Friday, 30 April 2004

Newsletter Issue 78, April 2004

Sam Young Newsletter

Issue 78, April 2004

Hi guys,

Looking after each other becomes more of a problem as we constantly cut down government services to avoid paying more tax. Read about our aging population in When We Get Older below.

Want to improve your typing accuracy or speed? Then read all about the packages in Typing Tutor

Don't forget, if you want to be taken off my mailing list, click here to send me a reply e-mail and I will remove your name.

When We Get Older...

How's this for a stat - nearly one in every four New Zealanders will be over 85 by 2051. Amazing, isn't it. In 1800 our average life expectancy was apparently a miniscule 14 (nothing like high infant mortality, is there). By 1900 we had romped up to 40. And now we are averaging something like 80.

Apparently the number of New Zealanders aged 65 plus has doubled over the last 50 years. That number is also expected to double over the next 50 years. And the really interesting thing is what this longer life is doing to our habits; we are getting married a decade later, having children about a dozen years later and living on to actually enjoy our retirement.

This of course creates a whole raft of problems; including one of the key ones being a question that I would love to ask Mr Muldoon's National government; "Why did you spend the country's super fund on think big projects in the 1970s?" In our 20/20 hindsight we can now see that there are a lot of prudent retired people who paid in their taxes 6% for super, but who now have no retirement provision.

I read an article from Maxim Institute recently, stating their opinion that our aging population was due to moral and institutional selfishness. Funny, I thought it was due to our living longer.

They think that this "selfishness" manifests itself in declining fertility rates, euthanasia and abortion. Hmm.

Declining fertility rates are a global issue, and there are strong suggestions that, aside from starting families later, this is largely due to our additive- and preservative-ridden diet and environment. There have been some studies done on pollution, sedentary roles and male fertility that are particularly damning, as are stats about smoking and both male and female fertility. There have also been many studies undertaken on viruses and male fertility. As men's sperm counts have apparently halved since WW2, I don't think our decreasing fertility is due to selfishness.

We don't euthanase in New Zealand, so I don't see how that's a problem. And wouldn't our life expectancy decrease if we did?!

Abortions will decrease the number of live births, but interestingly, NZ has one of the highest birthrates of all our trading partners. Bulgarians, at number one on the lowest birthrate table, only have 8 children per thousand per annum. Latvians and Germans about 8.5. New Zealand has the 65th lowest rate in the world out of 224, at 14. All our other OECD countries are well under our profligate 14. And beyond us lie pretty much the who's who of third world nations.

NZ's stats on teenage pregnancy rates (that's completed pregnancies, not abortions) are appalling. As we have the third highest teen pregnancy rate in the world, I am not so sure that having a high birthrate is such a flash idea.

Never mind being "selfish". I think we are better placed to be prudent. We need to shore up some cash in the bank to look after our golden oldies in the same manner that they did that for us, thirty plus years ago ..."will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm sixty four" :-)

To read more, follow the links below;

Typing Tutors

If doesn't matter you are a "hunt & peck" keyboarder, or if you just want to stop yourself constantly typing "inforamtion" - there is something out there to help you. The internet - what a wonderful thing - has a wealth of software programmes that can help you get your keyboarding up to speed in a variety of different ways;

  1. Typing Tutor is freeware, available at This is a great little programme with tests and exercises that is simple and easy to use. This is best for those of you who have little to no keyboarding experience.
  2. You can test your keyboarding at with a free online test. You can also get at their TypingMaster freeware
  3. At, you register on a web-based course. The course has 27 step-by-step lessons to learn keyboarding from the beginning. It doesn't require any downloads, and is free. You can do a dry run at to see if you like it
  4. KP Typing Tutor is also freeware at You can practice basic typing, sentences or longer text.
  5. Fast Eddie's Typing Speedometer tests typing speed using jokes and puns. Speed, accuracy & net speed are constantly updated on screen. Freeware from
  6. Gabe's Typometer is also freeware. To download, go to and click the link at the bottom of the page
  7. Bruce's Typing Tutor is also freeware. Download at
  8. SES Type focuses on accuracy and can be downloaded free at
  9. Download a copy of Accu-Type at and then register online for £9.95. This software is excellent if you want to get more than one licence.

Remember to take regular breaks & have fun!

Some Spelling Tips

We truly have become a global community, and with that there are a whole raft of communication problems. You would think that one of the most simple ones to avoid today would be poor spelling, punctuation or grammar - and you would be wrong.

If there is something that we consistently get wrong, it is EXACTLY that triumvirate. So here are a few simple rules to ensure that your readers don't wince when they are reading your business writing;

  • Retain original spellings in book and article titles, proper names of institutions, places, and especially keep quotations exactly as the author wrote them, or mark bits that you have changed with square brackets
  • Consistently use either English or American spelling throughout your document
  • Be consistent in using -ise or -ize spelling in words where the alternative spellings are permissible (ie authorise/authorize, organise/organize, realise/realize). However, it is more usual for UK English to use "ise" rather than "ize". However, be aware that some words should always end in "ise" such as advertise, advise, arise, braise, chastise, circumcise, comprise, compromise, concise, demise, despise, devise, disguise, enterprise, excise, exercise, expertise, franchise, improvise, incise, merchandise, precise, premise, prise (cf open), reprise, revise, supervise, surmise, surprise, televise, treatise
  • Do NOT put apostrophes in plurals. A TLA (three letter acronym) that is a plural becomes TLAs, not TLA's
  • Remember those words ending in 'o' that require the addition of an 'e' for the plural form - potatoes, tomatoes, avocadoes etc.
  • Watch out for the commonly dropped "u" from UK English to American English eg harbour/harbor; labour/labor; odour/odor etc
  • Many foreign words have become so accepted in general English usage that they have been anglicised and need not be (a) italicised and (b) don't have to have the original languages' accents. You can choose to use élite/élite/elite; régime/régime/regime; façade/façade/facade. Just be consistent once you have decided which way you want to use the words
  • Some words have acceptable alternative spellings. Spell them consistently one way - eg: acknowledgement/acknowledgment; adviser/advisor; ageing/aging; appendixes/appendices; biased/biassed; bylaw/bye-law; connection/connexion; dispatch/despatch; focused/focussed; gipsy/gypsy;  grey/gray; guerrilla/guerilla; inflection/inflexion; inquiry/enquiry; judgement/judgment; medieval/mediaeval;
  • In some cases use of a slightly different spelling signifies a different meaning, eg advice (noun), advise (verb); dependant (noun), dependent (adjective); forbear (abstain), forebear (ancestor); forward (onward), foreword (introductory remarks); principal (CEO), principle (moral code); affect (verb), effect (noun)
  • Some commonly misspelled words are that you need to always double-check (all spelled correctly, so you can get them right) include; accommodate, battalion, committee, desiccation, homogeneous, millennium, necessary, religious, sacrilegious, stereo

TLAs for SMEs

Here are this newsletter's TLAs for you;

  • J2ME, Java 2 Platform, Micro Edition. Programmers use this platform when working with Java programming language and related tools, to develop applications for mobile wireless devices such as cellular phones and personal digital assistants (PDAs)
  • DCE, Distributed Computing Environment. Industry-standard software technology for managing computing and data exchange over a wide area network (using client/server). Using DCE, application users access their programmes and data from the server, not the actual PC, so they can get to their data and programmes anywhere on the network

Please feel free to email me with any TLAs that you want to get the bottom (meaning!) of.

Short+Hot Keys... and now tips

Here's a very short list for you. All you can do using a comma;

  • PowerPoint "Display a white screen, or return to the slide show from a white screen" , (comma)
  • Outlook "Previous item (with item open)" Ctrl & , (comma)
  • Word "Shrink Font" Ctrl & Shift & , (comma) 

Hot Linx

Do you pronounce words properly? Then go to the Top 100 at Your Dictionary. While many of these are Americanisms,  a lot are true of Kiwiland. Check it out at

Want to know anything about the 1972 Watergate scandal but don't know where to look? Then this is the site for you at

Another great site for research is the Wikipedia site; written by, staffed by and managed by volunteers. Good informational précis on a huge range of topics at

Want to get the low-down on science and technology from a reputable source? Then you probably can't go past New Scientist at

                                Catch you again soon!! E-mail your suggestions to me here