Useful Web Sites

A free service

Feeling a bit overwhelmed by what is available on the internet? No worries, here is our selection of the better sites to visit and some useful free tools to assist you.

If you would like to see other information included in this section (whether to improve on this topic or suggest new areas worthy of discussion), don't hesitate to send us a message.


A

Aboriginal Artworks, KJC

ADVICE AND TIPS

DotDash.com

Provides advice, information and ideas for inspiration.

Advice from an Expert (Just Answer)

Money Security

Airlines (See TRAVEL)

Amazon Books (Biggest online bookstore)

AMAZON KINDLE PUBLISHING

HTML Kindle Publication Template (SUNRISE)

Developed by SUNRISE for authors and publishers, this is the template you should use when creating your next "Stephen King"-inspired eBook on Kindle, ePUB or other platforms. Already tested against KindleGen 2.9 with no errors to report, feel free to make use of this clean template to create your great novel.

Download KindleGen 2.9.app (Mac)

The essential tool from Amazon to create your Kindle eBook. Use it to convert your HTML template source file (e.g., the link above as an example) into the Kindle file format. The link shown here is for Mac users only.

Download KindleGen 2.9 (PC)

The essential tool from Amazon to create your Kindle eBook from your HTML template source file. This one is for PC users, so Mac users must use Terminal.app in the Utilities folder to run some basic commands (yuk!). Or better still, choose the app version above!

Download Kindle Previewer 2.94 (PC and Mac)

With built-in KindleGen 2.9, just drag-n-drop an ePUB file to convert. Added advantage: You can preview the Kindle eBook file straightaway. You can ignore the above links in favour of this tool if you prefer.

Download Kindle eBook Reading App for Mac

Download Kindle eBook Reading Apps for PC

ANIMALS

Australian Age of Dinosaurs, The

Dogs, Toxic Foods for

Evolution of Life on Earth (SUNRISE)

A compact no holds back view of our long evolutionary history. This will reveal the good, the bad, and the ugly of what he have gone through on this planet, and what could become for all of us in the future. We hope this section inspires people to do the right thing for one another and for all living things in the universe just to show exactly what we have learned after all this time.

Snake bites, Management of

Snakes, About

Answers.com

Searches through dictionaries, thesauruses, atlases, glossaries and encyclopedias for the answers

Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)

Adobe Systems, Inc.

Alternative Medicine

Apple, Inc.

ART

The Louvre

Victoria and Albert Museum

Ask Philosophers, for responses to questions you may have.

AUCTIONS, ONLINE

eBay

eBay (Misspelled Auctions)

AUSTRALIAN POSTCODES

Australia Post

AUSTRALIAN SERVICES, FREE

ACT Legislation Acts

Free Superannuation Records Check

National Energy (Energy-efficient solutions)

Superannuation Information (ATO)

White Pages

Yellow Pages

AUSTRALIAN TELEVISION

ABC

eBroadcast, Listing Guide

Your TV, Listing Guide

AUTHOR SERVICES

Book-Writers

As recommended by Amazon.com. This is the place for everything you need to get your book sold on Amazon and produced into any format required (e.g., ebooks as well as traditional print).



B

BABY AND CHILD SAFETY ADVICE

Baby-Proof and Child Safety Checklist (Various sources)

And if you are still worried this is not enough information, we can only recommend wrapping your child in cotton wool to solve all other safety issues (see picture!).

Medical Health Tests

also see CHILD SAFETY INTERNET ADVICE

BANKS (AUSTRALIA)

Aussie Home Loans

ANZ

Bankwest

Commonwealth Bank

Good Shepherd MicroFinance

Avoid those shady commercial payday loan centres such as Cash Converters and GoodtoGo Loans with their attempt to force people to pay excessive fees, very high interest rates, etc (see ABC television program, Four Corners, 30 March 2015). Good Shepherd MicroFinance are for people on low income who need small loans to purchase fridges, a second-hand car, furniture, or anything else, while ensuring people feel valued and in control of their finances and lives at all times. The truly ethical and moral approach to leanding.

ING Direct

National Australia Bank

St George Bank Limited

Westpac

BEATLES MUSIC

Beatles Music

Play Guitar Like the Beatles

BIBLIOGRAPHIC DATABASES

Engineers Australia Database

First Search

HOLLIS Catalog - Harvard University

Ingenta - extensive science literature database

Harvard University's online database resources

National Library of Australia Catalogue

Open Thesis - Upload & Search Global Theses and Dissertations

The Cambridge Scientific Abstracts

BILLS, PAY YOUR

Australia Post - PostBill Pay

BPAY

BOOKINGS, ENTERTAINMENT

Show Biz (Australia)

Ticketek (Australia)

BOOKS

Abebooks, Used and rare books

Amazon Books

Collins Books, New books at

Dymocks, New books at

Net Library (Downloading e-Books)

Britannica, Encyclopedia (Full Online Volumes)

BOOKS, CREATE YOUR OWN ELECTRONIC

HTML Kindle Publication Template (SUNRISE)

HTML ePUB Apple iBook Publication Template (SUNRISE)

HTML ePUB Standard Publication Template (SUNRISE)

BUSINESS & COMMERCIAL, BUY OR SELL

businessesVIEW.com.au (Australia)

Commercial Property Guide (Australia)

commercialVIEW.com.au (Australia)

BUSINESS SERVICES, SMALL (AUSTRALIA)

ACT Business Gateway (Australia)

ACT Legislation Acts

ACT Work Safe (Australia)

Austrade - For Australian Exporters

Australian Bureau of Statistics

Australian Fuel Watch

Australian Taxation Office

Business Entry Point (Australia)

Canberra Business Advisory Service (CanBAS)

Credit check of Australian businesses

Digital Marketing Guide (HubSpot)

Discount New Cars

Business mentor Mark Bouris gives his business advice

Small Business Resource

Private Fleet (Cars)

Workplace Relations Site (Australia)

BUSINESS SERVICES, SMALL (INTERNATIONAL)

Alignable (North America)

A small business referral network (basically "I scratch your back, and you scratch mine!" kind of place) but you do have the option to promote and sell products to other businesses. So if your products are good, you will receive good referrals (and you should do the same too if you want more customers). A web site mainly catering to businesses located in North America. However, on the internet, who will know where you are located, right?

Advice for Latino Entrepreneurs (U.S.)

Business Insurance Quotes (U.S.)

Expertise.com's Small Business Resource

ExpressText, SMS

A competitive SMS sending service provider with different plans to suit your business needs. Comes with some interesting advice relating to marketing ideas, social media, brand marketing and understanding how SEO can help your business.

BUTTON MAKERS, WEB (FREE)

Freebies Bug

Free web design content.

Flaming Text



C

CAPTURE, SCREEN

Web Capture

For capturing full length screenshots of web pages. For an alternative, try the freeware Paparazzi 1.0.

CARS

AutoGuru's Top 10 Car Mechanics (Canberra, Australia)

Auto Trader (Australia)

Car History (Australia)

Car Sales (Australia)

Car Sales Australia

Cars Wanted (Fastest Way to Sell Cars)

CTP Insurance (Australia)

Drive.com.au (Australia)

Auto Guru (Australia)

Formerly Fixed Price Car Service, just mention your car make and model, the suburb you want it serviced, the type of repairs, and you will receive a number of fixed quotes for the repair.

Personal Property Security Register (PPSR)

An essential first step before purchasing a car. Use this web site to find out if the car is stolen.

Red Book - Market value of cars

Vehicle Visuals

A $30 per month subscription-based web site for viewing all available 3D animations of how your car works. Mainly helpful for car repair shops looking to show customers where parts are located and what they do.

CDs, see MUSIC

CHILD SAFETY, INTERNET ADVICE ON

A Complete Guide to Internet Child Safety (Various Sources)

Overparenting (TIME magazine)

also see BABY AND CHILD SAFETY ADVICE

CellarMaster - An Australian Wine Specialist

Civil & Electrical Engineering

For jobs, see Job Seeker (Employee Resource), International

For education, see EDUCATION, CIVIL & ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING

CNN

CLASSIFIEDS

OzBargain (Australian freebies)

Cracker Classifieds (Australia's Largest)

Trading Post

CLOTHES

Kelly Country (World-class business suits from Australia)

VIDA Collection (San Francisco, USA)

If you are bored of the basic and uninspiring designs for clothing you find at your local Kmart, Target, Big-W, Walmart or some other general clothing outlet store, you certainly won't be by the time you have browsed through this web site. Wow your friends and people in your town or city by wearing unique and smitten designs for clothing or decor items in your home that you won't find anywhere else in the world. Also, when you purchase an item from VIDA, a certain percentage of net sales goes toward sponsoring literacy programs for factory workers who work hard to print and produce the garments and other fashion accessories. Actually, did we mention VIDA is an ethical business in ensuring factory workers are given a decent wage and working conditions as well? Well, that is the kind of place you can expect from VIDA as it is there to not only make the world a more artful place, but a better place to live for everyone. And, by the way, if you just so happen to be an artist/designer yourself, you also have the option to sell clothing with your unique designs through VIDA (to register or login to your account and start selling, visit this site). In the words of Erica Carter, Head of Artist Recruitment: "[Here at VIDA] we produce, package, and ship every order on your behalf and, you’ll earn 10% of the net sales for every product sold featuring your designs, with no cap on how much you can earn."

Compare the Market (Australia)

COMPUTERS

Adobe Systems, Inc.

Apple, Inc.

Data Memory Systems (US)

IBM Australia Limited

Microsoft Corporation.

PC Pitstop - Free PC testing

see also SOFTWARE

Consumer Safety Guide

Covid-19 (NOVEL CORONAVIRUS)

What is Covid-19?
A variant on the SARS virus, Covid-19 (the shorthand form for the now correctly termed severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 or SARS-CoV-2) had its origins as early as September 2019 from a bat whose infected blood had somehow managed to cross over to humans, either with the help of an intermediary wild animal such as a pangolin, or directly to humans. Indeed, it is likely to be the latter as bats are a delicacy in China and any "accidentally" uncooked bat meat used in a Chinese-style soup dish may have permitted the virus to make the transition to humans. Understandably, the Chinese authorities would like to think of it as nothing more than touching an infected wild animal and humans ended up accidentally touching their mouth, nose or eyes, but unfortunately we cannot rule out the possibility that a person could have orally ingested partially uncooked meat as a way for new viruses to make the jump to humans.

There is also the possibility, but not confirmed as the Chinese authorities want to keep a lid on how it happened and destroy much of the evidence, that someone working at a Chinese virology lab and studying the virus may have accidentally contracted the virus and as he returned home, went through a local Wuhan marketplace to buy foods only to transmit the virus to the locals. Since then, the Chinese authorities have preferred to blame the outbreak on the wild animals sold in the marketplace.

Choice of food for human consumption
Assuming it is from a wild animal that was being prepared for slaughter or was already in a dish for human consumption, this logically raises the question of why China cannot seek out alternative food sources (and grow them locally using its massive Chinese workforce and huge landmass —l there is even talk of building the largest man-made dam to supply the fresh water for agricultural purposes)? And while the Chinese authorities are at it, why not consider an education campaign to teach people the fallacy of traditional views regarding the so-called health properties of consuming wild animals? Clearly, Covid-19 is not a health benefit no matter how many different and tasty ways the Chinese can prepare the tainted meat — sweet n' sour, black bean sauce etc. You will still get Covid-19. And how can the Chinese government guarantee the meat will be cooked properly? All it takes is one mistake and at least one human will be infected, and from there it starts exponentially to affect a population.

The Chinese government tried to counter-argue this view by saying that it is because people need the wild animals to survive (i.e., food to eat and to sell for money). That's the way it works. A totally understandable response. We all have to survive. But can't people survive through the use of alternative food sources? Surely that should be feasible in this day and age. Even if people are struggling financially to make the change to more safer food sources, the Chinese government should be stepping up to the plate to show the world how to solve this problem. Grow different types of foods and make it cheaply available to the masses so that no one would need to be surviving. Western nations may struggle to do something like this because it expects everyone to pay for the extra infrastructure and people to make the system work, but a communist country has a much better chance of establishing an alternative non-economic system of rebuilding the environment and making it food productive in the right areas that will not lead to a pandemic.

Yet remarkably China doesn't feel like this is possible and, in fact, has pretty much chosen to continue the controversial practice of selling wild animals, albeit in slightly cleaner environments today (we hope!). About the most China will do to improve things for its poorer Chinese citizens is a quick cleanup of a local Chinese market and destroying the evidence for where the virus had presumed originated as well as locking down a large proportion of the population in Wuhan and other locations. Thanks to highly rigorous and sometimes controversial lockdown measures including the forcible removal and isolation of people suspected of carrying the virus, the Chinese authorities have largely been successful in controlling the virus sufficiently to allow the markets to re-open and continue selling wild animals for food, except that now people will be forced to keep the front of the shops cleaner than they were before the pandemic while wild animals continue to be slaughtered behind the scenes as a presumably better strategy to controlling any potential future virus outbreaks. As an added precautionary measure, a handful of Chinese officials will take temperature readings of people entering the markets to stop a human transmitting the virus to live animals and other humans. Chinese officials think this will be sufficient to stop another pandemic. Well, this is an unlikely situation while no better solution is being implemented in the country.

In the meantime, rumours have it that that the virus still has the occasional outbreaks in China. These have been enough to warrant a need for some government-sanctioned hacking to take place to gather the latest vaccine details from pharmaceutical companies in the United States and other countries to help speed up the production of an effective local vaccine solution for the Chinese population.

Efforts to avoid an independent investigation
However, even if the world could help China with alternative food exports and even a vaccine solution to help the nation, China still wants to spend all of its energy to stop outsiders from making the mere suggestion of an investigation into how the pandemic started including recommendations on how we can more permanent solve and prevent another pandemic from taking place again in the future (e.g., alternative food sources and better conditions for Chinese workers). At first it was to hide all the details on the virus (until a Chinese doctor, who later died from Covid-19, eventually broke the news online as a matter of public awareness of what has happened — and probably should have been given a Nobel Prize for Peace for his courageous efforts in the face of such heavy restrictions from local authorities). When the world learned of the virus and its spread, there was a quick effort to destroy evidence of how it started while influencing those who will support the nation to have the markets open as quickly as possible and maintain trade in wild animals (and all the while, the rest of the world had to find solutions of its own to handle the growing number of infected citizens). Now, with just a single word of an investigation as a reasonable approach to learning about the origins of this virus, China wants to economically threaten and impose on Australia (the leading nation calling for an investigation) to stop trade of Australian wine, barley and deny export opportunities into China for Australian meat producers (even if the product is not relying on wild animals, which should be exactly what China needs right now), and that is for even recommending an investigation, let alone actually performing the investigation (sounds like the latter would end up starting World War III).

It is amazing the change in behaviour from China. Mention a possible infected wild animal in a Chinese market and China is quieter than a mouse. Talk about a potential investigation (which could uncover something different about how it all happened) and China is up in arms and crying foul to the world about the idea and is already instigating a trade war to stop Australian imports as a form of economic punishment.

Understandably the US was willing to apply its own trade sanctions on China until the nation provides the necessary accurate and complete details of what happened in Wuhan where the pandemic began. As Senator Jim Inhofe, one of the sponsors of the “COVID-19 Accountability Act, stated:

The Chinese Communist Party must be held accountable for the detrimental role they played in this pandemic. Their outright deception of the origin and spread of the virus cost the world valuable time and lives as it began to spread.”

On seeing this, China had to simmer its attitude somewhat. It is clear the nation could have been more honest and open on the pandemic issue with everyone. So much fanfare from Chinese authorities about the West not being open with China (and Russia etc.), especially when it comes to its knowledge on an effective vaccine. Now we learn it does not matter. China does the same thing.

Does this mean Australia has touched a raw nerve within the communist country because the real truth may actually emerge?

China tried to counter this by saying the actions against Australia were more technical in nature rather than any form of punishment on Australia, and trade can resume in the future (no date has been set, so this is more a case of waiting for China to decide on a suitable time to open up trade relations i.e., when China thinks Australia is ready). Unfortunately for China that is incredibly poor timing as the latest move from China on Australia comes amid very recent talks by China to affect Australian trade with China. It is difficult for any reasonable person to see this as anything other than to punish Australia for the mere suggestion of an investigation.

Again the U.S. reaffirmed the need to know more about what happened in China and why the effort to hide all the information.

China counters this once again with what appears to be some quiet action behind the scenes, with or without the help of Russia, Iran, North Korea, or some other supporting nation. As if to make a point that Western nations are not sharing information about Covid-19 with China (well, then, why is China not sharing what it knows of how the pandemic started) or to show that Western nations are falsely accusing China of doing something it isn't, the U.S. alleges there has been hacking of American computer servers at some medical and research companies. The U.S. considers this stealing intellectual property (because Americans want to make a profit, which, technically speaking, they shouldn't as this work should benefit the world). The Americans have a strong suspicion of who might be behind the hacking based on past similar events and perhaps with certain evidence acquired from computer experts which suggests either someone or some group is using Chinese servers to hack American servers. Could it be from a nation other than China? It is possible. Although the Americans seem to have evidence to suggest that the individuals or entity involved is located somewhere within China, the lack of interest by the Chinese government to find out and stop the hacking has raised strong suspicions that the hacking is coming from China and the government is merely looking the other way in the hope of gathering the information it needs. Otherwise, the Americans must have some kind of sophisticated technology to give them confidence that China is behind it.

Australia have suspicions too, except it does not want to publicly name the nation likely to be responsible (to avoid further trade sanctions by China). Clearly the level of hacking and its sophistication puts the action at a level that only state-based entities can achieve. And there aren't too many countries with this level of sophistication in its hacking techniques. As countries like France, England and most other Western nations have almost no need to hack American servers (although they could if they wanted) as many of these nations are already actively working on finding a vaccine of their own and sharing some information with other researchers, it is looking like the origin of the hacking is among a very few nations that don't have any affiliations with Western nations and their democratic way of life. That leaves us with Iran, North Korea, Russia and China.

China is quick to claim it is not responsible. Perhaps. However, the country is not quick to share its technology to show Australia that it isn't coming from China, or at least ask questions and work it out on its own what is going on (and start sharing some information as a way of opening up with other nations). It might as well let Australia and other Western nations guess where the hacking might be taking place and see how many will accuse China. Yet it just so happens to be a massive coincidence that while China is having a spat with Australia that these hacking attempts increase in numbers and sophistication.

It would probably help China to at least be open on the hacking by finding out who is doing it if, for any reason, being open about the pandemic is not to its liking. Actually, is there anything China can be open and frank about with Western nations given the way things are progressing at the moment?

NOTE
November 2019

Showing a remarkable sense of confidence about where this hacking on Australian servers is coming from, China was quick to point the finger of blame at the United States and not on itself (or any other nation, such as Russia, Iran, or North Korea). Either relying on the past for proven examples or relying on recent intelligence reports with improved technologies, whenever someone does the same to China, the leaders of the nation seem to know who is doing the hacking. Sounds like China has developed a technology to tell the Chinese government where the hacking is coming from. In that case, why not send it through to Australia? Australia would love to see this technology in action and give the information it needs to help determine which country the hackers are coming from. So long as the technology is kept open-source so Australian experts can check the coding and can see the chips are standard off-the-shelf variety to show there is no funny business going on here, then it should be perfectly fine.

Who knows? Perhaps the United States is doing something quietly in the background on Australia (and claiming hacking is taking place on its servers just to avoid being implicated) in order to make sure Australia stays close to America by being anonymous and timing the hacking to make the Australian Government think it is probably coming from China given the current tensions between the two nations. If so, it would probably be a good step forward for China to improve relations with Australia by proving where these sophisticated and presumably anonymous hackers are coming from. Certainly the Australian Government is myopic about the United States when we see how often the Australian officials avoid mentioning the Americans thinking they are on the side of Australia. Now really? How do we know for sure the United States is not hacking Australian servers? Has anyone confirmed this fact?

Remember that it is not as if the United States would not have the sophisticated capabilities of performing this kind of hacking on Australia if it wanted to. If China can help, Australia can quickly see who is doing the hacking.

In the meantime, efforts are being made by China to bring back business investors and keep Western businesses on the Chinese mainland. Unfortunately this will not extend to Australia, as this article reveals. Also, China is targeting certain Australian businesses who might be critical of the nation with alleged assistance to the businesses, as this email (written in Chinese and translated by Google) reveals:

"Foreign trade customers access marketing system. Helps you develop global customer sourcing resources. Overseas accurate positioning of high-quality buyers, detailed data feedback to understand user behavior, so that you can connect directly with high-level in-depth communication. Experience the functionality of our system by testing online."

But within the email is a cleverly concealed online image hosted on a Chinese server designed to identify the IP address used by the business (probably to have it banned in China or else use the information to track down the business owners and give them special treatment later).

This tit-for-tat situation of people not sharing with each other and developing suspicions is exactly how a Cold War starts between communist and Western nations. Do we ever learn from history?

As WHO Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus quite rightly pointed out:

"While there is a wish amongst leaders to protect their own people first, the response to this pandemic has to be collective,

We need to prevent vaccine nationalism."

Agreed. So long as China does the same about how the pandemic started, fine. Otherwise, do not be surprised if other nations do the same by not sharing information with China.

Still China can't seem to get its way in the world and force everyone to think how wonderful and positive China is on the world stage. So the next thing China does is try to teach Australia a lesson by finding anything to criticise Australia on. As of 10 June 2020, China warned its citizens not to visit Australia due to some overt examples of "racism" displayed by poorly-educated Australians due to the fear they have of Chinese people spreading the virus. Fair enough. Australia accepts the criticism. No one can be perfect. We applaud China in at least raising this important social issue with Australia, so much so that the Australian government is on a campaign to educate those silly Australians not to blame all Chinese people for what has happened. It is not their fault. The only way to solve this problem is to work together. And that will require everyone to play their part, and be open and honest to each other.

Just to add further embarrassment for China, a Chinese official tried to give Australia a lecture on how we should behave towards China when the nation does something wrong or makes a mistake. During a speech at the National Press Club, China’s Deputy Head of Mission Wang Xining wanted Australia to accept the origins of the virus as not from China, but from Africa, and that we should not pursue an investigation of any sort (even if it ends up supporting China's position of a natural cause) and just keep quiet. Australia should focus more on its domestic issues (which there are plenty, helped along by China's efforts to impose trade restrictions and anything else) and don't interfere in the affairs of another nation. As an example, Xining used the analogy that China doesn't interfere with the Australian chain of McDonald's food stores or Hungry Jacks to forcibly sell Chinese dumplings. So why should Australia interfere with China in a similar way? Well, unfortunately, this is not a good example because the American food chain is actually not so American anymore as it once was. Wherever the food stores go in different countries, there are actually variations in the ingredients and types of food that makes the food more in keeping with the customs of the people living in those nations or is found to be more popular by the citizens buying the food. What Australians buy here as food from the stores is not necessarily the same in South America, the United States, or in some Asian countries. It depends on what the people like. If it turns out a particular food type common in one country is enjoyed in another nation, there is no reason not to "interfere" and "make suggestions". If people like the food, they will ask for it. People want to be interfered with if it means enjoying great food. Therefore, if the Chinese people can come up with a popular Chinese equivalent of a hamburger with perhaps sweet n' sour whatever in the middle (please make sure there is no bat or pangolin meat in it) with chilli and a bit of Chinese bok choy, Australians will be more than happy to be "interfered with" if it means enjoying the great taste of a Chinese hamburger. Hungry Jacks, McDonalds, or whoever sells the Chinese-inspired or created food, really don't care what country the food is coming from so long as the food is cheap and tastes great. If people love the food, you can be sure the stores in Western nations will sell it. However, if there is a food that Australians don't like and China is supplying this food and is unaware how unpopular it is, it makes sense to interfere with China to let them know we don't like it. Find a different approach. Improve on the food. And if you need help, ask Australia for assistance on what would make better food. We will let you know what works.

As another example, a recent photograph was taken in Karibati of an unusual tradition in which certain foreign visitors are asked to walk on the backs or shoulders of children lying down on the ground in what is known as the "human red carpet". To the locals and leading officials, it would appear that they are not aware of the different interpretations foreign visitors have for this controversial local custom. The locals of the island have come up with one interpretation and have accepted it for as long as the locals can remember (and the children seem to follow along without complaint). Interestingly it is not seen in a negative way. But to foreigners it has connotations of child exploitation and abuse. Whether or not the locals are aware of this and should the tradition be maintained, people who visit the island ought to have a choice. If they don't want to walk on the children, then that should not offend the locals in any way. Thus the Chinese Ambassador Tang Songgen who visited the island recently and had his photo taken walking on the children could have chosen to say no. But he didn't. Likewise, there was a time many years ago when an Australian official was asked to do the same. And without causing offence to the hosts, he did so. Nowadays, many Australians have re-evaluated the "tradition" and have decided against it irrespective of how "traditional" it is seen by the locals. Hence the reason why Australian officials are less likely to do it nowadays. But to the Chinese leaders, there is less re-evaluation of "traditions". There is a tendency for China to stick to traditions, no matter how controversial, whether it be "walking on children" or "eating wildlife at a Chinese banquet". At the end of the day, what we all must do is re-evaluate those "traditions" and decide if there are better ways to be doing things, especially if the locals want to be seen in a positive light too by others on the world stage. Otherwise, let the locals maintain their own customs until such time as the children are able to think it through and decide whether it is worth maintaining the tradition. So long as the locals understand how foreigners view the tradition and can respect their decision not to partake in the custom, then it should be fine. There are other ways to welcome guests. Walking on children shouldn't have to be one of them. It is just that China was caught following the tradition without questioning it, and now it wants to bring in Australia for any kind of criticism so it can feel better about itself.

Of course, not all controversial traditions should be changed. It depends on what harm the traditions might be causing, or is perceived to be causing (even if it claimed not to be). Take, for instance, the classic millennia-old tradition on some Pacific islands of where the guests are required to burp and fart in front of the hosts to show their pleasure of the food presented to them and cooked by the local chefs. China and Australia may not do it, well at least not openly and with gusto. But here we can re-evaluate the tradition and ask the question, "What harm will it cause to the locals and to oneself?" If the locals do it and they don't get harmed by it and you are are not going to die from the experience, fair enough. Might as well join in with the tradition if it makes the locals feel good about themselves. In the case of the "human red carpet", this is a different situation. Here we have the risk of harming children (e.g., are their backs strong enough to withstand the weight of an adult?). Although the children will not admit it, it probably does cause some pain or discomfort to some children. As such, this kind of tradition really ought to be re-evaluated and visitors make the decision not to participate in it because of their own beliefs. Likewise, eating wildlife in China is obviously harmful to the animals. They die just to maintain a long-held Chinese tradition. But why? If we are here to promote love to all living things and have a big enough brain to think about things, make changes, and adapt to new situations, we should be able to re-evaluate this tradition and realise it really does not need to be maintained. We have alternative options.

It just goes to show, China and Australia have a lot in common (and probably even the Pacific islanders too, except China gets embarrassed too easily to mention it and may even create economic hardship to anyone who suggests it). We all have embarrassing things from our past and it seems like we now like to highlight them to each other. Fair enough. But what makes humans genuinely smart is the ability to think and improve on the situation. As they say, "If life gives you lemons, then make lemonade". In other words, why don't we all do the right thing? Change our traditions. Don't follow those traditions that harm people and animals. Help one another to be better than we are today. And understand the diversity and differences of opinions and views, so we can better appreciate where we are coming from and how we can use this knowledge to balance our own views and take on a more balanced approach to life.

And if somebody asks why something has happened to cause so many problems, be honest about it. Discuss it like two adults. Let's get to the source of the problem and solve it together.

Still, China is not getting what it wants from Australia. As of 27 November 2020, China things have started to get more personal with China slapping on between 140 to 250 per cent tariffs on Australian wine (the lowest tariffs are on those wine bottles that clearly have a link to China, such as a Chinese-Australian entrepreneur showing his Asian face on the wine label, and thus considered by China to be a little more respectful than an Australian wine with no Chinese links or indications of directly supporting the nation in a positive way). Oh well, how can Australia appease a child having a tantrum? Give it a lollipop? But if the child is not going to eat its greens on the plate, is it sensible to give whatever the child likes all the time, such as a wild pangolin in sweet chilli sauce or something like that? It is a huge blow for Australian wine makers, but it isn't the end of the world. Sixty per cent of Australian wines were exported to China. However, with the recent negotiations and signing of agreements for greater trade with other Asian nations recently, Australia will have to sell wines to other nations. The decision from China is mainly targeting Australian exports of those goods that China already has an established local marketplace to produce or have access to other markets. So it is not hurting China. What would hurt China is if Australia decided to stop iron ore exports to China. China can't find another nation to supply this commodity (Brazil is the only other nation that can supply iron but they are unable to do this because of the Covid-19 situation), so it is not prepared as yet to target iron ore while the nation needs it.

Australia is not noted for being vindictive despite whatever issues another nation might be facing. Australia is likely to continue "supporting" China in those exports that it obviously needs. However, if China wants to feel respected, it needs to acknowledge certain things. For example, China was caught out and made embarrassed when certain Chinese nationals living in Australia were found influencing the Australian government's policies and other matters. Australia has never really seen evidence that China has acknowledged this aspect. Instead it chose to keep quiet. As a result, China has effectively allowed Australia to re-look at certain areas of national security interest, including the Wuawei 5G plans for Australia. Without enough assurances from China that it would protect the interests of Australian citizens, including Chinese people who have political asylum in Australia, or even the possibility of allowing a manufacturing plant from Wuawei to be established in Australia, employing Australians, and the technology closely monitored to ensure compliance and safety for all Australians, it is very hard for Australia to allow China to do more things that it would like to do in Australia. China has to gain the trust of Australia first, be a little more circumspect, and a little more understanding of Australia's position, especially when China has been caught out before in doing things it shouldn't really be doing. And most importantly, just learn to own up to things that are clearly not right. Only then can the relationship be strong and permit Australia and China to move forward together again as "equal partners".

The same is true with the pandemic. Here we have China wanting to keep quiet at every opportunity with the rest of the world and at the same time not acknowledge problems on its own side leading to this unfortunately event. However, it expects the world to keep quiet too and not allow a prompt and independent investigation into the origins of the virus (and for the world to help China to improve conditions and provide the necessary technologies and expertise), whether or not it originated in Africa or was "accidentally" unleashed to unsuspecting Chinese shop keepers and buyers in a Wuhan marketplace, or just poor working conditions in a Chinese virology lab. China wants the world to trust China, but then the nation does things to lose the trust of other nations, including Australia. It is really up to China to gain the trust of the world. People of other nations are suffering too. It only seems respectful that the trust is reciprocated and actions supporting that trust are shown in both directions.

Unfortunately, China does not like to acknowledge its own problems and explain what the solutions are. It would rather find examples to embarrass other nations. A kind of inferiority complex has developed with the Chinese government. A classic example is for a Chinese official to publish a fake photo on Twitter showing an Australian soldier holding a knife to an Afghan child. If the aim is to highlight Australia's shortcomings in Afghanistan, then yes, Australia acknowledges the stupidity of 13 dumb-ass Australian soldiers. The current solution from Australia has been to remove the soldiers from active duty, dismiss them from their defence work, and subject them to upcoming court proceedings on war crimes. Now, is there something else China would recommend Australia should do to make this situation better? What can China do to share its expertise to help Australia improve itself?

However, if the fake photo from the Chinese official is anything to go by, if would appear China will have a few more shortcomings to display to the world in the upcoming release of the WHO report regarding the Covid-19 situation. There is a strong possibility China will provide fake evidence to support China's preferred position on the matter. Australia hopes this isn't the case, but if China needs help here too, just ask and we can show how an independent investigation should be carried out.

In the meantime, while China continues with its spat with Australia, Australia is currently looking to other markets and just learning to diversify.

The aim of the investigation
As for the origin of the virus, it is quite likely it did come from Africa. What Australia wants to know is what was China doing to allow the virus to get out and make the jump to humans? Was it simply the fact that China should not have bought in wild animals for food? Or was China studying certain animals in the lab and doing controversial testing under poor conditions and controls and that was how the virus got out (mainly through one of the Chinese researchers or lab technicians who started wandering around in the Chinese market passing it on to other Chinese people)? Either way, the origin of the virus need not have to originate from China. But what interests the world is what was China doing to allow the virus to make the jump to humans? How did it happen? And more importantly, what has China done to solve the problem permanently? Are we stopping the trade of wild animals throughout China? Is China building a better virology lab to contain such infectious viruses to a higher world standard? We simply don't know. China is not even asking for help. It just keeps quiet and wants everyone to do the same. Huh? And in the meantime, people in other nations are dying prematurely because of this virus. Yet it has the audacity to ask the world to keep quiet without evidence of improvements. It is like telling everyone else who has been affected that it is tough luck. It can happen, and it could happen again. China doesn't have to do anything to improve the situation or to prevent it from happening again, or at least that is the perception. It is the world's problem now. You go ahead and deal with it.

Geez, thanks a lot China! You are too kind.

Let's put it into some perspective. If the virus had started in America and it caused tens of thousands of deaths in China, wouldn't the Chinese leaders want to know how it started? Even if they are not doing the same thing, perhaps the leaders can provide help to the United States with solutions that can prevent the problem happening again. It just makes sense to learn from the situation. Or does China say, "Ah well, it came from America, so who cares? We don't need to know anything about it. We will just have to do our best to help our own people and say it is a normal part of life. People have to see it as a slightly more severe type of flu. People will get over it."

Yet incredibly, China is acting so worried or feeling so incredibly embarrassed about any kind of investigations that it must choose to threaten trade relations with Australia by considering putting on an 80 per cent tariff on the AUD$2 billion barley exports going to China from Australia (the kind of alternative food sources that should be helping China, not going against it). And as of 27 November 2020, Australian wine will bear the brunt of China's seething actions with an average of 200 per cent tariffs.

Is Australia really that terrible to China to deserve this action?

Alright. Well, it won't change the fact that an investigation will eventually go ahead in some form at some unspecified period in the future. China should be over it be now. Indeed, we see China was quick to select the WHO as the only people in the world to conduct such an investigation, and for the work to commence after the pandemic has ended (whenever that will occur, which is likely to be many years from now — obviously advantageous for China as enough of the key witnesses who may know how it began and why there was a delay will likely die from Covid-19). Without causing more angst to China, all nations have agreed at the United Nations to have this investigation with WHO heading it only because it will keep China happy.

But given how determined China is in presenting the kind of evidence it wants the world to see with the help of the WHO as well as go on a campaign of creating and distributing any kind of information on social media and other publishing platforms to show China in a positive light and presumably doing the right thing — with assistance from Russia (mind you, Russia will only help other nations if it has the same or very similar political system or has helped enough Russian males to get rich from the sale of weapons to dictators in those nations, but hardly would give a rat's arse about Western nations and what they might be going through) — and attacking other nations for supporting the investigation, it is likely the investigation will end up being a waste of time. Australian foreign minister Marise Payne has considered this as an unfortunate and distinct possibility.

China is not the kind of nation that will be honest and open about the pandemic with anyone except itself (and quite possibly with Russia).

Focused on the here-and-now moment and trying to look positive at every turn (and, if necessary, to make other nations look inferior or no better off than China), China thought it might have yet another point scoring opportunity to get back at Australia, saying Australia's recommendation for an investigation was entirely different from the one accepted by other nations at the UN. Well, it would be nice if another organisation independent of all political influence (including China, Australia and the US) be involved in the investigation. Nothing wrong with suggesting this. But at the end of the day, it does not matter. If an investigation is going to be conducted impartially and ends up that way, Australia is perfectly happy to accept it, whether or not it is with the WHO. Indeed, if Santa Claus was a scientist, Australia would be more than happy for him to do the investigation knowing that he has no political affiliation with China or any other nation. The perfect independent investigator. What is key here is the term "impartial investigation".

Surely we can all agree to that, right?

Still, the Chinese leaders are expressing their unhappiness. You simply can't please everyone all of the time as the old saying goes. It is obvious an impartial investigation is not entirely in China's interest. But this continuing unhappiness about the investigation, and the subsequent targeting of specific Australia industry as somehow needing special restrictions, followed by all the Australian journalists and a news reporter for the State News in China, is revealing a deeper issue. What is all this about? It is clear something has really happened and it is not quite as straightforward as an infected animal from Africa arriving in China for whatever purposes the Chinese have in mind for it. Something has got up the proverbial nose of the Chinese leaders in a bad way, and Australia has to be singled out for special treatment in a somewhat negative way. Why? There already is going to be a delay before the investigation takes place. Surely, this is exactly what China wants, isn't it? The nation is hoping the passage of time will hide all manner of sins and eventually the final report will support its preferred position and get all nations to sing the same praise book at the end of it. So what is the big deal?

The way things are progressing, it is not looking like this pandemic had started from humble and natural beginning or being a simple and honest mistake made by a researcher in a Chinese lab. There is something else potentially more sinister or disturbing about why the work had to be carried out with the virus that could be of greater concern for China if the world were to find out. Is this because of who or what was being used as the testing subject that could be immensely disagreeable among world nations if we learn what it is?

Whatever it is, China remains extraordinary unhappy about learning how it all began. We can only wonder why.

The Chinese leader quietly gets angrier with democratic nations
Realising it cannot control all democratic nations to a level of precision of a Swiss watchmaker outside the Chinese borders, Chinese President Xi Jinping has noticed the last vestiges of a democratic system remaining in his country — Hong Kong. Knowing it is technically owned by China, Jinping feels he might exercise his powers to force Hong Kong to become part of the Chinese mainland and under communist rule (with all the usual controls on information sources and any dissenting citizens). At first, there was a suggestion that he would have the city joined politically, economically and culturally with the Chinese mainland. Hong Kong residents have listened and understood the implications of this move — namely that Hong Kong and its people would come under communist rule. And that means any signs of social unrest, such as a protest march through the city, or some individuals or organisations expressing views that may be somewhat critical of the Chinese government (and probably for good reasons too given the nature of this type of government in controlling the population), would be quashed by any brutal means (either physically or through unusually harsh laws that would see people imprisoned for life). Basically there would be no learning, especially for those in a position of power.

Without any further communications from the Chinese leader about what all this would mean for Hong Kong residents, and with attempts to extradite some pro-democracy protesters, the city became the centre of recent social unrest and political protests (2019-20). Rather than alleviating fears people have in the move and perhaps provide some concessions as part of a negotiation process to maintain the way of life and relative freedoms of the people for which the city has become famously known and economically prosperous throughout the world, it led to a sizeable portion of the Hong Kong residents led by numerous university students to go on the streets to protest. The size of the protests and the length of time they persisted did not sway the Chinese government. Even though the protests were peaceful (with pockets of violence unleashed by Hong Kong police that supported China and wanted to show the violence on Chinese TV as a way of getting the Chinese leaders to do something about it) caused significant disruption to the economy of the city. No doubt, this must have reduced revenue for China. But still the Chinese leaders kept quiet. Why? The only option left for Jinping was to consider bringing in the Chinese Army to control the size of the population protesting on the streets. But this would not be a good look on the world stage, and quite likely China will lose access to markets in certain other nations should it proceed with this action.

Better to implement new legislation to quietly whisk away troubling citizens? Anything to make China look better on the world stage as the leaders think.

With Jinping angry about the investigation and wanting to get back at Western nations, it does not really matter. If there was even the slightest possibility that the city's residents could have been nice about it and agreed to the change while perhaps negotiating on certain privileges enjoyed by the residents of Hong Kong in the kindest way possible, perhaps there could have been some leeway from the Chinese government to allow the city to remain autonomous in some form or another (whatever that might mean). Not anymore. Following calls by some democratic nations for an independent investigation into the pandemic, Jinping feels he must punish democratic systems, and would use Hong Kong as an example to show what he can do (and presumably people will remember him as a great leader).

Now the changes have been implemented to Hong Kong (luckily the Chinese Army did not have to get involved), people have decided to hide their views and practice democracy in their own homes and through their technology in an anonymous way. It is a pity the size of the army capable of changing any political system in China to something more balanced and able to solve social problems in a more peaceful way cannot be implemented. There are far too many supporters within the army of the way communism is run in China to do anything different, especially while they receive certain benefits from the communist party. With no known abilities within the army to solve social problems by any peaceful means through an alternative government, it means the people who will be hurt by these changes are mainly those Hong Kong residents wanting the city to remain more independent, somewhat democratic if possible under the circumstances, and have a certain sense of autonomy from the Chinese mainland.

It is so unfortunate.

If only Jinping was a compassionate and open-minded leader willing to learn new ways of doing things, to listen to a broader number of people with different points-of-views, and to think and find a balance that would bring greater hope and prosperity to everyone, then he would have become one of the wisest and most loved world leader the world has ever known. What a pity.

The Chinese approach to handling world problems reminds women of the way men generally behave in society (yes, even in Western nations) when they are at, or very near, the top of their profession or position of power. To give an example, an unusual number of mostly older male dentists will often think they know what's best for everyone and are experts at everything relating to their field and do not expect to be questioned by anyone about any aspect of what they do to patients or their knowledge. Reminds you of anyone in the Chinese leadership? At any rate, a typical male dentist will think everyone must accept or tolerate whatever he does to the patient because in his mind he must be right all the time. So he goes about using his large hands and fingers to force apart the patient's mouth in order to access the teeth and do the work. Doesn't matter about the discomfort to a number of the patients; the male dentist believes this is a normal part of his job. Patients must live with it, or else they will get no dentistry work done. Or there could be economic hardship by way of a surprise and hefty dentistry bill to pay by the patients. Anything to keep them quiet. Furthermore, to save time, the male dentist will often settle on a higher amount of pain killers to use prior to drilling the teeth. Do a quick drilling or two, fill the holes, a quick mouth wash, and out you go. Next patient please! Anyone who questions any aspect of this procedure will suddenly face the wrath of this dentist, including strange looks like, "Are you criticising my methods?". Suddenly thinking he is inadequate, unprofessional, or whatever, he decides to show a "Who do you think you are to question my methods?" kind of attitude. Or else the dentist will think the patients are wasting his time and will be treated in a special way that they won't like.

Sounds familiar?

But then you get a female dentist. Hands are smaller, nice. Thanks. You mention how long the last anaesthetics lasted (say 12 hours). Incredibly the female dentist actually listens and learns. Quickly she realises the dosage might be a little too high, so she provides half the dosage. Much better. And still there was no pain. Amazing. There is extra care and time to sandblast the hole for a cleaner surface. A quality filling that properly does the job and lasts much longer. And if you ask any question, the female dentist is more than happy to explain the situation. How amazing is that?

There is clearly a massive difference in the way women and men approach their fellow human beings and behave when they receive information that could potentially require some form of adjustment or re-balancing of their position or even just to explain why they do certain things prior to imposing the changes on others. It would be wise of many male leaders who do reach certain lofty positions of power. to stop acting like they are God with ultimate authority and power and think they can do anything they like with impunity. A good leader always listens and learns from the people around him/her.

In China, Jinping is giving the impression he is God and his Chinese officials are his demigods. No mere human mortals can ever question their judgement or ask why or how it happened. What says goes and no dissent will be tolerated, even if the reasons are justified and is causing harm to certain people.

With the Chinese equivalent of a God now among the ranks of the governing party within China, Jinping is still fuming (but keeping very quiet behind the scenes) over what should be a relatively simple scientific investigation into the present once-in-a-hundred-year pandemic (i.e., not an annual event). All that people outside China want to see is a simple report to show how to prevent this pandemic from happening again, and that would involve a little honesty from China to explain how it started. There would not even be a word in the final report that would be highly critical about China even if it was a mistake. About the most that might come out of this investigation are recommendations on what China and the rest of the world can do to prevent another pandemic from happening again. Afterwards the world can help China to get the standards in virology labs to where they need to be. Because, at the end of the day, Western nations can't afford to or survive another major pandemic. And China would lose a lot in economic benefits if it happens again.

The Chinese leaders do not seem to like this idea one bit.

As a result of this unfortunate attitude and inadequate permanent solutions by way of implementing alternative food sources throughout China to help the poor Chinese people, outside observers feel that at the end of the day, it is not the poor Chinese who are to blame for this. It is essentially the rich and powerful people in China. The rich for choosing not to change traditions even when it has everything it needs to survive, and the powerful for not leading the nation properly in helping all Chinese people to grow the right foods. If we are to change this international view of China, it is necessary for China to acknowledge any mistakes it has made and be more open about what happened. Only then can the rest of the world work with China on solving all world problems. Whether it is to build new renewable energy solutions or to grow the right foods for China and the world (or even a better Chinese virology lab to handle more infectious diseases for its own study), we can all benefit from helping each other.

Working together to solve a world problem
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has tried to weigh into this debate by making the assumption that it probably was natural and transmitted from a wild animal "accidentally". This might be true, except the WHO cannot be absolutely certain about this without an investigation, and going into China to conduct some tests. Without a report, no one can be certain about anything at this stage until someone goes to the alleged ground zero in the Chinese market and do some testing. However, the Chinese government have done such a thorough job of destroying the evidence, we may never know. But without an investigation, the WHO has no hope of really ever being able to influence other nations on this proposed explanation while it has been criticised by some nations for not doing enough to recommend China stop selling wild animals in the markets in favour of safer and more familiar forms of food having far fewer parasites and viruses to worry about. Instead, the WHO has controversially chosen to allow the WET markets to continue in whatever form China is happy to see them operating. Prior to this decision, the WHO followed China's recommendation in not saying anything to the world when the pandemic was just starting (because China thought it could control the virus spread). It is no wonder independent nations outside of China and the WHO think the WHO had been too heavily influenced by China to make these unfortunate decisions. After hearing about this situation with the WHO, China quickly began accusing Australia of being influenced by the U.S. to have an investigation in another tit-for-tat scenario (thereby confirming what had happened with WHO was actually true) and so the circle of blaming and naming continues until someone decides to back down, and that is usually not China.

It is unfortunate to see this continuing attitude as it would only make China look more like a bully in getting its way with everything. Not a good look on the world stage.

This is something a number of nations outside China have noticed. It is not an unusual observation. The type of bullying from China, combined with the size of the Chinese population and its demand for exotic animals as a source of food from distant locations, is highly reminiscent of how an overgrown ant nest tries to survive. When there are too many ants in the nest, they are forced to forage far and wide to bring back whatever it can find for food and infrastructure to build the nest. It does not matter what it is. If it is organic (meat or plant), it will be attacked and suffer a lingering death by a thousand cuts. Eventually it will be dissected into small parts and brought back to the nest to support the colony. There is absolutely no negotiation with other animals in the area. No effort to learn and change traditions or choose better sources of food. It always keeps expanding and drawing in more and more resources from far away regions and devastate the entire environment just to maintain the massive ant nest.

If China really wants to avoid looking like a bully, it would be wise to allow a group of medical experts (or at least a combined Australian, American, and Chinese team) to work together in an independent way (well, in the sense of being free from all political influence) so we can learn about this latest outbreak. Show this as an example of world co-operation on a matter that has affected economies and the health of millions of people around the world, so we can find out how to avoid this situation happening again. That is all it is. It is not about undermining the Chinese government, or trying to do something to harm the national interests of the Chinese nation. It is only a question of science to fully understand the situation as best we can for the benefit of everyone and provide recommendations.

Then it will be up to China to decide if it wants to follow those recommendations. But if it wants to look good to other nations, it is time to fix up those traditions involving eating wild animals or working in unsafe environments in the virology labs. The world would be happy to see this happen.

Looking to China for some positive changes
Speaking of being positive, a proposal in late February by local Chinese administration officials in the city of Wuhan on a possible ban of wild animals for human consumption has become a reality on 20 May 2020. Not only that, but Wuhan will have a "wildlife" sanctuary as a means of educating the public on the value of wildlife on Earth and in looking after them. Chinese people must access healthier food sources instead. Well done! However, Wuhan is one small part of China. It is unclear whether this decision will extend throughout China. Only the rich and powerful Chinese people can decide whether to forego certain pleasures of eating wild animals.

Beyond that, China is setting the world standard in testing a large number of people and enforcing strict social isolation. Something the world can aspire to?

All these things the world would be happy to promote as positive efforts from China if only it can do the same for other nations, including being honest and open about what happened. It will show genuine integrity of the Chinese people in acknowledging any mistakes and in wanting to improve the situation for everyone.

About Covid-19
No matter how it started and what needs to be done to prevent this situation happening again, a worldwide pandemic now exists thanks to this new virus from China (or Africa if you are a Chinese leader working for the communist party). The relative ease of catching the virus even from people with no or mild symptoms not to mention the way most people like to socialise (known in the microbiology world as super spreaders) that want or have to meet people on a regular basis, and how the current economic system has been structured to force people to come together to work, to buy things, and have people moving around the world inside confined spaces in transport vehicles, airports and other centralised locations for allegedly important business meetings or to have holidays means that the virus has effectively become a worldwide pandemic.

Why do people come together to work? It is mainly:

  1. To prove to employers that you are doing your job and putting in your hours in a predominantly L-brain society where everything must be observed because we cannot trust people to do the work and/or employers are looking to exploit people to do more work for the same amount of time if they can find a way to discover people are getting too efficient and have extra time.
  2. To satisfy people's desire to constantly socialise.
  3. Some jobs must be performed from certain locations, such as customer service jobs that require contact with customers from a central location.

It is inevitable that a large proportion of people throughout the world will get Covid-19. Containment is no longer possible other than to request people to stay home for at least two weeks (preferably longer as evidence suggests that about 10 per cent of cases can last 28 days, and an even longer period of up to four months for a smaller percentage of mostly older people or those with low immunity responses, which are generally those who are malnourished or have a poor diet due to economic or personal reasons) for the slightest symptoms of being under the weather. Symptoms range from no symptoms at all or the slightest indication of feeling unwell, including a runny nose, a sore throat, and experiencing unexpected coughs and sneezing, right to up to full-blown and serious damage to the lungs making it hard to breathe. If the virus is allowed to multiply further and run amok in the human body, blood clots can develop and certain organs will fail if you don't get a brain stroke. Certainly, if you develop a temperature reminiscent of a fever and there are signs that you have breathing difficulties and/or feeling fatigue or body aches, you need to call a medical clinic (don't visit your GP or hospital).

As Victorian state premier Daniel Andrews said following a second wave of infections that spread in the city of Melbourne on 27 July 2020:

"...[I]t doesn’t matter what you do for a job, doesn’t matter what industry, what sector you work in – if you are going to work with symptoms, if you are going to work when you’re sick, then you will inevitably be spreading this virus....if you are sick, even mildly, you just can’t go to work."

However, the nature of this virus and how people get symptoms is even more problematic than not going to work for the slightest symptoms. The thing is, it is also possible for people to show no symptoms. People may not know they are carrying the virus and could be unwittingly spreading it. In which case, you can still cause asymptomatic transmission of the virus to others. These are the people who are likely to carry the virus through to a wider number of people and, potentially, initiate multiple waves of infection if the right measures to controlling the spread are not implemented quickly enough. This is a far more serious situation that could see the virus with us for decades to come until an effective vaccine is available and provided to the entire population. Currently, authorities are playing whack-a-mole every time an outbreak is detected, and the only solutions available to stopping the virus spread are:

  1. Keeping your distance from other people (dogs, cats and other pets appear not to get Covid-19 and should be safe to touch so long as they have not been touched by infected human strangers; however, the world's first Covid-19 infected animal other than humans, bats and pangolins has surfaced).
  2. Everyone wears an effective mask to cover the nose and mouth and preferably some kind of eye protection when going outside and in close range to other people.
  3. Taking the vaccine for Covid-19, when it becomes available.
  4. If steps 1, 2 and 3 are not taken, the only remaining solution is to allow for herd immunity to take hold (which means 15 per cent of older people and a fraction of 1 per cent of young people will die, while the rest of the population will survive and develop the natural immunity to the virus, although one hopes re-infection does not occur every few months of one being immune to the virus, and the damage to the lungs and any other organs is not permanent should people survive the infection — in fact, the latter medical condition could be the long-term consequences healthy people will experience if a vaccine is not found and implemented quickly enough).

As the authorities are understandably concerned mainly because we don't have the vaccine ready and a lot of the people who make decisions and in a position of power tend to be older people (as well as the fact that much of the population is generally older in developed nations), if we are to save as many older people as we can (which could be a family member), it is clear steps 1 and 2 are the best options and the ones we must focus on until such time as a vaccine becomes available.

For younger people, they may think otherwise. Believing they are invincible, young people want an opportunity to take up certain leadership roles that will allow them to push the world in the right and positive direction, such as properly tackling climate change with the latest renewable energy solutions, controlling the sheer profiteering and the constant power driven mentality of predominantly older males, finding alternative food sources (including improving protein levels in plants), rebuilding the environment, being more compassionate with people, and giving everyone a fair go in contributing original and creative solutions in different areas of society. As such, the preference is naturally for step 4. Only then can younger people have a better chance to make society better and so give everyone greater hope for the future. To counteract this view, authorities and the media have made efforts to reel in this idealistic view of younger people and force everyone to take on a more pragmatic approach, and to focus on the here-and-now moment of dealing with the pandemic and doing the right thing for everyone. These older people are happy to find and televise examples of young people with no known health problems or complications dying from Covid-19. The cases are rare compared to the number of older people who have died from the virus, but it is one way of challenging young people's views on the Covid-19 situation.

Another approach is to show a specific group of people who are being affected the most by the virus, irrespective of age. In this case, the dark-skin coloured community (e.g., African-Americans). Authorities estimate that this group of people are nearly 6 times greater to die from the virus than the white community. Is this a genetic thing? Probably not. What complicates the situation is that most of the people affected by the virus tend to be living in poverty and, therefore, do not eat proper and wholesome foods packed with vitamins and minerals to build up a strong immunity response. For example, Vitamin D has been implicated in the control of respiratory infections (including those created by viruses). Reduce the Vitamin D intake or production in the skin (by keeping out of sunlight for too long), and the risk of lung infections increases. When we see this lack of healthy food and lifestyle being played out, more younger people in the same group as well as older people are likely to struggle in their recovery or even die from Covid-19.

Indeed, this poor or malnourishment theory seems to be pivotal in explaining a number of deaths from Covid-19, especially among North Koreans as this news article indicates.

Then there is the general health of the lungs to consider at time people get the virus. As of 21 April 2020, the range of people who are likely to get affected the most by Covid-19 symptoms has expanded to those living in polluted areas. If there are high levels of nitrogen dioxide in the air and people breathe this molecule, the lungs deteriorate over time. Should these people also get infected by the virus, the lungs must fight harder to get the oxygen into the body.

So imagine regular re-infections of Covid-19? At some point, so-called healthy people with some immunity to the virus can eventually lose their health and struggle to breathe properly as the lungs get further eroded by the virus. More of a reason for young people to play their part in stopping the spread of the virus.

Then there are further complications to consider. Should the virus count be high enough and oxygen levels too low, it can affect the blood supply in a way that can increase blood clotting and eventually lead to brain strokes. And it does not matter what the age of the person is. Young and old are equally likely to get this even if no prior complications or issues had existed. It generally requires a strong immunity response and a healthy cardiovascular system and clean lungs to have the best chance of dealing with this virus attack.

Assuming we want to keep as many people alive as we can and while the vaccine is not yet ready, it is clear that we must all apply some form of physical distancing measures with one another (not social distancing as people mistakenly equate, which is nothing of the sort; you can still be social and as much as you like from a remote location thanks to our technology) as well as wearing a mask as the two fundamental ways of controlling the spread of the virus. In the former, it simply means going home and resting as soon as you feel unwell (e.g., the slightest indication of a sore throat, runny nose, and a temperature). In the latter, it means preventing those droplets emerging from your mouth and nose or reaching any kind of distance to affect others. Even if you are feeling okay, physical distancing is at the very least an essential activity in everyday life. But in case you get too close to someone, you must wear a mask. We mean a proper mask that is sealed around the nose bridge. To test this, wear sunglasses and breathe. If you see the surface of the sunglasses fogging up, the air is not going in and out of the mask through the mouth and nostrils You need one that closes the mask and seals it over the nose bridge. And the mask has to have a finely woven and sufficiently thick material to be useful. Anything else is not an air filtering mask. It is just a mask to protect you from large scale splatter, but not fine water droplets floating in the air. These measures must be taken until the vaccine is ready for distribution and everyone has had the jab. This includes going to the supermarkets, visiting hospitals, filling up the car with petrol, or any place where people are likely to congregate. To help you remember the importance of physical distancing, for instance, imagine everyone are docile zombies. If you get too close, the zombies could grab you and give you a nasty bite. Keep your distance, and the zombies cannot do anything to you.

If you are feeling unwell, don't try to soldier on by coming to work with something as mild as the sniffles and later end up coughing and sneezing all over the place. People will definitely not appreciate it. For everyone else moving about in society, wear a mask. It is as simple as that.

Another major weakness of economic systems is how some governments do not trust people to make reasonable decisions to stay home (even with a doctor's medical certificate) and be given the necessary number of days required for people to recover from the flu, colds, and now Covid-19. Often you must constantly go to the doctor or pharmacist to provide a medical certificate lasting a maximum of three days (but gets shorter after the first visit because the assumption is that it is probably just the common cold and people should get back to work as quickly as possible, even if the virus is still lingering in the body). In addition, limited sick days are provided, and casual/contract workers get no sick days. Combined with limited pay, casual workers are forced to infect other people when coming to work to earn an income. This draconian approach to employment for the most vulnerable workers (let alone permanent workers with some, but usually inadequate, sick leave) should be long gone by now. This is the 21st century. People should be treated as human beings. Give people adequate rest and recovery. And even consider allowing people to work from home if they so choose. The technology is there, so use it (and no, this does not mean replacing workers with robots). We must stop this mistrust in people doing the work. Governments must take reasonable steps to lead their nations' economic systems by legislating that all vulnerable workers will receive income protection during sick leave and to give financial support to businesses to ensure everything ticks over and worker's jobs are protected at this difficult time, especially when the workers can prove their sickness to a doctor and need adequate time to recover.

Beyond that, we see the greatest concern with this virus outbreak has to be the elderly, and anyone with lung problems (e.g., people who smoke or have some other complication) as well as reduced immunity response (mainly because of other health problems, but not necessarily because of Covid-19; in fact, improving your immunity response does not stop you getting the virus, but it could aid in your recovery and reduce the symptoms). For these people, it is highly recommended that they be given a quality P2-class or higher filtration air mask. Authorities may request that medical professionals have priority to these limited products. but it still remains essential for anyone who is not sure they are infected or have come from infected countries and intend to walk around in public. The virus survives for 2 hours travelling on very fine water droplets from a sneeze and even longer if the droplets do not dry up. If a person is merely coughing without covering the mouth, you should be no less than 3 metres when facing the individual. If the person is sneezing without covering the mouth, you need to be standing further away. An MIT study has shown slow-motion B&W film of droplets from a sneeze travelling a distance of 8 metres. So you need to stand more than 8 metres. To allow for closer contact, the person doing the coughing or sneezing must cover their mouth by any reasonable means. Or standing 1.5 metres behind or side-on to another person is sufficient protection. However, if an infected person sneezes or coughs, a quality air mask will stop the droplets. Even without sneezing, touching a surface by an infected person also requires care. You need to be aware that the virus can survive on a surface of door handles, tables, chairs and other surfaces for anywhere between 4 hours to 9 days (possibly longer if the conditions are colder and more humid in the air or there is moisture on the surface).

When droplets from a typical sneeze lands on a surface, the lifespan of the virus varies significantly. A study published in March 2020 in the New England Journal of Medicine has revealed the following facts at a certain fixed temperature and humidity:

  1. Copper: The virus can survive on the surface for up to 4 hours.
  2. Cardboard: Up to a day (but other studies suggest up to 36 hours or as little as 12 hours).
  3. Plastic: Approximately 6.8 hours (but other studies suggest up to 72 hours).
  4. Stainless steel: Approximately 5.6 hours (but other studies suggest up to 72 hours).

What seems to be important here is the moisture content of the air and on surfaces. If there is enough moisture lingering on surfaces, the virus can last a lot longer.

For example, in a more recent study, scientists have determined that super fine droplets can be carried in the air and travel further than 8 metres. And if there is significant pollution in the air (such as in parts of India), the droplets can stick to the pollutants and travel further. While in dry clean air, the droplets should evaporate. However, in wet environments and highly polluted areas this could be of greater concern. These droplets can appear simply by breathing air (it does not matter if you are talking or not), and a typical sneeze carries a combination of large, small, and very fine water droplets for the virus to be carried. More of a reason to cover your mouth if you do sneeze. As the study reveals:

"Transmission of COVID-19 may take place by fine droplets emitted by infected people with no symptoms when they speak or breathe without necessarily coughing or sneezing."

If this is true, then it is vitally important people wear masks. No matter how unusual or disconcerting it may look, or embarrassed at some people in China might feel when the world sees it, it is time enough people wear masks in public to drop the droplets getting into the lungs.

However, when it comes to destroying the virus, the lipid surface structure of the virus has been found to be quite delicate. A bit of detergent or alcohol is enough to affect the surface structure and break it apart. Thus the viruses can be destroyed in a matter of seconds.

If you are unlucky to get the virus, it can linger in the body for up to 14 days for most people (the symptoms may seem mild for the first 4 to 6 days, but will worsen quickly; the most difficult time will be from day 8 to 10; if you survive, things will quickly get better over the next three to four days, but this depends on your health and how strong your immune response is). Although this is considered the normal incubation period, for about 10 per cent of infected people, Chinese researchers claim it can be as long as 28 days. And as of mid-March 2020, the latest research suggests that an even smaller percentage of people my require up to 4 months to be fully cleared of the virus. And if that is found to be true, we should expect multiple waves of the virus to spread across the community unless strict physical distancing measures are maintained for at least 4 months. A difficult thing to do while some male leaders are eager to restart the economy as soon as possible. Hence there is a high risk that the authorities may relax physical distancing measures too quickly

Should that be the case, there are only two solutions available for humans:

  1. Develop the vaccine
    An effective vaccine that activates the human immune response to Covid-19 to a level that quickly stops the virus in its tracks and prevents further transmission is considered the gold standard to reach for.
  2. Everyone wears a properly-fitting mask when going outside
    Irrespective of our immune response, a mask is the only other truly effective means of preventing the transmission of a highly infectious virus moving throughout the community.

The first approach is extremely powerful and effective. However, there is only a small window of opportunity to grab hold of the virus by its spiky balls and squeeze the living daylights out of it from an immuno-response approach. In fact, there is evidence as of 11 May 2020 that the virus has performed some mutations in certain countries (not as quick as a flu virus, but enough to be of concern should the upcoming vaccine be made available in 2021 as it could lose its efficacy and another vaccine has to be developed again), especially in regards to the protein spike used to latch onto human cells. It would appear that the virus is learning to adapt to its human host and becoming more effective at infecting people. Vaccines work best if the protein spike is of a specific genetic design. If the protein spike has changed sufficiently to some new mutated form, the work of finding a vaccine for Covid-19 will have to start from scratch.

This leaves us with the second approach as the last remaining and most effective solution. Otherwise, everyone will be forced to keep their distance from each other for long periods of time and probably over large areas covering either a state or country.

However, with younger people getting confused with mixed messages from the government about how people can move around in society after a lockdown and there is little common sense applied to this situation, too many of them are choosing to go without masks and intermingle at cafes etc. As a result, further outbreaks will take place. Only a mandatory mask wearing law when going outside will control this situation.

Whether we stay apart or wear masks, all this shows that society and how we conduct business and perform work will have to radically change as a result of this virus outbreak. Either be seen wearing a mask in the presence of other people nearby, or work and do things away from people.

On the positive side, being forced to stay home for work and other activities can see massive improvements to the environment in terms of reduced pollution (except for plastic in the oceans). Cleaner air, means cleaner lungs. And cleaner lungs means a better chance to survive the Covid-19 infection.

Assuming we can quickly and permanently clamp down on the virus through an effective vaccine or mask-wearing on a grand-scale, already there is a massive effort around the world to find the vaccine. It would appear that Queensland researchers have a vaccine cure and are looking for volunteers to go on a drug trial. Dr Lisa Jackson is also leading a team in the United States with their own vaccine solution. If this is true, then this could be the game-changer world governments are looking for. The most promising signs are coming from the UK with a quick human trial showing the introduced antibodies are actively fighting against the virus and doing its job as intended.

As of November 2020, the most promising vaccines described as 90 per cent effective through either one or a couple of doses are:

  • AstraZeneca and the Oxford Covid-19 vaccines require easier cool storage of 2 to 8&#deg;C and will cost AU$6 to $7 per person for one dose (it is recommended a half dose and a full dose issued several weeks later provides 90 per cent effective control of the virus).
  • Moderna Covid-19 vaccine requires -20&#deg;C to preserve its active ingredients and will cost AU$25 to $37 per person per dose.
  • Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine requires a phenomenally cold storage of -70&#deg;C but is likely to cost US$19.50 per person per dose
  • The Russian government has announced on 26 November 2020 its own Covid-19 vaccine (so why does China need to hack American servers of medical companies for information?) known as Sputnik 5. Claimed to be cheaper than those from Western nations at US$10 per dose, and can be stored in a fridge at around 2&#deg;C.

Despite these promising signs for a permanent cure (so long as countries are not profit-driven and want to hoard all supplies of the vaccine for themselves, which appears to be happening in the United States), it will still take some time before we see the final product. Authorities were talking about some time in 2021, although it is probably going to be as early as January or February 2021.

As for concerns about the use of dead foetuses used in the making of some vaccines as an apparently valid ethical reason not to be vaccinated, it is true that the Oxford and AstraZenaca vaccines are based on cells of a "foetus" according to this article. And similarly for the Moderna vaccine. However, one should note that whatever the reason the foetus was aborted had apparently taken place many decades ago. The cells have then been "immortalised" so that they can divide an infinite number of times, thereby no longer requiring another foetus to be obtained for this vaccine work or other similar medical activities.

As Bill Lott, a virologist at QUT's Institute of Health and biomedical innovation, said:

"We're using tissues that were from foetuses that were aborted 40, 50, 60 years ago. It doesn't require newly aborted foetuses. While living human cells can only divide around 50 times, those foetal cells have been genetically modified so they can divide an infinite number of times. They're not the actual original cells, they've been immortalised and then propagated over the decades. That's why we can use the cells that we harvested [decades ago] today."

But even with an explanation such as this, we all know that it is unlikely to sway the non-vaccinators and people with strong Christian faiths out there who will avoid the vaccines at all costs, even despite lengthy trials of the vaccine on human volunteers and discovering no side-effects.

Fortunately there are ethically-produced Covid-19 vaccines arriving on the scene as we speak. This article explains a few of them and the companies making them. It is likely UK's GSK and France's Sanofi Pasteur pharmaceutical companies who have worked together to find a Covid-19 vaccine, will be the best bet for an ethical vaccine solution, especially for people in Europe.

There are other companies doing similar ethical-based vaccine developments, such as the American company Novavax, and China's biotech company, Sinovac. Expect more alternative vaccine solutions to arrive soon.

But remember, the vaccines you may take in the future is not going to be provided to the public without some kind of testing. There have been plenty of volunteers to test the efficacy of the new vaccines. And so far, the results are not showing side-effects or other problems. So it really comes down to how effective the vaccines are against the virus. And the talk is, the vaccines are coming out with 90 per cent effectiveness in controlling the virus. And if enough people are vaccinated, it just means it is possible to stop the virus in its tracks and eliminate it altogether from society. If that means it can stop people from dying prematurely because our immune systems were not strong enough to fight the virus, then we should all consider vaccination at some point in the near future. Probably not to take it straightaway. Rather, let more of the population try it out and see which vaccine is the best. After that, you choose the one that is safest and most effective. But at the end of the day, it would be good for everyone to contribute in some way to stopping this virus from spreading out further and harming more people. Taking the vaccine is one way.

Some people may be ethically against abortions (i.e., killing "someone", or are we killing a bunch of "cells"). But will you also be comfortable in knowing you could be responsible for killing some of your fellow humans after passing around the virus because of your selfish actions not to be vaccinated? Would you feel just as guilty for the deaths of fellow humans today as you would for the foetus that died to help produce the vaccine? Hopefully this dilemma has been made easier for you by the fact that the foetus had died (probably for good medical reasons) a long time ago (we are talking about decades ago), whereas there are people today who could continue to survive if we all play our part in stopping the transmission of the virus to the wider population.

Whichever solution finally gets the go-ahead for human use and which one is best for the largest number of people, if you want to prolong the time before you eventually get infected (and/or eventually get vaccinated), you need to avoid touching;

  1. strangers (and even family members if they do have the infection, although this will be difficult when living under the same roof); and
  2. public surfaces in shops, public toilets, cinemas and anywhere there is likely to be plenty of people congregating (a special mention must go to church-goers who seem to love spreading the virus on a good Sunday, or any day, outing to their local church).

Don't think about the adults only. Consider the children attending schools and what they might be doing to spread the virus. Yes, even those little ankle biters (thank goodness they are not zombies) are susceptible to getting Covid-19. And they can spread it far and wide.

We all know children are brilliant at attracting germs and viruses, and spreading them all over the place (and seems to get carried over to adults if signs of how people used to do things in washrooms, or lack thereof, after using the toilet are anything to go by). Playing in the school yard and touching things that most adults would generally cringe and run away from ("Now is that a brown mouse I see over there? Let me pick it up and have a closer look.") is just a normal part of a kid's life. They will even pick their nose if the opportunity arises with such gusto and eventually suck the end of their snot-laden finger like it was a lollypop. Despite what adults might think about all of this, we must remember that this is precisely the right thing to do from a biological viewpoint when it comes to strengthening the immune system. If you want children to have a "kick ass" strong immunity response to fight off foreign materials, you must let them get exposed to many bugs as they can handle. As a result of this, one should expect children to be better at handling Covid-19. And generally that is true for the most part. But we do need to be aware of some exceptions — in fact, some people as young as 14 years of age have died from Covid-19 and with no prior health issues. So it is still a risk that things can go wrong. Furthermore, children are great spreaders of viruses and germs and something that adults need to monitor more carefully than usual.

If anyone can spread the virus far and wide and do a good job at it, it will be the children. To reduce the spread, schools should close (certainly they will close if a student is found to be infected and has attended classes with other students). Not all will agree with this move. Some nations, notably Australia, will be desperate to keep them open on the basis that it will protect the elderly people and those parents who are essential workers in the economy (for example, the medical professionals who have children are not forced to go home to look after the children). For Catholic-based independent and private schools, the Federal government is already paying teachers and staff their salary, so there is an expectation for the schools to stay open, which is just another way of saying it is better for kids to infect one another with Covid-19 in a school environment so long as they do not go home and infect the rest of the family. Whether that is a good idea or not, at the end of the day, it won't make any difference whether to stay at school or at home. Eventually enough students will get infected and spread the virus. Either everyone should be properly kept in isolation for a period of time, or face the reality that the virus will be transmitted from person-to-person to everyone, including the elderly, which is the unfortunate result of all of this.

No doubt the authorities will try very hard to crack down on anyone not following the rules of self-isolation for an extended period of time.

A good decision by the Australian government on 19 March 2020 to eventually ban international flights to Australia for non-Australian residents. And certainly if Australians still have not decided to return home by July should really forget the idea. Time to stay in the host country you are in. Approximately 80 per cent of all infectious cases are due to people coming to Australia and not aware of their symptoms. Australian citizens who were able to come back home (as of 22 March, no Australians can return home, but the government had been working with Qantas to arrange for flights to bring back Australians stuck overseas), but must immediately go into isolation for a minimum of 14 days followed by testing to confirm they are cleared. Unfortunately, not all Australians who do return from overseas are adhering to this quarantine rule. Unfortunately, they will face strict quarantine measures enforced by the army inside hotels

Then there are those already infected within the nation and spreading the disease. It would appear that either some people could be flaunting the physical distancing rules, or there is something about this virus that is making it harder for people to tell the difference or notice the symptoms.

For example, a number of (mostly younger) Australians usually avoid watching the news mainly because of the amount of doom and gloom messaging that gets shown. People prefer to think positive and focus on their lives and social interactions. If this is true, then perhaps the time has come to radically change the media landscape over the kinds of stories people read. How about showing the benefits of staying home and away from work while Covid-19 is yet to be eradicated? Think about the extra sleep you can get and the subsequent improvements to the immune system from doing so. When people are awake, there is more time to be innovative and get things done at home. Watch the latest good news stories about what is happening on the vaccine front, and the kind of future we could be heading when the virus is gone. New jobs. New way of working. Even the sight of clear skies free of pollution in China and other nations, new job opportunities for budding young photographers ready to take pretty pictures of nations in a cleaner environment to help prepare for the economic boom in tourism to come, the "care army" established to help elderly people, less carbon dioxide emissions in the air, and now we hear the ozone layer is "healing" itself thanks to the less pollution. Surely all these things must provide a welcome relief from the regular bad news. Seriously, give people a good reason to stay indoors, watch the news, and do the right thing on the Covid-19 front by seeing the positive things today and things we can hope to bring for the future.

Then there are the inconsistent and changing messages coming from the authorities on what is okay to do, and what is not. Just to give an example, the authorities were quick to say recently that it is not okay for people to get on a beach or sit in a park when suddenly there is a large gathering taking place. Looking from an angle almost horizontal to the ground at the scene may give the impression of lots of people. But then again, get a drone and hover above everyone to see vertically down and the spacing is in more than 99 per cent of individuals meeting the requirement. Unfortunately, when authorities look horizontally over a beach or park, the numbers may look excessive. But this is the thing. People are trying to do the right thing but then get confused by the messaging they receive about what happens at a beach or park because (i) they are getting fresh air and not getting cooped up in an air-conditioned office with other people working in the same place; (ii) when they arrived at the beach or park, there were few people, and even when it reached a peak, the separation distance was at least 1.5 metres or more as in a supermarket (where people stand, so why not sit down as well?); (iii) the maximum indoor gatherings accepted in Australia was 100 people, so why not 100 people outside too?; and (iv) in Germany the maximum number of people that can be seen walking (or sitting) together (i.e., under 1.5 metres) is 2 and both should be family members, but no such extreme measures were seen to be in place in Australia in April 2020. So why not 3 or 5 family members? And, of course, people in parks and beaches do have to walk around occasionally. Indeed, people are permitted to go outside to get some exercise. Walking is an exercise. So long as everyone observes the minimum distance of 1.5 metres, it should be fine, right? So you can start to see the confusion people are having with the rules. Now it seems like the requirement from the authorities have suddenly changed (yet again) to say that Australians can no longer be seen in any close proximity to other people in any gatherings, but keep yourselves isolated indoors.

Then there are another group of people who have kind of listened to the news but remain partly in denial and think it is just another flu. Well, the symptoms are very similar, and most people survive it. So what is the big fuss other than to protect the older members of our community? There is nothing we can do about it if some older people die until the vaccine arrives. Might as well live it up a little as some would say. The same is true of some Australian men who will still come in to the men's change rooms of gyms coughing and spluttering (and clearing the throat) a number of times thinking they only have the common cold. Are you sure about that? How about doing something nice for the people around them by staying home and recovering from whatever you think you have got for the sake of the health of your fellow human beings? This advice becomes even more essential and a necessary action when it comes to Covid-19 because it is considerably more infectious. With the ordinary flu, you will usually infect on average about 1.3 to 1.4 other people. Then those people will infect another 1.3 to 1.4 other people and so on. By the time this is repeated ten times, your flu would have infected 14 people. With the dreaded Covid-19, you can easily infect at least 2.5 and probably closer to 3 other people. If the disease spreads tens times, you will have infected anywhere between 59,000 and 78,000 people. This is the way infectious diseases spread, which is exponential in nature until something can stop or reduce the growth by some action. So yes, the symptoms are very similar, but Covid-19 can affect far more people in a short space of time, and so overwhelm the medical services. And it has added potency in the way it can affect the lungs and make it difficult to breathe for people with limited lung capacity through age or some other medical condition, and the immune system is not effective at creating enough antibodies quickly to fight the virus.

As of November in Australia, gyms have re-opened for members who book into a class or visit the gym. Casuals who pay at the door may face rejection or very strict rules of revealing their identity and methods of communicating with them should another virus outbreak take place. Beyond that, you should try to take regular outdoor exercises such as walking, running and performing sit ups away from others (if you see anyone getting close to you, pretend you have a disease by coughing and clearing your throat profusely; it is amazing how quickly people move away from you), or perform the exercises inside your home. For creative ways to exercise at home, visit YouTube.

And if you see the police in the area checking on people and you are sitting down on the grass for some time in some local park, make sure it looks like you are exercising (i.e., doing sit ups). In that way the police will think you are there for the right reasons.

As for the physical distancing rules, this goes against what is natural for most people to do. Most people are social creatures, so you will find some people struggling to keep away from others. You may overhear a young student say to her friend, "OMG. I can’t believe I am not going to see you for 5 weeks". Few people are comfortable living on their own for extended periods of time. The majority prefer almost constant attention and/or social interactions with others to help make them feel less depressed and/or have that feeling that they are being loved or needed by another person. To solve this predicament, people must find creative ways to interact with people online rather than in person for the time being. Or wear masks.

Otherwise, if sex is so important, try out the idea from the 1988 American crime comedy movie, The Naked Gun starring Leslie Nielsen. Why not wear a big enough condom head-to-toe to prevent breathing each other's air while having really safe sex too?

However, the biggest concern for Australia has to be the premature release of infected passengers from the Ruby Princess cruise liner in Sydney, and it is not surprising that the number of cases of infected persons in Australia have jumped up since 16 March. This one ship has been the major cause for most of the infections within Australia. And now, combined with infected people showing asymptomatic symptoms, the problem has spread. Only in recent times and through effective physical distancing measures have Australians been able to control and reduce the rate of infections in the community. Now it is becoming just a question of whether the numbers are low enough to be controlled for any isolated outbreaks to allow the economy to re-open and continue with business as usual.

As of July, new outbreaks in Victoria and restless socialites needing to get out and about and meet people, as well as a need for some security guards at a hotel to have intimate relationships with the Australians in quarantine has kept the Australian authorities busy and concerned. As of 16 November, this has largely been controlled, and the latest outbreak has moved to South Australia, thanks to a large extended family getting infected by a couple of members that have worked in infected areas or were themselves infected somehow.

To minimise the transmission of Covid-19 (but probably not something that we can completely eliminate until the vaccine arrives), everyone entering the borders of a nation should be tested and kept in quarantine and in isolation until the results show a consistent negative result (to account for an anomaly in the first test). People on cruise liners should be kept on the boats and isolated from other passengers and given plenty of fresh air and quality foods to build up immunity. Provide technology for regular communication to family members at home in various countries. Allow a group of medical professionals and a team of cleaners to come onboard to test all the crew and passengers, and to clean the ships as thoroughly as possible. Extra food and fuel supplies should be provided.

As for everyone else already inside the nation, not only must you stay home when you have a sore throat, but you should stay home long enough to minimise the risk of infection from close contact with another person (who might be infected). There is very little you can do with family members living under the same roof. Living in separate rooms may help to some extent but eventually if one member gets infected, you can be sure the entire family will get it. This is more an isolation by households. Furthermore, you must maintain the separation distance with other people when you go out to get essential supplies, or wear a decent mask. In addition to this are the hygiene requirements. Always keep your hands as clean as possible on a regular basis. Use the supplied sanitary tissue dispenser in the supermarkets to clean your hands and wipe down the surfaces of carrying basket handles. And just because the authorities might ease restrictions in some areas does not mean people can forget to clean their hands, not wear masks, or start bonking each other for the lack of sex during their isolation period. Good hygiene is a lifelong activity. It was fine to go without for a period of time as children. But now everyone must keep themselves clean on a regular basis. If that is going to be a struggle for some people, wear thin gloves (and a mask) and when you get home, wash the gloves (and mask, or replace it) and clean the door knobs or handles on the front door to your home. Then take a shower to clean yourself, and wash your clothes you have just worn after going outside.

If you don't like to wear gloves, purchase a hand sanitizer with at least 60 per cent alcohol content (and the rest can be water), and use it regularly. Alcohol in a bit of water is an effective means of destroying viruses and germs, including the dreaded Covid-19. Authorities will also recommend the water and soap treatment to washing hands as the cheaper option to help avoid mass panic from people overbuying bottles of sanitisers. In fact, there is an effort to encourage people to use soap and water only by writing articles to show that hand sanitisers do not work. What the articles often fail to mention is that hand sanitisers with a reasonable amount of alcohol is more than effective at killing Covid-19. Authorities only recommend the soap and water treatment to allow the alcohol-based sanitisers to be made available to medical professionals who use it the most.

Having trouble finding an alcohol-based sanitiser? Create your own by diluting 70 percent methylated spirits in 30 percent water. Methylated spirits contains alcohol in the ratio of 94% ethanol, 5% methanol (a toxic substance, but fortunately in small quantities), and 1% of other chemicals (mainly to stop people from drinking this poisonous stuff). Never drink methylated spirits under any circumstances, no matter how desperate people are becoming in purchasing alcoholic drinks from the bottle shop in what they consider to be an essential supply (like toilet paper and all the rest). Or if you must drink something alcoholic as a bit of an escape from reality (and perhaps an expensive mouth gargle), replace methylated spirits with a good bottle of Vodka (40% to 95% alcohol content) or Gin (36% to 50% alcohol content). Put the diluted alcohol solution inside a spray bottle and use it on your hands as an effective sanitiser. Otherwise, soap and water still remains a remarkably cheap and effective option too.

Speaking of mouth gargles, some bottles of commercial mouthwash can contain alcohol. Although alcohol should generally be avoided over the long-term to prevent throat cancers, short-term use of an alcohol-based mouthwash is okay. You can use these products to reduce levels of bacteria and viruses in the mouth, back of the throat and near the nose region.

Alternatively, there are some natural foods you can consume to reduce the number of Covid-19 viruses in the mouth. According to this study, it stated that:

"...scientists at the Institute of Molecular Virology, Ulm University Medical Center, Technische Universität Dresden, and CogniVerde GmbH conducted an interesting study. They tried to find out if certain food items can kill SARS-CoV-2. Luckily, the study results came positive.

The study team found that pomegranate juice, green tea, and chokeberry are capable of killing COVID-19 causing virus. During the study, researchers put the virus in and elderberry juice and the above-mentioned herbal beverages and incubated them at room temperature.

Soon after that, the scientists found that chokeberry juice inactivated around 97 per cent of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in just 5 minutes. On the other hand, pomegranate juice, and green tea killed approximately 80 per cent of the novel coronavirus. Notably, elderberry juice did not show any positive result on the deadly pathogen.

Researchers conducted the same test with the swine flu virus and the findings revealed that all 4 herbal drinks can inactivate over 99 per cent of the swine flu virus in hardly 5 minutes."

Even if quality and healthy foods can improve one's immunity to the virus, it seems some foods can have a direct impact on the virus simply through the act of drinking certain fluids.

As of 30 March 2020, the Australian Federal Government is relaxing rules on accessing alcohol-based sanitisers by allowing people to manufacture their own sanitisers using food-based alcohol sources. This will allow supplies to increase over time.

Speaking of drinking alcohol, there are a couple of myths we should tackle. The first is the idea that drinking enough alcohol to enter the bloodstream will kill all the viruses is not entirely true. Whilst alcohol can kill viruses (especially as a mouthwash), you need to drink so much alcohol to kill all the Covid-19 viruses in the body that you might as well be dead anyway. If you need evidence of this claim, just read this article. A sufficiently high proof alcoholic drink may kill viruses in the lining of the mouth cavity, tongue, and a bit of a gargle to kill whatever is in the throat region may help. But there are far too many of these little virus critters on the lining of the lungs and throughout the body. The only effective solution is to get the body to create its own antibodies and let them work their way through all the biological nooks and crannies where viruses may survive and do the job of properly killing all the viruses.

The second is not so much a discussion on alcohol but is along similar lines. There has been talk by some people about whether consuming hot foods can kill the virus. The thinking is that scientists say heat kills viruses. This is technically true, but like alcohol, you need the entire body to be immersed in a high enough temperature as well as breathing in hot air to help reduce the number of viruses. Unfortunately, the body cannot be too hot for too long or else organs in the body will collapse. Furthermore, those viruses lingering deeper inside the body can still survive, even if you happen to live in hot and humid areas of the planet, such as in Indonesia or Brazil. The same is true of sitting in a hot bath. The body has a way of maintaining a stable temperature at its core, especially in the torso region where the critical organs lie, of around 36.5°C to 37°C (97.7 to 98.6°F). The only definitive solution here is to allow the body to build up the antibodies needed to combat the viruses.

Other known facts (based on available evidence as of April 2020):

  1. Covid-19 is not known to be transmitted by mosquitoes.
  2. It is okay to receive packages from a company or business from any area where Covid-19 has been reported. However, packages from individuals could be risky. Businesses and companies have strict rules on cleanliness and ensuring people working there are not carrying Covid-19. The risk is very low in this situation. However, people working from home who send packages to other people could be slightly more problematic because it requires their honesty to show they are free of the virus they may carry. If not, there is a greater risk for other people handling the packages, such as postal workers for the first three days of picking up the packages from the sender. We see this increased risk through the baggage at airports by baggage handlers. As you don't give enough time for baggage at airports to be cleaned or for the virus to die off with time, you will need to wipe the handles and surfaces with an alcohol-based sanitiser or disinfectant spray. With cardboard packages, you should be similarly careful. Consider wiping down the outer surfaces before picking them up. If the item inside the package was sent more than 5 days ago, there is an extremely low risk of contracting Covid-19. Again take the reasonable precaution of wiping down the item in a similar way for 100 per cent certainty.
  3. Older people are no more susceptible to catching Covid-19 than a younger person. But when older people do catch the virus, the risk is higher for these people to die from the virus.
  4. Rinsing your nose with saline will not protect you from Covid-19. Alcohol solutions can kill the virus, but once you breathe the virus into your body, it usually reaches the back of the throat and that is where it will start before the viruses work their way to the lungs.
  5. You can exercise outdoors, but don't assume the 1.5 metres spacing from people is sufficient. Authorities have likened the heavy breathing of a person after exercising as equivalent to a person sneezing. The minimum 8 metres from the nearest person is recommended.
  6. Avoid highly polluted areas, especially in the air. The virus can be carried further and survive longer on pollutants with just enough moisture on their surfaces.

In the end, either we let the body develop the antibodies naturally, or we get a jab of the vaccine when it comes out. Or wear masks everytime we go outside. Otherwise, there is going to be a need for a radical transformation of society to get everyone to live and work in isolation for a very long time.

d

For those already infected within a nation, the next level of weakness is the way the economic system has been structured. There is an inherent flaw in the way people conduct business and deliver goods and services, as well as the way people travel to get to a destination. And with a lot of people doing the same thing, it heightens the risk of virus outbreaks and its transmission. Even if you are not travelling, goods and services usually have to be offered from a centralised location, and that means within a city. It forces people to come together during the day to get what they need or want and so decrease the spacing between people. Also, the desire by governments to expand populations as a way to get more people to pay their taxes, get jobs, and become consumers for businesses, is forcing more people to come together. Because of this inherent weakness of the system, it can amplify the problems associated with a virus spread. It is expected that some aspects of this system will probably have to change in a post-Covid-19 environment. Even now people are changing their ways of conducting business.

In addition to all of this and with Covid-19 circulating in the community (mainly outside Australia and New Zealand), the ones to be affected the most will be older men (mainly because they choose to smoke cigarettes and have learned to accept the polluted air from their businesses), but older women and anyone who has experienced respiratory infections in the past are also at risk. Also, don't think that young people will not be affected. Some young people have died from Covid-19, but usually because of some other complicating factor that the body could not handle together with combating the coronavirus. However, there have been reports of young people dying from Covid-19 with no other known medical conditions.

Medical specialists remain unsure exactly how many people are going to be infected throughout the world, so it is irrelevant to say that Covid-19 is not dangerous simply because more people die from the common flu. It is too early to tell. Estimates have it that between 40 and 60 percent of the human population will get infected just because of how infectious this virus is and how difficult the authorities are finding in containing the virus due to the mild symptoms most people will experience. In Germany, authorities have resigned themselves to the fact that up to 70 per cent of the German population will get the virus. Even with a mortality rate of 2 to 3 per cent, that is still going to be in the millions of people around the world who will die. But since 10 per cent of infected people will still carry the virus for up to 28 days, and a smaller percentage may require up to four months to be properly cleared of the virus, we should expect some infected persons to escape quarantine measures and repeat the situation for authorities to control the outbreak. Everyone needs to be provided with a testing kit to determine for themselves whether they are cleared or not. Otherwise, it is expected that we will all get Covid-19 at some point either this year or next year. Only the vaccine will be the saviour, or we let the body provide the natural defences.

The best recommendation so far is that if you have received a positive result to the virus by medical professionals, you must immediately isolate yourself for 14 days. Thereafter, you must get re-tested every 14 days until such time as you receive a negative reading. Use the testing results as proof to your employer and the government that you need further income support while you are recovering.

For everyone else who think they are okay, try to see if things can be done at home, or go out infrequently and very early in the mornings where there are the fewest number of people to do your essential things (the authorities recommend you should only be outside to buy essential supplies, going to your workplaces for essential work, or getting some exercise).

As gyms have partially re-opened for members only to allow for contact tracing, it is better to exercise at home or a local park, away from other people in the mornings. Do not over exercise or it can reduce your immune response. Enjoy the exercise and be sensible about it (i.e., don't work hard, or follow the motto of "No pain, no gain"). And if you know you are sick, do not attend any location to exercise where other people are likely to be around.

As for working during the day, see if your employer can allow the work to be done at home. In many jobs this should be possible with today's technology. But if not, make sure you do not get confined in a small room (even on your own) for long periods of time and shut off from normal fresh air. Air conditioners are not going to be the safest way to get fresh air. Natural fresh air outside is the best approach.

Click here for some advice on what to do to prevent getting Covid-19 and what to be prepared for should you get it.

Finally, we need to discuss the economic impacts this virus will have and what governments are doing to help the population get through this period.

Due to the virus or people's fear of it and the decision by consumers to spend only on essentials and save the rest (and changes to investment portfolios of superannuation funds to a more conservative and less risky one), a recession is almost inevitable. It is highly recommended that people get their finances in order. Loans need to be paid off (if this is possible). Certainly pay off the credit cards as the fees are expected to rise. There are government stimulus packages on offer to those who had been supporting the economic system but are financially suffering now. These are designed to help with immediate survival-based needs (i.e., purchase food) and prepare businesses to start up again. If a recession does come (and so far everything is pointing in this direction), this is the time for nations to start innovating and developing new technologies and do it using local materials and labour. Also, we should look at ways to be more self-reliant by re-evaluating our processes and what we do. Relying on other nations for everything is not a good strategy. As the recession sees a shake-up of the old economic system, it is a good idea to be training people in new jobs and prepare them for the next economic boom in selling new technologies to other nations. And those technologies will need to solve major world problems, including climate change.

Until then, the UK government is currently providing income support to its citizens who have been stood down from their positions by their employers due to the coronavirus. These people will be eligible to 80 per cent of their normal wages for up to 12 months (capped at AU$2,500 per fortnight).

Canada has done a similar thing to help financially support its citizens.

From an Australian context, the Australian Federal government has also provided support to many of its citizens in ways that many had not seen in the history of the Commonwealth or since early settlement on the continent. No one saw it coming. The range of support measures are unprecedented and many people welcome the initiative.

There will be a range of support provided.

For example, the Australian Federal government will provide a partial wage subsidy plan known as Job Keeper payments to employers looking at retrenching staff because of significant profit loss caused by the coronavirus. It is capped at $1,500 per fortnight for each employee. The amount being offered is decent as it provides around 100 per cent of the wages earned by the lowest paid people in retail, hospitality and tourism, and nearly 70 per cent of the average wages for most other people. To be eligible, you have to be currently employed, or formerly employed until March, in positions that were full-time, permanent part-time, or casual positions lasting more than 12 months. The payments will last 6 months to support 6 million people (and costing $130 billion, but turned out to be closer to $60 billion as only 3.5 million employees would benefit as of 22 May 2020, not the 6.1 million as estimated by the government). But to receive this, employers must also show evidence of a reduction in profit by at least 30 per cent by small to medium businesses, or more than 50% for big businesses. The money is suppose to be provided to employees on the proviso that it will encourage employers to retain their staff using these payments.

For public servants and other people already receiving significant money from the government, such as private schools, they would not be eligible.

The only slight teething problem with this otherwise excellent announcement is that nearly all casual positions in the hospitality industry are so temporary and insecure that people are unlikely to stay in the same position for 12 months or more. It is natural and expected of people to move between casual positions, not because they are bad workers, but rather employers are constantly on the look out to find new (and usually younger) casual employees willing to receive less money. Then there are other casuals who choose to leave the jobs after experiencing poor working conditions in hospitality and learning about wage theft from their employers (which hopefully things have improved since the debacle arose in 2019). Furthermore, people in the entertainment industry are naturally expected to have short term employment usually lasting a performance or contract period. Based on this realisation, it is likely we will see many casuals not eligible to receive the Job Keeper payment. In fact, it has been calculated more than 955,000 casuals in all the industries will not be eligible. And as of June 2020. this casual workforce has contributed to a second wave of infections moving through the outer suburbs of Melbourne because people need income. The Federal Government will have to look at this casualization of the workforce, as well as the decision to house public housing tenants in dense high-rise buildings.

Another thing to bear in mind is that the Job Keeper payments are no guarantee employers will retain staff. It would only delay the inevitable if employers are seeking to do a "human winter clean" of its workforce. Employers can still choose the employees to keep and the rest be replaced or streamlined to what the business needs.

For other Australians who have lost their jobs before 1 March because of coronavirus, and sole traders/contractors can prove income loss of 20 per cent or more and earning less than $1,100 per fortnight, they will receive the standard Job Seeker income support of $567 and an additional AU$550 known as the Coronavirus Supplement Payment.

As of 24 March, students on Youth/Austudy/Abstudy Allowance and apprentices are not left out in the financial cold. They can also benefit from this supplement.

For everyone else in the country already unemployed, the Federal Government has granted them two AU$750 payments (the first arriving sometime between 31 March and 30 April, and the second on 13 July). If you need more money, get a job and get fired at about the same time in order to obtain the extra benefits. As the unemployed are the official disdain of government life, welfare recipients will use the money to pay off bills and perhaps have something left to purchase some extra food, but nothing much more than this. If this is not enough, hopefully these people will have a superannuation fund with adequate amounts in the account. If so, people can take out up to $10,000 in 2020 and another $10,000 in 2021 with almost no delay or other restrictions. Legislation will be changed to allow for this.

By treating one group of people with such contempt compared to the rest of society (and so further eroding the confidence of the unemployed in getting a job) carries with it a significant risk to society and the economy as a whole. If the Federal Government wants everyone to do the right thing of self-isolating, informing medical professionals of flu-like symptoms, and generally stop the spread of the virus, it is vitally important to treat the unemployed in the same way as everyone else.

As of 27 March 2020, hotel managers unable to fill rooms have begun to help homeless people by allowing them to stay in the rooms for free.

As a result of these important changes needed to protect people from excessive loss of income, the Federal Government has effectively acknowledged the standard welfare support known as Job Seeker/Newstart payments of $567 per fortnight is inadequate. This is despite the landlords granting renters an opportunity not to pay their rent given the current circumstances and financial hardship for the next 6 months (and only because the landlords themselves are not required to pay mortgages to the banks). The general cost of living by way of purchasing essential foods and paying general bills, such as electricity, is clearly too high. Even after regular calls from business people and social commentators to increase the Job Seeker payment by $90 for the last 20 years, the Federal Government has been refusing to do so because it wants to cause financial hardship to unemployed people.

As we learn how the Federal Government has been using the "stick" approach to get the unemployed to accept any job (even low paid and casual jobs if necessary), not-for-profit and small businesses can receive a tax-free cash payment of up to $100,000 with a minimum $20,000 for eligible companies, and take out an interest-free government guaranteed taxpayers loan for small businesses of $250,000 for a term of up to 3 years. Most companies are reluctant to take out more debt. However, this money is meant to encourage business owners to retain their current workers (no guaranteed that it would considering business owners can use the money for any other purpose). And it will force businesses to somehow get going and earning a profit when the economy starts up again.

For other loans, the banks have agreed not to pressure mortgage holders and businesses to repay the loans for at least the next 6 months.

Major supermarkets (Coles, Woolworths, IGA and so on) are stepping up to the plate to make home deliveries for those vulnerable older people and those that have to isolate themselves. This will be an important next step to stopping the virus spread.

Also, it is imperative for governments to get more truck drivers on the roads and transporting supplies to supermarkets. The more people see more shelf space in supermarkets going empty with no signs that anyone is filling them (despite constant reassurances from food manufacturers and the government that it is not a supply problem), the more they will panic and soon start to fight one another for the remaining supplies. Show that everything is under control by getting those essential supplies to people (and carefully rationed to each household) in the stores in a timely manner. As of 24 March, there are some signs that this aspect is improving in the supermarkets (less so out in the major rural towns). Truck drivers should be given a reward for their efforts (beyond the salary they receive) such as a free repairs and maintenance service on each truck involved in transporting supplies during the virus outbreak period. New parts, oil change, new tyres and so on. All taxpayer paid.

A long time coming but as 2 April 2020, childcare centres can open and look after the children of essential workers and anyone else who is currently working through the pandemic period at no cost to them. A $1.6 billion support package will be used to pay childcare workers with this task. No worker with children needing care will pay for this service.

Victorian and NSW State governments, and later the ACT Territory government, gave the go ahead to shutdown all government schools starting from Tuesday 24 March 2020 (but teachers and other staff are required to continue working and converting handouts to digital form until the official school holidays arrive in early April). Other states and territories have yet to decide if this is the right thing to do. The Federal Government is hoping this will not happen because medical professionals may be forced to return home to look after the students. But as the Scandinavian countries have been doing for some time, maintain a skeleton crew of adults to keep schools open for a fraction of those students that need '"watching over" while essential services from medical professionals can continue to maintain those services.

All these "socialist-like" measures to support people through the pandemic period will certainly help to cushion the economic blow on a capitalist system that had once forced people for as long as they can remember to earn money and pay their way through life. You would be forgiven into thinking that we were all living in a communist country.

There is much work to be done on the technological front to avoid another "virus spread"; and if it does, the technology must protect people's privacy, and done ethically. You can learn more about the aims of people in creating this technology today.

As for the education system, we should expect changes. It is going to be inevitable to move more of the courses online and eventually allow students to learn for themselves from any location. Now the virus has finally accelerated the process. Students with laptops have wondered how to get ahead. In the past, only the smartest top-of-the-class students would spend their free time without homework and in a more relaxed environment during school holidays to read ahead and prepare for the upcoming school term and eventually even for the whole year with the help of their own personal computers. At last, more students will benefit from this approach. So long as students have the skills to learn for themselves, this should be the ay of the future. For everyone else, videos such as Eddie Woo's maths courses or Lawrence Krause on science will be essential to inspire students to learn on their own. For the few students who have no confidence and need regular help, they will be the few to return to school.

The benefits of a new world order

This situation would not happen (or at least a far less of a stimulus package delivered) if society had established a new world order that breaks up the economic system into a separate system designed to allow people to work on the land and have their own small homes (with renewable energy generation on the roof or portable wind mills), grow the food, protect the water supplies, and so on. A large population focused on this aspect with people living in their own plot of land (and sharing food with one another) would ensure the virus is never able to get transferred from person-to-person. Only city people are the ones at greatest risk of getting the virus. At the same time, one system can support the other (and vice versa). In that way, city people are guaranteed of fresh and clean food and water and at the same time avert climate change and be more resilient in handling recession and depression periods, and people on the land have the equipment and resources they need to rebuild the environment and make it productive while city people go about developing new technologies and making them available to the world. There is much humans have to learn in the coming years as we head toward more economic pain from climate change (and hopefully no more infectious viruses gets released in the future).

The benefits of the new health arrangements under Covid-19

Guess what? After a couple of months of lock downs and telling everyone to wash their hands, not only can we control the spread of cCovid--19, but amazingly so too for all the other viruses that get spread in the winter time. In Australia, the number of people infected by influenza or the flu has dropped by more than 99 per cent. Makes one wonder what people were doing before this pandemic started (it seems like a walk out of the toilet with a quick wipe of their hands down the trousers was considered enough of a clean for most people). Partly due to the way governments and businesses behave towards employees who need time off to recover from infections thinking any more than 3 days and people must feel guilty for not returning to work or made to believe they are "lazy bastards", but also how people just generally don't think about washing their hands, it is amazing how changes to this attitude and giving regular reminders of the need for good hygiene is making a massive difference in the health of the people. Who would have thought a little extra time at home and in the washroom to actually do some proper and effective hand washing can save the health care system literally millions of dollars and avoid businesses collapsing from any further virus spread in the workplace.

It will be interesting to see what happens next when the messaging for good hygiene subsides. Will people go back to their old ways?

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DEAPPLISE

The process of avoiding the privacy intrusive nature of Apple, Inc. in gathering information about you, your personal views, your business confidential information, and everything you do online (all under the umbrella of providing targeted marketing information to users and provided better services to you). Apple is almost as bad as Google in the way it gathers and keeps information on its servers (Apple achieves this via the push technology enabled on your iOS and macOS devices). And yes, law enforcement agents can gain access to this information. Basically, you have no control over the information once it leaves your computer and ends up sitting on an Apple server. There is no hiding this fact. The only good thing going for this company at the present time compared to Google is that at least future employers (other than Apple) and other people will not be able to access your personal and business confidential information to create a "profile". Furthermore, the information is not organised and presented online for all to see like FaceBook. A slight improvement you could say. If all this still sounds a little disconcerting knowing how much Apple likes to intrude on your private and business life for whatever purposes the company alleges to be doing, the following links will help you to minimise the company's presence in your life. As for iOS devices, you may need to consider other similar devices from a different manufacturer although there is little difference between them.

Little Snitch

Arguably one of the most effective tools on the planet in blocking virtually any electronic information seeping out of your computer in a surreptitious way. No matter how cunning software developers are in grabbing information from you, Little Snitch will detect it, and you will be greeted with a pop-up message on the screen prior to the data being sent to help you decide whether or not to permit or deny the connection. The beauty of this little utility is that you have a choice (a term not common in the vocabulary of many software companies, developers, or whoever is keen to snoop around on your computer without your awareness). You decide if you want the information to escape your Mac, or not as the case may be. More importantly, you have the power to "forever" deny the connection too should you feel the company is asking for too much information on a regular basis. That's right. You will never be hassled again from Apple once you deny the connection forever. Even without using Safari or another web browser, you will be surprised by how many apps on your Macintosh computer will try to call Apple and send data. Most will be Apple-specific apps, including PhotoBooth.app, iTunes.app, and various system extensions. Even when you are not browsing on the Apple web site using Safari, this Apple-specific web browser will still call Apple and send data. So look out for those Little Snitch messages that tell you the server address has the word "apple" in it (or temporarily block unknown or unusual servers that you don't expect to see pop-up). Or you can sit back and watch what happens while the internet access is turned on and see all the Little Snitch messages pop-up. Apple is no exception. This is usually a sure-fire sign that Apple is looking for something from you, and in most cases the data it wants is not necessary in to use your computer or applications. Block them and discover a newfound sense of security and control you never had before. Little Snitch version 4.x is compatible with OS X 10.11 El Capitan and higher.

OnyX for mac

The latest macOS (High Sierra, Mojave and Catalina) is notorious for sending information about you and what you do in a surreptitious manner. If it cannot send the information straightaway, macOS and certain Apple apps are designed to quietly sit in the background pretending not to be launched or claim the document was closed when, in fact, the data is being retained in memory. The same is true of various caches, log files, and even force the retention of multiple old copies of your documents in a fixed location that Apple chooses on your behalf (again without giving you choice) as part of Apple's preferred backup solution (on the Apple Cloud, of course, or on specific folders) and expects you to accept it. Later such unencrypted information can be sent to Apple servers on the pretence that it is there to be transferred to your iPhone or iPad, but in reality helps the company and other third-party entities to see what you are doing, gather business confidential information for their own advantages, etc. Whilst such a move may be nice for Mac newbies and youngsters unaware of such insights other than to make them feel like Apple is thinking about them and working in their interest (cough!), this method of retaining old documents is one of the most effective means for the company to learn what you do, who you are, the apps you use, steal your intellectual property, and so much more. And all this is kept in particular locations set by Apple or reserved in memory. This is a sure-fire way of compromising your security should your computer ever go alone; and this is before you even get hacked if the security of macOS is not great) To deal with this situation with any reasonable effectiveness, use Onyx to clear out the extra data collected on your Mac over a period of time. It will make macOS more privacy-protected and secure. Go to the Parameters tab of OnyX and delete caches and log files for maximum protection of your personal data. Note that you may have to repeat this process every now and then until a developer can come up with an app to automatically delete unwanted files of your choosing on shutdown, and so make it feel like less of a chore. Until that day comes, OnyX remains a useful tool in this regard. As for Apple-specific locations for your personal files, create your own locations and store the files there. Don't rely on Apple's preferred approach.

Tor Browser

It would appear that Waterfox, Safari, and an improperly set-up Firefox and Chrome browsers are lethal in leaking out your data and what you do (and some web sites will not respect the "Do Not Track Me" option in web browsers, not to mention the fact that the browsers can allow certain information to seep back into your computer through malware tools. Indeed the problem is so bad that you are probably better off sticking to the only most secure web browser there is on the planet: Tor Browser. Not perfect, but TorBrowser in its most up-to-date form is the most secure. To prove this security, we recommend visiting this Analyzer tool from Privacy.net to run some tests just to see how Tor faired in the analysis compared to other browsers. The Tor browser is a popular choice among military officials. However, keep in mind a few points: (i) Whistleblowers should not use Tor while on a work computer within their organisation. It is easy for the IT administrator to know who is using the browser. Always use an anonymous and public machine with Tor running on it (or bring in your USB thumb drive with a copy of Tor). Make sure there are no cameras in the area or on the computer (cover it if you must) before doing your thing; (ii) While there are some illegal dark web sites that benefit from Tor in performing their dubious activities (mainly to distribute illegal content), the actual people working on Tor are there to give you the privacy you deserve. How Tor is used is not their responsibility. Just like a car manufacturer selling a car has no responsibility how you use the car after you have bought it, it is up to you to use it for good purposes. The network is very secure and the only thing authorities can do to counteract this situation is to emphasise the existence of the dark web and over-estimate the number of illegal sites to the public in the hope people will be frightened off from using this browser. However, it should be noted that much of the activity people perform with Tor are there for the right reasons to visit perfectly legal sites. People only use Tor to avoid the privacy invasive aspects associated with certain sites and the browser itself from the more commercially-oriented software manufacturers. The true purpose of the Tor is to be anonymous. The only times you will not be anonymous is if you choose to login to your accounts online (unless the owners of those sites offer a privacy-protected option, such as Facebook users able to use https://facebookcorewwwi.onion/ for logging into their FaceBook with anonymity). Tor cannot protect you from this situation. The people providing those accounts will know it is you once you have logged in. Apart from doing things to discourage you from using Tor, such as solving online puzzles involving the clicking of squares containing traffic lights and repeating the puzzle at least 15 times, generally there is nothing wrong in using Tor for this purpose. All you have to keep in mind is that you will not be anonymous once you are logged in. That is about it. And if you are logged into a work computer, you will be identified. Only use Tor in a normal manner without signing into any account. And when you do need to send data to someone anonymously, use an anonymous emailer from a location that no one can identify who you are.

Alternative PDF editors to Preview.app

Preview.app is a classic example (the other is the latest QuickTime that has grabbed the same technology from Preview) after a period of inactivity or when accessing another app (especially if it has no documents opened) to give you the impression that it is not running. It is not on the Dock, so you assume the app has quit. Well, don't be fooled. It is there running in the background. Just press Option Command Esc keys to see the app active. Furthermore, the app will not clear the memory set aside from a previously opened document even it has been closed. Not even trashing the closed document will work until Preview.app has been properly quit. This means you must use the Option Command and Esc keys to select the app and Force Quit it. Even after quitting, details of the document is still retained in memory (as you may discover when you re-launch Preview.app and try to drag n' drop a PDF page or file into an existing opened PDF document. Somehow the old data has somehow comes back again and you must undo and try again for it to work properly the second time around (really bad for legal professionals who are hoping for a reliable way to add new documents to an existing one). All this for the sake of Apple wanting to see what you were doing if you allow your Mac to be accessible on the internet. So if you use Preview.app for reading and manipulating PDF documents, use an alternative free or paid PDF editor from an independent and more trustworthy developer from the link shown above. For a reasonable PDF editor you could try iSkySoft PDF Editor 6 released in November 2017 with its new user interface and more efficient functions (upgrade price is US19.99, normally US$99.95). Don't expect Adobe Acrobat to respect your privacy too. It is only slightly better on quitting the app, but if you close a PDF document, Acrobat will not properly release the document. You will notice this when you try to delete the PDF document through the Trash can. Use another PDF editor/reader. Also useful in this regard are the numerous memory optimising apps, and choose ones that will auto clear inactive RAM after a document has been closed.

DEGOOGALISE

The process of avoiding the privacy intrusive techniques employed by Google in gathering information about you, your views, and your online habits while you browse online. Google is a personal favourite of secret intelligence organisations, your future employers, advertisers and anyone else that sees the value in your presence online doing certain things on Google. As they all use Google services to gather information about you (not to mention your (ex-)boyfriend, (ex-)girlfriend, and anyone else for that matter, even right down to your personal views on various issues). If all this seems a bit much for what should be a simple task of searching on the web for web sites and talking with friends, then check out the links. We also cannot recommend more highly the benefits of not creating a Google email account or use an Android phone (Android OS is actually owned by Google). Yes, hard to do in this day and age (as we all use mobile phones), but it will end up being the best solution for protecting everyone's privacy. Or else truly high-grade encryption software has to be produced, installed and activated as a standard feature across all sensitive personal electronic devices to beat all the spyware tools out there on the market (e.g., Evident from BAE Systems). Unfortunately, in this era of terrorism and the efforts by certain governments in the world to control their civilians who are looking for change (probably to restore balance), we feel this is unlikely.

DuckDuckGo.com

The search engine with the unusual feature of not keeping a history of your searching and where you visit. A truly innovative concept in today's world.

Open Street Map

The online map service that does not keep a history of the places you search for. Definitely an organisation ahead of its time, and something others should aspire to.

TorBrowser

Forget the rest, just go for TorBrowser. Don’t use Google Chrome, Safari or Firefox. All will either retain information about you, including a remarkably detailed history of where you have visited for sending to their servers (even when you eventually delete your history, as it once occurred with an older version of Safari), or have various security holes to allow people to send and run malicious code on your computer. The most dangerous codes are those designed to quietly delete or encrypt (through ransom-ware) files in known locations setup by the OS manufacturers (a silly idea that has truly had its day, unless the manufacturers are there to also gather information about you, what you do, and the tools you use on your computer all the time). Otherwise, the code may be designed to quietly grab your personal files and send them to a server online (sounds like this might be a good idea to install something equivalent to Little Snitch to solve this pesky problem). If you must use an ordinary browser, set it to maximum privacy and with Private Mode on to ensure your history of sites visited is deleted. But as with commercial offerings, not all will do a perfect job. To do this job properly, always use Tor.

DEGOVERNMENTISE

The process of avoiding the privacy intrusive techniques employed by your government in gathering information about you, what you do, and who you meet. Hard to do in this day and age with government concerns of a few terrorists in our midst (the solution is simple: treat everyone well and with respect, and give everyone what they need to survive, a place they can call their home, and have equal opportunities to succeed in a worthwhile and positive area of life they wish to pursue), but at the end of the day it is a requirement for journalists in a truly democratic society to be free and independent in their work as well as allow people basic rights to maintain good privacy. When governments get too much control over there citizens, the ability to reverse this power is more important for the citizens. Somegovernments will still argue for some balance. But at the end of the day, a new world order that ensures people have what they need and can contribute positive things to the community is all that is needed for governments and the people to feel secure and happy (as for terrorists, it is time we all show a bit of love for one another and then society will repay in kind and will feel genuinely secure). The choice is up to governments and ourselves to decide. For those feeling the pressure of governments breathing down their necks, any means of keeping governments away when it comes to snooping around in your personal life is a godsend . For a start, you should look at the techniques covered in DeMicrosoftise, DeApplise, and DeGooglise for a dramatic improvement in your privacy protection. Other than that, perhaps the best form of defence against the prying eyes of governments is simply to have no network connection to the internet. Sounds like a revolutionary concept considered too hard to implement. So, to be a little more realistic, and given how hard people find it to live without their mobile phones and internet connections (you would swear there must be a virtual umbilical cord attached to their bodies and the devices), some network connections will be necessary, and probably unavoidable. Therefore, the first step is to consider establishing a Virtual Personal Network (VPN). This nifty solution is designed to hide your IP address, and if it comes with effective encryption, even better. Use a VPN to by-pass Australian-based servers (if the VPN server is located overseas), and so open up a world of new opportunities, insights, and access to a much wider range of information on the internet (you get the best and the worse of what's on offer, but at least you are a good filter of information, right? You understand why people do the things they do,? So use your intelligence to decide the right information to go for, see what's most important and useful to society, and will help you to achieve good things in the world. Set an example for others to aspire to through the right choice of information). A VPN with encryption will also have the added benefit of allowing you to send and receive emails with anonymity. If you need examples of good VPN services, check out VPN Vanguard's recommendation here. Of course, the best VPNs are those you don't have to pay anything (i.e., no record of who you are from your financial transactions to pay for the service), but could be designed to see what you are doing. Finding VPNs that are free and genuinely privacy-protected is hard, but they do exist. And once China's LinkSure company gets worldwide internet coverage established by sending 10 satellites into orbit, VPNs and internet access will be free to everyone. A major shake-up in the world of internet will soon be taking place, and with many Western ISPs facing tougher times ahead. That is the only reason why VPNs have a cost. The people running it still pay for internet access where they are, and a little profit on the side. When internet services become free for all by 2026, VPNs will have to be free also. When it comes to encryption, don't compromise on anything less than 512-bits in the encryption level (and ideally you should keep the encryption/decryption keys on your machine, not someone else's especially for the decryption key itself). The standard nowadays should be the high-grade 1024-bit or higher for file and email encryption as used by military experts, and considered essential for journalists wanting to communicate with whisteblowers* or other people. Apart from a VPN service, we also strongly recommend that you do not advertise yourself on FaceBook, Twitter, or other social media sites. This is especially true if you are a journalist, and definitely do not show a picture of yourself (your family, the size of your bodily appendages etc.). Who really needs to know? If you do, any other accounts you may have for personal use showing pictures of yourself with friends, family and so on will be linked together through face-recognition technology, even if you decide to use an anonymous name and fake life biography. You are better off not being on these social media sites (your real life is your social media site and you should be doing the promoting privately just by walking around and being yourself, not the narcissistic approach of going online and telling everyone how great you are, and asking everyone to like you — we all should love one another, right?) to be truly free and independent. Also consider using a clean (i.e., not electronically bugged) old mobile phone or something that will not track your location. Or turn off location in your current mobile phone. Huawei is considered the least secure. So, to get around this, the Chinese government will encourage more users to see the value of a Chinese-made smartphone and network and its own free world-wide internet access system by 2026. Samsung is not particularly secure either even though the company makes reasonable efforts to appear to be doing its bit to improve security. The biggest issue with Samsung smartphones is how the microphone that you use to talk into when making calls actually stays on all the time, even when you are not making a call. You can detect this on Sumsung's S9, S9 Note and other newer models by plugging a stereo cable plug into the smartphone's headphone jack, and connect the other end to a computer's Line Input. Open up an audio editor app with recording capabilities and look at the audio level meter. Everytime you talk and/or tap the Sumsung phone, the microphone will pick it up and the signal displayed on the audio meter. There is no Android app to properly stop the microphone from picking up sounds, and there is a reason for it (just like internet-enabled TV connected to the internet with built-in microphones that never properly disengage from the world, mainly because manufacturers think people will always be talking to the TV to get the functions they want, such as changing channels). Apple iPhones are not secure for the reasons described earlier (see Applise). And to get away from Western internet networks, you could try the Russian Yandex network, or the new China SureLink system for free internet access (but keep in mind the Russian and Chinese governments will have their own means of spying on you through these networks). The other thing to be careful are the types of apps you download and use on your smartphone or computer. If the apps are not well-designed and have not gone through a rigorous quality-control check (you should leave new apps alone until they have had time to be properly tested), they can leave behind loop-holes and security bugs. A classic example is the mobile app from PayPal. The poor quality nature of the app in the early stages of its release allowed third-party individuals to make unauthorised transaction on your PayPal account (if you have one). And also be careful about free WiFi hot spots for public use. There is usually a good reason they are free (to attract people to shops, but also to see what you do). Do not use public WiFi networks for sensitive work such as accessing your bank accounts. It is okay if you are merely browsing news sites or downloading some software. You need effective encryption on a network of this nature. If you don't, just use it for general purposes. Finally, to complete the picture, we highly recommend that you check the following links and decide whether any of them are worth implementing.

GPG Encryption Tools

The essential tools you need to encrypt to a high-grade all the files and email messages you want to send and receive. Works great with Windows and OS X (i.e., Mail.app). Check out this video on how to install and use the tools.

Guerilla Mail

Useful when sending anonymously an email message to someone using a disposable temporary email address.

Mailmator

An alternative to Guerilla Mail.

Mailnesia

Just want to receive an email message, but don't want to give out your real email address (especially if it is a spammer sending you the message)? Use this free service. Delete the message once you are finished..

Password Hacked Checker

If you haven't changed your email password in the last few years, you might want to do it soon and use a more randomised and sophisticated password to bamboozle even the most hardened cyber criminal. The reason being is that hackers in the past have managed to find ways to compromise some online systems and grab vast numbers of email addresses and passwords and distribute them on the dark web. In that way, governments and criminal syndicates can grab files and see what you do. To find out if your email account has been compromised, use this tool. It will search a public database that has collected this information and let you know if a password was found for it. There is also an option to test certain passwords you may be using to see if it is unique. If not, the number of times the password has been used in other accounts may increase the risk of your email account getting hacked. If you do not want to try this option, we recommend creating a proper randomised password. But I won't remember it? We hear your pain. We recommend downloading SUNRISE Contacts. It is free, and contains a nifty password keeper under the Help menu when you launch it. All you have to do is enter an easily remembered password once and use it to access a multitude of complicated passwords you want stored for all your accounts. No one can hack this single password because SUNRISE Contacts is not on any online server. It is on your computer, which is much more secure. Once stored, you can click on the password and paste it into the field of an online login page. Simple. Finally, consider creating randomised passwords of your accounts every 12 months and store the new password in SUNRISE Contacts.

The Journalist Privacy Guide

TorBrowser

We can't speak enough about the usefulness of this browser. First developed by the U.S. Navy, the Tor browser helps to better protect your privacy while browsing the internet. It does this by "bouncing your communications around a distributed network of relays run by volunteers all around the world" (assuming, of course, that the volunteers are not collecting information themselves!). Use the latest version to fix known bugs that have been exploited by governments. For example, governments had been exploiting a loophole in TorBrowser 8.0.5, but TorBrowser 8.5.1 is giving governments a hard time. Use it in conjunction with access to a wide variety of different public internet hotspots (i.e., don't use your real internet account), and only store a fake name on your computer, software, and contacts.app,. This should give you a high level of anonymity. Also, when the time comes to publish the results of your independent journalistic work online, use an anonymous web site hosted offshore to avoid any draconian laws in Australia preventing you from leaking important information that you believe is in the public interest and can hold governments, military, and/or businesses fully accountable for their actions (and don't use your real name as there are ways to figure out who you are).

See also INTERNET: REMOVING GEOGRAPHICAL RESTRICTIONS

DEMICROSOFTISE

The process of avoiding the privacy intrusive techniques employed by Microsoft in gathering information about you, your views, your software, and your online habits while you browse online. Microsoft generally follows quietly along the path of Apple, often watching the more controversial technologies introduced by its supposed competitor. When enough people seem to be unaware (mostly younger consumers who will go for just about anything new because they think new equates to being better and, therefore, a must have feature or product) or simply choose to ignore the problems (a natural reaction when those in a position of power with their products are not allowing enough choices to be made available for people to decide), Microsoft usually takes onboard the same technologies, and does it better and more refined (and thus trickier to detect). Therefore, deMicrosoftising your life is often the same as for Apple.

OpenSUSE Linux Leap

The simplest solution to dealing with Microsoft Windows is simply not to use it. Of course, one has to be practical about this considering people still have to use a computer. So consider downloading and installing Linux OS. It is a free, open source solution. More importantly, it is stable and remarkably secure. Annual updates ensure Linux remains the best it can be. Indeed, if the available Linux apps are sufficient for your needs, why would you need Windows OS from Microsoft? Better to stay with Linux.

Glasswire Network Utility

This is touted as the equivalent to Little Snitch, but this time it works for Windows 10. Use it to allow or deny Windows apps in connecting to servers on the internet. Available as a free and paid version, this useful app is definitely worth a closer look.

TorBrowser

Did we mention TorBrowser is the best and most secure internet browser there is on the planet? If you haven't, it might be worth your while having a look at our earlier discussions about this excellent browser. By the way, a Linux version just so happens to be available should you decide to go the Linux OS way.

DE-SOCIALISE FROM SOCIAL MEDIA SITES

The process of getting away from social media accounts (or minimising their impact on your life) because of the privacy intrusive nature of social media companies in gathering your personal information and later selling them to governments or profit-making companies, not to mention the recent security breaches (see TechJury's excellent Infographic), the time-consuming nature of constantly handling the social aspects of having your own account, and the way people can abuse their position of supposed anonymity by publishing nasty remarks about you (known as trolls), which if you can't handle it or have techniques on how to deal with them, might be worth getting away from altogether. Social media sites include Google Plus, Pinterest, FaceBook, Twitter, Skype and many others. To reverse the trend of joining a social media site as a way of reducing the time you spend on it, the first thing you must ask yourself is, what is it that you need to do on a social media site that you cannot do in real life? What benefits will having a social media page do for you when you get one? How will your presence on a social media site help others should people decide to read and look at what you have on your social media page? If you just need to make friends or find like-minded individuals with similar views to yours so they can like you and/or what you stand for, remember that you can always make friends in the real world without ever needing a social media account. We have done this sort of thing prior to the 21st century and for as long as humans can remember. It hasn't killed anyone. So why should social media suddenly need to change this traditional approach to finding these sorts of people (or better still, broadening your thinking by listening to different views can be a transformative experience too if you let it happen)? Of course you will always find similar-thinking individuals to support your view of the world. Big deal. What is more important is what you can do to improve the world and make this a better place to live. Also, avoid relying on others to give you constant praise (occasional is fine, but not all the time). No need to have the constant reassurances of people saying they liked what you did or you as a person, or whatever views you may have. Everyone should naturally like you as a person. You do not need to prove to anyone that you are a worthwhile and fantastic individual. And be realistic. You are not going to please every single person in the world. Just do your best in your contributions to society and be comforted by the fact that there are so many people out there who do care about you and want to see you do your best. Sure, you are going to find plenty of like-minded individuals out there who will like what you do and the way you think and believe. This is normal. We all need to feel like we belong in some small way. On the same token, you also need to learn, and at the same time not to take things seriously what others might say about you and/or the things you do, especially among those described as trolling. Apart from the fact that you can't please everyone all of the time, most of the time what people say is a personal view or opinion. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. So can you. And they can say it in a reasonably positive way, or maybe not. If it is valid criticism, accept it. Acknowledge we are not perfect. So long as you are trying to learn and be a better person, that is all that matters. But remember, it is not you that is the problem. It is often your views, your concepts, or the beliefs you hold that may need re-evaluating, or to change your actions, if you can see the harm created to others. That is what it comes down to. Is what you are doing helping people? Or is it causing harm to someone, even to those you might describe as your enemy. Really. Why must you treat certain people so badly? Because they have harmed you in some way? It is probably because they were hurt and/or lacking in love and not some means to "get back at you". But they are limited in the way they can solve a problem. They don't know of a better way. So why not sure a better way? Don't follow the herd. Travel your own path in life and find a better way of achieving things that works for everyone. Or you can stick to what you believe. Fair enough. Just remember that you are here to improve yourself and become more balanced, and to help others as well. Consider all the variety of views from people. Your social media page and what people say is an opportunity to gauge what others think and to give you insights and thoughts that may not have considered before and could help to improve yourself and see a different way of doing things. Don't worry if people do not like you or whatever. Personally? They obviously don't know you very well. And even if they do, just learn from the situation. Apologise if there is something you said that wasn't right. Acknowledge your limitations and need to improve. Beyond that, you have much to contribute to society. The fact that you are here means you are already a worthy and valuable person in your own right (and so should everyone else, unless they are lacking in love in their own lives, which would explain a lot for those who do the trolling). No one has to tell you how valuable you are to society and the great things you can achieve. You should already know this. Learn to be confident in the person that you are. As an added level of power that should be bestowed on you by social media sites should you be a little less confident is the power to switch off users who are not there to be productive and helpful to you through their comments. And perhaps as a final piece of advice when considering on whether to join a social media site, do not use the technological platform to prove anything to others. It should be clear to everyone that we can achieve anything we want. But if there are some people who feel limited in what they can do and are not sure if they can do it and you are in their shoes, show on your social media page what can be done, and how you did it. Show that anyone in the same situation can do it too. Other than that, there is no need to prove yourself or how valuable you are. You should not have to. Instead of focusing on yourself all the time, use your social media page to promote something that you are doing and believe can be achieved right now by anyone. Or consider sharing a funny story, image or video of something you have experienced, heard, or seen personally. This may help to give people a laugh, or to make them feel a part of your goals in achieving something great. However, never allow the page to ever dominate your life. There are far more important things to do than sit in front of a computer all day long. If you want to save yourself time and you can see there are plenty of people asking for the same advice or views on things,. provide an FAQ section, and answer the most common questions in a way that is positive and helpful to others. Or if you wish to completely turn off all comments from others and avoid the security pitfalls of social media sites, consider setting up your own web site. And when you feel like it, create your own comment-making system and you can become the moderator of comments that are helpful and useful to your cause. Finally, if you do wish to maintain a social media account, don't get lazy to sign in to other web sites using your Facebook account. Other people will learn a lot about you when they check your account and see what you do. Use an anonymous disposal email address to receive and send emails, and when you are ready, you can delete the email address. And these disposal email addresses will not carry personal information. With that said, if you still need ways to minimise or eliminate social media sites from your life, feel free to click on the following sites.

Avoid Social Media Burnout

How to Delete your Social Media Presence

10 Tips to Delete Yourself from the Internet in 2020

Websites versus Social Media

TechJury's Online Safety Stats, including the most popular social media sites

Online Privacy — Myth or Reality? by James Herrin

DESIGN NEWSLETTERS

Fresh Fonts Revue

Product Disrupt

The Creative Factor

Yo!

DICTIONARIES

Cambridge Dictionary

Macquarie Dictionary

EssayOnTime's Free Grammar Checker

A genuinely free grammar checker (as of 2020) for students or anyone who needs to check their writing. There are no signs up (a rarity these days). All you do is type or paste the text or upload the Word document, and it will highlight issues. Of course, you have the option to check spelling, and make citations for research-based documents. A worthy entrant to this listing. And just to set itself apart from other similar services elsewhere, it has made an unexpected addition to its range of services by assisting women and girls to find college and business scholarships. Hopefully this link will be helpful.

Free Thesaurus

Also comes with a standard English dictionary, a medical dictionary, a legal dictionary, a financial dictionary, and access to idioms and acronyms, as well as various encyclopedias (including Wikipedia).

Ginger Grammar Check

Touted as the world's number 1 grammar checker, you ahve the opportunity to find out if this is true. You be the judge by trying it. Is it really the best?

Ginger Spell Check

Ginger, is the leading contextual grammar and spell checker on the market today and is able to automatically correct all types of spelling and grammar mistakes, even the most severe ones, especially from people who use English as a second language.

Grammarly

Nothing beats a good human editor, but for a machine to do an awesome job of editing, this has to be the world's most accurate grammar checker available today. A subscription fee is required after testing it out on some sample text.

Online Dictionary and Thesaurus

OneLook Dictionary

Webopedia Tech Dictionary for IT Professionals

DotDash.com

DISADVANTAGED, HELPING THE

Gardhouse.org

Helping Charlotte college of students from the black community gain post-graduate employment through work experience and internships. You ask for what you need in your business, have one or more students work for you, decide on what you want to pay for their time, and most importantly students will have something to add in their resume to show to prospective employers. Or it can be an opportunity to employ the students with full-time employment through the internships you offer. If nothing else, you can always donate and mentors will help connect students with businesses and provide all the advice and coaching students need to become great employees.

DIVERSITY

Cultural Competence Quiz

A way for you to understand how well your can adapt and understand cultural diversity.

DRONES, BEST

All drones weighing more than 250g will need to be registered with the Federal Aviation Authority. Other than that, what you are looking for is a drone that can hover still in the air even in a little bit of wind, stay in one spot using accurate GPS, have a three-axis gimbal for maximum optical stability of the images and video taken, a minimum 1080p HD camera (we recommend 2K or 4K camera, although some manufacturers simply reuse the same small lens from an older HD camera and put in a 4K light-sensitive chip which is no better than standard HD and may, in fact, slow down processing resulting in video that is not smooth, so make sure you get a large lens coupled to a 2K or 4K light-sensitive chip with no fisheye distortions unless you want this as an option, and also consider getting one with a built-in memory card to help record the visual data faster to the memory), and a decent range the drone can travel. If the drone is likely to be invisible to the naked eye at more than 1.2km, you should have a drone with a decent 30 minute flight time and ability to return home to the landing pad when out-of-range of the controller and/or certainly return home when the battery power drops to below a minimum level and needs re-charging.

DJI Mavic Pro

DJI Mavic 2 Pro (replaces the highly popular DJI Phantom 4 v2, which is no longer in production but worth grabbing at under US$400 if you can find one on the market)

DJI Mavic 2 Zoom

Comparing DJI Mavic Pro, DJI Mavic 2 Pro, and DJI Mavic 2 Zoom, the DJI Mavic Pro is better priced (at around US$900) for its features compared to Mavic 2 Pro. And you still get a 7 km range drone with 27 minutes flight time and a proper 4K camera for video at 30fps, 12MP still photos with HDR, as well as create 32MP spherical panorama shots. Comes with an unusual assortment of autonomous features, such as avoiding obstacles within 15 metres of its flight path. Foldable design makes for easy carrying, and it includes two batteries, four replacement propeller blades, controller, recharging unit, instructions, cables and carrying case. However, if you want to pay US$1,500 for the Mavic 2 Pro, the main changes are a couple of minutes longer flight time, up to 8 km range, a 100Mbps higher video details (including over 1 billion colours) video compared to the 60Mbps (16 million colours) for the Mavic Pro, still photos of 20MP resolution compared to 12MP for the Mavic Pro, an ISO camera range between 100 to 12,800 compared to 100 to 5,000 for the Mavic Pro, and can move a little faster at 72km/h in still air compared to the 65km/hr of the Mavic Pro. The latter is despite the slightly extra weight put on the drone for a newer and heavier camera bringing the total weight of the drone to 907g, compared to 754g for the Mavic Pro. Essentially you are paying for a better camera. And that is why the Mavic 2 Zoom exists mainly because as it comes with an optical zoom. However, to make it cheaper than the Mavic 2 Pro, the camera itself is closer to being the same as the Mavic Pro in resolution, colour depth, ISO range,etc. And for all that money, it is more than suitable for high-quality and smooth-moving aerial photography work. Only the most discerning Hollywood producers of major movie blockbusters may choose a drone that allows them to attach their own higher quality camera, or use a manned helicopter to do the work.

DRONES, BEST AT UNDER $500

DJI Mavic Mini

A remarkably compact drone with an excellent camera at under the $500 mark. Ideal for beginners and designed specifically for people who want the simplest way to control the drone and yet achieve excellent results from the camera, such as travellers going overseas. It comes with all the legendary stability when hovering, including a 3-axis stabilized gimbal that eliminates vibration when taking video as you would expect from a quality manufacturer such as DJI.

DRONES, BEST AT UNDER $200

JJRC X9 Heron

We are entering into what is effectively the beginners market, and quality of drones from manufacturers at this price point can vary dramatically. in fact, some manufacturers will take advantage of consumers by re-brnading cheaper Chinese made drones and sell then at least 5 times the normal selling price in China and may even instruct Chinese manufacturers to use cheaper materials and electronics to ensure the products do not last and will break easily in the hope consumers are silly enough to keep buying the same product again and again. To avoid this situation, a quality and durable drone with a decent 1080p camera can be bought for as little as US$150, such as the X Drone HD (not the DroneXPro). However, to get the stability in the images and video taken by the camera, we recommend one with a 3-axis gimbal. Hence the above recommendation at this price range. Or consider the JJRC X12 Aurora for that little extra stability and quality.

DVD, FIND A

Wow HD

EzyDVD

Documentary Heaven

A web site you can subscribe to watch free documentaries in a wide variety of categories.



E

eBay

EDITORS, TEXT

Editing is broadly divided into three main areas: (i) a light edit called proofread (for fixing grammatical mistakes, such as mixing of plural and singular words in a sentence, inconsistent use of past, present or future tense words, spelling mistakes, making sure each paragraph focusses on one idea etc.); (ii) a more thorough edit combining a proofread as well as looking at sentence structure (with often the best suggestion provided by the editor based on his/her interpretation of the writing); and (iii) a highly brutal look (if it is required) of not just a proofread, but also a check of sentence structure as well as the logical and structural flow of the entire document. Generally, the more comprehensive the edit, the more you pay.

There is, of course, a higher level of editing. In fact, strictly speaking it is not really editing, but called ghost writing. As the name suggests, it simply means another person does the writing and editing for you and you pay for the service while everyone assumes you were the author. The latter is only good if what you need to write is not in your native language (e.g., book translations) or you have the ideas but need someone else to write is down in a way that suits the audience who will read it.

When asking for something to be edited, make sure you are clear with your editor about the type of document you are writing and who will read it (i.e., "the audience"). This will make a massive difference in the type of editing you receive. For example, if you mention the document is for a scientific audience, such as an article to be published in a scientific journal, an editor will remove a considerable amount of redundant and superfluous words that don't add anything to the meaning and main points of your sentences (have you noticed one in this sentence?). Irrespective of whether the sentences are grammatically correct and reads well, the aim of a scientific edit is to shorten the sentences as much as possible. And much of the sentences are made in the active voice with the item of focus on relevant facts brought to the front and any supporting evidence following it very quickly (as well as the usual proliferation of footnotes to show where the evidence came from, as is mandatory of any good scientific article). The result is a very compact document that is straight-to-the-point, rather matter-of-fact, but can be immensely dry and boring (which for most scientists, this is perfect as it shows that you are not trying to be emotive or influence the reader; but just stating the facts and letting the evidence speak for itself). However, if you are writing a book for the masses, it is important that your writing and choice of words and how they are strung together is engaging and will interest a wider range of readers (it can make the difference of whether you earn a little money to pay some bills, or you can afford to buy a house and anything else you might need —something that you can never do with selling a scientific "textbook" or "article" unless you suddenly win the Nobel prize, but then that would require incredible luck to land yourself in the lap of the scientific gods. If you need to sell more interesting books, then so long as it reads well and the picture it paints in people's minds is clear and engaging (and even a sense of realism or fires the imagination, and even emotive through humour or some other means), then it is fine. In this situation, you certainly do not want to cut back on too many words by an editor or else your fine entertaining writing piece could be mutilated and this could lose interest to your readers. And it can also lose your style of writing, which for many readers might be the very thing that interest them the most.

Whichever type of edit you choose from your editor (choose one that will be sympathetic to the type of writing you want to see), you always have the choice of deciding which edits you accept and which ones to ignore. You will have the final say of what propagates into your writing. Over time and with experience, you should be able to see the obvious grammatical errors and fix them up with ease. For everything else, it is up to you to decide whether a little shortening of the sentences will read better and helps to get the point across more clearly without losing your style of writing and interest factor. At the same time, look at the bigger picture in your writing to ensure the sentences are not structured to read in a repetitive manner (easy to do in a scientific text). For a book designed for the masses, a few extra words won't matter in the whole scheme of things if it helps to make the sentences lift off the page and flow nicely as well as paint the picture clearly, and is all done in an engaging and entertaining way for your intended audience.

Editage

EditMyEnglish

Enago

Kibin.com

PaperTrue

ProofreadingPal

Scribendi

Wordvice

Wordy (UK)

EDITING TOOLS, TEXT

Grammarly

Ginger Grammar Checker

Hemmingway App

EDUCATION, AGED CARE

Caring.com Student Scholarships (USA)

A chance within a growing industry to have a lifelong stable employment for those who enjoy caring for people. Scholarships up to US$10,000 are available for the right student.

EDUCATION, BROAD (GENERAL)

Schools of Wellness

Promotes lifelong wellness skills, emphasizing activity and nutrition for students.

SUNRISE Information Services

One of the early web sites on the internet to offer free education since 1995. This one focuses on identifying and presenting the grander or more global/universal large-scale patterns acquired from a broad study of certain disciplines using the right side of the brain. A unique education web site sure to give you the bigger picture.

EDUCATION, CIVIL & ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING

NJIT Master of Science in Civil Engineering

The New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) has explained it perfectly when it defined a civil engineer as someone who leads "the teams that plan, design, construct, and operate the infrastructures essential to our modern lives". Of course, the course itself is a little more involved than simply leading a group of people. You do need to have some knowledge of science and mathematics, as well as the necessary communication skills to present your ideas and solutions to others. Fortunately, just like your ultimate pizza topping, this university will give you the lot (pepperoni, olives and the rest). So, go ahead and sink your teeth into this one.

NJIT Master of Science in Electrical Engineering

Do you get more of a buzz in electrical engineering? Well, the same university that offers you civil engineering just so happens to have a course catered specifically for budding new electrical engineers as well.

Ohio University Civil Engineering Resources

Of course, one can't always be biased towards the New Jersey offering for a quality education in civil engineering. The Ohio University is also a leading educator in this field. And it may even be closer to your home too. But then again, if you want to stay as far away as possible from your parents, try the New Jersey location instead.

Ohio University Electrical Engineering Resources

Just as capable as the people from New Jersey, the Ohio University will also give you a solid background in all things relating to electrical engineering. Perhaps at the end of this course, you might be able to build an electromagnetic spacecraft and start travelling to the stars to meet your new clients. Well, you have got to start somewhere, right? Fortunately, the course you need is ready and waiting for you. Later, you can change the world with your electrical insights.

EDUCATION, HEALTH

Adventist University Online Health Courses

Don't let the word "Adventist" frighten you off. This is one place in America to receive the best education in all areas relating to the health sector (including nursing, diagnostic medical sonography, and radiologic sciences to name a few) from highly friendly and compassionate academic staff with real experience behind them.
 

NOTE: Praying is optional, and once you have your degree, you can work in any hospital you like.

College Degrees Online (U.S.)

A reasonably comprehensive look at all U.S. Colleges offering health-related courses and degrees.

University of Cincinnati HIM Resource Center

Prefer the management side of things in the health sector? This university will teach you the latest and best practices in acquiring, analyzing, and protecting medical information held in digital or traditional format considered vital to providing quality patient care. Welcome to the world of Health Information Management (HIM).

University of Illinois at Chicago Health Informatics Resources

Health Informatics is just a fancy name for "information technology in the health sector" (or if you are keen to keep things nice and short, just called it HI). Seriously, if you think you can make a difference in the health sector with your brilliant skills in information technology, this university will give you everything you need to marry the two broad disciplines and give you the head start you need in this career path. A big plus is the very well laid out and easily accessible list of resources on a single web page with all the information you could ever want to help make your education decision a breeze to make.

Top Medical Assistant Schools (USA)

Hard to figure out from the bunch which is the best medical school to go to? This web site should sort you out in a jiffy. There is also the option of online training (if you are a bit squeamish in the early stages of seeing blood in real life). Study at your own pace and all within your lifestyle. When you are feeling ready, do some practical work, past the tests, and start kicking some ass in the industry. As the population grows, the demand for medical assistants will only grow.

University of San Francisco Nursing Resources

Do you have a panache for nursing? If so, this educational institution has a lot to offer. Between the Adventist University and this one, you are well and truly covered in this field.

EDUCATION, INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

Boston University Computer Information System Resources

A quality educational institution for anything relating to information technology, now offers online (or distance) education for anyone. On May 11, 2016, Boston University received the 21st Century Award for Best Practices in Distance Learning, making it among the top education leaders on the planet. This includes all the latest computer languages, how to build a supercomputer, as well as skills in cyber safety and the internet (now a rapidly growing field).

Cyber Degree Hub (Idaho, USA)

The foundation provides free educational information and support to those who are interested in learning about cyber security degrees and what they can do for you.

The Need for Cyber Diplomats

EDUCATION, LOANS

LendEDU — Private Student Loans (USA)

Updated as of June 2019, this site provides a fairly good round up of the best student loans from banks, credit unions and other lenders. As Andy Kearns, LendEDU's Content Analyst, said:

"Our Editorial Team used over 30 data points for 23 different student loan companies to find which were truly the best. These recommendations and ratings are not influenced by compensation in any way and we only present the lenders who were rated the highest on this page."

EDUCATION, MBA

Financial Times' Global MBA Rankings 2012

Nothing but the best for those looking to become masters of the business and management universe (we can only ask that you don't turn to the Dark Side of the Force with desires for unlimited wealth and greed as our planet is highly fragile). Management and Business Administration (MBA) courses are available from these top educational institutions as selected by the reputable Financial Times.

Forbes' Top Colleges in America

Another reliable ranking list from the people who publish the highly trusted Forbes business magazine. MBA courses can also be found among these selected educational institutions, or else broaden your horizons from a wider range of courses on offer.

MBAGuide.com.au (MBA Guide)

A free advisory site for people looking to choose the best suited MBA programs as either a postgraduate education option or to uplift your professional worth to employers.

Online MBA (USA) (also available by States)

EDUCATION, ONLINE

Online Schools Guidebook

Want to know the benefits of online (or distance) education? Well, apart from keeping away from Covid-19 infected people. Have you ever wanted to figure out what's available online and whether you should ever need to attend a traditional "bricks-n-mortar" school? How much does it really cost to go online and get the education you deserve and need for life compared to the traditional approach? And will the education be just as good as going there in person to learn from the experts? For the answers to these and many other questions, we recommend visiting this web site. A useful resource for all students, parents and employers alike.

Context, Find Your

Education experts will help you to find the best places to study online bachelor's degree or master's degree through a unique and personalized approach.

see also INSTRUCTIONAL DESIGN TOOLS

EDUCATION, PhD & MASTERS

Context, Find Your

Education experts will help you to find the best places to study online bachelor's degree or master's degree through a unique and personalized approach.

Online PhD (UK)

Free UK advice and guidance from university academics, about Online Ph.D. courses.

EDUCATION, SPECIFIC (GENERAL)

Khan Academy

Following the same principle with education as SUNRISE, the Khan Academy provides a not-for-profit free education to anyone, anywhere, and anytime. Focus on many specific types of knowledge as you would find at traditional schools for all years including maths, physics, chemistry, economics and finance, but in a much easier way (unless you have brilliant teachers in your traditional schools). For more holistic knowledge relating to the broader concepts of psychology, religion, evolution, astronomy, world problems, and technology, try SUNRISE.

EDUCATION, SPORTS

Ohio University Coaching Education Resources

If you think those pilots of the future who will fly the electromagnetic spacecraft will not be thin enough to make the journey times to the stars nice and quick according to Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity, your expert knowledge in sports and how to keep fit and trim will go down extremely well indeed. Or if you just want to help the latest and greatest athlete to win a mountain of gold at the next Olympic games, a sports education with coaching skills is the way to go. Or maybe there is a sports team who needs a coach to take the players and their club to the next premiership win? Don't want to aim that high? Well, remember that you can do anything with this course. But if you want something simpler, coaching is still useful at the grassroots level of your community when it comes to helping kids to learn how to play any sport.

Ohio University Athletic Administration Resources

Being trim and healthy is not essential, but would be highly regarded in this field of study. This course will explain all the ins and outs of handling the administration side of any sports, from the elite sports clubs, to the humble Physical Education department of every quality school in the nation.

EDUCATION, SCHOLARSHIPS (USA)

Fastweb.com

Access over 1.5 million scholarships to help you pay for college

The Best Scholarship Search Platforms

Reviews of best free scholarships

FAQs on private education scholarships

Answers many of the most common questions you may have about private scholarships. such as whether to apply for private scholarships, how to research your college's policies on scholarships, what to watch out for when you have a job on the side during college, ways to work with the scholarship provider to get the benefit of the scholarship, and much more.

Scholarships for Women

Scholarships are hard to come by and even harder when men are around to compete for them. Hopefully this link will go some way to levelling the playing field and allow women to shine in their chosen profession or field of expertise.

EDUCATION, SURVIVAL TIPS

Wild Scholar

Secrets, tips and advice for the prospective college student wanting to know how to survive the next gruelling stage of one's life. Still, life should not be boring for you, so read up and take away some great advice on how to make your experience at college the best it can be.

EDUCATION, TEACHING

University of Cincinnati Education Resources

The courses offered at this educational institution will develop the leadership skills you need to make an impact in the classroom, school, and community. If you love becoming a teacher and want to set the world on fire with your unique approach to educating the masses, you would do well to check this place out.

EDUCATIONAL TOOLS (FOR ALL AGES)

Answers.com

Searches through dictionaries, thesauruses, atlases, glossaries and encyclopedias for the answers.

Evolution of Life on Earth (SUNRISE)

Original research information from SUNRISE showing how life probably came to be and evolved on Earth. Also includes a look into the future in the evolution of human beings and the likely scenarios we will encounter.

Exploratorium — an education search site

Graph Paper, Print Free

Print your own free graph paper. For accuracy, make sure you don't select "Fit to Page" when printing. Actual size always works best.

Incompetech Graph Paper Generator

Graph Paper 1mm A4 (Ready-made)

Graph Paper 5mm A4 (Ready-made)

Graph Paper 10mm A4 (Ready-made)

Graph Paper 5mm A3 (Ready-made)

Graph Paper 10mm A3 (Ready-made)

Inside Story Flashcards

The world's easiest way to learn words. Great for kids, but even adults can benefit from learning new words. Utilises pictures to best capture the definition and meaning of words. Divided into Basic, Easy, Medium and Hard levels to help with word learning.

LearnThat.com

Maths Online

Molecular Expressions — views on our microuniverse

SUNRISE Contacts

A powerful educational and business tool to use for life. Apart from organising your contacts at a personal and/or business level, the lookup databases (e.g., infobase.fmp12, elearn.fmp12 etc.) expands the features and flexibility of your solution to handle a variety of information.

SUNRISE Finance Budgeting Tool.

A free software tool you can use right now for personal use.

See also ENCYCLOPEDIAS, ELECTRONIC JOURNALS etc

Einstein, Dr Albert (Resource Page)

Electric Library Encyclopedia

ELECTRICITY

Energy Watch

Go Switch (Australia)

Compare electricity and gas providers in your area.

Electronic Circuit Symbols

ELECTRONIC JOURNALS

FindArticles.com

Issues in science and technology librarianship

New Scientist

Scientific American archive

Emailer, Online and Anonymous

EMAIL: ENCRYPTION

The open source free standard (PGP is the paid version) is known as GPG (a play on the PGP letters to help show to users that it is essentially the same as the paid version, except keys generated in the paid version will not be compatible with the open source GPG version, so carefully choose the tools you want to use — the free version is powerful enough, but do donate for the tools to be further developed and enhanced). The links below will give you military-grade encryption of your email messages (the best on the planet).

GPG Tools

GPG Tools Support

ENCYCLOPEDIAS

Encyclopedia Britannica

Electric Library Encyclopedia

Wikipedia (Open Source Encyclopedia)

Plants of the World

ENGINEERING EDUCATION (see EDUCATION)

ENGINEERING JOBS

ICE Recruit (U.S.)

ENTERTAINMENT

TripBuzz.com (U.S.)

Find fun things to do within the United States, for Americans and visitors alike

EXERCISE

Best Treadmill Reviews for 2017

Yes, that horrid "E" word has made a come back. But it need not have to be boring. There are many ways to exercise and we recommend getting into a workout class with friends at a level that won't kill you off (even if some world governments wish there were fewer older people in the world). Enjoy the class, we say! Better still, with fitness centres not able to play all your favourite latest music due to copyright restrictions (unless you are happy to listen to Les Mills' brand of music, which isn't the greatest on the planet), you should set up your own exercise class with friends. As soon as the aerobic room is free, bring in your own music, play it and you can all exercise exactly how you like it (and the fitness centres cannot get into trouble for it). As for exercising at home, the best all-round exercise is a good quality treadmill. The link above will give you good advice on the best treadmills to buy based on your budget, features, and durability. If you do buy a treadmill, we suggest setting it up in the living room (or separate entertainment room, which seems to be the in thing for new homes these days), watch your favourite music videos and before you know it, you have raised a sweat and burned off enough calories. And it doesn't seem like you had been working hard to achieve it. The way exercising should be.



F

FARMERS (AUSTRALIAN), ONLINE HELP FOR

CSIRO (Australia's top Scientific Research Organisation)

Farmers Info

Grain Growers Association

Pest Genie

Plant Net

Rural Assistance Authority

Weed Identification Tool

FAX

eFax.com - Receive free faxes

With the free eFax account option (yes, it is still available), you will receive your own fax number and a maximum of 10 inbound fax pages per month (used to be 20 pages per month in 2009) but no outgoing faxes are permitted (so use FaxZero.com). To increase the number of fax pages to 150 per month for both receiving and sending (used to be 130 pages in 2009 to help encourage free eFax account owners to upgrade their account), you need to pay for an eFax Plus service costing a minimum of USD$14.13 per month (with a USD$10 once off setup fee). if you exceed the limit, it is USD$0.10 per page. But if you can afford it and do a lot of faxing, there is no limit to how many faxes you can receive or send. There is also an eFax Pro service for serious bulk faxing activities (some people do love their faxes). This will give you 200 free pages every month at a minimum cost of USD$16.63 per month (with a USD$19.95 once off setup fee) and the same USD$0.10 per page if you exceed the limit. All faxes are received in the rather unique efx format and hence you must use a proprietary software tool to read them. You can download eFax Messenger software from the web site to streamline the entire process of reading faxes directly on your computer. However, for Mac users with Intel machines, incredibly the software has never been updated (only works with PowerPC machines). So most Mac users must login online and read the faxes in a web browser. The only one saving grace in all of this is the fact that you can still print the faxes, which means if you have installed a PDF print driver on your intel Mac computer you can effectively save the faxes as high-quality PDFs. So just a little more hassles to gather the faxes for Mac users. eFax is a service offered by j2 Global Communications based in Hollywood, California, Dublin, Ireland, and various other country locations. The free eFax service is offered on the basis that you are happy to receive and view advertisements. If not, you must upgrade to eFax Plus.

FaxZero - Send free faxes (with an advert on cover sheet)

Send doc, docx or pdf files as fax documents electronically via FaxZero. Simply upload up to 3 documents and send to a recipient (you enter the details). The free version comes with a small advert on the cover sheet, and you are limited to 5 faxes per day with each fax containing no more than 3 pages plus the cover sheet. To raise the maximum number of pages to 15 plus a cover sheet (and even that is optional) and be advert-free, it will cost US$1.99 per fax with no limits on the number of faxes you send off.

HelloFax

FILE: ENCRYPTION

The open source free standard (PGP is the paid version) is known as GPG (a play on the PGP letters to help show to users that it is essentially the same as the paid version, except keys generated in the paid version will not be compatible with the open source GPG version, so carefully choose the tools you want to use — the free version is powerful enough, but do donate for the tools to be further developed and enhanced). The links below will give you military-grade encryption of your email messages (the best on the planet).

GPG Tools

GPG Tools Support

FILE SHARING

Binfer App

This is a secure way of sharing files with someone on the internet without an intermediary (i.e., a third-party file storage and sharing server known in the technical jargon as the Cloud). This app will turn your life sky-blue and free of any cloud service by using your machine as the file storing and sharing device. In that way, people can download the files directly from you (not someone else you don't know). Even better is the fact that the files are encrypted at the source (i.e., your machine). As the makers of the app stated on their web site: "There is a big difference between encrypted at source and encrypted at site. End-to-end encryption [using the Binfer app] prevents intermediaries from accessing your documents. It provides a stronger protection during transfers". That can only mean one thing for you: a more secure way of sharing your files. Please note that there is a subscription plan to activate the app. This is the way the developers of the app can get paid for their efforts.

Syncthing app

This is the free alternative to Binfer. Source code is provided free for developers to enhance the app.

Yandex Disk

Don't let this file sharing site frighten you off. Described as the Russian equivalent of Google Drive because of its location (the servers are in Russia), the largest search engine specifically catered for Russian citizens, and with quality servers, this is a surprisingly good file-sharing site so long as you are not too concerned about security. Or if you wish to make it harder for Russian hackers and government spies to figure out what you've got, use your own military-grade encryption. That should keep them busy for many years to come. That said, if you have no intellectual property or state secrets to hide or whatever, you will be surprised by the storage capacity of the free and paid versions. Considered better than DropBox for the meagre 2GB of free space you get, you can have 10GB of free storage with Yandex Disk. And for a yearly price of US$20, you can bump it up to 110GB (i.e. the free 10GB + 100GB). Or for US$100 per year, you can enjoy 1TB + 10GB of storage space. Also, because it is based in Russia, it means that not even US government agencies (e.g., the CIA) can access the files on the Russian servers unless you provide an American government employee with a share link. Still not sure? Perhaps we should add the fact that the speed of the servers are the best you can find anywhere in Europe. Users outside Europe and Russia will have variable speeds depending on your location and internet speeds you have with your ISP. Also, keep in mind for international users that bottlenecks at Yandex end is a possibility since it must cater to the shear numbers of people living on the Russian/European continent (best to do it early in the morning Russian time).

Sync.com

If that whole Russian thing is still scaring the living daylights out of you, try this Canadian file sharing service. The good thing about the Canadian offering is that these people know a thing or two about good customer service, as well as offering a decent service for the price. For a start, you get 5GB free space just for signing up. Half of that offered by Yandex, but wait! It gets better. A tiny quirk is that each friend referral to the site who successfully sets up an account will earn you a free 1GB of extra space. Not in a sharing mood? No problems. Storage space and pricing are essentially double what the Russian version provides for the paid plans. So for the US$96 per year plan you will get 2TB. Don't worry, given how storage space doubles every two years for the same price, you can be sure the Russians will out do everyone else with something bigger and better.

pCloud.com

The alternative to Sync.com, and likely to be a direct competitor, is this file sharing site. The people who run this site boast a highly secure experience when storing and sharing files (see the makers of the Binfer app for their views on this), and the pricing for the paid plans and storage space are surprisingly similar to Sync.com. The only other thing setting pCloud apart from Sync.com is the chance to pay a once only lifetime price. For example, to have 2TB per month for the rest of your, or the organisation's, life, you only need to pay US$350 (assuming pCloud does not go under in some future financial crisis).

Filehosting.org

An unusual site in the sense that it requires no sign in or to pay for subscription plans. Everything is absolutely free, and you can upload and download in an unlimited fashion large files of any size. Forget storage space increasing every 2 years. The owner of this site does not know what this means, or sees no limit in storage capacity. You get as much storage as you can handle — the way file storage should be. And forget a lifetime once only payment to use the service. There is none. You just simply use it. The only caveat in using this site is to ensure you retain the share link URL in the email sent to you upon successfully uploading a file. If you should ever lose the email and hence the URL to download the file, you will have to upload the file again. No exceptions. Any files stored on this server will be automatically deleted after 20 days from the last download. To delete it at your own choosing, you will be provided with another link in your email. Just click on the link and the file will be gone. If you must use a cloud service to share a file with someone, this has to be the world's cheapest and simplest file sharing service you can find. Just don't expect top-notch security though. There is a reason why this server is free. Expect the files will be kept and inspected by the web site owner for whatever purposes he/she may find in secret. So never send confidential or sensitive files using this service. If you don't want the owner to snoop around, always encrypt the files.

FILM SITES

Hollywood

Internet Movie Database (IMDB)

FINANCE

A Guide to Crowdfunding

Balance Transfer Credit Card Comparison Site (Australia)

Compare and Find the Right Credit Cards (Australia)

Infochoice Credit Cards (Australia)

My Credit File

Receive a copy of your credit file despatched within one working day. And while you are at it, check out the Australian-owned credit card comparison service providing 100% unbiased reviews and information to help consumers make the best decisions when choosing the right credit cards.

The Guardian's Money Unlimited

No fuss and free advice on financial planning.

Savings Account Finder Comparison Site

Veda Advantage

The largest and most sophisticated provider of business intelligence in Australia and New Zealand.

FIRES

All about fires and what to do to prepare and survive a fire

The free essential information you need to know, as prepared by SUNRISE.

Aus-emaps

The locations of major bushfires in Australia.

NSW Rural Fire Service (Australia)

A more detailed map of all known bushfires in the state.

FLATMATE, FIND A

Easy Room Mate

Flatmate Finders

Flight Bookings (see TRAVEL)

FLORISTS, ONLINE

Interflora.com.au

Roses Only, Delivered Australia-wide

FOOD

Tea Site

see also FOOD, RECIPES

FOOD, RECIPES

Recipe Source

CD Kitchen

Food Epicurious

FREE BARCODE GENERATORS

Terry Burton's Free Online EPS/PNG/JPG Barcode Generator

Free Online Barcode Generator

FREE BOOKS

Feedbooks (eBooks for download)

FREE FILE CONVERSION

Zamzar, online file converter

FREE FONTS

1001 Free Fonts!

Abstract Fonts

Download Fonts

Font Freak

Google Fonts (Login to your Google Account)

Pixelify Free Fonts

FREE FONT CONVERTER

Free Font Converter (TTF, OTF, PS etc)

FREE FONT IDENTIFIER

What The Font (Font Graphic Image to Font Name)

FREE FORM MAKER

PHP Form

FREE ICONS (see ICONS, FREE)

FREE LUNCH

Langar (or "community kitchen") for people looking for a free feed.

Langar is an essential part of Sikh places of worship (Gurudwaras). The kitchen is run entirely by volunteers through donations. It provides a free lunch for those who need it and for those who think there is no such thing as a free lunch (i.e., they just need to be reminded that not everything has to cost money, just a little of your time to help in the kitchen).

FREE, PATENTS

Patents, Free Online

FREE PICTURES (see PICTURES, FREE)

FREE, SEO (SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION)

A problem with people helping you with any SEO-related activities on your web site is who to turn to and who will do a good job at a reasonable price. There are many scammers out there all claiming to spruik their alleged expertise in this field, but often do nothing but run off with your money, or else do a pretty bad job with their SEO work anyway. Even more embarrassingly, the so-called SEO experts' own web sites are riddled with worse SEO problems than yours. Time to run for the hills if you see this situation. Or better still, do your own SEO. Download the tools and understand the essentials of applying SEO to your web site by checking out the following links and useful tools. Of course, you shouldn't be totally put off by web sites that do offer SEO services. There are some genuine people who do provide a quality service. Finding them is often the hardest part. However, if you have a choice, download the tools and do the work on your own, and you can learn a lot yourself during the process and often making the best decisions in the interest of your own web site. But if time is limited and need help, consider some of the quality SEO online services. We will give some examples below.

1. XML SiteMap Checker

Apart from building the actual web pages to help publish your content online, your next logical step is to get noticed by other online users on popular search engine sites. To start this process off, you must create a thing called sitemap.xml. This file has to be placed inside your web site at the root level (where the index.htm file for the home page is located). By having this file, you are providing search engines a roadmap of where to go and which pages to look at and have it indexed for inclusion on the search engines database. Then, when people do a search, hopefully the information contained on those web pages will match the search criteria. It is the first essential step to telling search engines how your web site is structured. It is nothing more than a text file organised in the XML format (similar to HTML but more strict in how it should be written, so do go ahead and find an example from another web site to see the pattern to help get you started) and contains the paths to a select or all the web pages in your web site. These paths tell the search engines which web pages to start indexing, and to follow any links on those pages until there are no more links to visit. The bottom line is, if you don't have a sitemap.xml or if it contains errors (such as the wrong paths to web pages, or a malformed XML structure in the file itself), your web site cannot be indexed, and that could mean extremely low rankings in Google and other search engine sites, and so naturally the loss of organic traffic (that's "baaaaddd!!!!!").

2. Google Keyword Tool

The next important step is the right choice of keywords that best describe your content for each web page. The keywords mainly go inside the meta tag at the top of the HTML page that handles keywords (check a typical HTML page to see what this looks like), and those words should also appear sprinkled about in the content of the page as well (especially in h1 and h2 headers). When deciding on suitable keywords, do not always think of the most common and obvious ones. Try to think outside the box in terms of the more obscure or unusual word(s) that people might use to search on Google or other search engines. If you need help in broadening the range of related keywords, consider Moz Keyword Explorer. Or try the free Google Keyword Tool (useful in determining the volume and range of words people use in a search engine). Another source of keywords or choice of content or headings to use is AnswerthePublic.com. This one is focused on the sorts of questions people ask of voice assistance devices, such as Amazon's Echo. Whichever tool you use, your web site will benefit from a good selection of the right keywords related to your content. Actually, the better the keywords you use, the more likely your web site will have a high ranking in the search results. Another source of keywords is to look at the competition. What are the keywords they are using? Beyond that, you may have to pay Google to advertise your site. Generally the more you pay Google or other commercially driven search engines, the higher your site will appear in search engine results or as a random advert on the side of the search engine listings.

3. Online Meta Tag Generator

Having the right keywords is one thing, but not knowing where to put them can be a bit of an issue if high rankings for your web site in the search results are a must. You have to know how to add meta tags into web pages and do it the right way. Good meta tags do help to improve your search engine position. To help you get this part sorted, use this tool and you will be assured of the meta tags being generated the right way with ease.

4. Xenu Link Sleuth Tool

Nothing gets up the proverbial electronic nose of search engine spiders quicker than a web page with broken links. To solve this perennial problem, use this effective PC tool to find those little "broken link" critters. Also comes in handy for checking those pesky Alt tags, as well as generate the essential sitemap for your web site. Still want more? How about a check for backlinks to your URL? Certainly not a one trick pony, you can be assured of a useful multifunctional tool from Xenu. For an equivalent version on a Mac, try the free web link checker known as Integrity.

5. Google Analytics

Another useful Google tool for identifying how visitors reach a web site.

Rigor's free web performance report

Test a website's performance (similar to Web Page Test, see below), except this one provides details on problem areas within a specified web site and the methods you can employ to improve the situation. Performance simply means how quickly a typical web page in a web site loads to its fully completed stage (when all texts and images are visible and ready to be read). It is good and fine that online users can find your web site through a search engine, but if the pages load slowly, it can be a bit of a turnoff for the users. And some search engines employ sophisticated algorithms to reduce the ranking of web sites that are slow compared to other similar sites. It is best to maximise performance to ensure a high ranking on most search engines in existence.

Alexa.com

Enter a URL for a web site and it will show your USA website ranking. The measure is from 0-10; a higher number reveals more quality backlinks for the web site and hence the better the site's rank. Why backlinks? Search engines employ a sophisticated algorithm to determine the likely probability that your web site is of high quality. Among the various tests performed and calculated by the algorithm is one where other web sites provide a link to your web site. Of course, the assumption here is that other people do find your web site of reasonable quality or is useful to them and their readers to go to the trouble of creating a link. Generally this can be unfounded, such as when people exchange URLs to add as a link to their web site as part of the normal business process of "I scratch your back if you scratch mine" so that both will benefit from a high ranking. But it isn't a guarantee that a site is genuinely of high quality. Since search engines are not sophisticated enough to know what is a quality web site, they can only go by how many backlinks exist to your web site from other people's web sites. The more backlinks there are to your web site, the likely your web site is of a higher quality than your competitors and, therefore, get a higher ranking in search engine results.

Backlink Checker

Want to know how is linking to your web site? Use this tool. It will tell you who and how many web sites have created a link to your web site.

Google Trends

Google Trends is another useful tool in getting the latest information about keywords and how the search trends for keywords change over time. It will give you insights into how online users may change their choice of keywords to find certain web sites.

Check Page Rank

Similar to Alexa.com, but with the broader experience of Google to give you an insight into where your web site sits among other web sites. Check the page ranking position at Google PageRank. The measure is from 0-10; a higher number reveals more quality backlinks for the web site and hence the better the site's rank.

Keyword explorer

As the name implies, you can do two free keyword searches per day.

Microsoft Keyword Research Tool

Check volume (or number) of searches performed on the Bing search engine for selected keywords entered by online users.

Wordtracker Free Keywords

UberSuggest

Wordtracker and UberSuggest provide more help to find a range of keywords related to a given keyword.

SEMRush

Find out the search traffic in real-time from Google to a web site and compare with four of your competitors.

SEOlium

A site that emphasises accuracy in choice of keywords and ranking on the Google search engine. It is often a hard thing to determine just how accurate other SEO tools and web sites are in providing their results. This is one of the very few that attempts to focus on accurate results. There is a free option, and a pay-per-consumption for more keywords you may require. Check it out and let us know if you think the web site is good.

Screaming Frog SEO Spider Tool

Pingdom Tools

Google Page Speed Insights

Pingdom and Google Page Speed Insights (includes a browser extension) measure page load times to help you identify pages in your web site needing a reduction in load times.

Majestic SEO

Backlink Watch

Checks backlinks by seeing how web sites link to each other.

SEO Page Compare Tool

How does your web site fair on various search engines and competitors' web sites?

Sitemap Maker

Make a sitemap for all the major search engines to use and index the pages on your web site.

Web Page Test

Test a website's performance. Enter other competitor's web sites to make comparisons. The advantage of faster web page loading is (i) a better user experience and more users visiting the site; and (ii) a higher ranking on most search engine sites (e.g., Google).

Web Site Load Times, How to Improve

A complete guide to improving load times for any web page. If you find the Web Page Test is showing sluggishness in your web site, then follow the simple guidelines suggested by this site.

PAID, SEO (SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION)

1. Beakira.com

It is recommended that you learn and do your own SEO to see the results firsthand from your actions and decide what works and what doesn't. And it is likely to be the cheapest too. But if you must pay someone else to provide SEO services, high quantities of positive reviews have been made of Beakira.com, at prices that are more reasonable than the competitors. Results work best if you have a quality web site with something to offer and/or sell to online users.

SEOlium

If you only want accurate keywords from Google to use in your web site, the makers of this web site have made a special effort on this front. Check it and see if they are right.

FREE, SERVICES

ASP-Shareware Organisation (free information on PAD files)

Free.com

HTML indexer - a tool for website indexing

ReaderWorks - a compiler for generating e-books from HTML files

Flash to HTML5 Online Converter

Shop Free

FREE, VECTOR ILLUSTRATIONS

Control.rocks

DrawKit Vectors

Freepik.com

ManyPixels.co

Ouch!

Pixelify Vectors

UnDraw.co

FREE, WEB CONTENT

Apple Developer Resources

CoolText, Web text generator

Da Button Factory (Create your own free graphic buttons)

1000 Pictures Free Desktop Wallpapers

FREE, SOFTWARE

AutoDesk TinkerCAD

This is the stripped down online "use your browser only" free replacement version to AutoDesk 123D Design for PC and Mac. Think of AutoDesk 123D Design as having features midway between TinkerCAD and AutoDesk's current flagship commercial software Fusion360 and you have an idea of what you get in the online version. You lose a little, but at least it is better than getting nothing. The company is aware of this and is offering a time-limited free version to the commercial version (maximum of 3 years for students of educational institutions who need to to learn how to use a CAD program) as an incentive to get users to move over to the best version. Otherwise, AutoDesk 123D Design is no longer supported by the company as it has gathered enough information to determine how users use its software. With the software no longer available from the company's web site (since January 2017) and with no further updates expected, you can still download the slightly better free version from some archived link sites, such as this one. If you have any performance issues with the Mac version of the app, read this Word document. Or create a virtual disk of your own running an older and right OS X version that solves the performance problem (the best way to go while the developer cannot finish the job properly — must be taking a page out of Apple's own software development book).

DAZ Studio 3D 4.7

Free 3D modelling program for PC and Mac.

Free 3D Objects

Free 3D People

Free 3D Textures

Free CD Software

Freeware Files

MachStudio Pro 2

Free 3D Visualisation and Animation Program for PC (normally worth $3,999). No longer updated, but works beautifully for PC users.

Vue Pioneer 11

Free 3D Landscape Creator for PC and Mac

FREE, TRAINING

Free IT Training from Microsoft

Free HTML Goodies



G

GAMES

Pogo - free online game site

His Core Arcade Games

Space Invaders, Play Now!

Free from http://www.neave.com/games.

GARDENING

Burke's Backyard

Plants of the World

Weekend Gardener

Yates

GateKeeper (OS X), Disable

GolfWeb

GENEAOLOGY

Ancestry.com.au

Search online for your ancestry, grow you family tree. (Username: ai_NatMuseumAU, Password: welcome5)

GIFTS, ONLINE DELIVERY OF

Gift Baskets Australia

Gifts and gift ideas for any occasion search through our huge range of Australian Gifts. Safe and secure online shopping.

Gift Sensations (Australia)

Hunter Valley Hampers (Australia)

Gift baskets and Hampers from Hunter Valley Wine Country)

see also FLORISTS, ONLINE



H

HEALTH

A WORD OF ADVICE: Before embarking on any suggested natural health remedy or exercise from the following web sites, always seek the professional advice of your family doctor. He/she will be able to assess your current health status and determine if the remedy or exercise is suitable for your circumstances or suggest alternatives. In particular, your doctor will always let you know whether the remedy or exercise may interfere with any prescribed medication you may be taking.

Aromatherapy.com

A naturally controversial area and if applied correctly can have some known medical benefits. However, its primary aim is to elevate your positive emotions (in other words, you will only get smells and liquids that you and your body will enjoy). Why? Because positive emotions are essential to improving your health over the long term by releasing the right hormones and other biochemicals into the body from places like the pituitary glands and helps to keep your mind thinking in a positive way. Placebo effect or not, if it works for you, you should try it. It is not meant to be the ultimate solution to all ailments known to humankind, but rather see aromatherapy as part of a complete plan to maximising your health and wellbeing.

Natural Therapy Pages

Yoga for Beginners

A great site on yoga for beginners and the more advanced students. Numerous free (although recommended you provide a donation to cover bandwidth costs for the owner) downloadable DVDs in HD format for you to download. Are these people crazy? Perhaps. But as the owners say, "there is not enough giving in the world". We can't agree more. Thank you!

see also MEDICINE

Health Direct (Australia)

HEALTH FOODS THAT WORK

Nutritional Yeast

A strain of yeast known as Saccharomyces cerevisiae are prepared for human consumption by killing off the little critters so you do not have to experience the fermentation process inside your gut. Once dead, they can be consumed in small quantities (usually sprinkled like salt over foods to give it a slightly salty, nutty and cheesy taste) to provide a variety of known and proven health benefits, including joint pain relief, extra mental alertness, and release energy reserves of the body. It comes packed with all the essential amino acids needed to be obtained from food for protein building, and it is rich in B vitamins such as thiamine, naicin, and B6. Some nutritional yeast products may come fortified with extra B12, but other than that, nutritional yeast is a remarkably complete food. Minerals of magnesium, copper and manganese are found in trace quantities within the yeast to benefit the body in a positive way. Finally, a 2013 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition claims the beta-glucan fibre derived from the nutritional yeast consumed over a 10-day period had physically increased the number of immune cells circulating in the blood stream. This paved the way for another study that showed beta-glucan can assist in reducing the chances of getting the common cold, and if you do get it, to recover from it quicker compared to those participants who received a placebo.

Vitamin C and Zinc

A well-known combination of an antioxidant vitamin and a mineral substance have been found to be effective in reducing the number of infections and lowering the likelihood of getting the common cold, and if you do get it, to reduce its severity and time to recover. The consumption of some vitamin C has been found to stimulate the production of white blood cells. Some of the white blood cells produced include phagocytic leukocytes which will release chemicals called interferons considered essential to combating viral infections. Another useful benefit of the vitamin is the production of collagen used in connective tissues such as tendons, ligaments and blood vessels. Also, there are different studies suggesting the vitamin can help to lower both triglycerides and bad cholesterol (known as LDL); and in one study it claimed that the vitamin helped to synthesize a neurotransmitter called synthesize norepinephrine considered of benefit in improving your mood. The only downside to ingesting vitamin C is never to take it in large quantities as it is toxic to the body. But in the right amounts, there is enough scientific evidence to show it has proven health benefits for the mind and body. As for zinc, it is an important mineral used in the production and functioning of many enzymes in the body needed to perform things like improving the immune system, and to convert vitamin A to retinol for a healthy functioning of the eye. Cell membranes also benefit from zinc by keep them strong and healthy.

Henriette's Herbal Homepage

HISTORY

Evolution of Life on Earth (SUNRISE)

Timeline Index

Homebrew for Mac

The missing macOS utility that makes life easy for developers. To install Homebrew:

  1. Open Terminal.app from the Utilities folder inside the Applications folder.
  2. Run the following command: /usr/bin/ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/master/install)"
  3. Enter the administrator password to begin installation
  4. To confirm the installation was completed successfully, run the following command: brew help.

HOME DECOR

ADS Painters & Decorators Limited (UK)

London's leading painters and decorators.

ConnectHome (UK)

Shop online for a wide selection of home and office furniture, kitchen appliances and gadgets at low internet prices and fast home delivery service.

Darby Creek Trading

Kitchenware Direct

Blinds and Curtains (UK)

HORSES

Monty Roberts Horse Breeding Farm

HOTELS

Booking.com

Global Hotel Alliance

Hotels Combined

Kayak

The world's second biggest hotel price comparison site (the biggest being Trivago).

Trivago

The world's top hotel price comparison site with over 700,000 hotels.

Wotif, cheap hotel deals in 36 countries

HOUSE, BUY, SELL OR RENT

All Homes (Australia)

Domain.com.au (Australia)

Finder.com (Australia)

Finder.com is a 100% free service for comparing the leading home loans and other products.

What price my house? (Australia)

Property.com.au (Australia)

Domain (Australia)

Real Estate (Australia)

realestateVIEW.com.au

HOUSE REPAIRS, RENOVATIONS & ADVICE

ConnectHome's Do It Yourself (DIY) Power Tools

Shop online for a wide selection of DIY power tools at low internet prices and fast home delivery service.

Everything you need to know about DIY

Expertise.com's Home and Garden Resource

Home One

Service Central (Find a Tradesperson)

HTML, LEARNING

HTML Goodies (for beginners and advanced)

HTML5 - The Ultimate Cheat Sheet (PDF version available here)

HUMOUR

Funny.co.uk

Most Popular Funny Websites



I

ICONS, FREE

Boxicons.com

DrawKit Icons

Icon Shock.com

Gradientify (Icon Shock)

Pixelify Icons

Pixelify Mock Ups

Remix Icon.com

TheMockup.club

Icon Finder

IMAGES, FREE (You only need to give credit to original owners)

Free Images

Gratisography

IM Creator

Morgue File

New Old Stock

Mostly antique images taken by government agencies.

Pixabay (General photos and pictures)

Unsplash (Attractive hi-res landscapes)

IMAGES, FREE

No attribution required and use for as long as you like for any purpose.

Getrefe

Natural shots by professional photographers travelling overseas.

Picjumbo

General photos you can use.

Picography

Public Domain Images

INSTRUCTIONAL DESIGN TOOLS

How big is my browser window

Apart from working out who the target audience is (e.g., age, number of users, etc.), it is also a good idea to know how large the window is of the devices that will be used for learning. Open a web browser to maximum size on those devices and let this web site calculate the size for you. Simple and sweet. Provides very useful information when deciding how to design your presentations in the optimal way for the students.

Adobe After Effects

If no interactivity from the user is required, this is a powerful tool to create professional instructional or documentary-style videos. We call this passive learning, but still very effective.

Adobe Captivate

This is a simplified version of Adobe After Effects with a focus on creating Flash (SWF) or HTML5 interactive video presentations. Contained at its core is the original Aldus/Adobe Persuasion app of the 1990s for creating slide presentations, but Adobe has now revamped the app and its interface and given it the ability to save as an SWF/HTML5 file. Captivate is not a perfect app. Things like viewing the page size as a portrait is not always faithfully shown and requires further adjustments in the Properties panel to tell the app to show the page properly. It is the newest app in Adobe's product collection, so expect more improvements to come over the next few years. Even without the improvements, Adobe Captivate is the tool of the trade for many instructional designers, and is often used to add moments where students can make choices of where to go in a presentation as well as adding multiple choice questions or "fill in the blank word" learning aids that will help students to test their own knowledge after viewing the presentation (which generally improves learning).

INTERNET: ADVICE

13 ways to Increase Your Download Speed (also available from here)

Cyberbullying, Stop (also available from here)

NetSafe

Help with online harassment, cyberbullying and abuse, as well as advice on online scams and security.

Report image-based abuse in Australia.

Report unauthorised use of sexual images online for the under 18 years of age for Australian residents only.

What Internet Speed Do You Need?

As more and more people work from home and need to do more with their internet, it is important to get an idea of the sorts of speeds and bandwidth you may require to handle different types of digital information. Regular Zoom meetings, using a quality microphone to send your voice to others in the clearest way, and downloading visually-rich information from online streaming sites are usually much more taxing on your internet speed and bandwidth than, say, reading an email. To help you determine how much speed you require and the type of internet delivery systems available to handle this information, feel free to have a read of this article.

INTERNET: ANTIVIRUS (FREE)

Avira Antivirus

Sophos Home Edition

INTERNET: ANTIVIRUS (WORKS WITH OLDER OS)

Intego Mac Internet Security X9 (can run on OS X Mountain Lion)

ProtectWorks (can run on OS X Snow Leopard)

Webroot Secure AnyWhere Antivirus (can run on OS X Lion)

INTERNET: ANTIVIRUS (ONLY WORKS ON NEWER OS)

Avast Antivirus (for macOS Sierra or higher)

Avira Antivirus (for macOS Sierra or higher)

Kaspersky (requires macOS Sierra or higher)

Norton 360 Deluxe for Mac (only works on macOS Sierra or higher)

Trend Micro Internet Security Antivirus (only works on macOS High Sierra or higher)

INTERNET: ANTIVIRUS REVIEWS

Review of Antivirus software (2020)

INTERNET: FIREWALLS

Fortinet Fortigate

As Wikipedia says, "Fortinet is an American multinational corporation headquartered in Sunnyvale, California. It develops and markets cybersecurity software and appliances and services, such as firewalls, anti-virus, intrusion prevention and endpoint security". The company is now a leader in providing world-class security tools to the largest enterprise, service provider, and small business organizations around the world.

Corero SmartWall Network Threat Defense System

Strengthen your network security with real-time DDoS protection solutions using Corero SmartWall Threat Defense System appliances and services. When combined with the Fortinet Fortigate solutions, you will have a formidable defence system against rogue hackers and those state sponsored in China and Russia. Welcome to the future of internet security.

INTERNET: IP ADDRESS

Guardster

Free and paid anonymous web browsing services.

Hide your IP address

Pretend to be a German internet user for free

IP Tracer

Understanding Different IP Address Classes

x My IP

Check your IP number and other details while online.

INTERNET: DNS/IP ADDRESS LEAK TESTS

IP Leak

Perfect Privacy Check IP

IPx

Browser Leaks

Perfect Privacy DNS Leak Test

DNS Leak

Pixel Privacy's DNS Leak Guide

A good coverage of the importance of having a VPN as well as choosing the right VPN service provider to prevent Domain Name Server (DNS) leaks — the process of allowing unauthorised entities to monitor your internet activity. To test the quality of your VPN (or non-VPN) for DNS leaks, the author recommends running this IP Leak test, and to use VPNExpress as an example of a quality VPN service provider that passes the DNS leak test. Check this review for further details.

INTERNET: REMOVING GEOGRAPHICAL RESTRICTIONS

The links below are favourites for many users, but they are not the only ones out there. These services hide your IP address with an anonymous version (thereby removing the geographical restrictions), and with added encryption using a supplied public GPG key for the highest security.

Express VPN (Netflix-friendly)

IVPN (Malta)

LiquidVPN (Wyoming, USA, Netflix-friendly)

Mullvad (Sweden)

NordVPN (Panama, Netflix-friendly)

Windscribe (free and paid options that avoid US-based VPNs)

INTERNET SAFETY

see CHILD SAFETY INTERNET ADVICE

INTERNET: SEARCH ENGINES

see WEB SEARCH ENGINES

INTERNET SECURITY, BUSINESS

.

If you have seen the French television drama The Bureau on SBS OnDemand considered the world's most realistic spy series of how a French intelligence organisation does its job, you will know that it does not matter how secure your devices and choice of people are when securing your business data. There are ways someone outside can get in and access data or find loopholes in the technology businesses use. It is better to decide what kind of information needs to be secured and which doesn't. And even for the data that might be deemed sensitive, one should undertake a risk analysis on how important that sensitive data is to the business and whether it should be kept. If it is really that sensitive and important, then you must decide how to secure this data to a reasonable degree. At the same time, you must be prepared to see it compromised at some point the longer it is kept secure, mainly because no system is a perfectly secure system and especially where people are involved. Limit the number of people who need access to sensitive data. Also, set a time limit on how long such data should be kept. Delete the data after a certain timeframe, or release the data if it is meant to be released to the public or other businesses. Achieve your business aims of making a reasonable profit and let go of the data or delete it as soon as you are done. Ideally you should choose to keep only the data that you consider any loss would not pose a significant risk to the business. And only keep the essential information needed for a business to do its job, such as customer name and email address and nothing else if the sole aim of the business is to sell software digitally and need to send it to paying customers. Don't start profiling customers from FaceBook, LinkedIn, Twitter or other social media sites and end up with a range of other sensitive information, such as a home address, personal photos in compromising positions, and all the rest. What is the purpose of all this information? Such data, in the whole scheme of things, is irrelevant in the aim of a normal business that is suppose to be there making a profit. If the data you hold could be irrelevant and/or too sensitive, ask yourself why are you keeping such data? Delete it if it doesn't help in the business. Beyond that, a business should develop its own military-grade PGP encryption system. Never use third-party solutions for encryption, not even an encryption key supplied by Fuji-Xerox (even if it is stored and hard-wired in a separate chip away from the hard drive or SSD), as the Chinese government, the NSA, and even the Australian government will demand third-party suppliers to provide a backdoor to their products and encryption technology. Businesses should provide its own encryption key that can be changed regularly (also known as dynamic IT security changes). Also, if devices must receive sensitive data to perform a function, such as printing the information to a printer, as soon as the task is completed, the space where the data was stored to perform the task (e.g., built in SSD of a printer) should be immediately and automatically security wiped by the devices. Finally, pay and treat people working in a business well. There is nothing worse than a disgruntled employee willing to compromise security of a business.

Here are some important terms you should know about and what to look for in your daily business activities:

  • Botnet (Robot Network): A botnet is a bunch of several Internet-connected devices such as PCs, mobiles, servers and IoT devices that is infectious and controlled by a specific type of malware.
  • Clickfraud: A botnet designed to artificially create bogus clicks as a means of manipulating the Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising. The idea behind this practice is to increase the number of payable clicks in order to generate revenue to advertisers.
  • Dark Web: It is that part of the Internet that is not visible to regular users through standard search engines.
  • Easter Egg: A relatively harmless or non-malicious surprise embedded in a program (usually games) or media which is entertaining and accessible to anyone.
  • End-to-end Encryption: A method of protecting and securing communication that hinders third parties from accessing data when it is transferred from one device to another.
  • Evil Twin: A fake Wi-Fi hotspot or access point that poses to be original and safe, but it’s actually set up to snoop on another wireless network.
  • Exploit Kits: A package of automated threats that are used by attackers to launch exploits against vulnerable programs.
  • Firewall: A defensive piece of technology available in most operating systems and in dedicated third-party add-ons or programs to help keep unwanted network access to your computer by unauthorised outsiders, and even to communicate to outsiders if a program is already loaded and running.
  • Hacker: A Hacker is a term used for an expert computer programmer who tries to gain unauthorized access into a network or computer systems with  intent.
  • Identity Theft: Sometimes also referred to as Identity Fraud, it involves the unauthorized taking of someone’s personal possessions and then using it in an illicit way for their own benefits.
  • Insider: A current or former employee, contractor, or business partner who has ot had authorised access to the organisation's network, systems, or data.
  • Insider Threat: When an insider intentionally or unintentionally misuses access in a way that negatively affects the confidentiality, integrity, or availability of the organisation's critical information or systems. The four main types of insider attacks are (i) the oblivious insider (this person is unaware of a security loophole that he/she has found because it was thought to be a normal part of the business process); (ii) the negligent insider (has been searching and is aware of security loopholes and exploits it without intending to cause any malicious damage but uses the loopholes to his/her own advantage); (iv) the malicious insider (the user not only knows about the security loopholes but is willing to exploit them to cause harm to the organisation); and (v) the professional insider (either paid to find security loopholes or someone has not divulged his/her professional knowledge of hacking, such as a CIA or ASIO agent pretending to be an ordinary employee and has managed to infiltrate the organisation; otherwise could be outsiders using sophisticated tools of the trade to exploit insecure systems). Points (i) and (ii) is usually due to a poorly set-up system that needs to be better secured (e.g., latest system and software patches, updating file and folder permissions, making sure old user accounts are removed, and so on) to prevent these types of insider attacks. The latter two types require gathering evidence and identifying the individual(s) in question as well as patching up the system of any loopholes that have been found and exploited, or else the insider(s) involved will need to be disciplined/sacked or reported to police. To get an idea how much humans contribute to security breaches, using data obtained for the July to December 2019 period relating to reported data breaches within Australia, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) noted 537 data breaches had occurred (up from 460 for the previous 6 months period, or an increase of 19 per cent). Of these data breaches, around 4 percent were due to system errors, 32 percent to human error, and 64 percent to criminal or malicious attack. Based on these statistics, it is clear that the weakest link in the chain is the presence of humans.
  • IP Spoofing: A hijacking technique in which someone pretends he/she is a trusted host by the server. It is mainly designed to gain access to a network. Though it’s not illegal to spoof an IP address, if someone uses the technique to masquerades as someone else and indulges in criminal activities such as identity theft, then it is illegal.
  • Keylogger: Keylogger is a computer program that keeps a log of your keystrokes on your keyboard.
  • Malware: Anything considered unwanted on your computer and can potentially or actually perform surreptitious things behind the scenes without your awareness. It can include things like viruses, Trojan horses, and spyware, as well as software apps that provides unsolicited advertisements.
  • Password Sniffing: A process of intruding between a transfer of data packets which encompasses password.
  • Pharming: A malicious mechanism by which a user is redirected to a fake site (either through a malicious email message or web site). The term is based on the word "farming" in the sense that you are sowing the seeds and seeing which ones sprout (i.e., taken the bait).
  • Phishing: It is where a hacker strives to steal your personal information such as passwords and e-mails. It usually goes hand-in-hand with pharming. The term is a play on "fishing" in that a hacker is effectively throwing hooks and bait out into the internet using various pharming techniques as they wait and see how many people get caught out (i.e., providing sensitive information, such as passwords and personal details).
  • Ransomware: A type of malicious software that blocks access to your files or computer until a ransom is paid.
  • Zero Day: A computer software vulnerability known to the hacker but is unknown to security professionalss.

The typical warning signs that could indicate an insider threat are:

  1. Digital
    - Downloading or accessing substantial amounts of data.
    - Accessing sensitive data, such as payroll data or other business confidential data (either authorised or not).
    - Copying files from sensitive folders (either authorised or not).
    - Multiple requests for access to resources.
  2. Behavioural
    - Frequently in the office during off-hours.
    - Displays disgruntled behaviour toward co-workers or management.
    - Violation of corporate policies.
    - Discussions of resigning or new opportunities.

To minimise the risk (apart from encrypting data) and make it harder for cyber criminals and hackers from getting access to the data:

  1. Review all your open folders and permissions (there are tools to list all files and folders and show permissions — namely "Full Control", "Read Only" or "None" — and give you the opportunity to change the permissions and propagate those permissions to subfolders and files), how often you patch and update software (including the operating system), remove old software for new (after a period of solid testing by ICT), and remove old user accounts of former employees.
  2. Look at all the data that the business uses and determine which part of it is sensitive (there are tools, such as Veritas Data Insight and Trustwave DbProtect, to read files and highlight areas that could be sensitive. Among the areas the tools can highlight include possible credit card numbers, driver's licenses, people's names and addresses, CVs and resumes, tax file numbers, passports, email addresses, IP addresses, and so on, and will even OCR scanned files to allow the reading of such text when searching for the sensitive data).
  3. Do a risk analysis on the sensitive data to determine how critical it is to the business.
  4. Delete all sensitive data that is not required to be held in the business or plays no role in its operation.
  5. Develop a more open policy with people in the organisation and with customers to show that there is nothing sensitive or important that is worth stealing or cannot affect the business if a security breach should occur. Set time limits on when to release new products and so on (it is amazing how quickly the attempts of data breaches by outsiders drop down once the products are launched and revealed to the public).
  6. If there has been a security breach of any kind detected by the business, investigate it. Find out who was behind it and how it was achieved using forensic data analysis tools. If it is an insider threat, then there is a good chance of identifying who is a person(s) of interest. Finally, you must find solutions to fix the security loophole(s). Also consider implementing tools to detect and stop potential security breaches, such as a massive movement of data from sensitive folders, irrespective of whether the movement is authorised and legal.

Assuming you have done the above risk analysis and you think you are secure, consider more specific tools to enhance security within your organisation. Never use tools that require you to always go online and exchange data with an online service just to get that supposed security. Everything should be done in-house with independent tools you can run on your own. For examples of these tools, check out the sections on De-Microsotise, De-Applise, De-Governmentise, etc. For further reading, you may wish to visit the links below.

Computer & Communications Industry Association

Protecting Yourself from Cyber Criminals

Security issues (SUNRISE)

Security measures (SUNRISE)

INTERNET SECURITY, CONSUMER

A Guide to Public WiFi Security# (Surfshark)

see also DEAPPLISE, DEMICROSOFTISE, DEGOOGALISE etc.

ISPs

Aussie Broadband

This ISP is recommended only because SUNRISE does not want to see more people on its preferred network provider. For those users already with this recommended ISP, we recommend that every time you see the ISP write to you in an email saying, "P.S. We love referrals at Aussie Broadband - if you have any friends or family members who would love our services, simply click here and fill out the form. We'll give you a $50 credit on your account when they sign up, and they'll receive a credit too!", just write back saying, "No thanks! Any more friends and family members will only slow down the network (it is already slow as it is. Even the 4G network is faster than wireless Aussie Broadband NBN)."

IT SERVICES

Managed Networks IT support (UK)

Managed Networks deliver proactive IT support to businesses across the UK designed and made to work, rather than just selling technology.



J

JOB SEEKERS, AUSTRALIAN

Adzuna (formerly mycareer.com.au)

Adzuna is Fairfax's primary online job listings brand in Australia. Its greatest strength lies in its ability to search hundreds of websites and delivers all current job vacancies on one site, making Adzuna a valuable time-saving and powerful online tool for all job seekers. Welcome to the future of job searching, the way Australians like to see it.

Australia's Fair Work System

Information on Australian Workplace Agreements (AWA) and other workplace relations issues and their related agencies, and advice regarding Freedom of Association provisions of the Federal Workplace Relations Act 1996. A useful site if you ever need to make sure your employer is doing the right thing and you are getting a fair wage for a fair day's work.

careerjet.com.au

careerone.com.au

centrelink.gov.au

gigajob.com

Gigajob.com is a free and easy-to-use job search tool established in 1996 to help people find jobs in Australia and other countries fast. You can do your own searching, or receive automatic email notifications of suitable jobs after signing up (you can cancel at any time). And you can post your own job ads in the most proactive method of finding jobs you can do today. Employers are not left out in the cold too with tools to enable you to create jobs for free.

manpower.com.au

Open College's Career and Jobs Advice

Receive professional advice from the net's top career experts about finding a job.

Recruit.net (Australia)

Recruit.net allows job seekers to instantly find millions of jobs across thousands of web sites within a single search. Job listings are displayed from corporate web sites, job boards, recruitment agencies and numerous other sources.

Seek Communications Pty Ltd (Australia)

wagenet.gov.au

Your Fair Work Rights (NSW)

JOB SEEKERS, INTERNATIONAL

ICE Recruit

ICE is the Institute of Civil Engineers, and is the place for UK and International job vacancies for civil engineers.

JobLife (South Africa)

People in the South African market will be served well by visiting the combination of JobSpace, JobLife and Zigo for all local employment, training and internship programs. Job seekers can upload a CV to improve their chances of being employed, or to get extra training. Employers can post job ads and search CVs from job seekers. Can it be any simpler?

JobNexus Resume/CV templates

Surprisingly well-designed resume/CV templates you can download and use right now. No credit card or personal details to supply, or even an account you must set up. More importantly you can modify the templates from the privacy of your own home because they all come as Microsoft Word documents. Not even the paid variety of resume building and template download services of other sites can beat that. So enjoy! A TIP FOR JOB SEEKERS: If you see people asking you to fill in fields with your personal details on an online page just to download their allegedly free resume/CV template, always use bogus details. For example, First name: Any; Last Name: User; Address: Any Street, Any City, Antarctica, 0000. That is the kind of thing you should be doing. And if you see samples of text you could use to include in your resume, click all the options. Later, once you have downloaded the template, you can pick and choose which text suits your situation. Beware of the ones where they suddenly and unexpectedly spring it on you at the end that you have to pay even though they claimed at the start that the templates were free.

Jooble (International)

Jobs across the world. If you are living in specific countries or intend to make a trip or move to another country and need a job, Jooble is the place to visit.

New China Career

NewChinaCareer is the leading English language search engine for jobs in China currently offering 500,000 fresh career opportunities across China and Hong Kong. And don't think for a moment that those billion plus Chinese people living in the country have got all the jobs covered. China is always on the search for new and fresh talent from international (i.e., non-Chinese) people if you have the skills that Chinese employers are looking for.

Novo Resume/CV/Cover Letters templates (free)

Novo Resume/CV/Cover Letters templates (free)

Prepare your Finances when Working Abroad

Resume Builder

School leavers' Resume Builder

JOB MAKERS

Airtasker.com

Based on the same approach taken by Freelancer.com, Upload.com and others to link freelancers with any jobs/projects you may have, The only difference here is that whereas Freelancer.com and others rely on freelancers around the world to work on projects you may have, Airtasker physically brings local talent right to your doorstep. Need the plumber for those leakages you can't seem to get fixed right? No problems. Just post a job on Airtasker and be surprised by how many tradespeople are willing to help out and do the work at the right price. Again like other sites, you can compare and choose who you think is suitable from the available talent pool of skilled persons. No job is considered too small for Airtasker. If there is something you need to get done and don't have the time to do it yourself, get it done with Airtasker. Finally, if you are not sure who comes to your home is a genuine Airtasker job seeker, you will know from the unmistakable blue T-shirt with the words "Airtasker" written right across the front. Don't worry, you are in safe hands.

Freelancer.com

A popular site for getting work done. Open up the range of people throughout the world to help on your projects, and be surprised at what you can get done. Even though it is an Australian-based job-creation and job-seekers paradise, practically anyone in the world can join. The only thing you need to be careful with are freelancers who are just starting out and actually don't have a lot of skills. Always check their portfolio and make sure they have done a fair bit of work for clients/employers using Freelancer. If the rating is very positive and people are making statements along the lines of "Bloody brilliant!", or "Geez, this guy knows what he is talking about", then you are on a good thing and towards a successful completion of your project(s). This is really the future of employment. But be careful not to exploit the freelancers. If you do intend to hire a person for a long-time, just employ them properly and give them all the entitlements they deserve for being a good worker. Nothing like a fair employer paying well to keep the employees coming back for more (and supports the economy too).

Upwork.com

Another popular site for getting work done. This is the American version of Freelancer.com. Expect quality freelancers to be available at this web site from America and across the globe.

Juice Extractors (Everything you need to know)

Just Answer (Ask for Advice on any topic)



K

Kentucky Fried Chicken secret recipe



L

Lawn Mowers, Electric (2019 Review). YouTube Review

LEGAL ADVICE

Expertise.com's Legal Resource

Legal Aid (NSW, Australia)

Medical Compensation Legal Advice (Australia)

LIBRARIES, WORLD

British Library

Library of Congress (LC)

National Library of Australia

LIBRARY DATABASES

Library of Congress (LC)

LIBRARY SERVICES

FormSwift's English Lesson Plan Creator

FormSwift's Math Lesson Plan Creator

FormSwift's Science Lesson Plan Creator

Librarian's Index to the Internet (The IPL Librarian)

Virtual Learning Resources Center (VirtualLRC.com)

see also BIBLIOGRAPHIC DATABASES, LIBRARY DATABASES, SUBJECT GATEWAYS, SEARCH ENGINES, ONLINE ENCYCLOPEDIAS, DICTIONARIES, ELECTRONIC JOURNALS and SEARCH ENGINES

Lonely Planet, The



M

MACINTOSH REPAIRS AND PARTS

PB Parts

DTT service

iResQ

iFix It (The best)

MACINTOSH TIPS

iCloud, Turn Off

Improving macOS Performance

Remove Extended Attributes

MALWARE & VIRUS FILE CHECKER

Bitdefender QuickScan

Fast and free online virus scanner.

Jotti's free online virus scan

Free scan of any file using multiple online virus checking sites.

MAPS

Find-A-Street

Google Maps

Map Quest

MBA (MANAGEMENT TRAINING)

Online MBA

Get information from the best online MBA programs with free reports from top ranked US schools.

MEDICINE

Center for Adolescent and Family Studies

BioMedSearch

World's largest free biomedical search engine.

Doctors.net.uk (UK)

Europe's leading online medical community.

Lancet Global Health Network, The

Health Insite

Henriette's Herbal Homepage

Medical Health Tests

Medlineplus

Mood Gym

How to Meditate

US National Library of Medicine

WebMD, Comprehensive health database

Your Diagnosis

MEN'S SERVICES

Men's Shed

Provides a place for men to socialise, network, make friends and share skills. Includes discussion forums, lifestyle and health information, events calendar and more.

Microsoft Corporation

Microsoft Excel Viewer (PC) Installer for 97-2004 format

Microsoft Word Viewer (PC) Installer for 97-2004 format

Minute your Meetings

MORTGAGE, CHOOSE A

eChoice (Australia)

Mortgage Choice (Australia)

Mortgage Rate Comparison (Australia)

MOVIES, CHECK TIMES FOR

Urban Cine File

Reviews, previews and online trailers.

MUSIC AND VIDEOS

Sanity, New CD sales at

Incompetech's royalty-free music



N

NASA

Multimedia Page

NASA's Visible Earth Images

NEWSPAPERS & ONLINE NEWS

Frontline World PBS

New York Times (U.S.)

Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)

The Age (Australia)

The Guardian (UK)

The Nation (Pakistan)

The Press (New Zealand)

The Times (UK)

This Day in History (UK)

Times of India (India)

Washington Post (U.S.)



O

Oxford English Dictionary Online

OLD PEOPLE INFORMATION SERVICE

Hells Geriatrics

Order Form with PDF Attach and Send

If you have a copy of Microsoft Excel for PC, you can enjoy this versatile and easily modifiable order form with a built-in VBA script to create a PDF of the order form, attach it to your Microsoft Outlook message, add a message, and send automatically. Use it to record your favourite items in two main tables (title names are modifiable). Then all you do afterwards is specify quantity and click the Send Order Form button. Nothing could be simpler. Suitable for people who have suppliers with the facility to process order forms as a PDF in email messages. NOTE: Send To and Customer fields are used in the VBA to create the email message. Enjoy!



P

Patents, Free Online

Poetry Society, The

Plants of the World

PARENTS, INFORMATION FOR

Raising Children

An Australian resource for anyone wishing to understand how to look after newborns right up to teens.

PHONES, SMART

Forensic Flasher Boxes (also called Shoeboxes)

As used by law enforcement agencies, the Australian Tax Office, and anyone with an interest to hack your mobile phone and access all your personal data.

Unlocking services

PICTURES, COMMERCIAL

Can Stock Photo (Search and buy royalty-free images)

Can Stock Photo offers over 6 million professional royalty free stock photos. High-quality images start at just $1.00 and offers a generous license agreement to give you the flexibility you need. Free weekly downloads with thousands of new images added every week.

Expertise.com's Design and Photography Resource

Foto Search Stock Photography and Stock Footage

Allows users to search from more than 7 million images and 65,000 video clips from 140 quality stock photography publishers at one site. Top footage vendors available include Artbeats, Corbis, Creatas Footage, Digital Hotcakes, Getty, Film Disc, National Geographic, Reel House, among many others. Users can also find royalty-free clipart pictures, illustrations, stock video clips and more.

Free online EXIF tool to view hidden data in your photographs.

Photographers Gallery, The (UK)

PhotoAccess (Australia)

PicScout

A free online tool for web site owners to check copyright and licensing information of image files. This tool will also help you to check against known images held in the Getty Images database and so avoid those infamous extortion letters from the lawyers at Getty Images that often like to demand highly inflated payments that do not represent the true and fair market value for similar licensed images elsewhere online.

TinEye

In case PicScout has found nothing to suggest an image might be copyrighted, you should give a final check with this site. A free online tool that will show whether an identical image is being used elsewhere and with it details of possible copyright information.

PICTURES, FREE

Burst.com

Flickr.com

Freephotos.cc

Freepik.com

Moose.com

Pexels.com

Pixabay.com

Pixnio.com

Pxhere.com

Reshot.com

Stocksnap.io

Unsplash.com

PODCASTING "BROADCAST QUALITY" MICROPHONES

While it is possible to survive with the standard microphone on your computer for sound pickup and let the computer record it for use in podcasting, the quality is atrocious. Let's face it, your voice is going to sound tinny like it came from a cheap transistor radio. You need either a condenser or dynamic microphone designed specifically to record sounds over a wider range of frequencies and can boost the frequencies in certain areas to help give your voice the richness and quality it deserves. Dynamic microphones are good in the sense that they cut out a lot of extraneous background noise while focusing on your voice, but you often need to be within three inches of the microphone with a decent strong voice that travels to get the most from it. Nevertheless, the quality of the sound coming through a dynamic microphone is outstanding. For an example of a quality low-cost dynamic microphone consider this one from Rode. Condenser microphones, on the other hand, are surprisingly good quality to the point where you wonder why you would bother going for a dynamic microphone. It can still do an excellent job at cutting back a lot of the background noise. However, more crucially, it is more sensitive to sounds coming in from a certain direction. You can sit back to, say, 7 to 12 inches, from the microphone and it will pick up remarkably well even if you are a timid and shy person with a meek voice or want to whisper sweet nothings to your romantic partner. When it comes to gaming, creating YouTube video podcasts, or anything else that requires your voice to be at its best, you are better off getting a decent microphone for the job. Below are links to the best low-cost condenser microphones (compatible with PC and Mac) that have been given the highest praise by users because of the quality of the sound, together with any other useful features to make life easier in this area.

Antlion Audio ModMic

It is common for the average consumer to first look for a headset with a built-in microphone thinking that this is the only way to create a good audio for their podcasts. They will often be directed to the gaming section of the shop by sales people mainly because that is where most computer gaming enthusiasts go to pick one up. By the time you get there, you are quickly overwhelmed by the range of wired and wireless headsets to choose from. Unless people working in the store are gaming enthusiasts themselves, it is hard for them to recommend a quality headset and microphone combo other than stating that two or three companies do make some decent products, but within each one of them can be at least 5 different headsets to choose from. You can easily spend over $1,000 trying each one and discover 95 per cent of them are fairly ordinary. Sound quality from the headset's own speakers is one issue, but often the other biggest problem is the microphone. Now if you are looking for a quality headset and microphone combo that is the best, we recommend grabbing a quality headset dedicated to producing a rich sound costing $200 or more, and then putting on a magnetically attachable ModMic from Antlion Audio. The speakers inside the headset, if they are of good quality, will have strong magnets and this is the means by which the microphone is attached. The quality of the microphone from Antlion is the best available of this type. Any other microphone attached to a headset by other manufacturers sounds mediocre in comparison. However, for a higher quality microphone, you must consider looking at the more dedicated variety described below.

Blue Yeti Pro Microphone

A popular brand among podcasters and one that produces a quality result from its microphone. This "Pro" version is a little more expensive, but worth it for its features and flexibility, as well as the fact that the quality of the sounds picked up and processed by this product is exceptional. There are cheaper options, such as Blue Yeti X and the original Blue Yeti. Both are highly popular, and will provide the almost identical quality sound pick-up you would expect from this company, except they both use a USB connection. In this day-and-age where USB connections can wear down, you would expect by now that the manufacturers would have moved on to Bluetooth (or possibly WiFi although more extra information, and hence a high quality sound, is needed and is best done through Bluetooth). They don't because they are hoping that consumers will break or damage the connection and eventually buy another one thinking this is the way to maintain profits. If you can get a wireless version with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that can be recharged wirelessly using QI technology (and lasts at least 6 hours per charge) that would be the perfect solution (even if it is considered bad for manufacturers seeking a profit). As no microphone product exists that can do all these things, you will have to compromise. There is nothing one can do other than to plug a cable into the microphone. But when it comes to sending sound from the microphone to your computer, this can be made wireless. With Blue Yeti Pro, there is a USB port to get the power it needs (and send the sound signal direct to a computer) and a separate stronger and long-lasting XLR connector for getting the sound information to a separate unit before going into the computer. But that requires extra cabling. So to make it wireless, you can plug a Alto Pro BT TOTAL Rechargeable Bluetooth XLR Transceiver device into it. The aim here is to get maximum flexibility. Otherwise, the original Blue Yeti can be purchased for as little as $100 nowadays, and still remains to this day a great buye. To make this cheaper product wireless, you can purchase a USB to Bluetooth device. However, once again you are caught out by the fact that there is only one USB port and that is used to power the microphone as well. In fact, all microphone products available in the marketplace today (as of June 2020) will only offer one USB port. If you can live with one USB port, the Blue Yeti does offer some nifty features, including:

  • Omnidirectional (sounds are picked up from all directions thanks to the three microphones embedded in Blue Yeti).
  • Cardioid (sounds are picked up predominantly in one direction, which is usually one person talking).
  • Bidirectional microphones (mainly used for two people talking to each other without other noises at the sides interfering), and,
  • Stereo (sounds are picked up everywhere with greater sensitivity in the two directions needed to create the effect of sound moving from left to right sound channels and vice versa).

If there is any drawback in the Blue Yeti product, it has to be a lack of a shock mount and a pop filter (used to reduce the unpleasant popping sound when you pronunciate words starting with the letter "p"), which is often essential to include.

HyperX QuadCast USB Microphone

The only thing missing with all Blue Yeti products is the lack of a shock-mount stand. What it does come with is a standard mount where the slightest vibrations and knocks of the stand are likely to be picked up by the microphone. Realising this shortcoming, HyperX has produced a modern and pretty-looking microphone using less power and modern electronics. The sound pick-up and quality of the output is comparable to Blue Yeti. But just as important is that it comes with a shock mount as standard. Pricewise it is a little more expensive than the standard Blue Yeti at around $150. In fact, being a more modern product, it is actually cheaper to build but has been priced to show the quality is just as good and solidly constructed as the Blue Yeti but with the quality stand it needs to make it a more attractive proposition, So by the time you purchase a compatible shock mount for the Blue Yeti and a pop filter, you will end up paying the same price. The HyperX QuadCast has essentially the same sorts of features as Blue Yeti, except it is better designed and has an added fancy feature of glowing red at the top when the microphone is turned on. This can be important in that some people have been caught out in not seeing the light turned on and end up saying things they regret later when people online are listening in. By having the red light glowing very clearly, there is no mistake the microphone is picking up sound and sending it to who knows where. There is no option to turn off the red light and still use the microphone. It must light up during normal use. There is a quick and convenient Mute touch button directly on top (and that's the only thing that will turn off the red light), and a volume/gain control at the base of the microphone. Like the Blue Yeti, the HyperX product is solidly constructed with a metal external casing.

Samson G-Track Pro Microphone

The Samson G-Track Pro is a very capable microphone. More expensive than HyperX Quadcast and comparable in price to the Blue Yeti Pro, the company has taken on a slightly different approach to the competitors. Instead of supplying a more expensive shock mount stand, it has relied on the weight of the stand to minimise vibrations and so keep the manufacturing costs down. But to get consumers to see the advantage of buying this product, Samson has added a feature that will allow you to add and extra sound source such as a musical instrument or a recorded instrumental version of a song and you can sing along and listen to the quality of your voice through a headphones attached to the microphone or direct to your computer. A useful idea bound to interest a number of consumers. Beyond that, the product is exceptional in the quality of the pick up and reproduction of the sounds. Indeed, the more you pay, the slightly richer the sounds. This product is no exception. However, if you are not an audio aficionado, you may not notice much difference with Blue Yeti and Hyper X Quadcast. So you will have to decide whether it is worth paying the $250 price tag for this exceptional product. If the Samson product did also come with an XLR connector, this would have won out over Blue Yeti Pro. But since it doesn't, most people will have to settle for cheaper options. And certainly if any microphone can have wireless charging and wireless sending of the sound signal built-in and as standard for under $200 and with the same level of audio quality, it will win out over any product in the marketplace today.

Rode NT-USB Microphone

Rode is an Australian-based company that makes low-cost but incredibly high quality microphones. The build of the microphones are second-to-none with a standard all-metal solid casing, and the sound output is as good as the Samson or even higher priced microphones. This recommended product to choose is the one to compete with other USB-based microphone products mentioned above. At $149 from Rode for a comparable product, this is well-priced. However, you will need to buy a small stand for $40 to at least lift the microphone to about chin level and this will not be a shock mount variety. Or else you must carry it in the hand (feasible to do if you are a one-hand typist on the keyboard).

PriceSpy, Australian hardware price comparison site

PUBLISHER SERVICES

Book Data

CreateSpace (US)

Helps writers of new books to become self-published authors thanks to a range of packages you can purchase to turn your manuscript into a worldwide global success (but make sure people love reading it!). Editing, illustrations, book cover designs, marketing is provided. And you have the option to set price for your book. Print on Demand (PoD) from one to any number of books comes as standard.

IngramSpark (US, Australia, UK)

No special packages provided. It is assumed you have mastered the art of designing, editing, and promoting/marketing your books. This place just provides the lowest priced printing possible for both colour and B&W with a quality that is just as good as any publishing house on the planet. In fact, some publishing houses use IngramSpark to print their books. PoD as little as one book, or any number of books you need printed.

New Generation Publishing (UK)

Similar to CreateSpace in the U.S. with its various packages you can buy to help you self-publish your book to a professional level. Everything from editing, book cover design, to marketing your book. While it might be based in the U.K., no book from overseas is overlooked. And the services provided are second-to-none.

See also AMAZON KINDLE PUBLISHING, PRINTING SERVICES

PRINTING SERVICES

i-loveprint.com (China)

i-loveprint.com is a leading exporter and manufacturer of printing services in China. Major products printed are books, brochures, catalogue, folders, flyers, magazines, labels/stickers, and sticky memo pads, but can include any other printing materials.

PROMOTION

Tomoson.com

Similar to UpWork.com with its variety of freelancers available to hire for their expert services, but this one is catered to freelancers who specialise in marketing and promotion. If you have any services or products you wish to sell in the marketplace (whether online or elsewhere) and need ways to promote them, there are plenty of freelancers at this web site to help you in your aims. From blogging on various web sites to developing a advertisement brochure, you will be sure to find the right people at www.tomoson.com.

PROPERTY

iSeek Developments

Mainly for prospective property developers and investors seeking places in Australia with development potential. Now partnered with Homely.com.au, you can see which property will have development potential by clicking on a link to receive a free (and unlimited) feasibility report. Before embarking on any major project of this nature, do your own homework by checking the interest rate from the banks if you have to borrow money (this is expected to rise sometime in 2018), the location of the property, and whether the market is there from people willing to buy your property as well as the type of building you might decide to build on it.



Q

Quotable Quotations

Quotes for all occasions



R

RADIO

RadioTower.com (Internet)

RECYCLING

Cash-a-Phone

Get cash for your old mobile phone!

Green Eco Path

REFERENCES

Grammar, Online English

Online Dictionary and Thesaurus

OneLook Dictionary

Oxford English Dictionary Online

Quotable Quotations

see also DICTIONARIES

RENOVATIONS, QUESTIONS ON

see HOUSEHOLD REPAIRS AND RENOVATIONS

RENT, HOME

TICA - Australia's Largest National Tenant Database

RESEARCH

CommerceNet - Latest technologies and surveys

US Patent search tool, free

US Patent Office

RESTAURANTS, SEARCH

MenuLog — Australia's largest restaurant guide



S

SCHOOL FRIEND, FIND A

Oz Reunion

SEARCH SITES

Blinkx.com (Video Search)

Dogpile.com

DuckDuckGo.com

An open-source community-based search engine with an emphasis on security and privacy. Of all the search engines, this is the one to watch not just in terms of competing against Google, but is gaining popularity as the most privacy-protected and security conscious of all the search engines, and so carving out a unique niche in this market. This means there is no policy or effort by the people at DuckDuckGo to collect data about your personal details and web habits as commonly seen with Google Analytics (and now being used by other corporations and businesses, such as Apple when selling the Mac version of FileMaker Pro 15 to help the company find some way to identify you through Google if your computer happens to have anonymous personal details and you do not want to provide personal details to Apple). In fact, many the biggest search engine corporations (including Yahoo.com) are quickly following in the footsteps of Google. DuckDuckGo, on the other hand, is a refreshingly different approach and far better in protecting your privacy.

Find How (Solving Everyday Problems)

Geody (World Map Search)

Google.com

Google.com (More secure)

Google.com (Search Mac Sites)

Google.com (Search Images)

MySpace (Search People)

Startpage.com

Startpage.com is the world's most private search engine. It fetches results from the Google search engine without saving the users' IP addresses or giving any personal user information to Google servers.

Yahoo.com

SECURITY ISSUES, CYBER

see INTERNET SECURITY, DEMICROSOFTISE, DEAPPLISE, DEGOOGALISE etc

Service Seeking - Get A Better Quote (Australia)

For education courses in cyber security, see EDUCATION, INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

SHOPPING

Shopzilla.com

Wal-Mart

OshenWatch

World's best German-made smartwatch, considered by many experts to be better then Apple's own smartwatch. Built tougher, water proof, longer lasting per charge, more features including various useful health functions to monitor your body as well as taking phone calls and controlling music playing, and it is the cheapest. On special for AUD$49. Based on years of research and reverse engineering other watches (including the Apple brand), the Germans definitely know a thing or two about smartwatches as this product will reveal.

SOCIAL

Consumer World

eHarmony

The most reputable and trusted dating site for Australian people.

Facebook.com

The biggest social network on the planet.

Meetup.com

Events happening around your area in Australia brought together by dedicated organizers to suit your interests and meet new people.

Myspace.com

An alternative social networking site.

SOFTWARE, 3D

Blender 3D

AutoDesk Maya 3D

Foundry Modo 3D

Maxon Cinema 4D

SOFTWARE DOWNLOADS

Apponic

BrotherSoft.com

CNET Downloader

Formerly VersionTracker.com was the most popular prior to 2009, now just a news and advertising site combined with a search engine to find software titles.

FileCroco.com

FilePlanet.com (for Gamers)

Freeware Files

MacUpdate

The most popular Mac software download site as of 2009. Only one problem: the people who run the site are not always willing to listen to software developer's requests for reasonable changes. So a lot of rubbish and old comments can remain about a particular software title even if improvements have been made.

MegaMacs, US second-hand software shop

PHP scripts for webmasters, free and ready-made

Hotscripts. Javascripts for webmasters, free and ready-made

Sofotex.com

Software Informer

The 500 most visited web site in the world specialising in software downloads for Mac, PC and Linux. A popular site with more than 700,000 unique visitors perusing its pages every day.

Picture

Typhoon Software Downloads

Windows 7 Downloads

SOFTWARE, FREE

Blender 3D

Blender is the free open source 3D content creation suite, available for all major operating systems under the GNU General Public License.
 

Blender Instructions (5.9 MB) is a PDF document prepared by SUNRISE summarizing how to use Blender. It is designed primarily for new Blender users (but can be used by experienced users who need a quick refresher) to help get them started and be productive with this software. This summary has been updated for version 2.8. In fact, this latest version has so many improvements that it may now be able to compete with the likes of Maxxon Cinema 4D and 3DS Max, and without the hefty commercial price tag. At last, Blender may have come of age. And it is amazing what open source software can achieve.

SOFTWARE, BEST

Adobe After Effects

There is nothing in its class in terms of the power and flexibility in designing motion graphics and special video effects. It is the world's most popular software. Once you have mastered the basics of Adobe After Effects, you will be creating outstanding presentations that make you think why you would bother with Microsoft Powerpoint or any other slide presentation software. The only thing extra we would recommend in complementing this top-quality software is a copy of Adobe Premiere for handling videos and a select range of powerful After Effect plug ins (e.g., Elements 3D).

Affinity Designer

The most complete and easiest vector graphic design software at a price that blows Adobe Illustrator away, and yet just as powerful. The only way Adobe can now compete is to offer low-cost monthly subscriptions to its flagship software to lure customers back to its brand, or else expect Adobe to make a takeover offer for Affinity sometime in the near future to reduce the competition.

Affinity Photo

The alternative solution to Adobe Photoshop, especially if you think Gimp is a little too geeky and the user interface is a shocker. There are many graphic editing tools out there on the market, but this is the better of the bunch, just after Adobe Photoshop.

Sparkle One Pro

The most complete and easiest web page creation tool for web designers and serious web programmers. Best of all, you do not need to know any coding to create the world's best web sites. Things have moved on since the days when Macromedia and Adobe provided Dreamweaver as the only truly professional web page maker.

SPARE PARTS

Appliance Parts Warehouse (Sydney, Australia)

BigWarehouse Spares for Appliances (Australia)

Spare Parts Warehouse (USA)

For laptop parts and repairs

SPORTS

Basketball, NBA (U.S.)

FIFA Soccer

Golf (CBS Sports)

Motorcycle Online

Surfing Australia

SPRACI

World party rave and club information

SPEAKER, OPEN BAFFLE

As people stay at home due to Covid-19, there is a growing interest in listening to music in high quality. Among the DIY projects to support people's listening pleasure is building an open baffle speaker system. Here are some resources to get you going.

Introduction To The Art And Science Of Open Baffle Speaker Building

Open baffle in a small room

Ready-made open baffle speakers (Just enjoy the music)

Speaker box enclosure calculator

The essentials of building and using an open baffle speaker system:

  1. The effectiveness and quality of the sound coming from an open baffle speaker system is depended on where it is located and what is in the area to absorb and reflect sounds, as well as the position of the listener. In an open stage with hardly any walls and other obstacles nearby, you can get away with very large sized quality speakers that will drive the sound to considerable distances and still sound surprisingly good. But in a small to medium-sized room, big speakers are not the way to go. Smaller is better but with enough grunt to give the necessary volume to be heard anywhere in the room. Beyond that, paying a premium for high quality "smallish" speakers will ensure that you receive the largest frequency range possible in your sound and minimise sound distortion.
  2. At https://redspade-audio.blogspot.com/2010/05/open-baffle-in-small-room.html, you will find a diagram of a room showing the position of the two open baffle speakers in relation to the listener (in a balanced or symmetrical design) and the recommended distance away from the wall they should be. If the volume is high, this distance from the wall may need to increase, but only if your room can allow for it.
  3. Some reflections off walls to reach the listener can be beneficial in the sense that if it is done right and there is enough delay in the sound reaching the listener, it can give the impression of good ambience to your sound in the room.
  4. Speaker sizes depends on where the listener is sitting in the room and how far you want the sound of the speakers to travel to get to the listener coupled with a decent amplifier. Another factor to consider is what is actually available from speaker manufacturers and their sizes. Also, you need to decide on the number of speakers that will drive the range of frequencies you want for that quality full frequency range of sounds you want to hear. A bass speaker, a mid range speaker, and a tweeter will provide optimum sound range. Positioning of the speakers is also important, especially in regards to the distance between the tweeter and the bass (or low frequency range) speaker, as this guy on YouTube has discussed. A waveguide from the speaker manufacturer can be useful in this regard when determining the recommended separation of speakers in order to send the sounds in an optimal way with respect to all other sounds.
  5. Assuming you have a small to medium-sized room, https://www.tweekgeek.com/blog-tweek-geek-speek/the-open-source-open-baffle-speaker-project/ gives recommendations on a set of two speakers — one low frequency range speaker, and one full range speaker — that this guy found was very reasonable and delivered excellent sound quality for his open baffle design. As he stated: "I chose 4 Eminence Alpha 15 drivers for the low frequency portion of the speakers. Two per speaker. They are well known to be great drivers for open baffle designs, and at 97 dB efficiency, are plenty efficient for this design. For the first full range driver, I chose the Dayton Audio PS 220 - 8 8" full range driver. It is rated at 95 dB efficiency." He gives a picture of what these items look like. You can check the manufacturers on their actual dimensions.
  6. Other factors to consider are things like ensuring the material you use to hold the speakers / drivers (i.e., the actual baffles) are solid materials and have reasonable weight. Any tiny cracks or parts that could loosen up (a common problem in cheap softwoods, such as plywood), can either vibrate and interfere with the sound quality, or could break off and cause structural integrity issues, especially when you crank up the volume. And if there is not enough weight on your open baffle design, the whole unit can vibrate. On a wooden floor this would be terrible. Carpeted is much better. But at the end of the day, make sure the design is made of solid hardwood of reasonable weight, or use solid metal frames to hold one or two or three (for the number of speakers you have) wooden boards.

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