Microsoft Lumia 950: It Could Be Better

The Lumia 950 is Microsoft's attempt to turn your phone into something like a full-on Windows PC. It is built to move you to the next level of worker productivity. Unfortunately it comes up a little short.

The first Windows 10 device is designed to extend the benefits of the Windows experience to the smart phone. The goal is to use the phone to power a desk type experience to a monitor. This includes syncing office documents and photos across all your devices and connecting with the Windows store so your favorite apps, game, music and video are all in one place.

On the plus side, the phone does have a nice quad HD display, 5.2 inches, 564 pixels per square inch. USB-C for fast charging and a large capacity battery. The attractive display is easy to read outdoors. It is scratch resistant with a strong display glass.

Photo quality is on-par with the best smartphones. "Rich Capture" provides a triple LED natural flash. You can adjust the color saturation levels of bright or dark areas. A 20 MP sensor attempts to effectively eliminate motion blur. The quality camera image holds up even in low light.

The phone is constructed of plastic, a negative for some. The battery can be removed and it does has a microSD card slot which many phones do not. The Cortana voice assistant is also included.

Microsoft's secret sauce to all this is the Windows Continuum. The goal is to connect your Lumia 950 to a Microsoft Display Dock and use it with an external monitor, keyboard and a mouse. Office apps and Outlook can be scaled up to create a big screen optimized work environment. The idea is maintain productivity even without a laptop.

The Continuum feature is not really available in Android or iPhone devices. It will take some finesse to get it set up and some experimentation with the right type of cables etc. to make it work.

Once you have it together and working, whether it be in a hotel room or conference area, you can share a PowerPoint presentation or a video on large screen. When done you can undock your phone. Then you can resume working on the same project in a matter of minutes.

Many report problems with typing on the device. Automated spell check is not available. It will take longer to correct errors.

Windows 10 brings a few other additions to the Lumia 950. One is Windows Hello, now in beta mode. Hello is iris-scanning recognition software. It works by just starting into the phone.

App selection for a Windows phone still remains challenging. The platform is not supported by Google. Those who rely on Gmail, Google Maps, Google Drive, and Google Docs will have to find third party applications or go directly to the web for usage.

Pricing starts at $ 550 in the US and will be determined by carrier. A larger 5.7 "inch XL version is scheduled to be introduced later and will cost more.

The 950 is a good start for Microsoft to bring more productivity to the smart phone, but not the end result many were expecting. Unfortunately the design is not really anything new, Continuum set-up can be challenging, and a lack of apps is troublesome.

Windows fans may seize the opportunity to jump on the Lumia bandwagon and work through some of the phone's shortcomings.

Others will wait until Microsoft fixes some of the inherit problems with not only the phone but the Continuum system itself before giving it a more serious look.

What Are The Top Art Schools?

Rankings are always tricky. Rating the top art schools depends on the criteria of the one or ones doing the judging and possibly whether or not they have some sort of connection or vested interest in placing certain schools where they place them. Cronyism aside and imagining a perfect world of total objectivity, a one-size-fits-all rating system would only work in a world where artists are determined ahead of time in a test tube and everyone is a homogenous clone. But then you have to wonder if art and creative expression would even really exist in such a utopian society.

So, back to the present day reality, a single specific answer to the question, "What are the top art schools?" generally does a disservice to the needs of the individual student. As with stereo components, it depends entirely on priority and application. The top school for music and performing arts will likely not be the top school for commercial and visual arts. Even within a single category, the "best" art school will still depend on the needs and priorities of the student.

There are a number of organizations and publications willing to give it a shot, though, and their conclusions can be easily found on the Internet. However, it is best to consider these ratings simply a starting point, as they can be quite misleading. Remember that higher education is funded primarily by the students who attend said facilities. No students, no school. No school, no over-paid faculty incapable of working in the real world. (Oops. Did I say that out loud?) And that, that certainly does not apply to all art school faculty members.

The first thing you need to determine is what you plan to do with an art education. There are many and varied career choices. The art career or occupation you want will be one of the most important deciding factors in your own personal ranking system.

For instance, if you're already working in the art field of your choice (or close to it) and all you need is a piece of paper, then you can probably get what you need from a local community college or state university. Depending on the state, that may be a less expensive way to get that piece of paper than going to a dedicated art school.

If, on the other hand, you're gunning for a particular possibly prestigious position in a well-known art gallery, it would serve you well to work backwards. Find out what they consider the top art schools and which of those they most often hire graduates from. In other words, which art school degree will get your resume to the top of the stack?

Your choice may also come down to economics. What can you afford; what kind of financial aid is available; and what are you chances of a reasonable pay off?

In the end, you are the judge. You will have to determine what the top art schools are for you and make the best choice for you. After all, individuality is the very pulse of art.

5 Quick Ways To Make Money From Home

With today's economy being what it is, somewhat stagnant; many people are trying very hard to come up with ways to make money from home. The unemployed, the recently downsized, even the retired grandmother need to find ways to earn money from home. Here are a few quick ways to make money from home.

1. Blogging

First, if you are seeking quick ways to make money, and you are a knowledgeable individual, you can start your own blog. The blog needs to be of interest to the public, and some of the blog programs on the internet today allow you to monetize your blog right away. To monetize your blog means to link it to one of the many advertising programs out there. These programs pay you for every click on the ads they place on your blog page or pages.

2. Writing Articles For Online Directories

Another of the quick ways to make money from home is article writing. There are many sites online which offer the opportunity to write about a variety of subjects. Some pay a penny per word, others pay substantially more. Most will base what you are paid on the level of your writing skill. Many will grade several of your articles to determine your average skill level. On these sites, research of the chosen subject is your friend and can lead to higher author ranking, which leads to higher per-word rates. You can see your earnings really add up.

3. Author Your Own Informational Articles

Then there are other sites, think of them as author sites, that allow you to create your own material on whiche subject you choose-complete with pictures or videos should you decide to include them-and that that will then add your approved articles to their directories . These sites pay for page views and advertising clicks, too. You also earn whenever someone downloads one of your articles to use on their blog or other web page. This is another of the quick ways to make money, but not as fast as others.

4. Online Auctions

Then there are those auction sites where you place items for sale. These are some of the quickest ways to make money. People shop online all the time. All you need is a product or some individual items to sell, pictures of these items to upload, a decent description, and decent pricing for the product and for shipping. If you offer decent items at decent prices and shipping rates, you are sure to make some money.

5. Create Your Own Website or Webstore

Make your own online business, either from some online franchise with its own products, or sell your own products or services. If you are a professional writer or transcriptionist, you can help potential clients find your site by placing links on pages or sites you visit regularly yourself. Or open your own online "dollar-type" store.

Why Use Paid Sites For Phone Number Information?

You may be wondering about this when you would have seen so many free reverse phone search websites advertising their services. If a reverse cell phone lookup service is available for free, then why would anyone pay for it somewhere else? Also, what is the big deal really? If you need to perform a reverse cell phone lookup, then you should be able to do it as it is your right to know the source of mysterious calls.

Yet, reverse phone search websites remain to be paid services. This is because of various reasons, the primary ones being that cell phone information of every person is a private data, and then, due to ethical and moral reasons, reverse phone search services should not be made publicly available.

You would have often been harassed by plenty of telemarketers trying to sell you insurance or financial products that you do not need. This happens even after you have selected the option on the phone number application form that you would not like to be listed on public databases.

When you sign up such forms, the phone company would ensure that your number is protected in their database, and that it does not show up publicly. This restricts the accessibility of your number to telemarketing companies. They would then have to look for other ways to get your phone number. Just imagine then, what your look would be if there was a database where everyone's phone numbers, including yours was to be publicly listed.

You would never be able to catch a moment's peace. This is the reason why it is required for every reverse phone search company to acquire a license with the government at first. They have to sign sign agreements with service providers as well as the government that they would never make their databases accessible to public.

So, every time you need to do a reverse cell phone lookup, you have to pay a fee. Also, if you are actually trying to get the phone number information of a person, then you would most certainly want the most recent data. The reverse phone search companies that have a reputation in the area ensure that their databases are maintained accurately by incorporating feeds continuously to update their databases.

Also, if you can imagine the total number of phone numbers in the country, then you would have to agree that in order to provide accurate information, the reverse phone search databases would have to be huge. This would require the reverse phone search companies to spend a lot of money on infrastructure, technology, and human resources.