If you’ve ever looked in a dictionary, or at a Wikipedia entry, you’ll have seen IPA text, although you may not be familiar with what it is.
IPA is the International Phonetic Alphabet. It’s a set of phonemes, which are all the different sounds the mouth makes in language. It’s needed because our 26 letters (in English) don’t cut the whole range of sounds that we make. For example, the a in cat is pronounced differently from the a in bake, which is pronounced different still from the a in far.
So when you see a word being defined (as in a dictionary or on Wikipedia), it will often have these characters (such as /kəˈlʌmbɪdiː/), demonstrating how the word should be pronounced, which is really useful, assuming you know how to decode it.
Google Chrome completely broke the mould when it was released in 2008. One of the many ways it did this was with the “omnibox”. Today, this feature is ubiquitous in all web browsers (such that you probably don’t even know what the omnibox is!), but it’s where you can enter a web address, or enter a term and search for that term, all from one convenient place (before that, there were separate boxes for each function – I know, crazy times!).
You set a default search engine so that if what you enter in the omnibox is not a valid URL, it will search that search engine for whatever you entered.
And that is where most people’s usage of the omnibox stops. However, there is a way that you can search all sorts of sites with great ease, something that I’ve been doing for many years, and which saves me a great deal of time instead of bouncing around various sites unnecessarily.
I try to stay on top of privacy issues, and I’m probably ahead of most people, but I’m also far from a leader in this area. Life is just too busy to stay on top of all of it.
Today however, I came across a website, which lists online privacy tools. It was surprisingly thorough and easy to navigate. All of the tools are sorted into categories (such as VPNs, web browsers, online maps, messaging clients etc.), and each tool has a very brief write-up of what sets them apart, and a simple rating.
In this age where Facebook owns everything and is actively using everything it knows about you to subconsciously manipulate you, I’m trying to move away from Facebook and its products as much as possible.
Since COVID-19 came along and required us to have more space between people, it has been necessary to find tools which allow us to limit the number of people that work together in a given space.
As an Office Manager, I quickly found the Shifts tool in Microsoft Teams. It proved really promising, but after giving it a shot for a few weeks, I quickly found its biggest pain point: Teams requires you to approve a shift that someone signs up for.
That’s a necessary and useful step in many industries, such as hospitality, however, in my case, I wanted to create a set number of open shifts, to limit occupancy of our office to 25%, and just have people sign up for them on a first-come, first-served basis, but the manager approval step quickly became a bottleneck, especially when people were looking to come to the office on short notice.
I finally found a solution that I just tested which removes the manager approval step by automatically approving shift requests.
I have a home network that I routinely have need to access from remote locations. Up until now, I’ve just made do, by waiting to handle the tasks when I’m at home, or by physically going home in order to access the network.
The reason that accessing your home network from anywhere outside the home is problematic is because you most likely don’t have a static IP address from your ISP. That means that your IP address of your modem changes frequently, so if you want to even begin to access your home network from a distance, you need to know the address to reach it. When it changes all the time, that can be a problem. That’s where dynamic DNS comes in.
Dynamic DNS is a service that allows you to channel your ever-changing IP address to a static domain name. The idea is that even though your IP address changes all the time, you can enter a given domain name and that will point you to the correct IP address. When your IP address changes, you update the DNS for the domain name and it still gets you to your home network.
Lately, for my engineering projects, I’ve been creating “project dashboards” in OneNote for colleagues to find all of the key information, contacts and documents for the project.
I wanted to be able to link the names of key people directly to a chat window in Microsoft Teams to that you can just start chatting with them immediately.
I found a few guides online which recommend a URL scheme utilising
https://teams.microsoft.com. I tested it out and it does indeed work, but it does so by opening a browser window first. Not only does this add to the delay, but it means opening extraneous tabs which need to be closed again. Since I’m all about efficiency, I wanted to find a way around that.
I feel it is my civic duty to share with you my absolute favourite new podcast: What Trump Can Teach Us About Con Law, or Trump Con Law for short.
Before you see the word Trump and instantly start forming opinions for yourself about what this podcast is, let me inform you. The beauty of this podcast is that it gives a really deep dive into constitutional law with a lot of case law, assuming that you have next to no knowledge of the Constitution, and the topics are prompted by the things that Trump says or does; that is, it takes current affairs, and looks at how the Constitution applies to them and provides the case law that establishes the precedents.
One of the main values of bringing Trump into the equation is not too rally behind him, or rail against him, but rather to give us context for these constitutional principles and how they apply to our lives.
I got a Nest thermostat about 18 months ago. I wanted to take advantage of its smart home capabilities and to use that to help reduce our electricity usage (both for its cost benefits and for the good it does the environment).
Nest seemed like a great choice. With all of the great rebates that were on offer to us in the Portland area, we paid very little for it, and we were excited about how we could customise our thermostat to do whatever we wanted.
Except, we couldn’t.