office politicsAlmost 50 percent of workers surveyed by the staffing agency Robert Half said that office politics were necessary to get ahead.

Of the 80 percent of workers who experienced office politics on the job, 46 percent said the most common form was gossiping or spreading rumors. Another 28 percent said “gaining favor by flattering the boss.” Joy remembers an intern she knew at a California newspaper years ago. He was always flattering the boss, and though he couldn’t find Afghanistan on a map and wasn’t sure it was a country, he became editor. Bob recalls being interviewed by a managing editor at the New York Times whose career was public relations.

Robert Half puts out a free guide for steering clear of the most common mistakes, like sharing personal details with the office gossiper. Find it by searching on the phrase “How to Navigate Office Politics Robert Half,” or click here.

Losing the Internet

“It’s my turn to cry HELP!!!” wrote a reader. She downloaded Windows 10 and all of a sudden, she couldn’t connect to the Internet. We read up on this problem and it seemed the most likely solution was to update your  network adapter driver.

If you Google those words, you get instructions on how to do it. Well that sounded promising, but in fact it didn’t work. It turned out there was a little switch on the side of her Dell laptop that toggles the Internet connection on and off. On our HP laptop, it’s a little button on the keyboard that shares space with the F12 key. Strange are the ways of computer designers.

ted talks bookTED Talks, the Official Guide

“TED” began as an annual conference, featuring people in technology, entertainment and design. Now it covers many topics of interest and draws audiences of more than a thousand people directly, and close to two million at their web site

You can browse the talks by categories at their web site; many have also been posted to YouTube. Not all the speakers are well known; in fact, many of them were totally unknown before speaking at a TED conference. Some are a
ctually interesting. Sample subjects: “Do schools kill creativity?” “Why We Do What We Do.” “The Power of Introverts.”

“TED Talks, the Official TED Guide to Public Speaking,” is a new book by Chris Anderson, head of TED. It’s $28 from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. The book has some great advice for becoming a speaker on TED, plus a list of TED speakers. You can also search on the term “Best TED talks.”

One of the key strategies is surprise. Start with an unusual premise that seems to go opposite to common sense. Anderson writes about a speaker who outlined two scenarios: In one, you win the lottery. In the other, you become a paraplegic. He tries to prove that both outcomes produce the same degree of happiness in the end, because of human adaptability.

App Happy

greger appThough always thin and a healthy eater, Joy’s cholesterol dropped 100 points, right into the normal level, when she started following a “nutrient-dense, plant-rich” diet. Now there’s an app for that.

“Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen,” free for iPhone and Android, gives you a checklist for healthy living, following his best-selling book, “How Not to Die.” Each item on the checklist has an information button. For instance, he suggests a daily serving of a cruciferous veggie, and gives examples such as broccoli, arugula, bok choy, radishes, cabbage and seven others. As you check off an item, the app keeps track and has daily reminders to consult the list. A gold star lights up when you complete the checklist, which includes exercise.

Giving Away a Kindle Fire

Somehow we ended up owning three tablets. So we tried to give away our original Kindle Fire to a friend whose sight is failing. We thought she would enjoy listening to books aloud from the Audible app. Then we got a surprise.

amazon click and youre doneDespite de-registering our tablet and re-registering it in her name, using the Amazon password she shared with us, all the Audible books we’d previously downloaded to the tablet were still there. So she started with a huge library.

But de-and-re registering our Kindle Fire totally confused the device. After the first successful log on, we couldn’t get our friend logged on. So we re-registered it back to our name, but that didn’t help. We still couldn’t log on. Amazon tech support finally got it going again. It’s a constant surprise to us but calling tech support sometimes works. The Amazon number is 888-280-4331.

Mac News

The next version of the Mac operating system, dubbed “macOS Sierra” is coming out this fall and will be free. Here are a few new features:

  • mac osA “Universal Clipboard.” If you copy something from one Apple device, you can paste it into any other.
  • “Siri,” the voice assistant for iPhone and iPad, is coming to the Mac. To reach her, you hold down a function key and tap the space bar.
  • An option to let your files automatically upload to your private iCloud account on the web, so you always have a backup. The first five gigabytes of storage are free. (This is often the only way many people have a backup of anything. And that includes us.)
  • “Memories” automatically combines related photos into a movie with pan and zoom effects and a soundtrack.
  • An option to automatically empty the trash every 30 days. (This brings up Bob’s favorite excuse for turning away intrusive people: “Sorry, I have to empty my wastebaskets.”)





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