Simple English Wikipedia

Screen shot 2013-07-10 at 8.28.57 AMWe are all familiar with the on-line reader-written Wikipedia. Although over the years it has been often criticized for errors, it has been gaining respect for being a surprisingly reliable source of information. While not accepted as a source for scholarly work, it is often an excellent place for the average information-seeker to learn quickly about the life of a bumblebee, the work of an 18th century author or an explanation of scientific phenomena. I turn to it myself quite often. Sometimes I learn ‘enough’ to satisfy my question, and other times I use it as a bouncing off point to research further.

Recently I learned about another Wikipedia.

It’s called Simple English Wikipedia, and it is designed for use by people whose first language is not English.

It is not a dumbed-down version. Rather it is written with basic English and shorter sentences.

From the cover page of their website: “We use Simple English words and grammar here. The Simple English Wikipedia is for everyone! That includes children and adults who are learning English. There are 101,790 articles on the Simple English Wikipedia.”

Simple English Wikipedia. What a great idea!

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Easter Eggs on Your Computer, iPad and iPhone

Screen shot 2013-03-30 at 7.48.59 AMIt is Easter weekend, and the perfect time to send YOU on an Easter Egg hunt.

An “Easter Egg” is a hidden joke or message that a computer programmer has embedded in their work. The very first Easter Egg was hidden in an Atari Game, Adventure, back in 1979. The programmer had secretly stashed his name and it was up to the players to find it.

And these days those Easter Eggs are not just hidden in games, they exist in all kinds of programs. Even those YOU use every day.

So let’s look at two popular Easter Eggs that are ‘hidden’ in Google.

Try this:

Bring up the Google search engine page on your computer or iPhone.

Type in the query: zerg rush

Tap your search button and sit back.

Yikes! I won’t say here what happens … it’s up to you to try it. It won’t hurt anything. It is just a silly Easter Egg reference to a fondly remembered video game for all those wacky programmer folks at Google.

Here is another:

Go to the Google Screen on your iPhone.

Query the word: tilt

When your search results for ’tilt’ show up, they should be ……. tilted. :)

Enjoy your Easter Eggs!

Freecycle “Changing the World One Gift at a Time”

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If you are not familiar with Freecycle, I am excited to be the one to let you in on this fabulous group.

It is a worldwide network with over 9 million members, where people give away stuff and also get stuff … all in their own neighborhood!

It costs nothing to participate, and the rewards are great.

Their mission statement sums it up, well:
“Our mission is to build a worldwide gifting movement that reduces waste, saves precious resources & eases the burden on our landfills while enabling our members to benefit from the strength of a larger community.”

Simply, this is how it works:

First, you join your local Freecycle group. (links will follow)

(After joining, I suggest you follow the threads for a few days to get a feel for the activity in the group.)

Then …. jump in! Let the group know if you have something to give away, and members will contact you if they would like to ‘receive’ your item. OR If you see something that you would like, just contact that member and let them know that you would like to have it. It’s people just shifting around their stuff. Genius in its simplicity.

I have participated in Freecycle for years. I have given away lamps, a ping pong table, outdoor furniture and more. Things that I no longer needed, but were gladly received by others. I’ve been on the receiving end a few times, as well, and the experience has been delightful. Everyone wins!

Learn more about Freecycle at

Find a group in your area and make others happy as you simplify your life and whittle down your ‘stuff’ :)