In a previous post on computer software and services I use, I mentioned cloud computing.
Here's a clear simple explanation in video of cloud computing.read the text/transcript here.
Update: 2014-04-07: Eliminated links to Bing dictionary, replaced with links to other dictionaries & encyclopedias.
I just did a class on personal finance and my students in China mentioned the low interest rates they receive on their savings.
Well, an article from the Wall Street Journal (the most important financial newspaper in the US) has looked into this and come to this conclusion: people in China who save money are really losing money. Because the percentage of interest they receive is lower than the percentage increase in the cost of living, Chinese savers *lose* an estimated 190 billion yuan a year.
But if savers are losing that money, then who is gaining it? The government, the banks and the companies banks lend to. Ordinary Chinese savers are paying a hidden tax to the government and a hidden subsidy to the banks and their corporate borrowers.
Read more here:China Realtime Report, The Wall Street Journal.
Today I gave a class, Life Level III - Computers Are Everywhere.
My students and I talked about how computers and the internet are so important to how we live now: both our work lives and our personal lives. I mentioned a few things (programs, websites etc) and I'd like to write a post about them with info and links.
Doing things via the internet/websites instead of directly on your own computer.
Anything from webmail (Hotmail, Yahoo Mail) to online customer relationship management (Salesforce.com) is cloud computing.
Having an extra copy of data, in case the original is lost or damaged.
flash drive or external hard drive; print out copies; or make back-ups on tape or optical disks (CD, DVD, BD).
But now you can also do it via the "cloud": there are online backup services. One I use is Crashplan, which lets you & your friends help back up each other: safe encrypted back-ups of your data are stored on their computer, and their back-ups are stored on yours. That way it's free.
I also use Dropbox. It's not technically a backup service. It's online storage (access your files from any computer with a browser), online synchronization (install Dropbox on two computers and files on one computer will automatically appear on the other) and online sharing (you can share a folder on your computer with a friend and the files in that folder can be accessed by your friend). I use it to have extra copies in case of a problem (like back-up), share files with friends and co-workers, and have the same files on all the computers I use (2 at home, 3 at work).
Dropbox's free plan is limited in size, but you can get more free storage by referring other people to their service. So if you click this Dropbox link and complete the procedure of joining Dropbox, I get more space. :)
EDIT: I just found out Dropbox is yet another site with problems caused by the Great Firewall of China. >:( There is a way around: change the hosts file. Open it, and add this to the end:
There's another similar service NOT (yet) blocked by the GFW: SugarSync. Here's my referral link for SugarSync, i.e. if you use this link to join Sugarsync, I get more free space :)
Program or service that stores all your passwords.
I have made all those mistakes :) and finally I started using a password manager.
Personally, I use KeePass, a free open-source program. I only need to remember one password (the one for KeePass) and the program remembers all the different passwords for logging on to work computers, websites etc. I save my KeePass in my Dropbox folder so that I can access it from anywhere.
There is also a "cloud" solution: LastPass, an online service that works with your web browser and stores your passwords.
Well, these are just a few links and ideas on software and services I've used, related to issues discussed in today's class. I hope you might find it useful.
I've long used the online English-English/English-Chinese dictionary provided by Microsoft, often looking up words and putting the links in the chatbox during classes. It used to be at engkoo.com (and the Chinese name is still that) but a while ago it changed to Bing.
It is a free online dictionary that provides definitions, pronunciation and example sentences, which are great for seeing the word or phrase used in a variety of contexts. The example sentences also have Chinese translations and source links. You can choose to view definitions in English (English-English) or Chinese (English-Chinese).
One feature I especially like is comparison: you can look up and compare two words (or even more!) by putting "vs" in between. Especially useful for understanding the difference between similar words. Here's an example: cheap vs inexpensive.
It's a great all-in-one resource, although I still often use some more specialized sites when giving links for students. E.g. for example sentences, Jukuu often provides more results. And for pronunciation, I prefer Howjsay as it is all done by a native English speaker (whereas on Bing many are not).
Because of the name change, I hadn't got around to putting on my Links During Online Classes page, but it's there now, along with Jukuu, Howjsay and others.
G.A.L.E.S.L. / joe3
Some tips and links on learning English.