, many developers are working together with the operating systems of phones and computers to provide more valuable accessibility to all impaired users. These iPhone and iPad Apps help immeasurably with those who have learning, visual, and audio impairments

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In the past, accessibility has been seen as optional or a nice “bonus” feature, but that view is outdated. Here are 10 apps that make life easier for a wide variety of iPhone users.
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Image Credit: belchonock/Depositphotos

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3 Essential Design Trends, November 2019

There’s always a balance between visual design and functional design. Many of the “rules” of design as we know them exist to make visuals more functional.

That’s not exactly true of all of the techniques that are trending right now. But sometimes rules are made to be broken, right? You can take these trends in and decide whether they work for you or not. (There’s no right or wrong answer.)

Here’s what’s trending in design this month.


1. Obscured Text Elements

When it comes to text elements, the first thought is often readability. Not with this design trend.

More design projects are showcasing text elements that are partially obscured or hidden within other elements. And while these designs look pretty cool and are visually stunning, whether it actually works might be more debatable.

Each of the examples below uses this trend in a slightly different way.

Granyon Party uses oversized text in a layered design – background, text, animated illustration – where the words are hyphenated and in a layer behind design elements. While the obscured text is fairly easy to read, the addition of hyphenation and a monotone color palette makes it a little trickier.


Lafaurie Paris uses black text over an image layer with dark coloring, leaving little contrast between the two. This makes the main text element a challenge in terms of readability on an otherwise visually stunning design.


Ride & Crash’s Paco the Judo Popcorn has a text layer that’s behind a semitransparent animated illustration. It’s not too difficult to read, but does make you stop and really think about the words on the screen. Use of space helps draw focus and make it a little easier to digest.


With all of these examples, the design has to weigh big questions: Is the visual display worth losing readability? Will visitors understand and interact with the design?


2. Animated Spheres

Circles have always been a popular design element. They carry plenty of symbolism and meaning and can set the right tone for projects. Circles are also a little less rigid than hard-edged elements, such as buttons or calls to action.

Bigger spheres with animation are a solid way to draw users into design elements and focus the eye.

This trending element might be pure decoration or serve a more functional role.

2nd Street uses large spheres down the right margin as a secondary level of navigation. The middle circles have a link and hover animation to help signal this action. The bottom circle is a decoration with movement that helps draw the eye and encourage users to move the mouse in that direction, activating the other circular buttons.


Eslam Said uses a large sphere in the center of the screen with simple movement to create visual interest in the portfolio website. The simple design and movement are hard to stop looking at with a soothing feel to them.


World of Incentro uses multiple spheres with small movements and subtle animation as a decorative element. Further, the design uses a red, circular cursor to encourage engagement with the design. (If you click around this site a little, you’ll also find that it makes use of the first trend mentioned here, with different layers of obscured text.)



3. Large Left Margins

This might be my personal favorite trend, as a fan of asymmetrical balance. These designs use large left margins and areas of whitespace opposite a more visually full right side with an art element that fades off the screen.

They create a beautifully imbalanced balance with visual weight that draws the eye across this screen.

But this style isn’t for everyone, especially if you really like more symmetry. The challenge with this style is how elements stack on smaller mobile or vertical screens. The result isn’t often as stunning as the desktop counterpart.

Ervaxx uses a simple animation paired with large bold text. The large font size offsets the weight of the animated blob on the right.


Lifted Logic carries a hero text element across white (ahem, black) space into a video. The use of space really pulls the eye across the text into the image and back.


Cognito uses balanced weights with text and line illustrations across the screen. Space, here, makes the design feel a little less busy with a lot of elements to take in at once – navigation menu, headline, secondary text, two buttons, animated illustration, and a chat box.




It’s possible to love the look of a trendy design, but never use the technique because you don’t find that it works with your content or in a way that focuses on usability. And that’s ok. That’s the beauty of trends; they spark conversation and push all designers to think bigger and better.

Do you tend to be more of a visual or functional designer? Most of us have fairly distinct tendencies and it’s good food for thought.

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10 Essential Twitter Tips for Beginners

If you steer clear of the bots and trolls, Twitter is a great place to hang out. However, many new users find Twitter intimidating. Luckily, we’re here to help with these Twitter tips for beginners. And even experienced Twitter users may learn something useful.

1. Be Selective About Who You Follow

If you’re new to Twitter, it’s tempting to hit the Follow button every time you see a person retweet one of your posts or like one of your photos.

Don’t fall into this habit. Twitter is only as good as the people you follow. If you clog up your timeline with people you don’t care about, your user experience will suffer.

Instead, think about which websites, publications, and people are the most prominent in the topics you’re interested in. As you follow more people, Twitter will suggest other users based on their profiles. For even more ideas, take a look at who the Twitter users you follow are following.

2. Start Using Twitter Lists

twitter lists organised

Twitter lists are a woefully underappreciated feature of the platform. They aren’t complicated to set up or use, yet almost all regular users overlook them.

Because your main Twitter feed is a single output of all the people you follow, it can be hard to digest. You end up with a mishmash of content across dozens of topics.

If you set up your Twitter lists correctly, you can compartmentalize content into different subjects, then dip in and out of it as you wish. You do not need to follow a user to add them to a list.

To get started using Lists, click on your avatar in the top-right corner and click Lists.

3. Sort Your Feed Chronologically

Twitter’s biggest selling point is its ability to provide users with real-time news, opinion, insights, and analysis on just about anything that’s happening in the world.

And yet, between 2016 and 2018, Twitter abandoned the policy of showing tweets in chronological order. The reason? Advertising revenue.

Thankfully, that policy is now dead. However, Twitter still defaults to showing you the top tweets rather than the latest tweets. If you want to see all of the tweets from the people you follow, here’s how to switch to a chronological Twitter timeline

How to Switch to a Chronological Twitter Timeline

How to Switch to a Chronological Twitter Timeline

Twitter now allows you to switch between chronological and curated timelines. Here’s everything you need to know…
Read More


4. Don’t Expect to Build a Big Following

Don’t create an account and expect to have thousands of followers within a few weeks. To grow a sizeable Twitter following, you need to post quality content regularly and actively engage with the communities you enjoy.

If you look at the accounts with even a few thousand followers, they’ve typically tweeted tens of thousands of times. Don’t stress about it. For most people, Twitter should be enjoyed as a platform for consumption, not production.

5. Block, Block, Block

block twitter user button

Twitter is well known for its ongoing problems with abuse and cyberbullying. It doesn’t matter what type of tweets you post; you will inevitably be targeted at some point.

A golden mantra among long-time Twitter users is “block early, block often.” It’s sound advice and one of the best Twitter tips for beginners.

If you ever encounter someone who gives you even the tiniest hint of backlash, block them immediately. Your Twitter experience—and your sanity—will be all the better for it.

6. Manage Personalization and Data Usage

Whenever you sign up for a new service or download a new app, one of the first things you should do is head to the settings menu and make sure the privacy and data options meet your requirements.

Twitter is no different. By default, the Share your data with Twitter’s business partners setting is enabled, as is Track where you see Twitter content across the web. At the very least, you should turn off both of these options by heading to Settings > Content Preferences > Personalization and Data.

It’s also worth considering whether you want to see personalized ads, personalization based on your identity, and personalization based on your location history. You will find the toggles on the same menu.

7. Use Bookmarks

twitter bookmarks save tweet

Lots of Twitter users hit the Like button when they want to save a tweet to refer to later. In terms of functionality, it does work, and you can review your list of Likes at any time.

However, Likes have one major drawback in that they are public. Not only can other users see when you like something, but they can also see a history of all your Likes on your profile.

So, a great Twitter tip for beginners is to use Bookmarks instead. These are completely private. The person who wrote the tweet you want to keep won’t even know that you have bookmarked it.

8. Don’t Overuse Hashtags

Hashtags came to prominence as a way to find content on related topics. They still work, but in many ways, they are no longer fit for purpose. Twitter does a much better job of organizing content than it used to, while the most popular hashtags see thousands of new tweets per minute. People can’t possibly hope to scroll through them all to find your post.

At most, use one, highly specific hashtag. Your tweets will look neater and you’ll have much more success in reaching your target audience.

9. Use Advanced Notification Filters

twitter notifications settings

When you create your Twitter account for the first time, every notification setting is enabled. You’ll get a stream of random alerts because someone you follow has posted a video or published a new tweet. It’s impossible to discern the useful stuff from the trash.

Instead, we recommend turning on the Quality Filter setting (to remove low-quality content from your notifications) and tweaking the Advanced Settings until you have a system that you’re happy with.

10. Turn Off Data Sync on Mobile

If you use the Twitter app on Android or iOS, it will automatically keep your Twitter timeline synced and up to date, even if the app is not open.

This is entirely unnecessary; it serves little purpose other than to eat through your data allowance. With the setting turned off, you’ll just need to swipe down to refresh your feed when you first open the app.

To change the setting, go to Settings and Privacy > Data Usage > Data Sync and unmark the checkbox.

Share Your Best Twitter Tips for Beginners

These are the essential Twitter tips for beginners. However, there are a lot of nuggets of information that new users will find useful. So, if you’re an experienced Twitter user, we’d love you to share your own Twitter tips in the comments below.

And if you’d like to learn more about using Twitter, here are the unwritten Twitter rules you’re probably breaking

6 Unwritten Twitter Rules You’re Probably Breaking

6 Unwritten Twitter Rules You’re Probably Breaking

Like most social media sites, Twitter has its own rules. Some of these Twitter rules aren’t in the official documentation.
Read More


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The Essential CSS3 Properties Cheat Sheet

Background Properties background Defines a variety of background properties within one declaration. background-attachment Specifies whether the background image is fixed or scrolls with the webpage. background-color Defines the background color of an element on the webpage. background-image Defines an element’s background image. background-clip Specifies how far the background images or color extends for an element. background-origin Specifies the positioning area of the background images. background-position Defines the origin of a background image. background-repeat Specifies how the background image is tiled. background-size Specifies the size of the background images. Border Properties border Sets the border width, style, and color for all four sides of an element. border-bottom Sets the width, style, and color for the bottom border of an element. border-bottom-color Sets the color of the bottom border of an element. border-bottom-left-radius Defines the shape of the bottom-left border corner of an element. border-bottom-right-radius Defines the shape of the bottom-right border corner of an element. border-bottom-style Sets the style of the bottom border of an element. border-bottom-width Sets the width of the bottom border of an element. border-color Sets the color of the border on all the four sides of an element. border-image Specifies how an image is to be used in place of the border styles. border-image-outset Specifies the amount by which the border image area extends beyond the border box. border-image-repeat Specifies how the border image is tiled. border-image-slice Specifies the inward offsets of the image-border. border-image-source Specifies the location of the image to be used as a border. border-image-width Specifies the width of the image-border. border-left Sets the width, style, and color of the left border of an element. border-left-color Sets the color of the left border of an element. border-left-style Sets the style of the left border of an element. border-left-width Sets the width of the left border of an element. border-radius Defines the shape of the border corners of an element. border-right Sets the width, style, and color of the right border of an element. border-right-color Sets the color of the right border of an element. border-right-style Sets the style of the right border of an element. border-right-width Sets the width of the right border of an element. border-style Sets the style of the border on all the four sides of an element. border-top Sets the width, style, and color of the top border of an element. border-top-color Sets the color of the top border of an element. border-top-left-radius Defines the shape of the top-left border corner of an element. border-top-right-radius Defines the shape of the top-right border corner of an element. border-top-style Sets the style of the top border of an element. border-top-width Sets the width of the top border of an element. border-width Sets the width of the border on all the four sides of an element. Color Properties color Defines and sets the color for text. opacity Defines the transparency of an element. Dimension Properties height Defines the height of an element. max-height Defines the maximum height of an element. max-width Defines the maximum width of an element. min-height Defines the minimum height of an element. min-width Defines the minimum width of an element. width Specify the width of an element. Generated Content Properties content Inserts generated content. quotes Specifies quotation marks for embedded quotations. counter-reset Creates or resets one or more counters. counter-increment Increments one or more counter values. Flexible Box Layout align-content Specifies the alignment of flexible container’s items. align-items Specifies the default alignment for items. align-self Specifies the alignment for selected items. flex Specifies the components of a flexible length. flex-basis Specifies the initial main size of the flex item. flex-direction Specifies the direction of the flexible items. flex-flow A shorthand property for the flex-direction and the flex-wrap properties. flex-grow Specifies how the flex item will grow relative to the other items inside the flex container. flex-shrink Specifies how the flex item will shrink relative to the other items inside the flex container. flex-wrap Specifies whether the flexible items should wrap or not. justify-content Specifies how flex items are aligned along the main axis of the flex container after any flexible lengths and auto margins have been resolved. order Specifies the order in which a flex items are displayed and laid out within a flex container. Font Properties font Defines a variety of font properties within one declaration like the font-style, font-variant, font-weight, font-size/line-height, and the font-family. font-family Defines a list of fonts for element. font-size Defines the font size for the text. font-size-adjust Preserves the readability of text when font fallback occurs. font-stretch Selects a normal, condensed, or expanded face from a font. font-style Defines the font style for the text. font-variant Specifies the font variant. font-weight Specifies the font weight of the text. List Properties list-style Defines the display style for a list and list elements. list-style-image Specifies the image to be used as a list-item marker. list-style-position Specifies the position of the list-item marker. list-style-type Specifies the marker style for a list-item. Margin Properties margin Sets the margin on all four sides of the element. margin-bottom Sets the bottom margin of the element. margin-left Sets the left margin of the element. margin-right Sets the right margin of the element. margin-top Sets the top margin of the element. Multi-Column Layout Properties column-count Specifies the number of columns in a multi-column element. column-fill Specifies how columns will be filled. column-gap Specifies the gap between the columns in a multi-column element. column-rule Specifies a straight line, or “rule”, to be drawn between each column in a multi-column element. column-rule-color Specifies the color of the rules drawn between columns in a multi-column layout. column-rule-style Specifies the style of the rule drawn between the columns in a multi-column layout. column-rule-width Specifies the width of the rule drawn between the columns in a multi-column layout. column-span Specifies how many columns an element spans across in a multi-column layout. column-width Specifies the optimal width of the columns in a multi-column element. columns A shorthand property for setting column-width and column-count properties. column-count Specifies the number of columns in a multi-column element. Outline Properties outline Sets the width, style, and color for all four sides of an element’s outline. outline-color Sets the color of the outline. outline-offset Set the space between an outline and the border edge of an element. outline-style Sets a style for an outline. outline-width Sets the width of the outline. Padding Properties padding Sets the padding on all four sides of the element. padding-bottom Sets the padding to the bottom side of an element. padding-left Sets the padding to the left side of an element. padding-right Sets the padding to the right side of an element. padding-top Sets the padding to the top side of an element. Print Properties page-break-after Inserts a page break after an element. page-break-before Inserts a page break before an element. page-break-inside Inserts a page break inside an element. Table Properties border-collapse Specifies whether table cell borders are connected or separated. border-spacing Sets the spacing between the borders of adjacent table cells. caption-side Specifies the position of table’s caption. empty-cells Shows or hides borders and backgrounds of empty table cells. table-layout Specifies a table layout algorithm. border-collapse Specifies whether table cell borders are connected or separated. Text Properties direction Defines the text direction/writing direction. tab-size Specifies the length of the tab character. text-align Sets the horizontal alignment of inline content. text-align-last Specifies how the last line of a block or a line right before a forced line break is aligned when text-align is justify. text-decoration Specifies the decoration added to text. text-decoration-color Specifies the color of the text-decoration-line. text-decoration-line Specifies what kind of line decorations are added to the element. text-decoration-style Specifies the style of the lines specified by the text-decoration-line property text-indent Indents the first line of text. text-justify Specifies the justification method to use when the text-align property is set to justify. text-overflow Specifies how the text content will be displayed, when it overflows the block containers. text-shadow Applies one or more shadows to the text content of an element. text-transform Transforms the case of the text. line-height Sets the height between lines of text. vertical-align Sets the vertical positioning of an element relative to the current text baseline. letter-spacing Sets the extra spacing between letters. word-spacing Sets the spacing between words. white-space Specifies how white space inside the element is handled. word-break Specifies how to break lines within words. word-wrap Specifies whether to break words when the content overflows the boundaries of its container. Transform Properties backface-visibility Specifies whether or not the “back” side of a transformed element is visible when facing the user. perspective Defines the perspective from which all child elements of the object are viewed. perspective-origin Defines the origin (the vanishing point for the 3D space) for the perspective property. transform Applies a 2D or 3D transformation to an element. transform-origin Defines the origin of transformation for an element. transform-style Specifies how nested elements are rendered in 3D space. Transition Properties transition Defines the transition between two states of an element. transition-delay Specifies when the transition effect will start. transition-duration Specifies the number of seconds or milliseconds a transition effect should take to complete. transition-property Specifies the names of the CSS properties to which a transition effect should be applied. transition-timing-function Specifies the speed curve of the transition effect. Visual Formatting Properties display Specifies how an element is displayed onscreen. position Specifies how an element is positioned. top Specifies the location of the top edge of the positioned element. right Specifies the location of the right edge of the positioned element. bottom Specifies the location of the bottom edge of the positioned element. left Specifies the location of the left edge of the positioned element. float Specifies whether or not a box should float. clear Specifies the placement of an element in relation to floating elements. z-index Specifies a layering or stacking order for positioned elements. overflow Specifies the treatment of content that overflows the element’s box. overflow-x Specifies how to manage the content when it overflows the width of the element’s content area. overflow-y Specifies how to manage the content when it overflows the height of the element’s content area. resize Specifies whether or not an element is resizable by the user. clip Defines the clipping region. visibility Specifies whether or not an element is visible. cursor Specifies the type of cursor. box-shadow Applies one or more drop-shadows to the element’s box. box-sizing Alters the default CSS box model. Animation Properties animation Specifies the behavior of all animations. animation-delay Specifies when the animation will start with a delay. animation-direction Specifies whether the animation should play forward, backward, or in alternate cycles. animation-duration Specifies the number of seconds or milliseconds an animation should take to complete one cycle. animation-fill-mode Specifies how a CSS animation should apply styles to its target before and after it is executing. animation-iteration-count Specifies the number of times an animation cycle should be played before stopping. animation-name Specifies the name of @keyframes defined animations that should be applied to the selected element. animation-play-state Specifies whether the animation is running or paused. animation-timing-function Specifies how a CSS animation should progress over the duration of each cycle.

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This New Essential Phone Looks Wild, Man – Review Geek

The Essential "Project GEM" concept in hand.

If you follow mobile phone design, you’re familiar with Essential, an indie manufacturer that lit up the tech press but failed to find commercial success with its first phone. The company is showing off a new concept on Twitter.

While the first Essential phone kept the same basic slate profile of a modern smartphone and attempted innovation with a camera notch and modular add-ons, this “Project GEM” device is a more radical departure, with a much taller and slimmer silhouette. It basically looks like a standard Android phone, if you skewed it to 150% height and 50% width in Photoshop.

In less technical terms: if phone design was a piece of paper in a kindergarten classroom, a standard phone would be a “hamburger” fold. This Essential concept is a “hot dog” fold.

Beyond that, there’s not much to say about the hardware. It’s a phone (or maybe a TV remote? Hard to say.). It’s got the now-standard rounded corners on its super-tall screen. It has what looks like a cutout camera on the front, a camera with a large bump on the back, and a fingerprint reader. It’s running what looks like live (if not final) software, with a custom user interface making more efficient use of that odd-shaped screen than unmodified Android would. It appears to have multiple interactive panels, in a vaguely widget-like arrangement, on its long screen. We don’t know if it’s running Android like the original Essential PH-1, but given the operating system’s open source flexibility, that seems likely.

A screenshot of the Essential PH-1's camera attachment.
Essential tried—and failed—to make a splash with modular accessories on the PH-1. Essential

Assuming that there aren’t any huge surprises hiding in the hardware, one might be tempted to dismiss this as either an easy way to gauge interest, or a serious product that’s trying to find a profitable new niche. (And of course, it could be both.) Many manufacturers are looking for an edge with gentle innovations in hardware, like pop-up cameras from OnePlus to kill the screen notch. Sony is trying something similar to this Essential design, but far less extreme, with its extra-tall Xperia 1. The Palm brand has been resurrected to try and make super-tiny Android phones as “secondary” devices. And all that’s without mentioning more ambitious shifts, like folding phones from Samsung, Huawei, and others.

But there’s a more interesting way to approach this. Let’s give Essential the benefit of the doubt and assume that this will become a real flesh-and-blood (um, aluminum-and-glass?) product at some point. What problems would a super-long, super-skinny phone solve? This isn’t one of the radical Nokia designs of the mid-00s, where a company that thought it was invincible was creating insanely weird stuff, just because it could. This is, I would guess, a hardware and software team with specific goals, looking to redefine at least some of the ways that we interact with the ubiquitous slate phone form factor.


“We’ve been looking for a way to reframe your perspective on mobile,” the tweet says. And it’s not the first company to try and shake up a phone market that’s become predictable, if not outright boring (in a good way). If Essential wants to shift the standard form factor, it looks like they’re going to try to do so in a more gentle way than, say, the Galaxy Fold or Surface Duo. That’s a less exciting goal, but perhaps a more attainable one.

If you’re tempted to dismiss this as a Hail Mary pass from a company that’s failed to gain a foothold in the incredibly competitive smartphone market, I would suggest holding off. Recall that, when the original Galaxy Note came on the market with its “insanely big,” “colossal,” “gargantuan” 5.3-inch screen in 2011, it was met with similar scorn. The Galaxy Note is one of the best-selling lines on the planet, and it’s pushed every single manufacturer on the market into bigger and bigger phone screens, including the normally unshakable Apple. Ignoring seemingly odd design choices is something manufacturers do at their peril.

The original Galaxy Note
The Galaxy Note was “insanely big” in 2011. Today it’s smaller than the newest iPhone. Samsung

That said, the Galaxy Note had one of the biggest tech companies in the world behind it, and even in 2011 it was expanding on a growing trend. By comparison, Essential has name recognition among gadget news addicts, and that’s about it. If they want to shake up the smartphone market, they’ll need to demonstrate how that new form factor can actually benefit users. We’ll be excited to see what they come up with.

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