Feb 28th 2019

What is Easter? Fun Facts

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Happy Easter from Ginger!

Easter is a joyous holiday celebrated by Christians in early spring. There are many
different Easter traditions, and our favorite is the Easter egg hunt.

Roots in the Middle Ages
While the Easter Bunny may seem like a modern concept, the idea of a bunny
bringing eggs for Easter is traced back to at least the 17th century. The Easter Egg
Hunt is a game where decorated, chocolate or candy eggs are hidden for children to
find.

Easter egg hunts can be fun with just a few people or an entire town. According to
the Guinness Book of World Records, the largest egg hunt in the world included
80,000 eggs hidden in an American town of just 950 people.

Virtual Easter Eggs
In today’s electronic world, virtual Easter eggs have hatched on the scene. In the
world of high-tech, internet and gaming, interesting spinoffs of the “Easter egg” have
emerged.

A “virtual Easter egg” is a hidden feature, message or joke that can be found in video
games, websites and even movies. For example, websites “hide” eggs in their sites
and ask users to “find” them.

Our 3 Favorite Google “Easter Eggs”
Google dominates the online Easter egg hunt. Their Easter eggs consist of hoaxes,
pranks and jokes on unsuspecting visitors to their site.

We have spent some time searching and here are our favorite Google Easter Eggs!
Enjoy!

1. Do the Harlem Shake.
If you search “do the Harlem shake” on Youtube, and wait a minute, the
entire search page and video previews will do their own digital Harlem Shake
right in your browser.

2. Do a barrel roll!
Searching this phrase on the Google home page will cause the page to spin
360 degrees horizontally, giving you the same perspective as if you were in a
rolling barrel.

3. Have Gmail wash your clothes.
If you go to the Gmail Suggest a Feature Page, you can suggest Gmail to do your laundry. (Go to Gmail > New Features > Help > Additional Resources > Suggest a Feature > Feature Suggestions Page > Helpful Additions.)

Can you find any Easter eggs on Ginger’s site?

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Feb 26th 2019

How to Help Students with Dyslexia Using Ginger?

Brian S. Friedlander, Ph.D

When I first came across Ginger sometime last spring, I was struck by the quality of the spell checking and the innovation that I saw. While I was excited to learn about this new innovative assistive technology, it wasn’t until I actually used it with students diagnosed with dyslexia that I saw how valuable it was to them. Students who have been diagnosed with dyslexia typically present with a learning disorder that impacts in the areas of reading and well as in written language. While dyslexia impacts in a student’s ability to read, more often than not, it also impacts more in their ability to write. Typically, students with dyslexia will have trouble organizing their ideas, spelling words correctly, and constructing clearly organized paragraphs. This is where Ginger can assist. Unlike other spell checking applications, Ginger is unique and uses algorithms and a database to seek out the context of how the word is being used. With these methodologies, Ginger is able with a very high degree of probability to correctly suggest the word that was intended by the writer. If you have worked with students with writing disabilities, you know just how challenging it is for them to get their ideas down on paper due to their spelling difficulties. In many cases, students with writing disabilities will choose to use smaller words that they know they can spell, then take the risk of spelling a word they want to use but just can’t figure out how to spell it. Even when these students use a standard spell checker, more often than not the word they want is not suggested because they are so far afield. Students with dyslexia typically spell very phonetically or will tend to drop out letters that they just don’t hear in the word. This is where Ginger comes in. Ginger allows the student the ability to get their ideas down without slowing them down and forcing them to check their spelling. The idea of fluency is important when writing and for all of us who do writing you know that the most important part of the process is getting your ideas down first before you edit. Using other writing assistive technologies has a tendency to break that flow, and force the student to focus at the word level, instead of allowing the student to get their ideas down.

Ginger allows students the freedom to know that they can get their ideas down first and when they are finished, they can invoke Ginger to check their work. This really frees up the students to use words that they might not even want to attempt to try, because they know that Ginger is in the background ready to assist them when needed. Ginger has the uncanny ability to look at not only the misspelling, but to look at the word in context to help make the appropriate suggestion. The ability to process the student’s written work after they are done writing one sentence at time really helps the student to focus on their intent and to see if their ideas flow. If needed, students can use Ginger’s text to speech (TTS) supports that comes with a Premium Membership to listen to the computer read their work and the suggested words. All in all, Ginger provides a level of support that will give students the confidence to get their ideas out with the words that they want to use. If you are working with students with dyslexia and spelling disorders, I urge you to take a test run of Ginger and download the 14 day trial and see what happens. While Ginger works great for student with dyslexia you should also consider it for students who are just starting to write and for English Language Learners whose native language is not English.  Like myself, you will be amazed just how good this software is in providing students with the spelling supports they need.

In recognition of National Dyslexia Awareness Month, Ginger Software is offering a 20 percent discount to home users until the end of November. You can go to the Ginger Software Store by clicking here

In my next post, I will take a look at the text to speech capabilities (TTS) in Ginger Premium to support students who may have difficulty reading the suggested corrections.

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Feb 24th 2019

Savvy Sunday – What do you mean by ‘enormity’?

We all know that ‘enormous’ is used to describe something that is huge. Since ‘enormous’ is an adjective (a descriptive word), what is the noun of ‘enormous’?

Did you guess ‘enormity’?

If you did, you are way off! Former U.S. President, George HW Bush, made the same mistake when he described his feeling after being elected.

‘Enormity’ is the noun that means extreme evil.

To some, it must have been very foreboding when George HW Bush said “he couldn’t believe the enormity of what had happened” after winning the election. To others who knew the correct meaning of the word, that would have been one of the greatest embarrassments ever.

So while 2 words might have very similar spellings, do not assume they have related meanings! The English language is full of its own peculiarities. So always use Ginger Software to avoid embarrassing mistakes and improve your English! =)

The Ginger Team

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Feb 22nd 2019

How to Write a Cover Letter?

Getting the job of your dreams requires that you have the right education, the right experience and the right recommendations. All of this critical information needs to be neatly presented in your CV so that recruiters can quickly understand that you are potentially their dream candidate and call you in for an interview. However, there are many candidates with education, experience and CVs that are similar to yours, so you have to stand out! Your best chance to show off your advantages over the competition is your cover letter.

What is a Cover Letter?

Cover letters are freehand text documents that are sent to potential employers along with a job seeker’s resume. Cover letters for resumes are in essence, essays about yourself and your career.  Good cover letters sample the candidate’s specific skills and experience as they relate to a desired position. In fact, serious job seekers rewrite their cover letter to suit each particular job they are applying for. One good practice is to create a cover letter template which can be tweaked to suit different jobs.

Cover Letter Rules to Remember

  1. Always make sure your cover letter addresses the requirements detailed in the job posting.
  2. Always remember to thank your readers for their time and to provide your email address and phone number. 
  3. Never send out your cover letter without first checking it for spelling and grammar errors with Ginger’s Grammar Checker. You can also use the Sentence Rephraser to find more professional, sophisticated ways to write your text.
 Sample Cover Letter

A good cover letter starts by greeting the hiring manager.

The next step is writing the body of the cover letter. In the body you should try to immediately associate yourself with the desired position by stating who you are, what you do an what job you’re applying for. The rest of the cover letter body should tailor your qualifications and experience to the requirements listed in the job posting. A short message about why you are personally drawn to the company or company industry would also be appropriate here.

In the last paragraph of the cover letter you should discuss the next steps.

Cover Letter Examples

Cover letter examples can be found all over the internet. One good source is About.com.

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Feb 22nd 2019

Guidelines to Freelance Writing

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Guest post written by Ivan Hamlin on August 22, 2017

To embark on a journey where you can go full time with your freelance writing is no easy task. The road will be riddled with obstacles of all sorts. You will have to face financial limitations as opposed when you were employed full time in a company and had a constant income stream with occasional bonuses and raises as a result of yearly evaluations.

Secondly, when you will pitch this idea to your friends and family, they will laugh and it will make you look an idiot in front of them. They will call you stupid for even thinking like that. You will ask yourself, “how will I pay my bills?” etc. The struggle will be real. But there is nothing impossible once you set your eyes on it and if your mission is clear.

These guidelines can help you successfully transition from being a full-time office employee to a full-time freelance writer:

Research should be thorough

Now that you have decided that you want to make a career out of freelancing, your research should be no short of thorough. You cannot jump off a cliff without knowing where you will land. If there are rocks down below you will probably not jump (unless of course if you want to kill yourself intentionally) but if there is some safety net below or an arrangement to break your fall midway which will minimize the damage, you might want to take that plunge.

Similarly, with freelancing your research ought to be top notch. If it is academic writing, dig as much information about the field of writing as you can. If you already have been doing freelancing on the sides, it will be perhaps easier for you to make the switch as you can always ask your clients to provide you with referrals.

If you are a beginner, you may want to learn and ask people around you who have successfully made the switch to full time writing as a freelancer. Learn from them and read about the common mistakes freelancers make during this time, on their way to going full time. Practice the writing process from its pitch to publication.

Start Small

It is not necessary just because you have gone against the norms or tide that you start heavy. The ideal way to go about this as it will take time, start small. But even before that, you must ask the following questions:

Have I got enough that will get me by for few months financially? You should at least have six months of saving so that if the things were to go awry, you have a cushion to fall back on.

Do I have what it takes to account for my taxes, insurance and other fringe benefits that my employer used to take care of? It will be now your responsibility and in addition, utility costs usually increase in working from home.

All in all, do I have the budget to survive? Even after this, you feel nervous and worried, it is perhaps wise to squeeze freelance in alongside your job routine. But remember fear will always hold you back. Thus, when you start, start small so as to minimize the damages (if it comes to that). There are people who start earning almost immediately, but such examples are few and far.

Starting small time means that you get to be your first client. Is your blog outstanding? Are your copywriting skills top notch? If the answer is yes, look for work among your self-employed friends and family. Figure out if they are in assistance of your skills. For beginners, it is a great way to hone their skills and build a portfolio.

Create a website

While you are making this transition, develop a website of your own or ask a professional to do it for you and showcase your portfolio on the site. By means of personal branding like this, you can attract a lot of returning and potential clients.

Set targets and start pitching

Write down your target on how much wish to earn on a monthly basis or on a fortnightly basis, for that matter. Writing goals, as well as ideas down, have a higher percentage of being realized. When you have written down your targets, start by writing the names of your potential clients that you may be interested in working with.

It is not necessary that these names are big ones nor is it essential to only seek clients with high payouts. Draw another column, but this time write down the names of the big publications such as the NY Times or Vox. These names are who you will be interested in writing for one day. This exercise can prove to be really helpful in pitching.

When you have prepared the list, now start developing pitches to prospective clients that you think are likely to hire you. But you cannot simply make the same pitch everywhere or on each site. You have to read the policy of that website before approaching them with a pitch. Different sites have different criteria.

Moreover, pitching to the client, adhere to the guidelines strictly. If the editor of the site wants you to provide him with your resume or an overview of yourself as in why should you be hired in two paragraphs, make sure you abide by these rules when making the pitch.

Don’t lose heart if you are rejected. Rejection can feel overwhelming, especially when you don’t have a paying job. You will notice by setting targets and approaching the client in true letter and spirit, for every five pitches you send one will get accepted (in the beginning).

Find a mentor

Having a seasoned freelancer by your side will get you through this transition of going full time relatively comfortably than when you are sailing alone. It is because his words will be there to calm you and his insights will uplift your mood.

Therefore, learn to network, join freelance forums or groups and participate. It is possible, you may find an expert early on or later down the road, but nothing beats the advice and support from a mentor especially when you are treading in new waters.

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