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Welcome to the September/October '10 Newsletter.


8. PS - Internet/computer-related links


1. Hello

Trust this finds you well.

Trust this finds you well & enjoying your teaching.

We are joined for the first by Zainab Saleh AlBulushy with two articles; 'Paper Dictionary or Electronic One?' & 'Bilingual Education and Code-Switching'. And Abdullah Coskun joins us again with his 'Teaching Connected Speech' article. As usual, lots of links below.

Do keep sending in plans & articles that you would like to see published.

Happy teaching!


We continue to offer a new unit in Michael Berman's twelve intermediate conversation lessons 'Let's Talk About It'. Each month we have the chance to download a new unit of the book. To visit the page:


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We set it all up for you & you provide the courses. You don't need to provide the actual course, this can simply be an online presence, a way of keeping in touch with your students, a meeting
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Stop press! : Britain closes to foreign students
In a move that sidesteps the UK Court of Appeal and the Houses of Parliament, and right as theGazette goes to press, the British government has given just 24 hours' notice of a change to immigration law.
The change bans adult students from coming to the UK to study English or any other course below degree level for more than six months, unless they have passed a specified intermediate English qualification at B1 level on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).
A new list of qualifications comes into effect from 12 August; the only ones accepted for entry are Toefl, Ielts, the Pearson Test of Academic English and Cambridge Esol exams. Among the qualifications no longer accepted is Toeic, the world's largest English language exam, which is taken by over four million candidates a year and dominates in Korea and Japan, the two largest markets for English language courses in Britain.
Students out of luck
The government laid the new immigration rules before parliament just 24 hours before implementation and three days before the beginning of the summer recess. It also comes at the peak time for student applications for courses for the next academic year. The House has forty days to disagree with the judgment, in which case the government must amend it, but this is unlikely to happen before autumn. Meanwhile, thousands of students will be rejected because they do not have the right language level, or because they do not have the correct qualifications.
The move follows two important rulings on the UK's student immigration policy by the British courts. In the first case, known as Pankina, three Lord Justices of the Courts of Appeal ruled, in what they described as a question of 'constitutional importance and real difficulty', that amendments to the immigration rules must be laid before parliament. In the second case, brought by language-centre association English UK, the Judge also ruled (following the precedent set in Pankina) that the language levels could not be increased to B1 without a negative resolution procedure (the forty-day period above) being implemented.
UKBA admits mistake
The Gazette has also obtained evidence (see p5 of our September issue) that the UK Border Agency has taken the decision to reintroduce the B1 level even after admitting that it had been wrong in claiming that B1 was 'just below a GCSE in a modern foreign language'. This would make it equivalent to the foreign language level of an English 16 year old. The comparison to GCSE was first made on 10 February and has been repeated by ministers in statements to the House and to the public. It was also used in court in the English UK case.
However, on 16 February Dr Brian North, who developed the CEFR levels, wrote a letter to the UKBA pointing out that a GCSE pass is a low A2, two school years below the B1 level, and that high-school students in most northern European countries require seven years of English at school to achieve that level - making it equivalent, in British terms, to at least an AS-level pass.
The UKBA did not reply to Dr North's letter, saying that when a copy was sent to them by theGazette it had been 'overlooked'. The UKBA's Jeremy Oppenheim finally replied on 20 July, agreeing that the comparison to GCSE was 'simplistic', but argued that it was the correct level for language students. Two days after sending the letter, the government reintroduced the B1 requirement.

The EL Gazette digital team.


Oxford English Dictionary 'will not be printed again'
The next edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, the world's most definitive work on the language, will never be printed because of the impact of the internet on book sales.
Sales of the third edition of the vast tome have fallen due to the increasing popularity of online alternatives, according to its publisher.
A team of 80 lexicographers has been working on the third edition of the OED – known as OED3 – for the past 21 years.
The dictionary's owner, Oxford University Press (OUP), said the impact of the internet means OED3 will probably appear only in electronic form.
The most recent OED has existed online for more than a decade, where it receives two million hits a month from subscribers who pay an annual fee of £240.
"The print dictionary market is just disappearing, it is falling away by tens of per cent a year," Nigel Portwood, the chief executive of OUP, told the Sunday Times. Asked if he thought the third edition would be printed, he said: "I don't think so."
Almost one third of a million entries were contained in the second version of the OED, published in 1989 across 20 volumes.
The next full edition is still estimated to be more than a decade away from completion; only 28 per cent has been finished to date.
OUP said it would continue to print the more familiar Oxford Dictionary of English, the single-volume version sold in bookshops and which contains more contemporary entries such as vuvuzela, the plastic trumpet encountered in the 2010 football World Cup.
Mr Portwood said printed dictionaries had a shelf life of about another 30 years, with the pace of change increased by the popularity of e-books and devices such as the Apple iPad and Amazon's Kindle.
Simon Winchester, author of 'The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary', said the switch towards online formats was "prescient".
He said: "Until six months ago I was clinging to the idea that printed books would likely last for ever. Since the arrival of the iPad I am now wholly convinced otherwise.
"The printed book is about to vanish at extraordinary speed. I have two complete OEDs, but never consult them – I use the online OED five or six times daily. The same with many of my reference books – and soon with most.
"Books are about to vanish; reading is about to expand as a pastime; these are inescapable realities."
The first dictionary in recognisable format was Samuel Johnson's, which was published in 1755. It remained the standard text for 150 years until the OUP embarked on its project in 1879.
The first OED came out in sections from 1884, completed in 1928.
Despite its worldwide reputation, the OED has never made a profit. The continuing research costs several million pounds a year. "These are the sort of long-term research projects which will never cover their costs, but are something that we choose to do," Mr Portwood said.
A spokesman for the OUP said a print version of OED3 could not be ruled out "if there is sufficient demand at the time" but that its completion was "likely to be more than a decade" away.


Climate change and the vuvuzela leave mark on Oxford Dictionary of English
Other words and phrases introduced for the latest edition include 'toxic debt', 'staycation', 'cheesebal' and 'national treasure'

The World Cup in South Africa, climate change, the credit crunch and technology have all left their mark on the way we talk, the new edition of the Oxford Dictionary of English reveals, as the latest crop of new words to be added to its pages is published today.

Football fans will perhaps be unsurprised to learn that the vuvuzela, whose apian drone soundtracked yet another summer of hurt, has blared its way into the dictionary's pages. By being ushered into the dictionary, which is based on how language is really used, the metre-long plastic horn has cemented its immortality as well as its ubiquity.

Climate change, an issue only marginally less controversial than refereeing, has also made its mark. Even the most ardent sceptics will no longer be able to deny the existence of "carbon capture and storage" – the process of trapping and storing carbon dioxide produced by burning fossil fuels — or "geo-engineering", better known as the manipulation of environmental processes to counteract the effects of global warming. The new words appear today in the third edition of the single volume dictionary, which was first published in 1998.

Two of the buzzwords of this economically squeezed epoch also figure: toxic debt, used to describe a debt that has a high default risk, and the rather less snappy quantitative easing: the introduction of new money into the national supply by a central bank.

The virtual world, as ever, proffers plenty of its own jargon. The new edition has finally cottoned on to social media and microblogging. Slightly less quotidian is the phrase dictionary attack, which describes an attempt to gain illicit access to a computer system by using an enormous set of words to generate potential passwords. The new edition also dusts off and polishes a couple of terms – staycation (a holiday spent in one's home country), national treasure (someone or something regarded as emblematic of a nation's cultural heritage, normally Judi Dench or Stephen Fry) – that feel as though they have been in common usage for some while.

To balance them out among the 2,000 or so new items there are a few more left-field choices.

Among them are cheeseball, which refers to someone or something lacking taste, style or originality, and the more disturbing phenomenon of hikikomori, the Japanese word for the acute social withdrawal that occurs in some teenage boys.


Understanding Language Development


Bangladesh calls up 1m mobile phone lessons
The BBC World Service Trust says that its Janala project to provide English language lessons via mobile phones in Bangladesh has delivered more than 1m lessons in its first three months.
The project was launched in November and offers weekly audio lessons and quizzes delivered to users' handsets. The three-minute lessons cost around 4 cents each.
"We knew demand for English was strong in Bangladesh, but the response to Janala has been nothing short of phenomenal," said Sara Chamberlain, who runs the project's Bangladesh team.
"The growth of mobile is clearly creating an opportunity to provide access to education in a way simply not possible before."
Janala is part of an initiative funded by the UK Department for International Development to raise the language skills of 25 million people in Bangladesh by 2017.

Learning with laughter
Experienced teachers find that when it comes to an effective classroom environment a sense of humour is essential


Life after TEFL - Anna Blackaby has some career advice for people who are worried about what comes after teaching English overseas


Learners are getting lost without translation skills
The drive to banish learners' mother tongues from classrooms denies them the vital skill of negotiating meaning between two languages, which is why translation needs to come in from the cold


Britain facing humiliating decline in foreign languages, says peer

Britain is sliding towards a "humiliating decline" in its contribution to world affairs because of dwindling foreign language teaching, an independent peer has told The Times.

Baroness Coussins, a Cambridge modern languages graduate, criticised Britain's dismissive and short-sighted attitude to languages.

Language lessons were to become mandatory in primary schools next year but this was quietly dropped before the election. The number of teenagers taking language GCSEs has fallen by a third since 2004, when they became optional.

While all three parties have voiced their support for language tuition, Labour presided over dropping the compulsory element at 14 and the new coalition has not vowed to reverse this.Lady Coussins, who chairs the AllParty Parliamentary Group on Modern Languages, said every pupil should learn languages until the age of 16, even if this was not at GCSE level.

She added: "When I was appointed to the House of Lords in 2007, I decided to champion languages and set up the group. I was amazed there wasn't one already.

"We don't just need specialists[. . .] we need people with conversational ability, who can be police officers, hotel receptionists or London Transport workers. We need to get our act together for the 2012 Olympics."

Lady Coussins has written parliamentary questions, to find out if the new Government plans to tackle the subject, which she will table at the State Opening of Parliament.




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Paper Dictionary or Electronic One? by Zainab Saleh AlBulushy

When talking about dictionaries, several questions appear in mind. Those are related to types, uses, effectiveness and strategies. The issue of paper dictionaries versus electronic ones is a very significant debate especially in the language teaching/ learning process. This paper discusses this issue from the points of views of students and teachers. It evaluates students' use of both dictionaries and justifies teachers' preferences for their students using either type. Finally some recommendations are provided regarding dictionary usage.

Generally speaking, dictionaries should be the last resort for getting meanings of new words and terminology. In the teaching/learning process there are a lot of techniques for arriving at meanings of different words. One of the best strategies in language learning is guessing meaning from context using the surrounding words or even skimming to get the required information without an urgent need to check meanings of all new words. We should limit looking up meanings of new words to very specific cases when guessing is not applicable. Teachers have a great responsibility to train students to master the talent of deciding when to use a dictionary. Dictionaries have become very important tools in language learning especially with the appearance of the new forms of electronic dictionaries. There is a big argument on the use of either paper dictionaries or electronic ones. Each of the two types serves the purpose of learning/teaching in ways that benefit both teachers and learners. Arguments regarding the functionality and appropriateness of either have raised a lot of issues in the field among linguists and a lot of research has been conducted in this regard.

Dictionary is derived from the word "diction" which means style. It is a simple tool which helps us to pronounce, respell and check grammar. It gives meanings to words which cannot be understood or words that have more than one meaning. Besides meaning, it also provides information on the reader syllables, intonation and pronunciation of words. Moreover, it gives the information on how the words in a sentence are used and their parts of speech. Dictionaries are used for words or phrases you encounter for the first time and you want to know the meaning/s. In some cases of ESL/EFL teaching, words could be specific to a certain profession and there are many of ESP fields where words are used in some ways that not necessarily everybody knows them because they are very specific to that area and hence learners in such a field would be specifically in need for a specialized dictionary to serve their purposes.

Why use a dictionary?
Dictionaries are extremely significant language learning means. They are very practical for in and out of class use. To make their usage constructive, we should teach students the skills required for using the dictionary as well as the benefits that merge from its use. The following points are some of the common reasons why we should use dictionaries:

  • There are circumstances where the lexis of a lesson can be new to students, even in their own native language.
  • Sometimes we are uncertain of the spelling of some words. Of course dictionaries make things very clear in this regard.
  • Idiomatic expressions and phrasal verbs can sometimes be too difficult to guess, thereby necessitating the use of dictionaries.
  • Some classroom tasks and the teaching of certain skills require a dictionary to administer with students.
  • A dictionary can be a student's study cohort at home or away when the teacher is not around.

To read the rest of the article:


Bilingual Education and Code-Switching by Zainab Al Bulushy

The number of languages spoken throughout the world is estimated to be 6,000 (Grimes 1992). Available data indicate that there are more bilingual individuals in the world than there are monolinguals. The use of multiple languages in education may be attributed to numerous factors among which is promoting proficiency in an international language of wider communication. Bilingual education language programmes, as Milk (1981) points out, strive for dual language development and define teacher language-use goals in terms of balanced use of the two languages in the classroom (English and the native language of the learners). Consequently, bilinguals and second language learners are not recognised as two distinct groups, but related and interacted clusters.

English in the world
The world has been watching the English language grow and establish a unique position that no other language in the world can achieve. It has achieved a global status by developing a special role that is recognised in every country. This role is obvious in countries where a large number of people speak it as a mother tongue such as Britain, United States of America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and several Caribbean countries. English is also made the official language in over 70 countries such as India, Nigeria, Singapore and many others. In such position, English is used as a medium of communication in many domains like administration, law courts, media and educational systems. It is also considered as a foreign and international language in over 100 countries.

The spread of English is very fast and noticeable in the world. In his book 'The Cultural Politics of English as an International Language' Pennycook (1994: 7) presents Otto Jespessen's (1938/68) estimation of speakers of English. He states that it numbered four million in 1500, six million in 1600, eight and a half million in 1900. The number is in a continuous growth throughout the centuries and within different parts of the world, thus by the year 2000 we expect the number to increase up to 700 million or one billion. Those speakers include the native speakers of English, speakers of English as a second language and speakers of English as a foreign language. There are several reasons for such spread of English. One of these is socio-cultural, which relates to people's dependence on English for their well being including politics, businesses, safety, entertainment, media and education. Thus, English has become the language of communication in the world and then appeared the need to learn English to make this communication easier.

To read the rest of the article:


Teaching Connected Speech by Abdullah Coskun

It is common knowledge that connected speech is a real part of the daily English that we are exposed to everyday; therefore, our students should be aware of connected speech to understand better the language they hear. This paper that ends with a lesson plan for teaching some connected speech forms has the main aim to discuss the importance of teaching connected speech.

Connected speech forms are the spontaneous pronunciation changes in adjacent words or sounds spoken at a natural speed. Some common examples include /gonna/, /wanna/, /hafta/ and /gotta/. Rosa (2002) suggests that these forms are a common element of spoken English, found in all registers and all rates of speech. Brown (2006) lists below some of these forms by giving examples:

• Assimilation of Sounds (e.g. "could have = coulda")
• Linking of Sounds (e.g. "He's a good old man ='He's a good ol' man")
• Elision of Sounds (e.g. North American English speakers are much more likely to drop the middle vowel in chocolate in a two syllable version pronounced something like chak lut)
• Contractions (e.g. "they will=they'll)
• Intrusion (e.g. in some dialects, the phrase China and Japan is pronounced something like Chiner n Japan)
• Weak Forms of Words (e.g. the citation from of not in do not go can be contracted as in don't go or even further reduced as don go)
• Reduction (e.g. in North American English, the vowels found in unstressed syllables are most often reduced to schwa /?/ or incorporated into a syllabic consonant like /?/)

Listening is a process affected by the character of the listener, the speaker, the content of the message, and any visual support that accompanies the message (Brown & Yule, 1983). Among many suggestions as to the causes of the difficulty in understanding spoken English, the researchers seem to agree on the idea that connected speech forms are the main cause. Goh (2000) and Chen (2002) claimed that students do not recognize words they know while listening and Sun (2002) made a similar suggestion that students cannot segment speech, and that makes listening difficult. Ur (1984) claims that when a student learns a new word or an expression, he usually learns its written and spoken form in its formal and slow form ignoring how this word sounds when it is said quickly or in an stressed manner in a sentence. Underwood (1989) holds the idea that when encountered with speech they have not heard before, students find that the sounds are lost as the speakers focus on the message rather than the dictation. Students have difficulty in connecting the sounds they hear with words they have seen and recognized in print form.

Considering the challanges students face while listening to English, students should somehow be exposed to connected speech that is a part of the natural language use. As Brown (2006) argues, students need to be able to adapt their styles and registers in using language, and the ability to understand and use connected speech is necessary for these adaptations. Some researchers who are aware of the importance of teaching these forms have nade a number of suggestions on how to teach connected speech. Some of their ideas can be listed as follows:

-Using background knowledge and relating prior knowledge to the new information contained in the spoken text. It is also important to pre-teach these forms (Hasan, 2000).
-Singing rhyme and verse as a means of teaching problematic sounds, including reduced forms (Marks,1999).
-Promoting practice through cloze tests and dictation is proposed.
-Analyzing spoken discourse and activities which are meaningful, purposeful, communicative and task-based.
-Introducing from one to five new reduced forms and explaining how they are reduced at the beginning of each class.
-Giving dictation of sentences, repeating each sentence twice with relaxed or fast pronunciation
-Incorporating the reduced forms into exchanges with the students
-Keeping listening journals as a homework assignment -Using games and competitions and various types of cloze exercises, such as songs, dialogues, news broadcasts and interviews (Norris, 1995).

The following lesson plan includes some of the activities suggested above to familiarize students with different connected speech forms by starting the lesson with parts of a song containing some of these forms. Students' opinions about the difficulty they had while listening to the song and the reasons behind this difficulty will be elicited to have an introduction to connected speech forms. Then, students try to identify some of these forms in given sentences. Finally, students listen to a dialogue, write down the formal forms of the reduced forms and practice the exact dialogue after a second listening.

Lesson Plan for the Teaching of Reduced Forms

Level: Intermediate
Duration:50 mins

• Help students to become aware of reduced forms.
• Help students to understand the mentality of reduced forms and identify the reduced words and sentences.

Warm-up: Play a song with reduced forms:
I wanna be with you...'cos I'm eighteen...Lights are gonna find me...All you've gotta do...I bet you think this song's 'bout you, don't you? (Retrieved from:
Play it again, pausing after each line and getting students to repeat the lines. Play it one last time to let students take notes of the song and practice the song with their partners.

Presentation: Ask the question: "Was the song hard to understand? Why/Why not?" After eliciting students' responses, ask them to write the lines of the song in standard written English and sing the song again to their partner in its formal, standard, written form. Ask them how they feel about the two different versions of the song.
Talk about the reasons why there are lines like "I wanna be with you" rather than "I want to be with you". Ask them to give similar examples in English. Add some more examples of sentences with reduced forms on the board. (adapted from Brown & Hilferty, 1982, 1995).
I am gonna go on a holiday next week. He hasta get up early tomorrow morning. Couldja swin when you were a child? I dunno what you're talkin' bout How d'ya feel?

Practice: Ask them to identify the reduced forms in the sentences above and make them repeat the sentences below quickly three or more times to their partners and let them feel the change in the sentences when uttered quickly after a couple of repetitions. At the end, read the sentences quickly yourself and make them repeat after you.

This has got to be the best we have ever done.
There's got to be a better way to do this.
Just as I thought, he is not coming.
Cup of coffee when you have a minute?
Could he been the postman ringing the doorbell.
Peace and quiet. That is what we need.
Is her brother going to come to the party?
What do you think will happen to her?
Give me the key.
I don't know
What do you want to eat?
Would you like a banana?
Don't you know?

Production: Play a dialogue between two students in the cafeteria and ask students to jot down the full formal form of the second words of each sentence. (if it is something like /'s/, they should write "is"). Play it once and give them to students to peer check the words they could catch. After checking students' words, let them practice the dialogue as it is in the listening material.
Assignment: Watch the film "Identity" or any other American movie, and write down the reduced forms you can catch in the first ten minutes of the film. You can also work on a pop song.

To read the remainder of the article:

Other articles by Abdullah:
The Changing Face of English by Abdullah Coskun


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4. TEACHING LINKS – Online Idiom Dictionary

50 Excellent Open Courses on Teaching With Technology

ELT jobs at the ELGAzette

10 Best Websites For Free Audio Books

A compilation of free Questions, Answers, Guides and advice by
practising immigration advisors. This site is geared towards providing free information about the Life in the UK test to immigrants of all ages.

Top 100 Language Blogs – Nominated blogs for Language Teaching

The ELTWeekly Newsletter is sent to subscribers by e-mail and features the latest articles, news headlines, commentary, English teaching-related events, Thoughts, Book reviews, and special offers.

Top 20 Websites No Teacher Should Start the 2010-2011 Year Without

Top 100 technology blogs for teachers

Listen A - One minute a day is all you need to improve your listening skills. Focus on new words, grammar and pronunciation in these short texts. Doing the online activities, discussion, survey and writing will help. Listen many times - enough for you to you understand everything. Listen A Minute.

And then when you have another language.....
Companies ignoring British graduates for jobs that need good language skills

50 Really Cool Online Tools for Science Teachers | Online Degree

Google For Teachers II - Free 33 Page Guide

BBC Skillswise

1,300 ways to say the same thing
An online archive is collecting English accents to help academics and actors. Could you add yours?

10 sites that teach you how to draw - make your board work better.

Resource for ESL/EFL teachers looking to work in the Middle East and Northern Africa.

Download Tony Buzan's iMindMap. Try it out & see how efficient it can make you.

If you've visited a site that you think would be beneficial for all or would ike your site to appear here, please get in touch. Thanks.

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A few days, among many, to plan your lessons around in September & October:

7th Brazilian Independence Day
8th International Literacy Day
World Physiotherapy Day
15th International Day of Democracy
19th International Talk Like A Pirate Day
21st International Day of Peace
26th European Day of Languages
27th International Tourism Day
29th Scotland Yard Anniversary
30th International Spelling Day
Rosh Hashanah

3rd Reunification Day in Germany
5th World Teachers' Day
9th John Lennon's birthday
10th World Mental Health Day
4th > 10th World Space Week
12th>18th Week of Global Action against Debt and IFIs
12th Columbus Day
16th World Food Day
24th United Nations Day
29th Internet First Created (1969)
31st Halloween
Nobel Prizes
Ig Nobel Prizes

To see the list of Days:

Wikipedia's excellent focus on days of the year:

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Postive expectations - The Teacher
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A Management Checklist II - Classroom management
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The 20'' Rule - Speaking
AAA - pt 2 - Vocabulary
Expressions of trust - Classroom dynamics
Advancing 2 - Teaching advanced students
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8. PS   General internet/computer-related links

A few computer use rules of thumb:

- make copies of all important files
- run scan disk & then defragment the hard drive
- use firewall software - use a virus scan & update the files
every week
- install security patches that software providers offer
- update your DirectX files regularly
- don't open attachments without scanning for viruses first
- don't respond to spam, just delete & forget
- don't send personal or bank information by email
- turn off your computer at night

An excellent way to see a place - try it out.

How to Stay Safe on Public Wi-Fi Networks

10 Google Services That Don't Get the Limelight They Deserve

What to do if locked out of Gmail, and what to do now if you aren't

My Gmail Account and Google Apps Got Hacked

13 cool tips to make search in Google more effectively

Why is Microsoft Office so expensive?

What Caffeine Actually Does to Your Brain

NASA on The Commons' photostream

Surf animation film

T-SHIRT WAR!! (stop-motion music video)

The smart paranoid's guide to using Google

Ever notice how people texting at night have that eerie blue glow?
Or wake up ready to write down the Next Great Idea, and get blinded by your computer screen?
During the day, computer screens look good—they're designed to look like the sun. But, at 9PM, 10PM, or 3AM, you probably shouldn't be looking at the sun.
F.lux fixes this: it makes the color of your computer's display adapt to the time of day, warm at night and like sunlight during the day.
It's even possible that you're staying up too late because of your computer. You could use f.lux because it makes you sleep better, or you could just use it just because it makes your computer look better.

Entrepreneur's Annual 100 Brilliant Ideas

7 Unique Sites for Discovering New Music

New direction for online publishing of novels, with the collaboration of Neal Stephenson.

Top 40 Useful Sites To Learn New Skills

Top 10 USB Thumb Drive Tricks

Bizarre Websites On Which You Can Kill Time With Style

101 Apps for Your Web App Startup Toolbox

5 Handy YouTube Channels for DIY and Home Improvement

Top 10 Stop Motion Videos on YouTube

The Twenty Science Fiction Novels that Will Change Your Life

Lifehacker Pack 2010: Our List of Essential Windows Downloads

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