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Archive for March, 2014

Microsoft Office ( Word, Excel, PowerPoint) for iPad Review: Worth the Wait | App Saga

Microsoft Office ( Word, Excel, PowerPoint) for iPad Review: Worth the Wait

“It’s about time!” shouted the collective voice of enterprise IT experts and undergraduate college students on Thursday as Microsoft finally, FINALLY released Office for iPad. Well, not all of Office. Instead, it’s the three most commonly used components: Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. And they didn’t cut corners, either — these are beautiful, well thought out, iOS7 native apps that trump every Office imitator in the App Store.

Office overview 360

Each app is built off of the Office 2013 version of its PC predecessor, mimicking both the style and the functionality of those desktop stalwarts. They still tow the iOS7 style line, though, with the busy Ribbons of the desktop replaced by slick, minimalist rows of icons. In terms of features they are not as robust as the desktop versions, but I was still impressed with just how much nuance of functionality each app did carry with it.

Word (App Store Link) is arguably the app that most users have been awaiting. There is astonishingly little to complain about with it. It looks and feels like Word 2013 in most of the ways that matter. Its basic word processing features are all there; I was able to do things like offset long quotations, add full page headers complete with pagination, and hang indents for source citation with only a little bit of a learning curve.

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Microsoft has also carried over an impressive amount of the finer formatting features; while design power users will certainly feel the loss of advanced Style, Font, Paragraph, and similar features, there’s still a fair amount of each for most people to appreciate. And just wait until the first time you need to place and resize an image; it’s actually a better approach than on the desktop. I did find the lack of access to Office clip art to be a glaring error in the images department, though.

Excel (App Store Link), much like its word processing kin, is streamlined while still sporting a lot of functionality. This one was probably the trickiest of the three titles to port, and that shows a bit in the way you interface and in the more advanced features that don’t seem to be readily available. Still, I am not a CPA and so for my own needs — like running a monthly home budget — it was just fine.

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Excel also has one killer feature going for it: its alternate keyboard. Tapping a toggle above the standard keyboard in Excel activates a custom alternative keyboard that deftly imitates a standard keyboard number pad layout. The muscle memory I’ve developed from years of entering figures into cells with the number pad was ecstatic to see this. I wish Apple would make such a keyboard a permanent part of the iOS structure.

PowerPoint (App Store Link) is my favorite of the three. As a creative, visually-based presentation program, there was a lot that Microsoft could do to translate things to the touch interface. And much like Word and Excel, it was also necessary to moderate features while still giving users plenty to work with. I think that Microsoft struck the best balance with this one. It’s got the same great image manipulation that Word sports, not to mention new templates and other design options. It also has a really cool laser pointer feature for when you are delivering your PPT from the device, creating a red, glowing cursor on the screen that appears when you touch the screen and follows your finger movement.

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The biggest gripe one could level at the Office for iPad apps is the cost. In order to do more than view documents in these apps, you must have an active subscription to Office 365, which currently runs at $99 a year (though Microsoft has already announced plans for an entry-level $69 choice). That feels expensive; but to be frank, I don’t see that as a huge issue. Businesses will already be paying for Office 365 as part of their licensing agreements, and most college students have probably already picked up the Office 365 University Edition (which comes with a four year subscription). As these are unquestionably the two biggest core audiences for these apps, I can’t see how the cost becomes a significant barrier to adoption.

As of today, the workplace productivity crown on iPad is currently contested by two sets of apps: Office and iWork. Both do so many things so incredibly well. iWork has been here longer, and it’s free on new devices, and it’s a great app all around; but Office is, well, Office, and so I think that it will very quickly become the leading productivity trio in the App Store.

Our Score: 4.5 out of 5

 

Game Name: Microsoft Word for iPad
Plaforms: iPad
Publishers: Microsoft
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Genres: Productivity
Release Date: March 27, 2014
Price: Free $0

via Microsoft Office ( Word, Excel, PowerPoint) for iPad Review: Worth the Wait | App Saga.

Ricotta Omelets – Bon Appétit

ricotta-omelets-64613165010

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

4 large eggs, beaten to blend, divided

Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

4 tablespoons ricotta, divided

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan, divided

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, divided

1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives, divided

Cherry Tomato Vinaigrette (for serving, click for recipe)

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

2 servings, 1 serving contains: Calories(kcal) 330 Fat (g) 26 Saturated Fat (g) 14 Cholesterol (mg) 485 Carbohydrates (g) 3 Dietary Fiber (g) 0 Total Sugars (g) 0 Protein (g) 19 Sodium (mg) 520

PREPARATION

 

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in an 8-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Season eggs with salt and pepper.

Add half of eggs to skillet. Cook eggs, stirring gently with a heatproof silicone spatula, until eggs are lightly scrambled and almost cooked, about 3 minutes. Spread eggs evenly to cover bottom of skillet.

Top eggs with half of ricotta, Parmesan, basil, and chives. Using spatula, fold up one-third of omelet. Roll omelet over onto itself, then slide omelet onto a plate. Repeat with remaining ingredients to make a second omelet. Top with Cherry Tomato Vinaigrette.

via Ricotta Omelets – Bon Appétit.

Black Death skeletons unearthed by Crossrail project

_73904639_skeletonsdiscoveredatcharterhousesquareconfirmedasblackdeathvictims_1321282927358
The plague victims’ bones reveal clues to their harsh lives in medieval London

 

Skeletons unearthed in London Crossrail excavations are Black Death victims from the great pandemic of the 14th Century, forensic tests indicate.

Their teeth contain DNA from the plague bacterium Yersinia pestis and their graves have been dated to 1348-50.

Records say thousands of Londoners perished and their corpses were dumped in a mass grave outside the City, but its exact location was a mystery.

This discovery solves a 660-year-old mystery. It’s a hugely important step forward”

Jay CarverLead archaeologist, Crossrail

Archaeologists now believe it is under Charterhouse Square near the Barbican.

They plan to expand their search for victims across the square – guided by underground radar scans, which have picked up signs of many more graves.

Crossrail’s lead archaeologist Jay Carver says the find “solves a 660-year-old mystery”.

“This discovery is a hugely important step forward in documenting and understanding Europe’s most devastating pandemic,” he said.

“Further excavations will follow to see if – as we expect – we are coming across a much bigger mass burial trench.”

 Scientists enter the pit and examine the skeletons discovered

Between 1347 and 1351 the “Great Pestilence” swept westward across Europe killing millions of people. It later became known as the Black Death.

The plague

  • The plague is one of the oldest identifiable diseases known to man
  • Plague is spread from one rodent to another by fleas, and to humans either by the bite of infected fleas or when handling infected hosts
  • Recent outbreaks have shown that plague may reappear in areas that have long been free of the disease
  • Plague can be treated with antibiotics such as streptomycin and tetracycline
  • Source: World Health Organization

It arrived on Britain’s shores in 1348 and is believed to have wiped out up to 60% of the population at the time.

In London, two emergency burial grounds were dug outside the walls of the City. One has been found at East Smithfield, while the other is known to lie somewhere in Farringdon.

In March 2013, Crossrail engineers uncovered 25 skeletons in a 5.5m-wide shaft – alongside pottery dated to the mid-14th Century.

Samples from 12 of the corpses were taken for forensic analysis. In at least four cases, scientists found traces of the DNA of theYersinia pestis, confirming they had contact with the plague prior to their death.

To pinpoint which historical plague outbreak the “Charterhouse 25” could have fallen victim to, the researchers used radio carbon dating.

They determined the burial ground was used in at least two distinct periods – the earliest within the Black Death in 1348-50, followed by a later outbreak in the 1430s.

Crossrail excavations at Charterhouse Square
The bodies were found in a Crossrail shaft

In a bid to understand just how far the grave extends across the square, Crossrail approached the University of Keele to undertake a forensic geophysics survey – using ground-penetrating radar.

The initial scan detected signs of further burials across Charterhouse Square and also the foundations of a building – possibly a chapel.

Teeth
Traces of plague bacteria were found in the teeth of the skeletons

“We will undertake further excavations in Charterhouse Square later this year to confirm some of the results,” said Mr Carver.

The skeletons provide a rare opportunity to study the medieval population of London, according to osteologist Don Walker, of the Museum of London Archaeology.

He said: “We can start to answer questions like: where did they come from and what were their lives like?

“I’m amazed how much you can learn about a person who died more than 600 years ago.”

Analysis of isotope levels in the skeletons’ bones and teeth indicate that:

  • Many of the skeletons appear to suffer signs of malnutrition and 16% had rickets.
  • There is a high rate of back damage and strain indicating heavy manual labour.
  • The later skeletons from the 1400s had a high rate of upper body injury consistent with being involved in violent altercations.
  • 13 of the skeletons were male, three female, two children, the gender was undetermined in the other seven skeletons.
  • 40% grew up outside London, possibly as far north as Scotland – showing that 14th Century London attracted people from across Britain just as it does today.

Mr Carver said: “We can see from the people here that Londoners weren’t living an easy life.

“The combination of a poor diet and generally a struggle means they were very susceptible to the plague at that time and that’s possibly one of the explanations for why the Black Death was so devastating.”

Jay Carver
Archaeologist Jay Carver hopes to explore more of the burial site

By sequencing the ancient bacterial DNA, researchers hope to understand how the plague has evolved and spread over the centuries.

Globally the infection still kills 2,000 people a year, including countries like Madagascar. Antibiotics are available, but if untreated the disease kills within four days.

Scientists hope to confirm whether the 14th Century strain was the grandmother of all plague that exists today.

The £14.8bn Crossrail project aims to establish a 118km-long (73-mile) high-speed rail link with 37 stations across London, and is due to open in 2018.

The excavations have already unearthed Roman skulls washed down a lost rivera Bronze-Age transport route, and the largest piece of amber ever found in the UK.

The latest announcement comes ahead of a Channel 4 documentary, Return of the Black Death: Secret History, on 6 April, which follows the Charterhouse Square discovery.

Crossrail map

via BBC News – Black Death skeletons unearthed by Crossrail project.

Defibrillators to be installed at all NHS dental practices

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Defibrillation delivers an electric shock to restore a patient’s heart to a normal rhythm

 

Defibrillators are to be installed in every Scottish NHS dental practice.

The £1m Scottish government scheme aims to boost the survival chances for people who have heart attacks.

The 970 defibrillators will also be mapped by ambulance staff so call handlers can direct people to the nearest one while patients wait for paramedics to arrive.

More than 1,500 Scots died in the community last year after suffering a cardiac arrest.

A defibrillator can be used by anyone to deliver an electric shock to the chest to restore a person’s heart to a normal rhythm after a cardiac arrest.

‘Every second counts’

Ministers said that currently, only 5% of people who have a heart attack in the community survive and every minute of delay cuts their chances.

Public Health Minister Michael Matheson said: “Every second counts when someone’s heart goes into cardiac arrest and having access to a defibrillator can mean the difference between life and death.

“As these machines are becoming easier to use it is only right that the public have more access to its life-saving potential in any public place.

“There are almost 1,000 NHS dental practices in the centre of Scottish communities. By giving them this equipment we are providing 1,000 more chances to save a life.

“I believe that this investment will save many more lives.”

The machines are expected to be in place by the end of August.

Any dental practice which has already bought a defibrillator will be compensated.

via BBC News – Defibrillators to be installed at all NHS dental practices.

Truth or lie – trust your instinct, says research

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People are generally poor at spotting a liar

 

When it comes to detecting lies, you should trust your instinct, research suggests.

We are better at identifying liars when we rely on initial responses rather than thinking about it, say psychologists.

Generally we are poor at spotting liars – managing only slightly better than flipping a coin.

But our success rate rises when we harness the unconscious mind, according to a report in Psychological Science.

“What interested us about the unconscious mind is that it just might really be the seat of where accurate lie detection lives,” said Dr Leanne ten Brinke of the University of California, Berkeley.

“So if our ability to detect lies is not conscious – we simply can’t do this when we’re thinking hard about it – then maybe it lives somewhere else, and so we thought one possible explanation was the unconscious mind.”

Primate suspect

When trying to find out if someone is lying, most people rely on cues like someone averting their gaze or appearing nervous.

However, research suggests this is not accurate – people perform at only about 50% accuracy in traditional lie detection tasks.

Psychologists at the University of California were puzzled by this, as some primates, such as chimps, are able to detect deceit – and evolutionary theory supposes that it maximises survival and reproductive success.

Magician
People are not good at spotting deception

Dr Ten Brinke and colleagues devised experiments to test the ability of the unconscious mind to spot a liar, to see if they could do better than the conscious mind.

They gave 72 students videos to watch of “suspects” in a mock crime. Some of the suspects in the videos had stolen a $100 bill from a bookshelf, whereas others had not, but all were told to pretend they had not stolen the money.

When the participants were asked to say who they thought was lying and who was telling the truth, they were able to detect liars only 43% of the time, and truth-tellers only 48% of the time.

Intuitive sense

Then the researchers used a word association task to test unconscious perception.

The volunteers were asked to look at a picture of the suspect’s face and choose which words came to mind from two lists – words such as untruthful and dishonest, or words such as honest and valid.

They performed better, providing evidence that we may have some intuitive sense, outside of conscious awareness, that detects when someone is lying.

This may mean intuitive decisions – such as who to be friends with and who to date – are guided by our unconscious mind telling us someone may be lying, said Dr Ten Brinke.

She added: “It’s possible that we make decisions on a daily basis as to who we are going to continue to interact with, so we decide to become friends with some people and not others, to continue dating some people and not others, or to work closely with some and not others.

“Perhaps some of this decision is driven by our intuitive sense that some of these people we choose not to interact with are lying to us.”

via BBC News – Truth or lie – trust your instinct, says research.

How has the smoking ban impacted on health of nations?

smoking
It is 10 years since smoking was banned in the workplace in Ireland

At midnight on 29 March 2004, the Republic of Ireland became the first country in the world to ban smoking in the workplace.

It was one of the first moves in a global trend.

The Irish health minister at the time, Micheál Martin, remembers a conversation with his counterpart from New Zealand.

She told him that if the pub-loving Irish could bring in a smoking ban, then the rest of the world could do it too.

That is what happened. In the ten years since, many other countries have brought in smoke-free laws.

But the strength of the restrictions varies – and there are some places where it has not happened.

So, a decade on, what has been the impact of this type of law on the health of the nations?

With the aim of answering that question, former BBC Ireland correspondent Denis Murray and I packed our bags for a journey across Europe, to make Clearing the Air for BBC Radio Four.

‘Time warp’

We began in the Czech Republic, which has some of the most liberal smoking laws in the EU – bars and restaurants are free to permit their customers to have a puff inside.

Musée de Fumeurs
Musée de Fumeurs is a Paris museum dedicated to the history of smoking

Football night in a Prague bar felt like a time warp – a blue fog hung in the atmosphere.

By the end of the night, our hair and clothes smelled of smoke.

We found that in the Czech Republic – which went through Nazi and Communist oppression in the 20th Century – people were very suspicious of anything that restricted freedom.

Vratislav Brabanec is a musician who has a revolutionary past. He plays the saxophone for the Plastic People of the Universe – a band whose arrest became a cause célèbre for anti-communist protesters.

A keen smoker, he was disdainful of the smoke-free laws in the likes of the UK and Ireland.

“In the next generation, everything will be prohibited,” he claimed. “Laughing, drinking, smoking – it will all be banned.”

But Dr Eva Kralikova, who runs a smoking cessation clinic, said she longed for a ban on smoking in the workplace.

She argued that if the Czech Republic brought in a law like Ireland’s, it would result in 5,500 fewer heart attacks a year.

So how has the ban gone down in France – a country which is hard to associate with non-smoking?

The land of Gauloises and Gitanes has had a ban on lighting up in bars and restaurants since 2007.

We absolutely had to pay a visit to the Musée de Fumeurs in Paris.

There, the owner Raphael Freund told us that he actually thought tobacco was not something to be consumed every day.

But he was sceptical about the ban – he said it had not helped people to give up.

Dr Catherine Hill (right) with Denis Murray and Chris Page
Dr Catherine Hill told us smoking was an epidemic

However, Dr Catherine Hill, an epidemiologist at France’s largest cancer hospital, believed the case against tobacco was unanswerable – and governments should do whatever they could to tackle smoking.

But she said the proportion of people who smoked had not reduced since the ban had come in.

And she was worried about the levels of smoking among women in particular.

“We’re just at the beginning of the epidemic,” she said.

In Dublin, Mr Martin, who brought in the Irish ban, was emphatic that it had had a beneficial effect.

“The biggest difference of all is simply the quality of life people now enjoy at public meetings, going into hotels, having their meals,” Mr Martin, the current leader of the Irish opposition, said.

Ireland is one of several countries now proclaiming a goal of a tobacco-free future – and Mr Martin thought that, eventually, a tobacco-free world could be a reality.

Dr Hill agreed that it was eventually inevitable because, she said, smoking was “just insane” – a habit that was killing millions of people.

But the tobacco industry was optimistic.

Axel Gietz from Imperial Tobacco – the fourth largest such firm in the world – told us he was bullish about the prospects for companies like his.

Man's hand holding lit cigarette
The land of Gauloises and Gitanes has had a ban on lighting up in bars and restaurants since 2007

“Evidence from around the world shows that ever stricter regulation has not prevented a hardcore of adults – let’s say 20% – from choosing to smoke. Ambitious goals for a smoke-free society do not take this simple fact of life into account.”

Whatever the future of tobacco, it is clear that the Irish smoking ban had a profound effect on the relationship between the cigarette and society.

This year, Russia will extend its smoking ban to all bars and restaurants and China plans to outlaw lighting up in public.

They are two of the world’s most populous countries – and also have some of the highest smoking rates.

Around the world, governments are still following Ireland’s lead in clearing the air.

But even ardent health campaigners do not think tobacco is going up in smoke any time soon.

via BBC News – How has the smoking ban impacted on health of nations?.

春天排毒王!地瓜潤腸通便助瘦身

吃地瓜好處多,不僅可幫助腸胃蠕動預防便秘,更能增加體內排毒功能。
吃地瓜好處多,不僅可幫助腸胃蠕動預防便秘,更能增加體內排毒功能。

 

春天吃地瓜好處多,不僅是平民美食,可幫助腸胃蠕動預防便秘,更能增加體內排毒功能。營養師指出,俗稱「番薯」的地瓜是一種鹼性食品,含有優質膳食纖維,除可以滑腸通便外,還可中和人體內所累積過多的酸性物質,建議應以蒸食為主,洗淨連皮一起食用,效果更好。

 

聯合營養諮詢中心營養師陳彥指出,地瓜已成為台灣最「夯」排毒食物,最近這幾年排毒餐風行,不少民眾吃地瓜排毒,甚至還有人靠吃地瓜來減肥。事實上,將體內毒素排出後,能活化循環系統,使新陳代謝機制變好。當基礎代謝率增加,體重自然就會下降。由於毒素常堆積在脂肪裡,因此,吃地瓜排毒也具有一定的減重效果。

可當作主食 攝取適量為宜

從營養學觀點,地瓜屬性平和,任何體質都能食用,只要不吃過量就沒關係。比較需要留意的是糖尿病患者,1天少量吃100公克,對血糖調控有些許幫助,但可千萬別多吃,地瓜跟山藥一樣,都屬於薯類,含有澱粉跟維生素,在作用上也非常相似,可當作主食,吃多了不只會變胖,還不利血糖控制。

事實上,地瓜含不少膳食纖維,確實可促進腸胃蠕動,幫助排便,但要維持身體健康,關鍵還是均衡飲食,適量食用,除了纖維質,地瓜還含有豐富的維生素A和鉀離子,可以跟米飯混合烹煮,用來取代部分米飯。不過,腎臟病患最好考量整體飲食情況,適量食用,不適合天天餐餐都地瓜。

地瓜是平民美食,含有多量膳食纖維,可促進腸胃蠕動,幫助排便。

地瓜是平民美食,含有多量膳食纖維,可促進腸胃蠕動,幫助排便。

 

【地瓜排毒 3大功能】

1.「減重」:番薯中的膳食纖維能增強胃腸功能,有助於潤腸通便,改善及預防便祕症狀,其中纖維果膠,能抑制肥胖,發揮減肥效果。

2.「防癌」:番薯的維生素C含量非常豐富,能增強腸道的免疫力,避免罹患胃癌與食道癌,最好連皮一起蒸煮食用,較能完整攝取營養。

3.「代謝」:番薯含有豐富的鉀與鈉,經常食用能保持人體酸鹼平衡,使腸道保持弱鹼性,有利於腸道進行代謝,促使消化作用順暢進行。

【地瓜排毒食譜】:

1.《高纖地瓜粥》:

材料:番薯100克,白米120克,水960c.c.

作法:

1 白米洗淨泡水;番薯去皮洗淨,切塊。

2 將白米連水倒進鍋中煮滾,再加入番薯塊煮熟即可食用。

功效:利水排毒+幫助消化。因為地瓜粥含有豐富的膳食纖維,能發揮潤腸通便效果,在腸道中能吸收水分,並增加糞便體積,促使產生便意,有助改善便祕症狀。

2.《地瓜洋芋沙拉》:

材料:番薯、馬鈴薯、雞蛋1顆,熟通心粉100克,毛豆10克,美乃滋20克

調味料:鹽、橄欖油各1/4小匙

作法:

1 馬鈴薯去皮洗淨,切丁,和雞蛋分別蒸熟,取出放涼。

2 番薯去皮洗淨,切丁,加熟通心粉、調味料拌勻,和毛豆一起蒸熟待涼。

3 馬鈴薯壓泥,雞蛋去殼切碎,拌入美乃滋,再與作法拌勻即可。

功效:促進代謝+增強免疫。因為番薯含有豐富的粗纖維,可促進腸道蠕動,縮短食物停留在腸道的時間,有利於廢物代謝,增強腸道免疫力。

【營養師小叮嚀】:料理地瓜最好用烤、水煮,或煮熟後食用,否則就是加入飯或粥裡。至於有些民眾喜歡喝地瓜甜湯,要特別留意糖的添加量,只要添加10到15公克的糖,幾乎就快等同半條小地瓜的熱量,可別加太多。另外,因為地瓜的澱粉比率高,糖尿病患也要留意,適量食用為宜。

via 春天排毒王!地瓜潤腸通便助瘦身 | 20140329 | 華人健康網.

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