Microsoft Lumia 950: It Could Be Better

The Lumia 950 is Microsoft's attempt to turn your phone into something like a full-on Windows PC. It is built to move you to the next level of worker productivity. Unfortunately it comes up a little short.

The first Windows 10 device is designed to extend the benefits of the Windows experience to the smart phone. The goal is to use the phone to power a desk type experience to a monitor. This includes syncing office documents and photos across all your devices and connecting with the Windows store so your favorite apps, game, music and video are all in one place.

On the plus side, the phone does have a nice quad HD display, 5.2 inches, 564 pixels per square inch. USB-C for fast charging and a large capacity battery. The attractive display is easy to read outdoors. It is scratch resistant with a strong display glass.

Photo quality is on-par with the best smartphones. "Rich Capture" provides a triple LED natural flash. You can adjust the color saturation levels of bright or dark areas. A 20 MP sensor attempts to effectively eliminate motion blur. The quality camera image holds up even in low light.

The phone is constructed of plastic, a negative for some. The battery can be removed and it does has a microSD card slot which many phones do not. The Cortana voice assistant is also included.

Microsoft's secret sauce to all this is the Windows Continuum. The goal is to connect your Lumia 950 to a Microsoft Display Dock and use it with an external monitor, keyboard and a mouse. Office apps and Outlook can be scaled up to create a big screen optimized work environment. The idea is maintain productivity even without a laptop.

The Continuum feature is not really available in Android or iPhone devices. It will take some finesse to get it set up and some experimentation with the right type of cables etc. to make it work.

Once you have it together and working, whether it be in a hotel room or conference area, you can share a PowerPoint presentation or a video on large screen. When done you can undock your phone. Then you can resume working on the same project in a matter of minutes.

Many report problems with typing on the device. Automated spell check is not available. It will take longer to correct errors.

Windows 10 brings a few other additions to the Lumia 950. One is Windows Hello, now in beta mode. Hello is iris-scanning recognition software. It works by just starting into the phone.

App selection for a Windows phone still remains challenging. The platform is not supported by Google. Those who rely on Gmail, Google Maps, Google Drive, and Google Docs will have to find third party applications or go directly to the web for usage.

Pricing starts at $ 550 in the US and will be determined by carrier. A larger 5.7 "inch XL version is scheduled to be introduced later and will cost more.

The 950 is a good start for Microsoft to bring more productivity to the smart phone, but not the end result many were expecting. Unfortunately the design is not really anything new, Continuum set-up can be challenging, and a lack of apps is troublesome.

Windows fans may seize the opportunity to jump on the Lumia bandwagon and work through some of the phone's shortcomings.

Others will wait until Microsoft fixes some of the inherit problems with not only the phone but the Continuum system itself before giving it a more serious look.

Care And Maintenance Of The Human Hard Drive

The human brain is very much like a hard drive. If you stop to think of it, they are both filled with billions of tiny bits of information, stored in the memory cells just waiting to be accessed. They both use electrical energy to find those bits and put them together to recreate something that we have placed there. They work on demand, and we expect them to instantly give us what we want.

And frankly, many people abuse both their hard drives and their brains! They fill them up with information and expect them to perform at top efficiency without the benefit of good maintenance. There are some basic support tasks that are essential to the well being of both. If you do not take proper care of both of them, they will fail you.

Both brains and hard drives need to be de-fragged on a regular basis! De-fragment means that you allow the machine (brain or hard drive) to rearrange the information that has been stored in it, so that it can find what you need more quickly and efficiently. When bits of information get stored all over the place, with no logical order to it, then it takes a lot longer for the machine to find and reassemble what you need quickly.

Probably, you have your hard drive set up to de-frag itself on a regular basis. It is done automatically, maybe while you sleep. Well, your brain does not have a task-scheduler to take care of this for you! It is busy 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year. It can not reset itself while you sleep. That is because it is still working on the things that your subconscious is trying to sort out. It is dreaming and remembering and stressing all the while.

So how do you de-frag your brain? Well, it takes three things: rest, relaxation and meditation. If you are a type A personality, then these three things may be altogether foreign territory for you! You may be in a high-stress job, or always be taking care of others but never yourself, or you may somehow think that taking care of yourself first is something that you do not deserve. Wrong! If you do not take care of this, it will force the issue. You may get sick, depressed or worse.

Meditation is an excellent way of maintaining your brain. It forces you to sit, relax and do "nothing" for a bit. You clear your poor brain of the clutter and the chatter and just let it run free. You do not have to do anything special, really, to meditate; you just find something that transports you! Music works for a lot of people. You can dance if it helps you, or do some drumming. You could get a good meditation tape or CD and listen to that. You could even sign up for a Tai Chi course, or try some yoga. Whatever you decide to do, do it regularly. At least once a week is necessary for the proper de-fragging of the average hard drive and the average brain.

At the very least you should be setting aside some time every week to just do something relaxing. Take a long bubble bath with some candles lit and some soothing music playing. Go sit outside in nature. The trick here is to just DO it, to take the time for yourself no matter what. See that you deserve it and that it is just as important as going to a doctor when you are sick. In fact, it can help keep those doctor visits to a minimum!

And while you are at it, consider getting a good anti-virus too. Your hard drive needs it to protect your information, and your body needs it to keep healthy. Anti-virus for the body means taking better care of you. Eat something healthy, go out and take a walk, and get more sleep! You can find the time to do this if you make it a priority.

If you take care of your hard drive, both the computer type and the body type, your life will improve significantly. Both will run smoothly and have a lot less crashes!

Cooking – Liver

All liver is a great source of iron and B vitamins and should be a regular part of a healthy diet and if cooked correctly liver can be delicious. Although liver does have bad press and many people will not even consider trying it. Sometimes it calls for the cook to be somewhat inventive to get people to try liver. There are many recipes to choose from and it is worth the experimentation.

The best liver is the liver from young animals as it is mildest and tenderest. Calf’s liver is delicate and delicious but fairly expensive. Real calf’s liver is paler in color than the redder more mature baby beef liver. For a mild flavored liver choose the palest that you can find. The darker the color the stronger the flavor.

Take care when choosing liver as sometimes baby beef liver is labeled calf’s liver in the supermarket or grocery store. To ensure purchasing true calf’s liver buy from a butchers or a reputable gourmet supermarket.

Baby beef liver is stronger in flavor than calf’s liver but is very good and preferable to actual beef liver. Liver from beef is dark red and the color corresponds to the strength of flavor. Beef liver is readily available but many believe it is too strong for simple preparations.

Some cooks after buying beef liver soak it in milk or a flavorful spicy marinade such as a white wine marinade before cooking to soften the intense flavor. After marinating throw the liquid away and pat the liver dry before cooking.

A lovely tender well-flavored liver is lamb liver but this is generally quite difficult to find.

Also hard to find is pigs liver, which is strong in, taste but extremely tender. Again for pig’s liver it can be soaked or marinated like the beef liver.

When choosing liver it should be impeccably fresh with no slimy or dry patches and should have a clear scent.

Should you find yourself preparing a whole liver first wipe it with a damp cloth, then with a sharp knife remove any exposed veins, ducts or connective tissue. With your fingers peel away the thin outer membrane without tearing into the liver itself. You then just slice on the diagonal to the desired thickness your recipe calls for.

Of course presliced liver can be purchased and is actually more commonly available than whole livers. If the butcher has not done so remove the outer membrane on the slices.

Before cooking make 1/8th inch cuts at 1-inch intervals around the outside of the liver slice. The reason for this is because liver has a tendency to shrink and curl when it is cooked and these cuts will help to prevent that from happening.

The liver is now ready for cooking. Liver should be cooked until it is pink but firm in the center. If liver is overcooked or cooked on excessively high heat it will toughen.

Liver is a lot richer in flavor than many other types of meat so a 4-ounce serving should be ample as a main course for most appetites.

Facebook Holiday Marketing Tips

Holiday shopping is right around the corner. And where do people like to talk about their consumer conquests? On Facebook, of course! With more than a billion users, Facebook is definitely going to be abuzz with the talk of shopping for friends and family.

Year after year, more consumers are turning to online shopping in order to avoid the crush of so many others at brick and mortar stores. If you have a business that sells a lot of products online, then you certainly need to have a good Facebook holiday marketing strategy. Even if your main focus is on in-store sales, a good social media plan can help boost traffic to your business.

Here are some tips that will help you with a strong holiday marketing plan on Facebook:

Show your holiday spirit

No one wants to see a constant stream of product plugging in their News Feed during this time of year. Use your time to increase the holiday spirit among your followers.

Post holiday-themed trivia. Make a top ten list of the best holiday movies. Offer tips for decorating the home or how to make the best hot chocolate. Another great idea is to ask followers to submit their favorite holiday photos to include in a Facebook album.

Hold special contests and sweepstakes

This is certainly the time of year when people appreciate a good contest. Contests are an excellent way for businesses to boost engagement and broaden their reach. It is also helpful in collecting more email addresses for your list to use all year.

There are several third-party apps that make it easy to set up a Facebook contest.

Be sure to offer something that is both desirable and related to your business. It might be awesome to give away a new iPad, but you are more likely to end up with short-term followers than people interested in you for the long-term.

Give valuable coupons

Another thing that people love during the holidays is to save money. Use Facebook coupons as a way to get more people excited to shop with you.

Coupons are a great way to increase customer loyalty. Having them on Facebook also makes them easy to share, so you can see an increase in your followers quickly.

A good coupon can be anything from a great BOGO offer to free shipping.

Focus more on mobile

A large percentage of social media users access their sites through a mobile device. That is why it is so important to make sure that every marketing campaign that you create works just as well when it is mobile.

Include eye-catching images, videos, and short text in your posts. Be sure to check the mobile news feed option when you pay for Facebook ads. Always insert a good call-to-action.

Speaking of calls-to-action, Facebook is now offering marketers a unique call-to-action button for ads, such as a "Shop Now" button.

Open a pop-up shop

During the holidays, it might be worthwhile for your business to create a temporary pop-up shop. This is good for new products that you are promoting or even just a listing of your top selling items.

Give them more

When people order from you at this time of year, it is always a good idea to give them a little something extra. This could be a coupon for a future purchase, a free item, or even a simple thank you note.

Small gestures like these will leave the customer with a positive impression. They could then post about their positive experience with you on their own Facebook page for their friends and family to see.

The right Facebook holiday marketing strategy is the gift that keeps on giving. When you do it well, you will create lasting relationships with your customers that extend well past the holiday season.

Are you ready for social media holiday marketing?