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Everybody writes. Do you agree?

I’m constantly devalued because of posts like this one perpetuating no expertise is required to “write a blog post.”

When my toilet breaks, I don’t fix it because “everyone can be a plumber.” I pay a plumber to do it for me, because my time is money, too.

These arguments make perfect sense. But one of the readers also raised a valid point – it’s all about changing mindset. When people think they can’t do a particular task, they never give it a shot.

I agree.

In fact, when I started my first blog back in 2011, the first line on my about page was: “I’m no writer.” And this is why I chose to review Everybody Writes for the SEJ Book Club. I was the perfect acid test to see if the book works.

Being a brand marketer for many years, I’ve long understood the importance of good writing. Although I write copy for marketing materials like flyers, sales kit, and spiels, I am in no way a professional copywriter. The idea of writing long form content scares me. But after transitioning to the digital world where (say it with me) content is king, I was adamant to improve my writing. And If I succeed, I’m going to be the social proof that even “non-writers” can write better.

Let me share the four writing mistakes I was habitually making:

1. NOT Setting Clear Writing Goals

I often write as a way to figure out what I wanted to say. And I noticed this often takes me more time, more rewrites, and results in writing with an unclear message. You have to ask yourself what information are you trying to get across? What will make your story unique? More importantly, don’t forget the so what or what’s in it for your readers.


The More Words, the Better

Noob Tip:

Ways by which = ways

Continues to be = remains

The majority of = most

Reposition in the middle of the sentence or ditch if possible:

According to

It is important

In my opinion

The purpose of this

In 2014

I think, believe


Telling a Story is Enough

Storytelling? I can do that for sure. Next chapter please. But after a reading a few more lines, the message was clear. You have to tell a true story well. This starts by putting your reader in the story. Perhaps describing a problem they can relate too. This will make them read on and stay longer.

Noob Tip:

Paint a vivid picture and use specific details to be believable (e.g., cappuccino instead of coffee).

Don’t hard sell. Instead make them aware why your story matters to them.

Use familiar yet surprising analogies (e.g., site’s load speed was as slow as tortoise)


Grammar Rules You Should NEVER Break

It surprised me when Ann Handley said grammar was secondary. She insisted good writing is more about thinking and keeping your focus relentlessly on your reader. Of course, reading an article with poor grammar is like meeting your CEO in your jammies, so it should never be neglected. One basic rule is to use the active voice whenever possible. They make your sentence bolder and impactful. She also discourages the use of made up words such as awesome sauce or web terms like bandwidth.

NoobTip: Grammar rules you CAN break

Never start a sentence with but, and or because. These words often help the flow of writing. 

Avoid sentence fragments. Use them when they help emphasize a point. 

Never end a sentence with a preposition. Even editing tools like

Even editing tools like Pro Writing Aid , prompt me whenever I end my sentence with of or at, but if it helps complete the thought of the sentence, then it should be fine.

Never write a paragraph that’s a mere one sentence long. On the web, white space plays a big role with readability. 

The deal breaker question is: Did I get better? After reading the book and writing a couple of blog posts, I started getting positive feedback. One was from my biggest critic, my husband. “You got that from the book, didn’t you?” he asked.

I’ll end my post with a snippet of Ms. Handley’s rebuttal in the controversial blog post:

“Very surprised that so many people see the book as an attack on content creators, of which I am one. I was simply making the point that we all can and should become better writers.

 In our increasingly content- and social media marketing-driven world, all of us need to write with more clarity and brevity than ever before. So I’m asking marketers to embrace the idea that we are all capable of good writing—or at least better writing.”

Have you read Ann Handley’s book? Would love to hear how it has helped you.

Next Month’s Book

Next month, SEJ Editorial Assistant Aki Libo-on will be reviewing Killer Web Content by Gerry McGovern (affiliate link). Feel free to pick up a copy from Amazon or your local library and read along with us!

This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Image Credits

All screenshots taken March 2023.

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Microsoft Vs. Linux: An Updated Perspective

In the war between Microsoft and those that support Linux, there have been many phases. Most of this war, like most wars, has been concealed by the “fog of war” and propaganda from both camps. Initially, both sides seemed more interested in positioning than in true discourse, and if Microsoft used undue pressure (often positioned as FUD), the Open Source community seemed willing to use outright physical attacks against Microsoft platforms to make their point.

At first, the Open Source side was overmatched but mistakes by Microsoft and others allowed OSS to gain in strength and now both sides would seem to be more evenly matched. Neither side seemed capable of creating a successful strategy against the other and both sides seemed to respond to the other tactically.

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This seemed to benefit the challenger more than the entrenched vendor but, regardless of how often they competed with messages, for most of the last decade they actually seldom competed effectively for the same business opportunities. The two sides were simply too different – but that fact seemed lost on both.

Even stranger is that both sides seemed to be hell-bent on damaging their own futures. And both, when attacking, seemed to be more effective at shooting themselves than at effectively moving against the other.

Microsoft Set the Stage

Initially Microsoft really didn’t seem to take OSS or Linux seriously, which clearly wasn’t the wisest tactic. Having lost track of their own progress down a path blazed by IBM a decade earlier, Microsoft was happily plodding along, systematically destroying the bridge of trust that existed between itself and its customers.

Seemingly forgetting the successful “embrace and extend” strategy that worked so successfully against Lotus and the emulation strategy that created Windows in the first place, Microsoft tried to drive Windows NT into a UNIX base that didn’t want it. To showcase the power of the platform, they had a “scalability day” that, to this day, is unmatched in its historic failure to do anything but make the company holding the event look foolish and dishonest.

This was followed by a change in pricing which was supposed to address a complaint about Microsoft pricing complexity. And, largely because of an excessive focus on not taking even a short term revenue hit, it actually ended up being revenue positive and scaring the existing Microsoft installed base half to death by showcasing how vulnerable they were to the company. This base began to look for alternatives.

This motivated the key stakeholders into looking for an alternative because all agreed that the cost savings of commodity hardware would be hard for operational managers to ignore for long.

In short, they needed something that could protect both the jobs of the managers that Microsoft’s products threatened, but ensure that they wouldn’t be faced with the loss of control that resulted in excessive control by dominant vendors (like IBM had been) and Microsoft now was.

Stop Firefox From Opening New Empty Tabs When Clicking A Link

Stop Firefox from opening new tabs

The cause of this bug is that the user might have chosen Firefox as the default program for specific actions, like opening applications or emails, as a result of a process in the system. Even if that process (e.g., a third-party application) runs in the background, it might trigger Firefox tabs or windows to open.

Check for malware

New Firefox session

Refresh Firefox

Changing the action for a content type

Reset actions for all content types

While we can always close the redundant tabs and windows, it doesn’t solve the problem, which would keep reoccurring. Try the following solutions one by one to resolve the issue:

1] Check for malware

While the above steps should solve the issue, some viruses and malware are scripted to keep causing the issue, no matter how hard you try to fix it. Thus, if nothing else works, please scan your system for viruses and malware.

2] Start a new Firefox session

Whenever Firefox crashes unexpectedly, the previous sessions are restored when we restart the browser. If we kill the process when rapidly opening new tabs and windows, the browser will probably open all those surplus tabs when restarting.

Depending on how the process was killed earlier, Firefox may or may not ask before restoring the sessions. If it does, we could choose to start a new session, and if it does not, we could try to close Firefox normally.

However, this might not always be helpful. At times, we might not be able to close Firefox without killing the process, and even if we start it typically once, it doesn’t help with the root of the problem. The issue is likely to reoccur.

3] Refresh Firefox

You could refresh Firefox and see. It restores the settings of the browser to factory default.

4] Changing the action for a content type

Since the issue is that the opening of new tabs and windows on Firefox is triggered by certain content in the system, by finding the content type that uses Firefox and changing the action, we might be able to resolve the issue.

Scroll to the Applications section in the General tab. It shows a list of applications and how Firefox responds to them. If you know the specific content type causing the issue, change its action to Always Ask.

If it’s a long list, confusing enough about which content action to change, type the words “Use Firefox” in the Search bar. It will show all the content types for which the action is set to “Use Firefox.” Then, you could change the action for inappropriate content.

Repeat the same step after typing “Preview in Firefox” in the search bar.

Close the about:preferences tab, and it will save the changes.

Does this help?

4] Reset actions for all content types

As mentioned in the cause, we know the issue is inappropriate content. While we tried to change the action of inappropriate content in the previous step to ask before implementing the action, users might not always be able to figure out the inappropriate content. Furthermore, simply changing the action might not always help the cause.

Thus, we might need to delete the file which stores the settings manually.

Close Firefox and then delete the file named handlers.json.

Restart the Firefox browser, and it should solve the issue.


Why does a website keep popping up in Chrome?

If you experience any of the following issues with Chrome, you may have unwanted software or malware installed on your computer:

Changes to your Chrome homepage or search engine without your permission.

Recurring unwanted Chrome extensions or toolbars.

How do I close multiple tabs in Firefox?

Us Special Forces Will Soon Get Support From A Rugged New Aircraft

On August 1, Special Operations Command (SOCOM) announced that the next plane in its inventory would be a single-engine prop aircraft. SOCOM will buy up to 75 AT-802U Sky Warden planes, built by L3Harris Technologies and Air Tractor. These planes will support special operations forces, like Delta Force or Navy SEALs, as they fight irregular wars.

The name of this program is “Armed Overwatch.” The contract announcement says it “will provide Special Operations Forces deployable, affordable, and sustainable crewed aircraft systems fulfilling close air support, precision strike, and armed intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, requirements in austere and permissive environments for use in irregular warfare operations in support of the National Defense Strategy.”

Irregular warfare is a broad term that is easier to define by what it doesn’t include. Regular warfare is when the uniformed soldiers of one nation fight the uniformed soldiers of another. These conflicts usually involve the whole range of conventional military forces, from rifles through tanks and artillery to fighter jets and bombers. Irregular warfare, by contrast, involves fighting against insurgencies, rebellions, and tracking down people linked to terror operations. It can also involve helping other countries’ militaries do the same.

For example, in 2003, the US invaded Iraq with a conventional war, which lasted until the collapse of Saddam Hussein’s military. Armed resistance afterwards to the American military and to the new government of Iraq became irregular warfare, and to this day the US deploys forces in the country to assist in training Iraq’s military in irregular warfare. 

For SOCOM’s purposes, a plane that can support special operations forces doesn’t need to survive in a sky filled with hostile fighter jets or when the enemy brings dedicated anti-aircraft vehicles to the battle. Instead, what is most important is that the plane can fly easily, shoot what it needs to shoot, as well as take off and land if need be on rough runways and cleared fields, instead of dedicated airbases.

[Related: Navy SEALs could get new airborne backup. Here’s what the planes look like.]

Those characteristics, that rugged versatility, are likely why the Sky Warden won out over the four other planes SOCOM considered for the contract last summer. The contract initially awards $170 million, or about the price of two F-35A stealth jets, with a ceiling of $3 billion for the full fleet. L3Harris said in a statement that production will begin in 2023, for the initial lot of six Sky Wardens. 

“We want to deliver game-changing, modular solutions to U.S. special operators for their hardest missions, and Sky Warden does just that,” Christopher E. Kubasik, CEO of L3Harris, said in a statement.

“Armed Overwatch” is a role that involves both scouting for targets and attacking enemies on the ground. While SOCOM considered planes that could also perform a transport role for the special operators, the Sky Warden is built to scout and to attack. To that end, the Sky Warden can carry over 8,000 lbs of payload while armored. The wings can carry a range of weapons, from 500-pound bombs to small missiles to sensor pods, and the center of the aircraft can host two heavier systems as well. The wing station can fit a gun, like a .50-caliber machine gun or a 20mm cannon. With a full load of sensors and weapons, the plane can take off on a runway of just 1,400 feet, and it can land on one 1,200 feet long. The tandem cockpit seats two pilots.

The AT-802 (note the lack of a “U,” which denotes the latest variant, the AT-802U, that SOCOM is getting) first flew in 1990, where its rugged airframe and heavy payload capacity made it an ideal crop duster. As a crop duster, the plane was used to spray crops on counter-narcotics missions, an action that sometimes saw the planes shot at by farmers defending their crops. “Years of coca crop eradication missions in South America resulted in the development of lightweight composite ballistic armor for the AT-802U cockpit ‘bathtub’ and engine compartment,” notes the Air Tractor page for the plane.

In other words, SOCOM is getting a plane with crop duster origins, and one that can be used for the military missions of special operators. The Sky Warden is armored against attack, provided the enemy it is facing is armed mostly with small arms, like machine guns and rifles.

This was a concern 13 years ago, when the Air Force announced a plan to purchase 100 such planes in 2009. Skeptics of the Air Force’s 2009 plan for a light attack plane similar to the Sky Warden noted at the time that insurgent forces could get portable and effective anti-air weapons that could threaten the aircraft. With the award of the Armed Overwatch contract this week, former Popular Science contributor Peter W. Singer, now a fellow at New America, revisited an article he wrote that year, tweeting, “And note, since writing that in 2009, the cropduster [Sky Warden-style plane] has not improved, while both the enemy capabilities and the unmanned alternative has obviously drastically improved.”

As nations like Germany and the United States offload old anti-air missiles to Ukraine for use in its war against Russia, the possibility exists that some of these weapons will make their way onto the black market. While old anti-air missiles may struggle against modern jets or be overkill for modern drones, they are perfectly suited for attacking planes like the Sky Warden. As SOCOM makes a big bet on how to fight irregular wars from the sky, it is also gambling that the enemies it finds will lack anti-air weapons, even as war makes those weapons more available. 

Correction on August 3: This story has been updated to correct a typo that referred to the F-35 fighter jet as an F-25.

What Is The Internet? Reviewing The Basics

The Internet is a huge organization that interfaces PCs everywhere. Through the Internet, individuals can share data and convey it from any place with an Internet association.

The Internet overwhelms quite a bit of our lives, such a lot that it’s not difficult to underestimate it. Yet, throughout the long term, it’s become simply one more piece of our regular presence, something we acknowledge as fast as paying our electric or water bill or driving a vehicle.

Definition of the Internet

The Internet, in some cases called “the Net,” is a worldwide organization comprising a huge number that permits a client with a PC or comparable gadget to collaborate with different PCs. It’s an independent, public, agreeable medium regularly gotten to by many clients to gather data, manage exchanges, or speak with one another.

The Internet interfaces many PCs, cell phones, servers, and sites all over the planet, allowing clients to send and get every kind of record (sound, message, video, picture) and access assets, for example, applications and cloud administrations.

Contrast Between the Internet and the Web

Getting the expressions “Internet” and “World Wide Web” (additionally recently called “the Web”) confused is simple.

The Web is the assortment of web archives and site pages you can track down on the Web by looking for their URLs. The Web is the overall association of organizations.

At the end of the day, the Internet is the foundation, and the Internet is helping that who depend on the Internet.

For a genuine relationship, consider the Web like a library building and the Web as books living inside.

Consider Web programming and the Internet as the equipment that makes everything work.

The Internet is a worldwide organization of organizations while Internet, likewise, alluded to officially as World Wide Web (www), is an assortment of data that is gotten to through the Internet.

One more method for taking a gander at this distinction is; the Internet is the foundation while the Web is a served on top of that framework.

Advantages of the Internet

Availability, correspondence, and sharing

Data, information, and learning

Address, planning

Selling and bringing in cash

Banking, bills, and shopping

Gifts and financing


Telecommute, cooperate, and admittance to a worldwide labor force

Internet of Things

Distributed computing and distributed storage

Compulsion, time-squanderer, and causes interruptions

Tormenting, savages, stalkers, and wrongdoing

Spam and promoting

Explicit and vicious pictures

Always being unable to separate from work

Data fraud, hacking, infections, and cheating

Influences concentration and tolerance

Medical problems and weight

Wretchedness, depression, and social confinement

Purchasing things that you needn’t bother with

Not a protected spot for youngsters


How does the Internet function?

There are two primary ideas that are principal to the manner in which the Web capabilities: packets and protocols.


A Packet is a small portion of a bigger message in systems administration. Every bundle contains two pieces of information and data about that information.

The data about the Packet items is known as a “header,” and it goes at front of the bundle, so the getting machine understands how to manage the Packet.

To comprehend the reason for a bundle header, consider how some customer items accompany gathering guidelines.

When information gets sent over the Web, it is first separated into more humble bundles, then converted into bits.

The Packets get steered to their objective by different systems administration gadgets like switches and switches.

At the point when the parcels show up at their objective, the getting gadget reassembles the bundles altogether and can then utilize or show the information.

Bundles are sent across the Web utilizing a procedure called parcel exchanging.

Mediator switches and switches can handle parcels autonomously from one another without representing their source or the objective.

This is the by plan so that no single association can rules the organization.

On off chance that information was sent between PCs simultaneously with no parcel exchanging, an association between two PCs could possess numerous links, switches, and switches for minutes all at the once.

Basically, just a two individuals would have the option to utilize the Web at once of practically limitless number of individuals, similar to case truly.


Interfacing two PCs, the two of which might utilize different equipment and run different programming, is one of the primary difficulties that the Web makers needed to settle.

It requires the utilization of reasonable correspondence procedures by completely associated PCs. Similarly, two individuals who experienced childhood in various regions might have to communicate in a specific language to see one another.

There are protocols for sending packets between gadgets on similar organization (Ethernet), for sending bundles from one organization to another (IP), for guaranteeing those parcels effectively show up altogether (TCP), and for designing information for sites and applications (HTTP).

Notwithstanding these fundamental protocols, there are likewise protocols for steering, testing, and encryption.

Also, there are options in contrast to the conventions recorded above for various kinds of content — for example, web-based video frequently utilizes UDP rather than TCP.

Since all Web-associated PCs and different gadgets can decipher and comprehend these conventions, the Web works regardless of who or what interfaces with it.

The Best New Mobile Accessories From Ifa 2023

Don’t miss: Best of IFA 2023 Awards: The best new tech at Berlin’s big trade show

PanzerGlass: New glass back protection for your glass back phone

PanzerGlass’s range of tempered glass screen protectors grew one bigger, with the release of the PanzerGlass ClearCase Black Edition. With the new range of smartphones increasingly using swirling, shimmering designs embedded into the glass, it’s a shame to hide that behind a tough case to protect it. PanzerGlass first introduced a glass back case to protect that fancy glass, along with usual protection on the top and sides.

The new ClearCase Black Edition adds a honeycomb protection pattern, with the company stating this has “19% more protection.” While that seemed pretty much unquantifiable, the photos we took of a prototype clearly shows that honeycomb build, able to dissipate any drops or falls a little more.

The 7 best new smart home gadgets we saw at CES 2023


I had a chance to handle the company’s (only!) Allroundo Power sample at IFA, and it felt like a handy mobile accessory for a range of devices that could be tucked away in a pocket or dropped into a bag with convenience and a touch of style. It’s available next month across the globe, including the U.S., with pricing to come.

The Aura range of wireless charging pad is also nice and tasteful, in leather and glass, and a range of colors. Again, final pricing and availability to come.

Seagate: Hip new One Touch SSDs

Seagate’s new range of small One Touch External SSDs with USB 3.0 connection are targeted at a younger crowd and meant to be hip, with colorful designs. Unfortunately, for me, they were zero-touch devices — strictly behind glass, and I couldn’t really get a handle on their textile design, which is arguably what makes these SSDs so special in the first place.

They come with USB 3.0 ports instead of USB-C and speeds of 400MB/s, which is fairly pedestrian. But the pricing is good for the Seagate brand and small size: the One Touch SSD retails for $105/€99 (500GB) and $200/€69 (1TB), with worldwide availability later in October.

Oh, and the One Touch External SSD Special Edition also exists for some reason, sporting a camo-clad outer design for managing files with “extra flair” (words from the press release, I kid you not) starting at $5 more, or $110, in 500 GB only.

Anker: More power!

Anker arrived at IFA with a host of new products. While we covered them in an earlier article, you’ll want to know more about at least one product: the all-metal Anker PowerCore+ 26800 PD 45W. This looks exactly like the previous 26800 PD 30W, which caps out at 30W delivery. The new 45W USB-C power delivery port really steps it up further, and of course the battery with a high 26,800mAh capacity means a serious amount of juice.

PNY: More power also!

PNY is an American manufacturer of everything from SD memory cards to SSDs to fast memory for graphics cards.

At IFA, PNY had new devices on show. I was able to get hands-on with the new Power Delivery battery packs, including the 10,000mAh offering with Power Delivery 3.0. These are priced at around $50 and will be available as soon as this week depending on your region.

PNY also had some tiny SSDs on show at IFA for the first time — PNY claims the SSDs are the world’s smallest SSDs — but I only saw these behind glass. They measure just 60 x 35.6 x 8.9mm. It’s not meaningfully smaller than the world’s competition, so I can’t really say much more. But the race is on for SSDs to get smaller, while retaining useful capacity and fast data transfer speeds. PNY is in the race.

Aukey: Wearbuds put earbuds in your smartband

AUKEY had a couple of interesting devices on hand at IFA, including an update to its neat little standalone earbuds solution. However, it was the AUKEY Wearbuds — or Smartband-Stored True Wireless Earbuds — that really caught my attention. Why?

Look! The Wearbuds are capable of counting steps, tracking heart rate, and so on, with a pair of earbuds tucked into the side:

The above GIF shows just a brief hands-on, and I didn’t get to hear how the buds sounded. But it’s an interesting concept to avoid carrying around a case, while wearing a fit band. It comes in black and white, and the buds are said to have 5.5 hours of battery life and noise isolation.

Although much can change, AUKEY told me the Wearbuds would be around the $180 mark, and available everywhere before Christmas, likely via Amazon.

Tumi: New luggage-inspired phone cases

If you want your phone case to look like an expensive suitcase, now’s your chance! The new Tumi line of smartphone cases has been available in limited forms, but now there’s an entire range of cases that look exactly like the hardshell luggage that Tumi makes, including the 19 Degree line of cases that matches the 19 Degree luggage line, based on the angle of the rippled lines.

I don’t doubt that high-end, expensive luggage with lots of premium touches makes sense for holding your travel stuff. For holding your phone… well… I’m not so sure. There are a lot of little techniques to making great cases, and Tumi says these have raised edge protection and button protection. These Tumi cases are only for iPhone users and start at $60. Cases for Samsung and other Android devices will be launched in time, according to reps.

That’s it for our list of the best new mobile accessories from IFA 2023. Which one was your favorite?

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