Monday, March 30, 2020

Boring Verbs and What to Use Instead

16 Boring Verbs & What to Use Instead (Infographic)

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Open letter to Mr. Calin Rovinescu - Air Canada

Open letter to Mr. Calin Rovinescu
President and Chief Executive Officer 
Air Canada

Flight AC875 from Frankfurt to Montreal
Tuesday, March 17

Row 43 (D) a female passenger was constantly coughing...
I reported to a flight attended and asked for a different seat to get away from this coughing lady. The (chief) stewardess (tall lady with brown hair, fastened up to a bun) told me in a very arrogant tone that it’s just my risk when flying.

This was the second-last flight from Europe home to Canada!
This flight attended was not even wearing a mask, like many of her colleagues, and started to tell me about her spring allergy she endures - like my worries are a piece of cake and I should live with it.
Arroganz and Ignoranz…

I am nearly 70 years old, there were several free seats in the plane - so no reason at all not to give me another, safer seat.

Now to Your JAZZ  Airline:
I have never seen such a dirty plane!  Flight # AC 8780
from Montreal to Halifax Tuesday, March 17
To place a coat in the overhead compartment passengers had to touch the handle which was totally dirty, filthy and disgusting. I checked the other handles and they were so dirty - it was insane.

Why did I have to wait for 5+ hours for my connecting flight to Halifax - even though there was another flight two hours earlier? I inquired at the AC customer service counter and learned that there were several free seats at this earlier plane.

Customer-friendly Air Canada? 
Training of cabin-staff and cleaners?


Monday, March 16, 2020

Working From Home: FREE Courses

Generous Offer: 
Working from home: free courses from LinkedIn with this link
In response to all the people now finding themselves working from home, perhaps for the first time, LinkedIn is granting FREE access to sixteen of its LinkedIn Learning video courses. The playlist is: 1 Working Remotely – 60 minutes 2 Time Management: Working from Home – 85 minutes 3 Productivity Tips: Finding Your Productive Mindset – 59 minutes 4 Executive Presence on Video Conference Calls – 34 minutes 5 Thriving @ Work: Well-Being and Productivity – 41 minutes 6 Managing Stress for Positive Change – 57 minutes 7 Building Resilience – 34 minutes 8 Developing Resourcefulness – 18 minutes 9 Leading at a Distance – 36 minutes 10 Managing Virtual Teams – 56 minutes 11 Leading Virtual Meetings – 32 minutes 12 Microsoft Teams Tips and Tricks – 61 minutes 13 Learning Skype – 64 minutes 14 Learning BlueJeans Meetings – 71 minutes 15 Learning WebEx – 44 minutes 16 Learning Zoom – 45 minutes Get access here - No signup needed:



Sunday, March 8, 2020

What Birthday Gifts Men Really Like to Get

"When the kids were little, my husband said what he really wanted for his birthday was a clean house, so I gave him a vacuum cleaner as a birthday gift."

"How about a coupon book where you write in lots of things you would do for him? Like, say, an evening of watching the kids. Fathers know that the best gifts come without a price."

"A gift certificate for a field trip with the kids. For example for a trip to an amusement park or a year's membership in an amusement arcade - working fathers love to spend time with their children in this way."

"How about a slow cooker? So he can prepare meals for the whole family before he leaves for work in the morning."

"Why don't you invite him to dinner at a restaurant. That way, you too can benefit from it, you won't be exposed to his 'culinary skills' for an evening and at the same time give him the feeling that you are doing something special for him. He will love you for it."

"A subscription to a cooking magazine so he feels bad because he never has time to prepare really healthy meals for the family."

#FemalePilots #IWD2020 #InternationalWomensDay


Saturday, February 29, 2020

How to Start a Successful Publishing Company

Did You Write Multiple Books? Why Not Register as Publisher?

With advancements in technology and resources, many people can publish a book, but it takes a bit extra to start your own book publishing business and a successful one at that. 

A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. Just to name a few important topics to consider:
  • What are the startup and ongoing costs?
  • Who is your target market?
  • How long it will take you to break even?
  • What will you name your business? 
  • Do you want to incorporate?

Register your publishing business

To be found by other authors and potential customers, add your company to these publishing directories:

Find Your Niche and Stick to it

Fans of particular genres are likelier to be loyal to publishers putting out content that they like. Engaging with those customers on every level is the best way to retain who you have. This can range from social media engagement to simply meeting them at book signings and readings or lectures and presentations you give.

Non-Fiction: Business and “How-to” Books

Entrepreneurs and Craftsmen as Authors: You might have read craftsman Mike Holmes’ expert book ‘MAKE IT RIGHT’ - it became a bestseller! Books in all forms (print, audio or ebooks) are becoming popular marketing tools for the self-employed. IT service providers, health professionals, artists, NGO assistants, technicians, designers, photographers, illustrators, travel and tourism providers, accountants and craftspeople, and certainly, industry producers and retailers - they all can provide valuable advice in book form.

An estimated one Million titles written by entrepreneurs and other non-traditional authors have been published alone in the United States. The electronic-book market and the Internet, in general, have eased the distribution process for authors. Within minutes you can now upload a file and have a book. Author Adam Witty is the author of ’21 Ways to Build Your Business with a Book’ - it Is Your New Business Card’. Writing books about the topics of your business will encourage customers to order your products or services. It also might offer speaking engagements by industry organizations. Give copies to prospects when you meet them and include copies when you issue proposals.

Entrepreneurs are not necessarily writing to produce best-sellers. Instead, they are taking advantage of new forms of publishing, such as audiobooks, electronic publishing, and print-on-demand, to generate a marketing tool and additional income at the same time. That income stems from speaking, consulting, press, and new customers. It’s not only about selling copies. The National Speakers Association, a trade group in Tempe, Arizona, reports that over 60% of speakers earn $100,000 a year on average, just from giving presentations.

Your book will add legitimacy to training courses and workshops. It will help to establish you as a subject matter expert and encourage people to register for classes. Consequently, it will help you build your prospect and customer list. Selling your book on your website enables you also to capture important contact information. To realize these benefits, you must produce books that are skilfully written and designed.

What You Can Deduct

Congratulations to every author who accomplishes this.  You really have earned your revenues. For sure, the “Taxman” is as happy as you are. But you also had expenses and should be able to deduct them from taxes that you pay for royalties. For sure you will write more books, so it would be coherent to register as publisher and deduct even more expenses:

  • Rent / Mortgage / Heating / Electricity etc. for the space you work in (and storage for your books if you go the “paper route”)
  • Furniture, carpet, blinds, cleaning material, the cost for a maid, etc.
  • Computer, printer, fax, scanner, copier, and other office equipment 
  • Telephone, cell, wireless, cable 
  • Insurances, banking fees
  • Software and computer training
  • Travel cost such as hotel, car, taxi
  • Car payments, car insurance, gas, repairs
  • Webhosting, Domain name, web designer
  • e-Book conversions, cover design, editing, copy editing, layout. and desktop publishing
  • Writers and publisher conferences 
Starting a publishing company doesn’t happen in a day or a week. Spending the time to plan your vision and build a framework that’s aligned with your goals will not only enable you to enjoy all the advantages of being a business owner - but also set the foundation for publishing success.

Learn more about the process to become a small publisher from these web sites:


Sunday, February 9, 2020

Freelance Writing Job Offers

Do you want to make more money with writing in 2020? Are you pondering already for quite a while to write short stories and articles instead of lengthy book manuscripts? Why not write for magazines and newspapers?  Below are examples of writing offers:

How to approach them and how to create your queries are explained in detail in
111 Tips To Make Money With Writing: The Art of Making a Living Full-time Writing - An Essential Guide for More Income as Freelancer 

Articles about examining feminist principles at work, in relationships, in organizations and institutions, and in politics and social justice causes are welcome.  Readers are interested in health issues, social and political issues, environmental issues, equality issues, justice issues, spiritual issues, parenting issues, and all issues informed by diverse racial and cultural experiences.

NEWS: 500-700 words. News items of interest to feminist readers that are taking place in communities across Canada. Pays $175-$210.

FEATURES: 1,000-3,000-word in-depth articles on feminist debates, current social/ political/legal/environmental/culture emerging issues, or personal stories with a broader social relevance. Can be interview style, essay style, or journalism style. Non-academic! Pays $275-550.

REVIEWS: 325-word book, music and film reviews; preference is given to Canadian authors, filmmakers, musicians. Pays $75.

Gizmodo, the tech and science site, is seeking a freelance writer to help us cover the most pressing, interesting stories in technology and science during night and weekend shifts. Gizmodo is looking for a sharp writer with a strong voice, good jokes, and a keen eye for great technology stories. She/he should be able to quickly write clean, accurate news stories, find unique angles on the big narratives of the day, and craft original critiques on the tech world that will speak to Gizmodo’s dedicated audience. This is a remote position. (Other openings at
New Mexico Magazine Write about the power of place — New Mexico: more than 120,000 square miles of mountains, deserts, grasslands, and forests inhabited by a culturally rich mix of individuals. Pay is up to 35 cents per word.
Chicken Soup "Age is Just a Number"
They are looking for stories about the humorous or serious sides of life after 60.
Okanagan Life 
It is a regional character magazine serving Okanagan residents from Salmon Arm to Osoyoos. We want to see a passionate sense of Okanagan pride as you explore the Valley’s most fascinating and diverse people, places and activities. Pay ranges from 20 cents to 25 cents per published word.
DeSoto Magazine
An upscale lifestyle publication focused on stories about life in Mississippi, Memphis, and the Southeast. Features – 900 to 1,000 words. Essays – 500 to 600 words. Departments – 600 to 800 words. Pays $0.15/word.
The Sun
They publish personal essays, fiction, and poetry. Personal stories that touch on political and cultural issues are welcome. Personal Essays $300 to $2,000. Fiction $300 to $2,000. Poetry $100 to $250.
Hidden Compass 
This quarterly online travel magazine encourages the deep exploration of a destination through powerful storytelling, bridging the gap between travel and other disciplines (e.g., science, history, and art). Feature stories and feature photo-essays: $300. Stories and photo essays in other departments: $200. 
Freelance Writing for
Pieces typically run about 700-1,000 words. More expansive pieces that run over 1,500 words are welcome and will do better in search. Please use more than one example of a good company doing good things to illustrate your point (avoid any press-release-type promotion of one business that reads like ad content). Pays over $1 per word.
Groovewallet seeks practical, actionable advice on money management, making money, and case studies and stories. Our goal is to make money simple and fun. Pitch ideas or submit on spec. Pays up to $200.
Online Magazine seeks articles about feminism, innovation, enterprise and critiques of policies and systems that drive inequality. They are trans-inclusive and intersectional feminists. See their website for the pay scale in each department. Pay starts at $250.

Find more opportunities in our monthly newsletter, for example, this one:



Books by Doris-Maria Heilmann:

Audiobooks for Success
Valuable guide book for authors, audiobook publishers, narrators, voice-over artists, and audiobook listeners. Learn how to create, produce, publish, and market your audiobooks.

111 Tips to Create Impressive Videos:
How to Plan, Create, Upload and Market Videos

111 Tips on How to Market Your Book for Free:
Detailed Plans and Smart Strategies for Your Book’s Success

111 Tips to Get Free Book Reviews:
Best Strategies for Getting Lots of Great Reviews
plus 1,200+ reviewer contact links

111 Tips to Create Your Book Trailer
How to Create, Where to Upload and How to Market Your Videos

Book Marketing on a Shoestring:
How Authors Can Promote their Books 
Without Spending a Lot of Money

Hello Friends, visit my Author Page here:

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Amazon Echo’s Privacy Issues

Amazon Echo’s privacy issues go way beyond voice recordings

Garfield Benjamin, Solent University
Amazon Echo and the Alexa voice assistant have had widely publicized issues with privacy. Whether it is the amount of data they collect or the fact that they reportedly pay employees and, at times, external contractors from all over the world to listen to recordings to improve accuracy, the potential is there for sensitive personal information to be leaked through these devices.

But the risks extend not just to our relationship with Amazon. Major privacy concerns are starting to emerge in the way Alexa devices interact with other services – risking a dystopian spiral of increasing surveillance and control.

The setup of the Echo turns Amazon into an extra gateway that every online interaction has to pass through, collecting data on each one. Alexa knows what you are searching for, listening to or sending in your messages. Some smartphones do this already, particularly those made by Google and Apple who control the hardware, software and cloud services.

But the difference with the Echo is that it brings together the worst aspects of smartphones and smart homes. It is not a personal device but integrated into the home environment, always waiting to listen in. 

Alexa even features an art project (not created by Amazon) that tries to make light of this with the creepy “Ask the Listeners” function that makes comments about just how much the device is spying on you. Some Echo devices already have cameras, and if facial recognition capabilities were added we could enter a world of pervasive monitoring in our most private spaces, even tracked as we move between locations.

This technology gives Amazon a huge amount of control over your data, which has long been the aim of most of the tech giants. While Apple and Google – who face their own privacy issues – have similar voice assistants, they have at least made progress running the software directly on their devices so they won’t need to transfer recordings of your voice commands to their servers.

Amazon doesn’t appear to be trying to do the same. This is, in part, because of the firm’s aggressive business model. Amazon’s systems appear not just designed to collect as much data as they can but also to create ways of sharing it. So the potential issues run much deeper than Alexa listening in on private moments.

Sharing with law enforcement

One area of concern is the potential for putting the ears of law enforcement in our homes, schools, and workplaces. Apple has a history of resisting FBI requests for user data, and Twitter is relatively transparent about reporting on how it responds to requests from governments.

But Ring, the internet-connected home-security camera company owned by Amazon, has a high-profile relationship with police that involves handing over user data. Even the way citizens and police communicate is increasingly monitored and controlled by Amazon.

This risks embedding a culture of state surveillance in Amazon’s operations, which could have worrying consequences. We’ve seen numerous examples of law enforcement and other government bodies in democratic countries using personal data to spy on people, both in breach of the law and within it but for reasons that go far beyond the prevention of terrorism.

This kind of mass surveillance also creates a severe potential for discrimination, as it has been shown repeatedly to have a worse impact on women and minority groups.
If Amazon isn’t willing to push back, it’s not hard to imagine Alexa recordings being handed over to the requests of government employees and law enforcement officers who might be willing to violate the spirit or letter of the law. And given international intelligence-sharing agreements, even if you trust your own government, do you trust others?

In response to this issue, an Amazon spokesperson said: “Amazon does not disclose customer information in response to government demands unless we’re required to do so to comply with a legally valid and binding order. Amazon objects to overbroad or otherwise inappropriate demands as a matter of course.

"Ring customers decide whether to share footage in response to asks from local police investigating cases. Local police are not able to see any information related to which Ring users received a request and whether they declined to share or opt-out of future requests.” They added that although local police can access Ring’s Neighbors app for reporting criminal and suspicious activity, they cannot see or access user account information.

Tracking health issues

Health is another area where Amazon appears to be attempting a takeover. The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) has signed a deal for medical advice to be provided via the Echo. At face value, this simply extends ways of accessing publicly available information like the NHS website or phone line 111 – no official patient data is being shared.

But it creates the possibility that Amazon could start tracking what health information we ask for through Alexa, effectively building profiles of users’ medical histories. This could be linked to online shopping suggestions, third-party ads for costly therapies, or even ads that are potentially traumatic (think women who’ve suffered miscarriages being shown baby products).

An Amazon spokesperson said: “Amazon does not build customer health profiles based on interactions with content or use such requests for marketing purposes. Alexa does not have access to any personal or private information from the NHS.”

The crudeness and glitches of algorithmic advertising would violate the professional and moral standards that health services strive to maintain. Plus it would be highly invasive to treat the data in the same way many Echo recordings are. Would you want a random external contractor to know you were asking for sexual health advice?


Underlying these issues is a lack of real transparency. Amazon is disturbingly quiet, evasive and reluctant to act when it comes to tackling the privacy implications of their practices, many of which are buried deep within their terms and conditions or hard-to-find settings. Even tech-savvy users don’t necessarily know the full extent of the privacy risks, and when privacy features are added, they often only make users aware after researchers or the press raise the issue. It is entirely unfair to place such a burden on users to find out and mitigate what these risks are.

So if you have an Echo in your home, what should you do? There are many tips available on how to make the device more private, such as setting voice recordings to automatically delete or limiting what data is shared with third parties. But smart tech is almost always surveillance tech, and the best piece of advice is not to bring one into your home.
In response to the main points of this article, an Amazon spokesperson told The Conversation:
"At Amazon, customer trust is at the centre of everything we do and we take privacy and security very seriously. We have always believed that privacy has to be foundational and built in to every piece of hardware, software, and service that we create. From the beginning, we’ve put customers in control and always look for ways to make it even easier for customers to have transparency and control over their Alexa experience. We’ve introduced several privacy improvements including the option to have voice recordings automatically deleted after three or 18 months on an ongoing basis, the ability to ask Alexa to “delete what I just said” and “delete what I said today,” and the Alexa Privacy Hub, a resource available globally that is dedicated to helping customers learn more about our approach to privacy and the controls they have. We’ll continue to invent more privacy features on behalf of customers."

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Trump's Speech of Lies in Davos

With disgust and shock, I listened to Trump's speech in Davos last week. It sounded almost like one of his usual election campaigns. Even though it might have been written for him for the occasion. First, he dissed his predecessor, President Obama, without naming. Then he listed in a staccato his successes as 45th president. One lie after the other:

The result could hardly be more idiotic: Since Trump's election, America's economy has not gained market share worldwide but has continued to lose it - from 10.8 to 10.2 %. According to OECD estimates, US exports this year will grow more slowly than average demand in the sales markets for the fourth year in a row. Last year, US sales worldwide may even have fallen. Great revival...

Conversely, import pressure has not eased either. The share of total demand that was covered by purchases from a distance was 15.2 % in the USA in 2016 - now it is 15.6 %. Turnaround? None!

The preliminary Trump balance sheet for foreign trade as a whole is correspondingly bizarre. According to OECD forecasts, the Americans are likely to receive 600 billion dollars more on balance from abroad than they sell there. That is 170 billion - or 40 percent - more deficit than when the "dealmaker" started. This means that the US economy is once again approaching the records that were set shortly before the major financial crisis of 2007 took hold. As a reminder, the goal was a reduction, not an explosion. And this is not only statistically relevant.

Industrial Jobs are Being Cut
No revival of the industry - and of the regions where, as in the legendary Rust Belt, so many have chosen Trump out of frustration. Since 2016, the share of industrial jobs in employment in the USA has not risen again but has continued to fall. Worse still, since the economy began to weaken in 2019, not only is the ratio falling - real jobs are also being cut again.

While, all in all, a good 2.1 million more people were employed nationwide at the end of the year than a year earlier, there were almost 20,000 fewer jobs in the US auto industry. The mining industry lost 21,000 jobs within one year. Even in the oil and gas industry, which Trump protected so well, jobs were recently cut again (minus 24,000), according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The preliminary balance sheet is no better with regard to Donald Trump's declared intention to revive economic dynamism in the USA through major tax reform. This came at the beginning of 2018, which reduced the government's revenue ratio by a good 2.5 percentage points - to 31.2 percent of gross domestic product.

What has so far failed to materialize is the noticeable revival of economic momentum beyond the short-term one-off effect. US companies basically did not need the tax breaks, says Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz. Anyway, they had historically a lot of money that they still didn't invest. Measured by GDP, investments today are lower than in the 1990s - not higher.

The national deficit is soaring senselessly. No wonder is apparent in the productivity statistics either. On the contrary: at around one percent per year, the increases are actually much lower than the 1.7 percent between 1992 and 2002.

In reality, many companies have hoarded the money and bought their own shares - for lack of confidence in future real sales opportunities. What made the stock boom figures more beautiful is nothing that makes the country stronger or more innovative.

This is all the more dramatic because the tax break was quite expensive. Last year, the national deficit skyrocketed to seven percent of GDP - more than twice as much as Europe's peak value was once set. And this is the best time for the economy when it would be easy to run surpluses. It is not difficult to predict that in the next recession it will quickly reach ten percent or more. Like once in Greece or Ireland around 2010.

The total debt ratio for the USA is now well above 100 percent of GDP. Even that would be half as bad if the money had been invested in things that are important for the future and would then pay off at some point - whether in rebuilding the infrastructure or fighting further climate disasters. But now it is instead in the stock portfolios of people who are already well-off.

What's crazy is that none of this will necessarily lead to Trump's popularity ratings plummeting. All the side effects may not be felt until the next crisis: when masses of people in the industry lose their jobs again; when taxes rise for everyone in order to reduce government deficits. Or when the Americans realize that all that beautiful money should have been better invested in schools, bridges and a stable climate.




Sunday, January 19, 2020

7 Easy Tips How to Improve Your Writing

When you are reading your writing, all you need to do is to watch out for seven typical weak points. "If you can find them and fix them, you will be well on your way to improving your writing skills" advises Derek Haines. You can learn how to become a better writer by noticing common weaknesses:

The Passive Is To Be Eradicated

Well, I should say that you need to eradicate the passive. It is the first piece of advice great writers learn.
The active voice is always more descriptive and gives much more information. The passive voice is quick and easy, and because of this, it very often simply slips out of a writer’s fingers in a first draft. But it is uninformative.
As soon as you see the verb to be followed by a past participle, change it as in the following examples.
was instructed to go on a diet. My doctor instructed me to go on a diet.
We have been told that our flight has been delayed.
The airline told us that there was a delay in our flight.

This, That and The Other

This might come as a surprise. Um, what will?  Starting a sentence with this or that is usually a bad idea because it is often an unclear pronoun.
I didn’t finish high school. That was because I had to work.
I didn’t finish high school because I had to work.
The government is out of control. This is why I won’t vote for them.
I won’t vote for the government because it is out of control.

Read all of Derek Haines' fantastic advice on how to become a better writer:


Advice on how to market your books can be found here:

111 Tips on How to Market Your Book for Free:
Detailed Plans and Smart Strategies for Your Book’s Success 

Book Marketing on a Shoestring:
How Authors Can Promote their Books 

Without Spending a Lot of Money