Author Archive: Graeme

Online Computer Security

online computer securityThe world today allows us very little privacy.  It is up to you to monitor your life, if you are online a lot.  Simple to say, but harder to do.  Updating your computer’s operating system is probably one of the best ways to help with identity theft protection.  There are frequent updates that will help you to protect your information.  The search engines such as Google and Yahoo constantly check for malicious websites.  Your site may be legitimate, but may have been hijacked.  Keep a two-way firewall active.  When you create a password for an account online, use at least 8-10 characters, including letters, symbols, and numbers.  If a hacker gets into one account with the password, then they can get into other accounts if the same password is used for more than one account, so use a different password for each account.

If you are into gaming, beware of disabling your security while online playing.  Check your game mode in your security software, so that it won’t bother you in the middle of your game, but at the same time will keep you protected.  You should be careful choosing friends on such sites as facebook and be very careful when downloading videos.  Many people enjoy going to Wi-Fi hotspots, but be careful and make sure they are a legitimate service.  Staying observant is good, but not enough.  Don’t become just another statistic. Enjoy the internet, but be safe online.

Tuning Your Website to Prospective Visitors

guidebooks-436457-mExpanding businesses into other countries means that you will be conveying your messages to people who speak other languages. What’s more, your audience may have cultural background other than yours — and it does matter.

Surprisingly many people think that creating, say, a website in a foreign language means just to translate the existing English version. Good translation by all means is very important. But what about putting your message into the context of the particular culture, which is native to your new audience?
This process is called “website localization”. It is like “tuning” your website (both content and design) into unison with mentality of other people — the prospective visitors.

Here I won’t describe the part of web site localization which deals with programming; this issue itself is complex enough. I will focus on writing content for your website and its further translation.

What part of this work you can do yourself? Probably not all of it, but quite a lot. There are expert foreign language services that specialize in this process but here is a step-by-step guide to help you in the process.

Step Zero: Remember: Your Website is Not for You.
It is for VISITORS. So it is logical to consider what THEY think such websites should look like. It is their points of view that matter, not yours. When you memorize this axiom, go to

Step One: Learn!
Self-education is useful in itself; besides, this knowledge is going to save you money and bring profit later. Learn as much as you can about your prospective audience. The more, the better.

It’s a rather time-consuming but exciting process. I hope you will manage, as Ancient Romans used to say, “Miscere utile dulci” (to mingle the useful with the pleasant). You will find out plenty of interesting things about another culture. Customs and traditions, rules of etiquette and moral principles, stereotypes, superstitions and lots of other stuff for you to consider when addressing people from a country other than yours.

You can find plenty of information in the Internet. Search Groups as well. Show your interest in other culture, and almost any native will appreciate it and help you as an expert. In addition, you will make good friends with great people.

Travelers’ guides can be an excellent source of information; they will help you avoid costly mistakes not only during a trip abroad. Just one example. You must have seen websites with pictures showing people gesticulate. Note that any gesture which is quite OK in the USA may be misunderstood somewhere else. By the way, do you know what the “OK” gesture means in some Asian countries? Demand for money, that’s what. In Tunisia it will be interpreted as a threat to kill; in Arab countries — “go to hell”. In France it means just “zero” or “nothing.” In Denmark or Italy it can be taken as an insult; and so is in Brazil, Guatemala and Paraguay — here it is considered very obscene. So, you’d better make pictures of your website “culture-neutral”.

The farther in, the deeper. What is considered rude, impudent, offensive, or impolite in this culture? What is respected, valued, venerated? What traits of character are appreciated most? What are the favorite colors and what are they associated with? What are the most noticeable differences between your culture and this one?

Don’t be surprised if points of view on what is beautiful and what is ugly will also differ from yours. When you come to the conclusion that your text won’t do and the design probably needs changing as well, go to

Step Two: Analyze!
Turn your findings into tips for writing another text. “Don’ts” here are of much more important than “Do’s”
Realize how you shouldn’t write. Learn what won’t work. Find out what to avoid in graphics and website design.
When arranging content and graphics, it is very important to know whether the audience reads left-to-right, right-to-left or vertically.

Step Three: Write for your audience.

What to begin with when writing for a person from another culture? Put on his shoes first. Well, that’s second. First, take off your own shoes. I mean don’t be a representative of your own culture — just for a short time you’ll be writing the content.

    • Avoid jokes, slang, idioms, proverbs and sayings. They are YOURS, not theirs. Allusions to books they probably haven’t read, quotations, however familiar they are to you — all that won’t work.
    • Be cautious with metaphors and similes (comparisons). Pretty clear and familiar to YOU, for others they might be not so obvious.
    • Symbols can mean something very different in other cultures. If you can’t do without one, find out what it means THERE.
    • Abbreviations and acronyms are tricky, too ñ they may be unknown to your audience.
    • You will have to explain stuff you think to be trivial. Not everybody in the world knows what is eBay, Paypal, or Amazon. Celebrities’ fame isn’t worldwide, either. Big companies and brands may be unknown on the other side of the globe.

Step Four: Find a RIGHT translator

If you can, get a well-educated native speaker of a language you are going to have your text translated into (it is called “target language”)

The reason is that nobody can ever say: “I have learned this language” — only “I have been learning”. We all have been learning our mother tongues since birth. That is why native speakers have an advantage. The larger the translator’s vocabulary, the better your message will be expressed. Besides, a native speaker often has precious knowledge on the culture — it’s precisely what you need for website localization– and will help you in the process.

Step Five: Bring it to Perfection
How to check the end result? Ask somebody from this culture to proofread the text before launching the website.

Encourage feedback when your website is launched. Correct mistakes, if any, at once. Improve your website all the time.

Getting your message understood in other languages and cultures is a tricky task. It takes effort — but it will pay.

Messy Kids Can Be Trained!

ToysInHammock1-1024x447Yes, most kids are messy and most moms will do the cleaning up because she thinks it’s simpler and quicker to do it herself. If that’s where you’ve been, then stand by for a little help from KiddeTime

However if you want them to learn and to keep your sanity, start teaching your kids to tidy up after themselves as early as possible. Besides helping to keep the home clean and tidy gives kids a sense of accomplishment, pride in themselves and a sense of belonging to the family group with their own responsibilities.

Parents Need to Keep In Mind –

1. Consistency is probably the most important and hardest element of training your kids. Kids won’t learn what you want them to do if one week you insist on certain jobs being done, then don’t follow up every week after that. It has to become a routine for you and them.

2. Model what you want them to do. If you’re not very tidy, your kids probably won’t be either. You set the example and they copy what they see.

3. Give them structure and places to put stuff. Kids often don’t want to clear up because they don’t know what to do with their stuff. Make sure everything has a place and they’ll be much more likely to put things away in those places.

For example, if you put up a Kidde Time Stuffed Animal Hammock in your child’s room, it becomes obvious that the stuffed toys go into the net. Another example is putting chalkboard labels on drawers, boxes or shelves to tell your child where things should go. This is especially true if two children share a room. Labels can help avoid quarrels over whose area is whose.

As for structure, set up several times a day when clearing up happens – first thing in the morning, right after they get home from school and right before going to bed. If one massive clean up works better in your household, then do it that way. But if done at specific times, kids get used to putting things away as they go and it never takes very long to tidy up. Make a game out of it by setting the timer for 10 minutes and see what they can accomplish.

And…nothing else gets done before cleaning up is finished – no food gets prepared, no games, no TV, no Ipod…no nothing! You’re the parent, and you make the rules. After all TV, Ipods etc. are privileges not rights.

Be firm – “now” means NOW, not whenever the kids get around to it. Threats don’t usually work but being firm does even when you’re tired.

4. Make cleaning up fun by making up your own cleaning song or game and doing the cleaning often enough means neither you nor your kids will get overwhelmed by the size of the task.

5. Explain why cleaning is necessary. Be patient and tell them exactly why it’s important to put toys away and why you want to have a clean, tidy house. Use every opportunity to reinforce your message, for instance, if he slips on a toy or can’t find his favorite shirt.

6. Set up a basket or box in your room that “swallows” everything that is left lying around – jackets, cell phones, Ipods, the WII remote, etc. Make Sundays “redemption day” when they get their stuff back. However if they want it back sooner, they have to give you something in return – money, walking the dog or some other task, etc. (You’ll have to decide on what is appropriate for their ages and abilities.)

If kids have a structure and consistent routine, places to put their stuff, consequences for when they don’t put things away, and some praise (and maybe an occasional reward for when they get it right) the whole family will feel more peaceful and the house will stay cleaner.

Don’t become the frustrated mom who grumbles and cleans up after everyone – you’ll still be doing it when they reach 25! Your KiddeTime Toy net is available from Amazon.