A Thought Provoking Urdu Couplet

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I found this inspiring Urdu couplet, by a young Pakistani poet – Ali Asad, on his blog, today. What do you think about this? Commendable, isn’t it?

Andaaz e zindagi aisa badalna chahtay hain hum,
Hr ik insaan ki hum zindagy ka khwab bn jaen

Source: | Poetry by Ali Asad on WordPress.com

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Prevent your Skin from getting Sunburn by Using Alove Vera Cubes

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Summers are not that far away so better prepare for it. During summers you can soothe your skin and relief from sunburn by applying frozen aloe Vera. Just freeze Aloe Vera gel in ice-cube trays and take it out whenever needed!

Clever idea: freeze aloe vera lotion for soothing burns
Via: realsimple.com

If you have any useful tip for summer season then do not hesitate to share  with it me, send in your comments, i am waiting!

Having Guests? Be Creative!

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Clever idea: how to make heart-shaped eggs
Via: 9gag.com

Having some guests at breakfast and you want to surprise them , then heart-shaped boiled eggs will be a fantastic idea!

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Clever idea: use upside-down muffic pan to make cookie bowls
Via: wilton.com

Turn muffin pan upside down, bake cookie-dough over the top and you will have  cookie bowls for fruit, ice-cream or custard.

Useful House-hold tips!

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Taking out time to polish the furniture might not be that easy and affordable, so how about disguising the scratches to make the wooden furniture look neat and free of scrapes.

Take Care of Wooden Furniture:

Simply rub walnut over the scratches on the wooden furniture, and it will give it a new look!

Clever ideas: use a walnut to heal furniture scratches

Via: apartmenttherapy.com.

Label your cords!

So many electric cords often make it hard to distinguish –  ‘which is which’! So how about using tags to make labels for the cords?

Clever idea: bread tags as cable labels
Via: unplggd.com

I wonder why i never thought of this before!

 

 

 

 

Make Your life Easy with these Storage Ideas

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Sometimes storing and organizing house-hold stuff gets a lot difficult. Of course no one wants a messy house, and an well organized things not only our precious save time in finding things when we need them but it also makes the house look neat and our lives comfortable.  While surfing the net, I found some interesting and worth sharing ideas on dailybuzz, that can surely help us make our life a lot easy.

STORAGE IDEAS:

Storing Bed Linen: Does it takes too much time in finding the bedlinen sets? If yes, then have no worry, just store bedlinen sets inside one of their own pillowcases and there will be no more hunting through piles for a match!

Clever ideas: store bedlinen sets inside their pillowcases
Via: marthastewart.com

Store Plastic Bags:

Cleaver ideas: wet wipe dispenser as plastic bag storage
Via: savvyhousekeeping.com

Have you ever thought of re-use a wet-wipes container or a tissue box for storing plastic bags? If not, then give it a try!

Store Gift-wraps:

Clever ideas: gift wrap storage on cupboard ceiling
Via: flickr.com

We can use wire to make a space to store gift wrap rolls against the ceiling, rather than cluttering up the floor. It will be very easy to get a gift-wrap whenever  needed and will also save cupboard space.

Storing Spray Bottles:

Spray bottle often take so much space in the cabinet, which can be otherwise used for housing other kitchen items. Below is an interesting and space-saving idea!

Clever idea: use a tension rod to hang spray bottlesVia: jengrantmorris.blogspot.com

Just install a tension rod to hang your spray bottles under the kitchen sink. and you can place other stuff under it.

if you find more ideas send them in your comments.

Jagjit Singh the Ghazal King

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Jagjit Singh the Ghazal King died recently of brain haemorrhage. …all the news channels, web sites and print media is talking about him and ghazals.

He is survived by his wife Chitra Singh. His sang his famous ghazal: Tu Nahi To Zindagi Me Aur Kya Reh Jaayega; Duur Tak Tanhaiyon Ka Silsila Reh Jayega with her.

When I was little, my ears grew up with the voice of Jagjit and Chitra’s ghazals – as my eldest sis is their big fan and she used to listen to their ghazals a lot.

His popular ghazals include, Meri zindagi kisi aur ki, mere naam ka koi aur hai, Apni marzi se kahan apne safar ke hum hain, Wo jo hum mein tumme qaraar tha, Patta-patta boota-boota haal hamaara jaane hai, Kaghaz ki Kashti, Hoshwalo ko khabar, etc.

Taqwa.me – A Search Engine with a Difference – SAMIA ADNAN

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While surfing the world wide web I came across Taqwa.me – a web search engine developed by Muslims. I found it very different from the other search engines.

Taqwa.me is independently owned and operated search engine that offers safe and educational search experiences in the Muslim countries and works alongside the implemented filters of these countries. Taqwa.me is a unbiased organization that believes in global citizenship. It is also contributing to the well-being of others by fund-raising for schools and education, hospitals and medical supplies, and housing development and religious institutions.

Taqwa.me provides users one of the most powerful engines to educate, search and research with explicit filters intact geared toward the Muslim market. Users are given the ability to determine whether websites or content within a site is “haram” or “halal”, and are encouraged to discuss their views and opinions in a social manner, as content cannot be dictated on the basis of what one person solely believes. It is designed to facilitate and tailor to users’ needs by developing an educational search engine for Muslims, children and concerned parents, and those simply wanting to learn more about Islam. People belonging to any faith can use this unique search engine. The good part is that besides providing images and video search as other search engines like Google and Yahoo, it also provides search results from Twitter – which is something that is missing in Google!

Another thing that I liked best about it that by using Taqwa.me for our internet search we can raise funds for charity. if you refer it to friends, they will also raise funds from their searches as you do from yours. Taqwa.me is a search engine which donates 20-percent of its revenue to given charities and schools. You use Taqwa.me exactly as you would any other search engine. The money Taqwa.me donates to your cause comes from its advertisers.

On Banning Facebook and Google

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Recently, Interior Minister Rehman Malik has warned to
shut down Google, YouTube and Facebook and other websites, if they did not cooperate with authorities investigating crimes and incidents of terrorism.I think Mr Babar is not being at all being practical. We can never combat terrorism by senselessly banning search engines and social media and networking sites.

Terrorism can be wipe-cleaned only if they deal with the root cause – instead of uttering such childish and foolish statements, the government should be sensible enough to solve the core issues and root out their causes.

Today, I found out that the daily newspaper, Paksitan Today has reported that the Lahore High Court Justice Sh Azmat Saeed has ordered the Ministry of Telecom and Information technology to block Facebook in Pakistan for spreading religious hatred on internet.

I think they should only block blasphemous and unislamic pages, groups, profiles, events and apps on facebook, orkut, hi5 etc. instead of banning the entire social networking website.

The Government should monitor the internet and direct google Pakistan and ISP to block the objectionable, unislamic, pron. and blasphemous content, instead of banning Facebook, you-tube, Google etc. Pakistan will never be islamized and terrorism free like this, the government should eradicate corruption, injustice and illiteracy. They should control the sky-rocketing prices of basic requirements like clothing, food and land. The first step for plucking off terrorism and islamizing Paksitan is the implementation of the shariah law in the country.

Web Content – A Requirement of Successful Business – SAMIA ADNAN

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Are you thinking about promoting your business? In this era of competition, you need proper market and promotion of your business and for that you must have a website. Your website should be well designed and developed by a web design company that will make your website attractive for the visitors to keep coming to your website.

If you already have a business website, then make sure that has detailed information about your products and services. For this, you require a professional Content Writer who understands the importance of mentioning the details vividly. For attracting visitors to your website, your web content should be eye caching, rich and informative.The content should be written keeping in mind the requirements of the targeted users. The visitors should get the idea of your working process, your clients, business partners, affiliations, certifications and achievements of the company.

In order to get your website reach the top ranks on the Search Engines, you need high traffic of visitors to your website – which is only possible if your have a good Content Writer.You should hire an SEO expert and a Content writer to take your website to high ranks on all the popular Search Engines. Content writer will write SEO articles and comments for forums while the rest of the work for Search Engine Optimization will be done by the SEO expert.

Written by SAMIA ADNAN

Web Content Writer

Is Your Content Not Shared on Social Networks?

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Here is a useful information that I have recently read from Social Media Examiner, a famous website and thought to share it with your all.

Have a nice reading!

social media researchWhat if you could understand why your audience shares some information and not other? That would make your content stand out from the competition.

The Science of Sharing

30 billion pieces of content are shared on Facebook each month, including blog posts, links, news stories and photo albums.

Dan Zarrella has found that three things must happen to get your content shared.

First, people must be exposed to your content (be a fan on Facebook or follow you on Twitter). Second, they must be aware of your content (meaning they actually see it). Finally, they must be motivated by something in your content to share it.

Many articles have been written on how to increase your audience size and make people aware of your content, including these by Mari Smith and Denise Wakeman. This article will focus on the motivations for sharing.

The New York Times recently partnered with Latitude Research to unpack the psychology of sharing. Based on their study of 2500 participants (and some other recent research), here are  reasons why your customers aren’t sharing your content.

1: Your customers don’t trust you

Stated plainly, people won’t share your content if they don’t find you or your content to be trustworthy.

The 2011 Edelman Trust Barometer found that globally only 56% of people trust businesses to do what is right. However, in the US, the UK and Japan, that number fell significantly between 2010 and 2011.

EdelmanNotice the evolution in trust.
Key takeaway: To build trust,Guy Kawasakisays the first step is tobe trusting. The other recommendation is tolead honest and open public dialogueswhere you’re not afraid of negative statements.

2: Your customers don’t care about your brand

That hurts to hear, but customers have short memories. They wonder “what have you done for me lately?”

Your customers are looking for valuable information, great deals and a chance to meet other people who share their interests. As soon as you stop offering these things, your fans will go looking elsewhere.

They may not feel a commitment to your brand, but you can keep them interested in your content. The next couple of points offer some remedies you can implement immediately.

Key takeaway: Determine what your audience values from you and keep giving it to them. In fact, exceed their expectations.

3: Your posts are boring

“Don’t be boring,” says Grandma Mary, the alter-ego of Social Media Examiner’s Facebook community manager, Andrea Vahl. People are far more likely to share something they find intriguing or funny.

Look at the case of Volkswagen’s videos. Their Cannes-winning episode, The Force, a spoof on Star Wars, earned over 40 million views. None of their other videos, more traditional marketing content, came close to 1 million views. Of course, most of us would love a million views. But look at the relative difference in sharing power.

Key takeaway: People love to share humor. Get some of your creative staff tofind ways to bring humor and fun into some of your posts. See this post byJason Millerfor some ideas.

4: People care about causes more than brands

The New York Times found that people are more likely to share about something they are passionate about.

Let’s face it. People rarely wake up wondering what they can do for XYZ brand today. But they do dream of ways to help their favorite cause. Whether it’s ending poverty, supporting Greenpeace or advancing a local charity, many people give sacrificially to help things they care about.

creeNotice how CREE has taken a boring subject like lighting and made it a mission and revolution to change lighting in public places across America.

While not a cause in the humanitarian sense, this does get people excited about being part of something bigger than your brand or product.

Key takeaway: Show your human side. Let fans know what causes excite you and give them a chance to help you spread the word.

5: People share to build relationships with others

Research shows that people value relationships with other people, not necessarily with brands. They are definitely looking for community. Your brand might be able to create a platform for that community.

Here are two interesting factoids from The New York Times study:

  • 78% of respondents use links to stay connected to people they might not otherwise stay in touch with.
  • 73% of respondents said sharing content helps them find people with common interests.

Red Bull does a nice job of sharing content their fans might be willing to share with their friends.

red bullNotice how Red Bull asks a question and then encourage sharing.

Key takeaway: Evaluate your posts and ask why someone might share this content with their friends.

6: Customers are looking for validation

Some things haven’t changed since junior high. We are all trying to build credibility in the eyes of our friends. We want to be seen as experts in some area(s).

The way we do that online is through the content we share.

68% of The New York Times study participants said they share content as an advertisement for themselves. They want to give others a better sense of who they are.

Key takeaway: Share highly valuable content and links that will give your fans access to information that will enable them to look good in the eyes of their friends. Ask your fans what they would like to know.

7: People share to manage information

You’ve heard it said, “I’m just thinking out loud.” Today many people think out loud through social media.

In fact, 73% of the study participants said they process information more deeply, thoroughly and thoughtfully when they share it.

Additionally, 85% of respondents said that reading other people’s responses helps them understand and process information and events.

Social media scientist Dan Zarrella found the following words generate the most comments in his research.

most commented on wordsNotice how popular words like “giveaway” and “jobs” are.

Key takeaway: People who share your content may be using it to crystallize their thinking. Make sure to give them some new thought-provoking content and don’t forget to invite their comments.

8: You’ve misunderstood your audience

If you’ve been around marketing for very long, you understand the concept of a marketing persona. This idea has been around for at least 20 years and advocates understanding your customer profile by creating detailed pictures of your ideal customer(s).

The New York Times study found there are six sharing personas for online fans and I’ve listed a seventh based on my experience and our audience. Understanding who your customers are can help you identify common motivators:

  1. Altruists—Altruists share content out of a desire to be helpful and aspire to be seen as a reliable source of information. Preferred tools: Facebook and email.
  2. Careerists—Careerists are well-educated and seek to gain a reputation for bringing value to their networks. They prefer content that is more serious and professional in tone. Preferred tools: LinkedIn and email.
  3. Hipsters—Hipsters are younger sharers who have always lived in the “information age.” They use Twitter and Facebook to share cutting-edge and creative content. They share content to build their online identity. Preferred tools: Facebook and Twitter.
  4. Boomerangs—Boomerangs seek validation and thrive on the reaction of others to their content, even when it’s negative responses. Preferred tools: Facebook, email, Twitter and blogs, wherever people will engage them.
  5. Connectors—Connectors see content sharing as a means of staying connected to others and making plans. They are more relaxed in their sharing patterns. Preferred tools: Facebook and email.
  6. Selectives—Selectives are more thoughtful in what they share and with whom they share it. They personalize their sharing and expect responses to their content. Preferred tool: email.

Although this is not based on The NY Times research, I’d like to add a seventh persona to the list:

  1. Trendsetters—Trendsetters are thought leaders, marketers and business leaders who purposefully seek to stay abreast of breaking news and trends in their industry, sharing it quickly and aggressively. These people are typically seen as experts (or aspire to be seen as such). Preferred tools: Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

A couple of observations: 1) notice how many of these personas prefer email; 2) notice that the platform significantly predicts the motivation pattern.

Key takeaway: Think through your content-sharing strategy for each platform, knowing whom you are likely to reach.

9: People are more personal with email

The study authors discovered that people have not abandoned email. In fact, participants share most frequently through email and consider it more private. Therefore they have higher expectations for responses through email.

Key takeaway: Don’t forget tointegrate your email strategies with social media. Jay Baer will be speaking about this atFacebook Success Summit 2011. He also wrotethis article.

Some final pointers

If you want a deeper understanding of the psychology of sharing, see this article by Dr. Rachna Jain.

One of the most overlooked rules in content creation is the rule of simplicity. Shorter posts (80 characters on Facebook) get shared 27% more frequently. Keep your writing style at a fifth grade or lower level of understanding.

Create a sense of urgency in your writing. Give people a reason to respond now. If they don’t act immediately, they probably never will.

Finally, remember that getting your content shared is just the first step. See this as part of longer-term strategy of building a loyal following.

SOURCE: Social Media Examiner

I am Learning SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

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In order to write better web content, a good content writer should have at least have the basic knowledge of SEO. Therefore, I have started learning SEO and for that I have found these Tutorials very helpful. I hope that you might find then useful too!

I wish you nice time learning  SEO Search Engine Optimization.

Obscure and Valuable Keyboard Shortcuts

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I admit that I am not that good at keyboard shortcuts as rest of the fellows but  I am trying to learn them. I just found these short cuts so thought to share with all the novice out there.

Keyboard Short cuts for MS Windows OS

  • CTRL + INS to copy, Shift + INS to paste, Shift + Delete to cut. Such an underappreciated series of hotkeys.
  • CTRL + 0 to return web page to 100% (default) zoom level
  • CTRL + Shift + Eject to turn off monitor
  • CTRL + Shift + ESC on windows to get to task manager directly
  • Win7: WIN + M to minimize all opened windows
  • WIN + Left/Right to put windows side by side. Nice live coding method.
  • CTRL + K + D this hotkey indents html and c# code nicely
  • WIN + D (return to desktop)
  • ALT + BACK to backspace by the word rather than by the character
  • win: Shift + Delete delete files without saving to trash bin

Source:

http://www.noupe.com/tools/obscure-and-valuable-keyboard-shortcuts.html

How to Get Started as a Web Content Writer

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Months ago I watched Salma Jafferi’s interview on CNBC Pakistan channel (program Ghar ka Kharch). There was too much to learn from her that i subscribed to wordpl emails. Here is one of her article in which she has discussed about getting started as a web content writer. I like the way Salma Jafferi explains things about writing in this article so thought to share with everyone!

To become a web content writer, you basically need two skills:

1. you must be a voracious reader/learner of articles on the web and

2. you must be able to adapt your writing style for the web and constantly practice it

Let’s take a closer look at these two requirements.

How You Read on the Web

The more you read on the web, the more you’ll realize that you, along with everyone else, follow a certain pattern. Your eyes stay in certain parts of the page longer, you tend to skim and scan content more than actually read every single word (as you may perhaps in print), you get intimidated/bored by long pages of unbroken text and you tend to click links that interest you and which may take you several pages away from the page you’re on.

These and other characteristics of reading on the web have been well researched and documented by web usability expert Jakob Nielsen.

I’m going to summarize some of the findings for you here:

  • Web readers typically scan the page in the rough shape of the letter “F”. That means our eyes travel down the length of the left column of the page and dart across the top right section (where the title usually is) and then skim and scan the rest of the content horizontally, perhaps staying a little longer at the sub-headings or pull out quotes breaking up the text.

  • Web readers like to click on interesting links. Links that appear spammy or clearly irrelevant are usually ignored.
  • Web readers like to read simple English. Since people accessing the web come from all walks of life with varying levels of comprehension, the average user is likely to stay and read if the writing is simple, free from jargon, not too lengthy and explains concepts and terms in a clear, simple way.
  • Web readers love lists! They love articles that contain top 10 lists and how-to material presented in numbered list or bullet form simply because it’s easy to quickly scan and consume it
  • Web readers will navigate away from your content if they don’t get the gist of it in the first line or the first paragraph (and sometimes from the title itself!)
  • Web readers generally read text on screen 25% slower than they would in print

So how can you use these characteristics to become a web writer? Simple; we’ll just take the results presented and apply them to our writing.

How to Write for the Web

1. Write a Catchy Title

Since you now know that web readers read the title first, you’ll want to ensure that your web content’s title is catchy, accurate, promising and enticing. Consider these titles: “How to Bake a Cake” vs “How to Bake a Cake in 10 Minutes” vs “How to Bake a Chocolate Malt Cake in 10 Minutes that Kids will Love” Notice how each subsequent title offers more reasons for you to click on it; more benefits, more promise of good information.

The point of your title is two-fold: to get readers to want to read the content that follows and to give search engines something to index your page by. Notice how I’ve used the words “content writing for the web”, “web content writer” etc. throughout this post and in the titles and sub-headings – that’s so that search engines can find these terms in my content and index it so that anyone looking for web content writers will find us more easily.

2. Start with the Conclusion

This might sound like the opposite of what you learned in English essay-writing classes in school, but a long windy opening paragraph will NOT make your content appealing on the web. If it’s not appealing, it won’t be read. And the whole purpose of web content is to be read.

You absolutely must get to the point of your content immediately and then proceed convincingly from there to make your case, give further examples, and make your points. In the web content writing world, this is called the “inverted pyramid” style of writing. Main idea first, details later.

3. Make your Text Visually Appealing

Nowhere is this point more important than on the web. Books without pictures will still be read, but a web page without a single graphic is an eye-sore. And visual appeal need not mean complicated images, but simply good use of white space around your text. That means you MUST break up your text into small paragraphs of 5-7 lines each, use bullets and lists to present linear information, and use images that help illustrate your content.

You can go a few steps further and use charts, tables, flowcharts, info-graphics and other visual data to make your content look appealing to the web reader.

Another way to make your content visually appealing is to add descriptive sub-headings (as I have done in this blog post) – these aid your reader in navigating your content and help you put in keywords for better search engine positioning in strategic locations.

4. Include Hyperlinks!

Outbound hyperlinks (links going to other sites on the Internet) give your readers the option to read more on the subject and shows that you are confident about your research skills and have linked out to quality content. Inbound links (links to other pages on your website) also show readers that you are an authority on your subject and have written more valuable and related information on it.

When linking it is important to use anchor text (like this) rather than naked URLs (like this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anchor_text). This serves a dual purpose: anchor text links are prettier to look at within the document and provide a better reading experience and they also help in optimizing your content for search engines since links are one of the criteria search engines use to determine the relevancy or otherwise of your content.

Interesting fact!: If you have any doubts about the importance of anchor text links for purposes of SEO here’s an astonishing fact for you: if you search Google for the phrase “click here” the first result to show up will be Download Adobe Reader. This simply means that the instructions to view a PDF file are often accompanied by a link to download the free Acrobat Reader and the anchor text used for that link is almost always “click here”.

Good quality and well-researched links give your readers a quality product and they will appreciate the fact that they can get all pertinent information from one complete document.

5. Use Simple Grade 7 English

I don’t know how many of you have heard of the Flesch-Kincaid Readability Test, but it’s a test built into MS Word that gauges the difficulty level of English you’ve written. A high score of 90-100 signifies that your text can be understood by the average 7th grader, and lower scores mean the text is understood by those with higher learning degrees.

For general web articles, you should aim to write for the typical 7th – 9th grader. Obviously this requirement will vary according to your client, their audience and the technical nature or otherwise of the topic.

In general, a good principle to follow is to assume a cursory knowledge of the subject matter and explain and elaborate for the layperson. For example, this post is written for people looking to get started with web content writing, so I’m assuming they already have some idea of what web writing is.

Also, it is extremely important in web content to write directly to your audience. Assume that you are talking and explaining to some one person and write the article as though for them. For example, here I’m assuming that I’m writing to Irum to answer her query. This means using first person (“I”) and second person (“you”) liberally in your content.

Finally, the purpose of most web writing is to encourage users to take certain action or to think in a certain way; for that reason the tone of your writing should be active, enthusiastic and encouraging. There is no room for passive sentences in writing for the web.

Re-Cap of Web Writing Essentials

So to quickly re-cap, here’s the essence of what a page written for the web should contain:

  1. Catchy title with keywords
  2. Starts off strong with the main idea of the article and proceeds convincingly from there
  3. Has visual appeal using sub-headings, lists, images, graphics and white space
  4. Contains both outbound and inbound hyperlinks with anchor text
  5. Is written in a natural, conversational style of writing with active voice

Once the above principles are applied see how an otherwise mundane piece of text comes alive on your web screen (this example taken from useit.com):

Writing for Print Writing for Web
Nebraska is filled with internationally recognized attractions   that draw large crowds of people every year, without fail. In 1996, some of   the most popular places were Fort Robinson State Park (355,000 visitors),   Scotts Bluff National Monument (132,166), Arbor Lodge State Historical Park   & Museum (100,000), Carhenge (86,598), Stuhr Museum   of the Prairie Pioneer (60,002), and Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park   (28,446). In 1996, six of the most-visited places in Nebraska were:

  • Fort Robinson        State Park
  • Scotts Bluff National        Monument
  • Arbor Lodge State Historical        Park & Museum
  • Carhenge
  • Stuhr Museum of the Prairie        Pioneer
  • Buffalo Bill Ranch State        Historical Park

If you’ve mastered these, check out some advanced strategies for writing for the web.

Resources to Learn Web Content Writing

As we covered earlier, writing well is all about reading a lot and writing a lot. So here I’m going to suggest some blogs that you should check out to get started on that reading list. Pick one or two from this list that resonate with you and subscribe to them; there’s tons of great content in them to help you become a better web content writer!

Copyblogger: Copyblogger is one of the best places to start to learn how to write persuasively. Their tutorial on headline writing skills is one of the most comprehensive ones I’ve seen with some great examples. If you’re interested in specializing as a copywriter, their 10 Steps to Effective Copywriting is an awesome starting point.

Aliventures: Ali Luke is a writing coach and professional paid blogger. Check out her blog Aliventures for some great samples on how to write for the web.

AllFreelanceWriting: Jennifer Mattern and her AllFreelanceWriting team excel at all topics related to writing and entrepreneurship; their no-BS approach is a good guide for aspiring web writers.

FabFreelanceWriting: Angela Booth’s Fab Freelance Writing blog offers handy tips, resources and highly motivating articles to help you get started with writing for the web.

AboutFreelanceWriting: And finally Anne Wayman’s AboutFreelanceWriting is not only a great resource for learning to write but also a handy guide to finding the best paying jobs for freelance writers.

Finally, let me know in the comments section what your tips are for writing better web content. Would love to hear from you!

A case of exploding with mangoes

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A case of exploding with mangoes

Oh Gosh, I fear the title of the blog will get many people to click through to this article. Well, that’s how crappy content goes viral on the internet! Write a catchy headline on a trending topic and fill it up with gibberish (and not to forget “Keywords!”) and then vigorously share it on various social media platforms. This ladies and gentlemen is one of the core strategies used by many content centered websites and blogs on the internet.

Have you ever had that woozy feeling in your head when you overstuff yourself with mangoes? Kind of makes you feel heavenly delusional doesn’t it? Much in the same way, websites that use (and abuse) the above mentioned strategy tend to get delusional about the quality of their content.

Simple fact: Just because something goes viral on the internet doesn’t mean its high quality content. When crappy content goes viral, it could only mean either of two things; that your audience is a victim of the “Popcorn Brain” effect or they’re sharing it with their friends just for laughs.

Enough about delusions, lets get back to our trending topic: mangoes in Pakistan during the summers. I’m pretty sure many of us have experienced a case of exploding with mangoes during this season but how much do we really know about the fruit? Most people are concerned about their weight, sugar levels, “Danay” (pimples) and of course managing to keep their clothes clean while devouring mangoes. However, let’s take a deeper look into what the mango has to offer in terms of nutrition and the health risks involved in extensive substance abuse.

Exploding Mangoes from Pakistan

There are over 450 recognized varieties of mangoes in Pakistan. They are grown in various parts of Punjab and Sindh. While India is the largest producer of Mangoes in the World, Pakistan remains the largest exporter of the fruit. The most popular varieties of mangoes from Pakistan are:

Langra

Sindhri

Chausa

Anwar Rataul

Aman Dusehri

Sammar Bahisht

Muhammadwala

Banganpali

Fajri Kalan

Alphanso

Neelum

What’s in a Mango for You?

Mangoes are rich in vitamins, minerals, pre-biotic dietary fiber and “poly-phenolic flavonoid antioxidant compounds. (They fight cancer silly!) In particular, Mangoes are rich in Vitamin A. 100g of the fruit provides you with 25% of the recommended daily dose of Vitamin A.

Mangoes are rich in potassium which is an important component of cell and body fluids. It also helps to regulate blood pressure and heart rate.

It is also rich in various flavonoids like beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin and alpha-carotene. These are essential for vision and can also protect you from lung and oral cavity cancers.

The fruit is also a rich source of Vitamin-B6, Vitamin-E and Vitamin-C. These help your body to develop resistance against dangerously harmful infectious agents (no not those agents from the Matrix) and hunt down harmful oxygen free radicals.

Now I’m no nutritionist but from what I’ve been able to gather through my research, (research, yea right, who does that anymore, we just Google things and think we know it all!) apparently mangoes help improve digestion, help lower cholesterol, improve concentration and memory power, prevent heart diseases, do not cause diabetes and on the contrary can be used to counter the disease.

Sex is another taboo topic that is frequently exploited by content centered websites to attract visitors. And since sex sells, it’s quite effective to have a list of “Top 100 Sexiest Women Ever” and other such soft porn elements on websites. Once again, this may be a successful strategy in terms of gaining visitors but it’s definitely not a gauge for measuring the quality of the content, especially for a not-for-porn website even though that content may be getting a lot of hits.

Moral of the story: Mangoes are good for your health, eat them, enjoy them but remember extensive substance abuse, irrespective of the substance in question is bound to cause problems. Oh and there is another moral to the story: Next time you’re sharing crappy content just for laughs, know that you are actually falling for the “link bait” and helping and consequently encouraging those websites to create more of the same.

You see, Google judges the value of content based on the actions that you perform. Its Google, not God, actions are not judged by intentions on the internet.

Rishadullah Shaikh is the SEO Guy and a whole lot more at Dawn.com. He’s on Twitter at http://twitter.com/RishadShaikh

 

Source:

http://www.dawn.com/2011/07/08/a-case-of-exploding-with-mangoes.html

Balloon Art – ‘Once Upon A Time’

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ONCE UPON A TIME, created by Larry Moss & Kelly Cheatle, features all new work inspired by childhood memory. Scenes from classic children’s stories, fairy tales and nursery rhymes are brought to life with a combination of balloon sculpture, photography and illustration. For more information on the show and to purchase prints, visit http://airigami.com. To back our kickstarter project based on this, visit https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/airigami/once-upon-a-time

Toilet Paper Roll Creatures

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El hada de papel

Make Toilet Paper Roll Creatures

  1. You need some tubes of toilet paper.
  2. Push on one side the two edges until they meet in the middle. That is already the form of the figure with its ears. Start painting the monsters, owls, cats…. or whatever.


other toilet paper rolls made by: matsutakeblog

Nine Things Successful People Do Differently

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by Heidi Grant Halvorson

 

Why have you been so successful in reaching some of your goals, but not others? If you aren’t sure, you are far from alone in your confusion. It turns out that even brilliant, highly accomplished people are pretty lousy when it comes to understanding why they succeed or fail. The intuitive answer — that you are born predisposed to certain talents and lacking in others — is really just one small piece of the puzzle. In fact, decades of research on achievement suggests that successful people reach their goals not simply because of who they are, but more often because of what they do.

1. Get specific. When you set yourself a goal, try to be as specific as possible. “Lose 5 pounds” is a better goal than “lose some weight,” because it gives you a clear idea of what success looks like. Knowing exactly what you want to achieve keeps you motivated until you get there. Also, think about the specific actions that need to be taken to reach your goal. Just promising you’ll “eat less” or “sleep more” is too vague — be clear and precise. “I’ll be in bed by 10pm on weeknights” leaves no room for doubt about what you need to do, and whether or not you’ve actually done it.

2. Seize the moment to act on your goals.
Given how busy most of us are, and how many goals we are juggling at once, it’s not surprising that we routinely miss opportunities to act on a goal because we simply fail to notice them. Did you really have no time to work out today? No chance at any point to return that phone call? Achieving your goal means grabbing hold of these opportunities before they slip through your fingers.

To seize the moment, decide when and where you will take each action you want to take, in advance. Again, be as specific as possible (e.g., “If it’s Monday, Wednesday, or Friday, I’ll work out for 30 minutes before work.”) Studies show that this kind of planning will help your brain to detect and seize the opportunity when it arises, increasing your chances of success by roughly 300%.

3. Know exactly how far you have left to go. Achieving any goal also requires honest and regular monitoring of your progress — if not by others, then by you yourself. If you don’t know how well you are doing, you can’t adjust your behavior or your strategies accordingly. Check your progress frequently — weekly, or even daily, depending on the goal.

4. Be a realistic optimist.
When you are setting a goal, by all means engage in lots of positive thinking about how likely you are to achieve it. Believing in your ability to succeed is enormously helpful for creating and sustaining your motivation. But whatever you do, don’t underestimate how difficult it will be to reach your goal. Most goals worth achieving require time, planning, effort, and persistence. Studies show that thinking things will come to you easily and effortlessly leaves you ill-prepared for the journey ahead, and significantly increases the odds of failure.

5. Focus on getting better, rather than being good.
Believing you have the ability to reach your goals is important, but so is believing you can get the ability. Many of us believe that our intelligence, our personality, and our physical aptitudes are fixed — that no matter what we do, we won’t improve. As a result, we focus on goals that are all about proving ourselves, rather than developing and acquiring new skills.

Fortunately, decades of research suggest that the belief in fixed ability is completely wrong — abilities of all kinds are profoundly malleable. Embracing the fact that you can change will allow you to make better choices, and reach your fullest potential. People whose goals are about getting better, rather than being good, take difficulty in stride, and appreciate the journey as much as the destination.

6. Have grit.
Grit is a willingness to commit to long-term goals, and to persist in the face of difficulty. Studies show that gritty people obtain more education in their lifetime, and earn higher college GPAs. Grit predicts which cadets will stick out their first grueling year at West Point. In fact, grit even predicts which round contestants will make it to at the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

The good news is, if you aren’t particularly gritty now, there is something you can do about it. People who lack grit more often than not believe that they just don’t have the innate abilities successful people have. If that describes your own thinking …. well, there’s no way to put this nicely: you are wrong. As I mentioned earlier, effort, planning, persistence, and good strategies are what it really takes to succeed. Embracing this knowledge will not only help you see yourself and your goals more accurately, but also do wonders for your grit.

7. Build your willpower muscle. Your self-control “muscle” is just like the other muscles in your body — when it doesn’t get much exercise, it becomes weaker over time. But when you give it regular workouts by putting it to good use, it will grow stronger and stronger, and better able to help you successfully reach your goals.

To build willpower, take on a challenge that requires you to do something you’d honestly rather not do. Give up high-fat snacks, do 100 sit-ups a day, stand up straight when you catch yourself slouching, try to learn a new skill. When you find yourself wanting to give in, give up, or just not bother — don’t. Start with just one activity, and make a plan for how you will deal with troubles when they occur (“If I have a craving for a snack, I will eat one piece of fresh or three pieces of dried fruit.”) It will be hard in the beginning, but it will get easier, and that’s the whole point. As your strength grows, you can take on more challenges and step-up your self-control workout.

8. Don’t tempt fate. No matter how strong your willpower muscle becomes, it’s important to always respect the fact that it is limited, and if you overtax it you will temporarily run out of steam. Don’t try to take on two challenging tasks at once, if you can help it (like quitting smoking and dieting at the same time). And don’t put yourself in harm’s way — many people are overly-confident in their ability to resist temptation, and as a result they put themselves in situations where temptations abound. Successful people know not to make reaching a goal harder than it already is.

9. Focus on what you will do, not what you won’t do. Do you want to successfully lose weight, quit smoking, or put a lid on your bad temper? Then plan how you will replace bad habits with good ones, rather than focusing only on the bad habits themselves. Research on thought suppression (e.g., “Don’t think about white bears!”) has shown that trying to avoid a thought makes it even more active in your mind. The same holds true when it comes to behavior — by trying not to engage in a bad habit, our habits get strengthened rather than broken.
If you want change your ways, ask yourself, What will I do instead? For example, if you are trying to gain control of your temper and stop flying off the handle, you might make a plan like “If I am starting to feel angry, then I will take three deep breaths to calm down.” By using deep breathing as a replacement for giving in to your anger, your bad habit will get worn away over time until it disappears completely.

It is my hope that, after reading about the nine things successful people do differently, you have gained some insight into all the things you have been doing right all along. Even more important, I hope are able to identify the mistakes that have derailed you, and use that knowledge to your advantage from now on. Remember, you don’t need to become a different person to become a more successful one. It’s never what you are, but what you do.

Heidi Grant Halvorson, Ph.D. is a motivational psychologist, and author of the new book Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals (Hudson Street Press, 2011). She is also an expert blogger on motivation and leadership for Fast Company and Psychology Today. Her personal blog, The Science of Success, can be found at www.heidigranthalvorson.com. Follow her on Twitter @hghalvorson

Poetry of experience – Harleen Kaur

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I have recently read about an Indian poetess in the Times of India. I was so impressed! May be you would like to read it too.. so here it goes:

Life’s hardships did not deter this lady’s determination. Rather she used her experiences to connect with writing. Harleen Kaur, resident of BRS Nagar, is the writer of a poetry book ‘Tere Tak‘ set to launch in the last week of July. Her poems are based on self-analysis of thoughts and real life experiences, she came across.

She said, ”The poems are self-expression of introspection I have done of the episodes I went through in my life.” Through the book I want to share my experiences with everyone, she added, ”I believe that when a person is entangled in odd circumstances, then its only the will power and parallel conscious that brings one out of the vicious circle of pain.”

Its the first time that Harleen has taken up to writing. After the demise of her husband she faced dejected and a difficult phase of her life. Subsequently, her pondering thoughts over the unsolved mysteries and puzzles of life compelled her to pour down her heart on paper. She has dedicated this book to her late husband.

For Harleen writing poetry is like therapy. It helps her evade loneliness and fight the world with a smile. Besides this she is also coming with another book next year. Harleen did her graduation from Khalsa College in the year 1997 and at present, besides being into writing she is engaged in interior decoration.

Despite learning important lessons of life through hardships, Harleen feels that her profession of interior decorator helps her notice and figure beauty and happiness in life. ”As and when some interesting thoughts strikes me, I pen them down immediately,” she said.

As far as sharpening writing skills is concerned, Harleen suggests, ”I personally read a lot. I believe, randomly reading anything enhances ones vision, broadens outlook and induces a flair for writing.”

Time and Aspect in the English Verb System

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One of the problems encountered by students of English as a foreign language, whose level is more or less quite high, is more to do with accurately and consistently applying the grammar rules that they would have learn in the past than with actually being…

in the morning
in the afternoon
in the evening
AND

at night

Chicken Biryani – Samia Adnan

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 I love Biryani and so does my husband. I made Biryani today and here is my recipe – if you wanna try it too!

Ingredients

For Korma

  • Chicken                                  1/2 kg
  • Onion                                     2-3 ground
  • Garlic                                      2-3 paste
  • Ginger                                     3-4 chopped
  • Tomato                                   4 chopped or paste (without seeds)
  • Salt                                           1 tea spoon
  • Red chillies                             1 tea spoon (to taste)
  • Zeera                                       1 tea spoon
  • Badiaan                                   1 flower
  • Coriander power                    1 tea spoon
  • cloves                                      4
  • Black pepper                           4
  • Turmeric powder (haldi)        1 tea spoon
  • Sindhi Biryani Masala            1/2 pack (preferably Shan)
  • Green eliachi                           2-3 chopped
  • alo bukhara (dry)                    5-6 soaked in water
  • kari pata                                   2-3
  • mint                                          1 bunch (finely chopped)
  • green coriander                        3-4 table spoon chopped
  • Cooking oil                               1 cup
  • Yogurt                                        1/2 cup
  • Boiled Potatoes                        2 (you can also add it when preparing korma)
  • Boiled Eggs                               2 (slices)
For Rice
  • Rice                                      1/2 kg
  • black zeera                           1 tea spoon
  • Cinnamon (darchini)            1-2
  • kali elaichi                            2
  • kari pata                               2-3
  • salt                                       1 1/2 teaspoon
Method:
Marination
Wash the chicken properly. After that make holes on it with fork. Take a bowl containing 1 cup of yogurt, add shan biryani masala and mix it well. Then place chicken pieces in the bowl and refridgnate for atleast 1 hour.
Prepare Korma
Heat the oil and fry onion till they become golden brown and then add ginger and garlic and fry them. After this add the marinated chicken and fry till golden, add tomato, spices and alo Bukhara. Fry till aroma is sensed. Add one cup of water and cook it till the chicken tenders. Add chopped mint leaves, green chillies, lemon juice, garam masala and fresh coriander leaves.
Rice
Add black zeera, cinnamon (darchini), kali elaichi, kari pata and salt in water and bring it to boil. You can also add a few drops of lemon juice and a few leaves of mint in this water. Add soaked rice in this boiling water and let the rice boil – do not let the rice become soft.
Drain the water from the boiled rice.
Layers of Biryani
First spread 4 cooking oil in the cook pot. Then place a layer of rice and cover it with the layer of chicken korma. Sprinkle fresh mint leaves. Add another layer of rice. Then add the remaining korma and cover it with a layer of the rest of the rice.
Garnishing
Add the tarka of onion-zeera. Sprinkle mint, green coriander leaves and lemon juice. Place 4 green chilies and boiled egg slices. Then give it a steam (dam) for about half an hour on a very low heat. After the dam mix well before serving.
You can also place lemon slices on it, if you like, instead of sprinkling lemon juice.
Serve:
Serve the biryani with mint chutney.

Mint Chutney:

Take one bunch of washed fresh mint and chop it finely. Add half cup of water in the grinder and add chopped mint in it. Add 2 chopped green chilies (preferably without seeds). Add a bunch of finely chopped fresh green coriander. Add 1or 2 green chilies (or according to your desired taste). Add 1 teaspoon salt, 1 tea spoon black pepper and 1/2 tea spoon zeera and dar chini power. Grind it well until it turns into a fine paste. Then mix this paste in whipped yoghurt and let it cool in the fridge.

Taking care of the Eyes When Using Computer

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I have subscribed to Dr Martin Sussman‘s newsletter (The Cambridge Institute for Better Vision.) and I get his e-mails very often. He sends information on eye sight and eye care.
Below is a very useful PDF file that I received from him. Have a nice reading!

9-eye-tips from dr Martin

Also watch this video – it illustrate the correct posture and way of siting while using a computer.

Wish you a healthy net-surfing and comfortable reading!
🙂

Emel-Muslim Lifestyle Magazine

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I just absolutely love this Islamic magazine Emel and Im quite impressed by this inspiring endeavor. Islamic world is always in a need of such effective measures that can depict true spirit of Islam and make the world realize that Islam truly is a modern religion with all necessary rudiments to cope up with thriving challenges of the day. You can find a wide array of subjects embellished with Islamic glamor and represented in a truly modernized Muslim framework. From Halal Food recipes to Islamic Lifestyle , from mesmerizing traveling destinations to personal reflections of modern Muslims; you’ll find everything riveting and interesting. The best thing I like about Emel is the sense of belonging as if it’s about me and my religion.

See here some of the most fascinating stuff on Emel (that has just gripped me so badly)

Gorgeous and stunning Muslim women in such striking apparels. Simply love this Islamic Fashion endeavor. Why can’t we promote our own Islamic fashion dresses?


See all these inspiring dresses on Emel Summer Strolling

A Story of a founder and chair of a pioneering charity, author, a full-time worker in social services, winner of “Women of the Future” awards and married with two young children, who was listed as one of the UK’s most powerful Muslim women. Sabina also happens to be deaf.

Truly inspiring words from Sabina Iqbal who smashed stereotypes and barriers.

A fascinating story and Art work of an inspirational Muslim artist Ahmed Moustafa, the man whose works express eternal Truths from the Qur’an. You would be really inspired by his thoughts and how he indulges in his art to depict Islamic spirit.

Read complete interview here: Sailing towards the divine

A travel review of City of Sultans-Istanbul

Read full review here: Istanbul

You can follow Emel’s exciting Blog.  Do try it out you’ll love it!

Smiles!

Taken from:

http://ayeshanaveed.wordpress.com/2011/06/23/emel-muslim-lifestyle-magazine/

Understanding Glaucoma

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An eye disease which affects millions around the world, the most common form of glaucoma is a growing condition amongst the elderly. Optician, Tim Harwood, looks into the different types of glaucoma.

Glaucoma is an eye disease that typically affects your peripheral vision and generally occurs in both eyes. There are a few different types of glaucoma but by far the most common is called open angle glaucoma. This is caused by a slow increase in eye pressure, which leads to gradual damage of the optic nerve at the back of your eyes. This damage to the optic nerve causes a partial reduction to your peripheral (side) vision. Due to the fact that the central vision is generally not affected, most people are completely unaware they have the disease as there are no real symptoms for this particular type of glaucoma.

Types of glaucoma

Closed angle glaucoma / Acute glaucoma

This is a rare type of glaucoma and is characterised by a sudden increase in eye pressure, which is far higher than what occurs in open angle glaucoma. Open angle glaucoma can result in eye pressures of up to 30 mmHg (the unit which eye pressure is measured in), whereas closed angle glaucoma can rise to 80 mmHg. As well as the pressure being extremely high, it is the speed at which this pressure rises which makes the symptoms so severe. Those affected may experience severe eye pain, headaches, nausea, haloes around lights and blurred vision. Closed angle glaucoma is generally caused when something stops the normal flow of fluid within the eye between the iris (coloured part of the eye) and the lens, hence resulting in a rise of pressure.

Normal pressure glaucoma

This refers to a type of glaucoma where there is damage to the optic nerve in the absence of high eye pressure. The exact cause of this type of glaucoma is not known but it is believed to be related to the blood flow to the optic nerve. This type of glaucoma is more difficult to detect and harder to treat but it is generally a more rare type.

Secondary glaucoma

This type of glaucoma occurs as a secondary condition to another eye disease or injury. Eye diseases that can also cause glaucoma include retinal vein occlusion, Iritis and retinal detachments.

How can glaucoma be detected?To maintain your eyesight, it is imperative that you have regular eye examinations with your optician. During a routine eye examination, the optician will typically carry out three tests to determine whether you have the condition or not. These are as follows:

Tonometry

This test measures the pressure inside your eyes and you will probably remember it as the ‘puff of air test’. If your pressure is over a certain number, your optician may refer you to have your eyes checked at the hospital. Even if the pressure in your eyes is very high, you are unlikely to have any symptoms of glaucoma as the increase occurs over such a long period of time.

Examination of the optic nerve

During an eye test, your optician will routinely examine the optic nerve, which is the main area of the eye that glaucoma affects. Certain changes will indicate the possibility of the condition and your optician is trained to pick up these signs.

Visual field test

This is remembered by most as being the ‘flashing lights’ test. If you have glaucoma, then the results of the test will show some peripheral loss of vision.

DiagnosisIf your optician thinks you have glaucoma, then you are likely to be referred to the local eye hospital to be seen by an ophthalmologist. For the vast majority of people, their central vision is not affected and consequently it has no negative impact on their lives. Having some peripheral vision loss is generally not noticeable and will not stop you from doing any of your day to day tasks such as driving and reading. One has to suffer from a fairly advanced stage of glaucoma before the visual field loss is sufficient enough to affect visual performance. However, if you are diagnosed as suffering from closed angle glaucoma, your optician is likely to refer you to eye casualty for immediate treatment, as this type of glaucoma is more severe.

TreatmentGeneral treatment includes medicated eye drops, which must be administered once or twice per day. These eye drops are used to reduce the pressure in the eyes to stop any further damage to the optic nerve. Most people can control the condition with the prescribed eye drops and apart from having to attend a hospital appointment once a year, the disease will have very little bearing on one’s life. For a very small percentage of people who do not respond well to the eye drops, the ophthalmologist may consider surgery. There are three main types of surgery for glaucoma.

Laser (Trabeculoplasty)

This is normally carried out under local anaesthetic and effectively involves using a laser to open up the drainage system in the eyes. This drainage system is called the Trabecular meshwork and opening it up will mean the fluid in the eye can drain out more readily, therefore reducing the pressure in the eye.

Surgery (Trabeculectomy)

Surgery is normally considered the last option and may be indicated when either the eye drops or laser do not have the desired effect on the pressure within the eyes. In simple terms, a Trabeculectomy involves the creation of a drainage channel within the wall of the eye, which helps reduce the pressure within the eye.

Iridotomy

This is the treatment for closed angle glaucoma following the initial treatment with an injection. The aim of an Iridotomy is to restore the normal flow of fluid within the eye by creating a hole in your Iris.

PreventionOwing to the ‘silent’ nature of the disease, getting regular eye tests is absolutely crucial in detecting the condition in its early stages. Even if you think you have perfect vision and do not require glasses, you should still have regular eye tests to assess the health of your eyes.

Tim Harwood is an optician with 10 years experience in his field.

http://www.treatmentsaver.com

http://www.emel.com/article?id=86&a_id=2408