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Mercury in Retrograde: When technology and communications go haywire

Your survival guide to a crazy season

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Photo: Kim Kardashian

Buckle up, everyone! Mercury is retrograde once again. In Astrology, this means the planet that governs technology, communications, and our very own thought processes spins backward. In our reality, it means doomsday is coming.

When Mercury is in retrograde flights and travels are usually delayed, people from the past pop back in our lives, communication systems break down, and our gadgets get into accidents or start malfunctioning.


More importantly, this season makes everything fluid. Nothing will be set in stone. Decisions are usually changed when the season ends, so it’s not a good time to sign contracts, schedule surgeries, have makeovers, launch a new project, or shop for electronic devices.

But fret not, this season shall pass. Here’s what you should do before, during, and after the Mercury retrograde.

Protect your gadgets and gizmos with trusty cases and accessories

Honey, this season makes us feel frustrated, agitated, and annoyed. Often, we’ll be rushing and getting into accidents. You might drop your phone on the toilet, break them, or forget them on a cab or restaurant. You gotta get yourself some strap to keep your phone with you at all times and dress them up with hard, shock-proof cases. Should they fall from your hands, you know they’re safe.

Back up your data, make sure it’s safe and secure

Okay, Jenny, listen up. Mercury in retrograde is the season where we lose important stuff moments before we actually need them. It can be your keys, card, or presentation for your next meeting. The point here is you should back up all necessary data. Flash drives might break, Google Drive and other forms of storage may not work properly at the time you need them. The next thing you know, your life is in shambles.

Another thing to worry about is security and privacy. This season is also the time when people’s secrets tend to get exposed, such as your affair with your best friend’s boyfriend or your intimate videos getting leaked in the deepest, darkest corner of the internet. Keep your reputations from being smeared!

Double check what you type and say

Be careful with miscommunication, my dear. It’s normal to feel there’s chaos in your head since Mercury in retrograde disrupts our thought processes. We become forgetful and more prone to mistakes, so double check the typo, and don’t forget to hit send. In addition, think twice before voicing out your opinions and emotions. Take a deep breath, and think before you click. Your words are powerful. Once you’ve hurt someone with it, you can be forgiven but they’ll never forget.

P.S. Be mindful of what you post or tweet if you don’t want to get dragged on social media.

 

Keep your emotions in check and block your exes

If you haven’t blocked your exes until today, you need to re-evaluate your life, Susan. During this season, we barely use our logic and just follow our emotions. There might come a time where you want to send a seven-paragraph message to your ex, please don’t. You owe it to yourself to move on from the past and stop them from coming back to your life.

Oh, one more thing: Stay open to possible opportunities. Sure, Mercury in retrograde brings our past lovers back from hell, but they also bring in colleagues we’ve worked with. Most of the time, they want to work with us again. Additionally, this is a good time to reconnect with old friends. Seriously, this period isn’t that bad.

Be extremely flexible (not just in yoga but also in life)

If there’s one thing you can learn from this, it’s that life doesn’t always work out in our favor. It’s a reminder to always find a way. Be flexible and adaptable to every surprise that life brings. If we’re going to give in to our emotions, we already lost. Take a step back and reassess what’s happening, compose yourself and think of a solution. This is just another storm that’s passing by. You will overcome this.

Take a moment to slow down

Lastly, like any retrograde season, it’s a cue from the planets and the stars to slow down. We’re all rushing from one point to another, and we’re moving extremely fast. Planets spin backward to remind us that we need to look back and slow down to appreciate how far we’ve come, what we’ve been doing with our lives, and catch up on what we missed. Above all, it’s a reminder to rest. You’re doing well, my friend. I’m proud of you.

Accessories

9 gifts to enhance your kid’s multiple intelligence

There are more ways to learn!

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Photo by Annie Spratt/Unsplash

Every kid has its own potential. As grown-ups, we excel in different fields simply because we are smart in different ways. In Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences, there are eight types of intelligence which are a big factor in how a kid learns.

Simply put, learning isn’t limited to school and there isn’t a single style of learning. The way your children play, interact and behave strongly shows how they learn differently, and what kind of field they will excel in.


Here are gift ideas for any occasion that you can get your children based on their intelligence:

For the word smart

Photo by Kindle

Kids exhibiting high linguistic intelligence are typically good at reading and writing. They’re also great storytellers and showcases strong memorization skills.

Help them enhance their verbal and written skills by giving them a Kindle Unlimited subscription, offering over 1 million titles and thousands of audiobooks. These can be easily accessed using your Kindle device, or through Kindle reading apps on your tablets or smartphones.

For the number smart

Photo by Square Off

Some kids are great at reasoning and critical thinking. Additionally, these are the kids that are great at logic, abstract, and numbers. In Gardner’s terms, these are the kids with logical-mathematical intelligence.

Let them polish their strategic and critical thinking by giving them an electronic chessboard, such as Square Off’s Chess Set.

For the picture smart

Photo by LEGO

Visual-spatial intelligence revolves around the ability to visualize and think through images. Kids exhibiting this style of learning are highly imaginative and creative, often they set on career paths related to arts and multimedia.

Hone their creativity by giving them a LEGO set, maybe The Rexcelsior ones? 

For the body smart

Photo from Amazon

There are kids who have higher energy compared to his/her peers. Most of them can’t sit still and would rather move around. Their learning style is a bit different, which requires them to use their bodies or observe someone’s movement. Kids like these exhibit bodily-kinesthetic intelligence.

Gift them a badminton racket and let them play to their heart’s content.

For the music smart

Photo by The ONE

If your kid recognizes sounds with ease, he/she probably exhibits strong musical intelligence. In other words, they have a good ear for music, and they can easily learn songs and melodies. Most of the time, they’re also gifted at singing, composing, and playing an instrument.

Support their talent by getting them a smart keyboard like The ONE’s Light Keyboard, which has keys that light up with sheet music, video lessons, and games when connected with The ONE Smart Piano app.

For the people smart

Photo by Amazon

Nowadays, technology makes it difficult for people to connect with someone. We’ve developed a culture where everyone would rather look down on screens than interact with the people they’re with. But there are kids who enjoy talking to people, and these are kids with high interpersonal intelligence.

Highlight the importance of engaging with people real-time and how fun it could be. Gift them a board game like Scrabble.

For the self smart

Some kids are more attuned to their self and have a far better understanding than their parents do. These are kids with high intrapersonal intelligence, and they are adept in figuring themselves out and knowing what they want.

Help them explore their inner selves by giving them a journal to write their thoughts down.

For the nature smart

Kids with naturalist intelligence are natural-born explorers, who know how to enjoy and appreciate nature. They love the great outdoors and they would thrive in activities that involve discovering the wonders of nature.

Next time you’re traveling with your family, instead of arcades and malls, bring them to a zoo or a botanical garden, like the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest in Singapore.

For the life smart

There are highly sensitive kids who have the capacity to tackle deep questions, and in Gardner’s theory, these are the kids who have existential intelligence. They ponder about human existence and they have a lot of questions about life (and even death).

Allow your children to be curious. Give them a book that makes them think and ask questions (and possible get answers), such as Stephen Hawking’s Brief Answers to the Big Questions.

What other gift ideas do you recommend for children? Sounds off in the comments below.

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These are the best cities for women entrepreneurs to thrive

Singapore ranks third in Asia Pacific, behind Sydney and Melbourne

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At the 10th annual Dell Women Entrepreneur Network Summit in Singapore, Dell announced findings of the 2019 Women Entrepreneur Cities (WE Cities) Index, ranking 50 global cities on their ability to foster growth for women entrepreneurs. Dell ranks cities based on the impact of local policies, programs, and characteristics in addition to national laws and customs to help improve support for women entrepreneurs and the overall economy.

Building on 10 years of research on women entrepreneurs, Dell partnered with IHS Markit to research and rank 50 cities on five important characteristics, including access to Capital, Technology, Talent, Culture and Markets.


The San Francisco Bay Area outranked New York for the No. 1 spot this year, mostly due to the city being one of the best places for women to gain access to capital. It also moved from 6th place to 2nd place in Culture, showing that the number of role models and public dialogue around eliminating the “bro culture” is making an impact.

Lack of funding, high cost of living, low representation of women in leadership roles and the lack of government-led policies that support women entrepreneurs were among the barriers globally.

Cities in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region are improving alongside all other cities globally, but still have a long way to go. Singapore, one of the only three cities from Southeast Asia to make it to the top 50, saw the highest improvement in the Talent pillar, as it benefitted from increasing its top school and business school rankings, as well as its pool of professionals needed to help scale businesses.

APAC cities mainly fell behind in the pillars for Culture and Markets. Despite making the top 50, Singapore’s Culture score was relatively low due to fewer female role models or leaders, although it’s still more advanced than majority of its neighbors in addressing gender parity issues.

Singapore ranks only No. 47 globally for the Markets pillar, because of the high cost of living in the city despite the lack of accelerators and relatively few female board members.

The WE Cities Index serves as a diagnostic tool to advise policy-makers on how to better support women in business.

“By arming city leaders and policymakers with actionable, data-driven research on the landscape for women entrepreneurs, we can collectively accelerate the success of women-owned businesses by removing financial, cultural and political barriers,” says Karen Quintos, EVP and chief customer officer at Dell Technologies.

The same way US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg argued in her landmark cases that gender discrimination hurts men and women alike, Singapore Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu also emphasized at the summit that it’s not only women who want a better work life balance; men also want to be able to spend more time with their families.

This is where technology comes in. Technology, as a gender-neutral enabler, helps drive progress in gender equality by creating a level playing field, says Amit Midha, President of Asia Pacific & Japan, Global Digital Cities at Dell Technologies. It’s important to empower and invest in women not just because it’s been proven time and again that women help economies grow, but also because doing so benefits men and society as a whole.

SEE ALSO: Inspiring quotes from Dell Women Entrepreneur Network Summit 2019

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FaceApp goes viral again, raises security concerns

Taking social media by storm

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FaceApp is taking social media by storm once again. The popular editing app which went viral two years ago has resurfaced after celebrities, YouTubers, and even NBA stars posted elderly versions of themselves.

Quick to jump in the bandwagon, people followed and started posting their aged version on Twitter and Instagram. Fancy seeing a glimpse of yourself in the future, as well? Here’s how you can do it.


Easy, step-by-step guide on FaceApp

Download FaceApp via Google Play Store or the App Store. Open the app and select the photo you want to edit. Pro tip: Avoid using selfies with caps, sunglasses, and other accessories on.

After choosing a photo, you can then pick from an array of filters: Beauty, gender-swap, or the old age filter that everyone is obsessing over, and many more!

Using the old age filter, you can see how you’d look like when you’re over 60 years old. If you want to see how you and your partner look when you’re old and wrinkly, just apply the filter first on your face since you can only apply it one at a time. Then, save it, and upload the saved image to apply the filter once again.

You can do this with group photos, too, except you’ll need more patience. It’s an excruciating process but isn’t it worthwhile?

Is our security compromised?

FaceApp’s sudden virality has raised major privacy concerns, just like when Zepeto went viral last year. This is almost always the case when the app in question appears to be collecting data from its unknowing users.

A report on Fast Company indicates that the Russian company behind FaceApp saves the photos uploaded by transmitting it to their servers back in Russia. While it’s all fun and magic on your end, the report supposes your security may be compromised.

Moreover, the US government poses the app as a threat to national security, prompting the FBI to investigate the Russian startup. Will this be a similar saga between the US and China trade war? Let’s hope it won’t escalate into a bigger issue.

FaceApp has responded to these allegations claiming that images are deleted from their servers within 48 hours from the upload date.

At the end of the day, FaceApp is pretty much similar to Facebook and Google, who have taken more information from us than we realize. If you’re still afraid, the best course here is to stay away from photo editing apps and resist the urge to try senseless features for the sake of fun and likes on social media.

 

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