Free online proofreading

In the 11 years that I have been writing this weekly column (more than 500 columns), I know that I have had some spelling and grammatical faux pas. I have used several versions of Word, Google Docs, Open Office and Libre Office as my word processor, and all have a reasonable spelling and grammar checker, which I have never failed to run, but still some errors slip through. I am fortunate to have an educated and competent wife as a proofreader after I peruse the column, and she almost always catches some composition errors that both the software and I missed. I have noticed that the outstandingly fine editors at the Examiner have occasionally made some minor changes and corrections as they practice their editorial art.

In the decades that I have been teaching college classes, it no longer amazes me what college students can turn in as a finished written product. It is uncommon that a paper or project has proper spelling and grammar, and some students get belligerent upon being shown their written (word processed) errors, often blaming those errors on their “stupid computer.” In the many years since the advent of the word processor, first as a glorified typewriter (remember those?), then as a dedicated hardware word processor, and now as sophisticated software on a modern computer, the capabilities of the software to correct spelling and grammar errors have greatly improved.

Recently several free, browser based automated proofreading services have become available for anyone to use to provide a level of spell checking and grammar corrections typically superior to the similar services incorporated in the contemporary software based word processor. By using these free services, anyone, including newspaper columnists, newsletter editors and students, can now have an additional layer of proofreading of their documents, providing a better quality of written output. These online utilities will not create an original document, but can substantially provide the user with enough reputable assistance to produce an enhanced quality of output in terms of spelling and grammar, but not necessarily superior content — that is still the responsibility of the writer.

I was impressed with PaperRater (paperrater.com), a feature rich and totally free service. According to its Web site, “PaperRater.com is a free resource, developed and maintained by linguistics professionals and graduate students. We may offer a premium service for those who are interested, but for now we are content offering a high-quality service at no cost to writers.” This service offers comprehensive spelling and grammar checking, plagiarism detection (notifies the student before the teacher finds out), and writing style suggestions. After pasting the text for this article, PaperRater inquired about the usage of the document, the educational level it is being used for, and the option to detect any potential plagiarism. In a matter of seconds, PaperRater produced a color coded list of questionable words, suggested grammar corrections, and even a “Vocabulary Score.” My vocabulary score was displayed as, “ Excellent work! Your usage of sophisticated words is on par with other well-written papers!” While I am not an English teacher, I found PaperRater to be an excellent and very capable resource, and will recommend it to my students.

After the Deadline (afterthedeadline.com) is a “free for personal use,” open source, comprehensive proofreading utility. Unlike most of the other Web based proofreading utilities, After the Deadline requires the downloading (free) and installation of one or more of 11 different utilities. These distinct utilities can be added to Web pages (allows users to check spelling and grammar), WordPress software, plug-ins for Firefox and Chrome, add-on for OpenOffice, Windows Live Writer, and free standing utilities for other popular blogging and social networking services. Once installed, After the Deadline can be used as a comprehensive grammar and spell checker for use with those products, and for online services such as blogs, WordPress, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Google Docs, Windows Live Writer, any Webmail utility, and virtually any other form of online text input. I downloaded and installed the Firefox plug-in, which adds features more substantial than Firefox’s built in spelling checker. In addition to a simple spell checker, After the Deadline adds proper spelling in context (to, too, two; there, their, etc.), grammar checking, style recommendations, and fixes for a variety of other writing errors. In evaluating After the Deadline (the Firefox plug-in), I found it exceptionally easy to use and very powerful. I now use it universally when entering any text using Firefox (my browser of choice). I can strongly recommend After the Deadline as a comprehensive spelling, style, and grammar checker for any products or services that it is designed to work with.

The next Web based proofreading utility that I tried was SpellChecker.net, where I simply copied and pasted my text into the box at the top of the Web page, and then clicked on the yellow “Spell Check” button on the bottom-left of the text box. Almost instantly (it took 1.51 seconds to spell check this entire column), a second browser window opened displaying possible spelling errors, and a list of possible corrections. At the top of this correction window is a “Grammar” button, which will rapidly run a grammar checker (1.12 seconds), clearly showing any questionable grammar and some recommended corrections. A fully functional interactive thesaurus is also provided, which can almost instantly come up with synonyms for a selected word. Once completed, the corrected text can then be copied back on to a blank page, and then saved and printed as appropriate. One tactic that I have found useful, which applies to all of these online services, is to repeat the entire process a second time in order to catch any newly created syntax errors.

I then tried the free Ginger online proofreading Web site at www.gingersoftware.com/grammarcheck, which describes itself as, “Most advanced grammar checker available. Immediate feedback. Free to use.” I was disappointed when I tried to copy and paste this column into the top “Ginger” window, and was brusquely informed that it “exceeded the allowed number of characters.” Since this free Web based utility is very limited in the amount of text that it can process at one time, I would only recommend it for short blocks of text, although multiple blocks of text can be checked sequentially by clearing the box, and then copying and pasting the next section of a document, which is an inconvenience. The text that was entered in the top window of Ginger was displayed with recommended corrections in the bottom half of the browser window. This corrected text could then be copied and pasted back in the original or new document. Ginger offers a more capable premium (paid) product that can be downloaded and installed, and works with Word 2003/2007/2010, Outlook 2003/2007/2010, PowerPoint 2003/2007/2010, Internet Explorer version 6.0 and higher, and all contemporary versions of Firefox.

SpellcheckPlus (spellcheckplus.com) seemed very capable and easy to use, but the free Web based version is limited to 2,000 characters (about 1/2 of a single spaced typed page) per proofread session. Unlimited access requires paid registration (9.99 Euros, or about $15 per year) and can process unlimited text of any length, and includes a lengthy list of writing tools. SpellcheckPlus explains itself as, “ ... a grammar checker that finds common spelling errors and grammatical mistakes in English. Simply type (or paste) your text into the window below and hit the “check text” button.” Despite the short length limitations of the free version, SpellcheckPlus did a very good job of detecting potential errors and offering suggested corrections.

With proofreading utilities like these, there is little reason for anyone, using a computer with Internet access, to produce a document with spelling and serious grammar errors.

Listen to Ira Wilsker’s weekly radio show on Mondays from 6-7 p.m. on KLVI 560AM.

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Microsoft vs. Apple Apple and

Microsoft vs. Apple
Apple and Microsoft have been longtime rival companies, each creating amazing products in their efforts to outdo the other. Currently these two companies are in the top two out of the three big companies in the computing business. Without them the modern day computer would be very different, and not for the better. Microsoft and Apple have been longtime rivals and have both contributed their share of technology to the modern day business world. They have both affected the technology we use today and their rivalry has played a big part in both of the companies development. The feud was started by two ambitious companies fighting for the top spot in the technology industry, and that struggle continues on to this day. This rivalry has the potential to become the biggest rivalry ever because it affects us in our everyday lives and will continue to expand as the world of technology is further explored.
Apple and Microsoft have both created revolutionary products that keep amazing
consumers drawn to their products with their amazing technology. In their struggle to beat the other they have created amazing products. Some of Apple’s most known products are
Iphones, Macs, Ipads, Ipods, and Ipad minis. The product that got Apple running was the Apple II, which was the boost it needed to become well known in the 1970s. Microsoft’s
M.V.S.A.T.2
most important inventions were the “MS-DOS”, the Xbox-360, and the Windows operating systems, all of which were/are important devices or programs. Both companies had amazing
products that have become important to the technological world.

The History of Microsoft and Apple

In the early 1970s, Paul Allen and Bill Gates teamed up to create a company known as Microsoft. Like most companies at the time it was small, but it had a huge vision. Their vision was a computer on every desk in every house. At the time, they most likely never would have guessed their company would turn into one of the largest, most important, and most influential computer companies in the world.
Apple started when two friends Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs started getting into the world of technology. They started out by making computer microprocessors. Soon after they got enough money they created the first Apple computer, known as Apple I. Which was not very well known. But everything changed when the Apple II came out, the first high functioning, easy to use, and compact computer. This cleared Steve Jobs’ and Wozniak’s life of fame and fortune. They forever will remain idols to people of the computer world. Although in many interviews with the employees of Apple many did not like Jobs’ attitude (Steve Jobs was a huge jerk), so many do not count him as an idol.

While both sides began as small companies they have gradually grown until they became supergiants in the computing world. Along with the growth of these companies

M.V.S.A.T.3
their think about how to down-rate each other’s products rather than promoting their own. Microsoft has created many commercials about their tablets, where they have compared to Apple’s iPad and saying how their tablet is made of higher end technology that is much better than Apple’s. Apple has also done the same, but not so much in commercials. When Apple airs commercials, they promote their own product, and find other ways through the media to down-rate the other. When we see these commercials and ads, they influence us into believing that one company is better than the other, effectively making that consumer bias for that company. Now both sides are criticizing each other via television commercials and mostly media sites such as Twitter and Facebook.
The feud can be pinpointed to have started in 1977 when Apple licensed a decimal number system from Microsoft. However, no legal action in this feud was taken until 1988. In 1988 Apple took legal action against Microsoft because Microsoft’s Windows 2 used more of the Macintosh’s design than Apple had licensed to them. This case lasted until 1994. However, more trouble occurred in 1995. Apple sued San Francisco Canyon Company for using Apple’s codes in a Microsoft product. Apple later included Intel and Microsoft in their lawsuit for using their codes, with the knowledge that it was Apple’s codes. As a result the Windows video player was not allowed to be distributed until Microsoft had worked out all of Apple’s codes. In 1997 all legal disagreements were forgotten when Microsoft invested $150 million dollars into an Apple stock. To prevent future “misunderstandings” they agreed on a cross-licensing agreement. Even though we do not know who actually “started” this fierce rivalry, it seems that Microsoft provoked

M.V.S.A.T.4
Apple into legal action by taking more of their technology than was licensed.
As you can tell, many elements brought this feud to life. Microsoft and Apple will
most-likely be rivals for a very long time. Even though Microsoft had been created before Apple, Apple is the leading company in everything “techy.” Microsoft will forever strive to beat Apple revenue-wise, but they will most-likely never succeed. Microsoft and Apple have helped push each other to strive to do better and hopefully will continue pushing each other to create the next revolutionary product.

treasury and risk mangemnt

In line with action plan of Director PBFA, this paper is intend to give birds-eye-view of the general concept of treasury and risk management and also try to derive what will be the role of the treasury and risk management division that will be established under finance department . In the following pages, the role of treasury and risk management is assed and its interaction is designed to link the activities of the division with other supporting departments, divisions and units for the successful accomplishment of its objective.

Moreover, this paper puts a guideline that will enable PBFA establish treasury and risk management division that is capable to identify probable risks with financial loss, measure the likelihood and impact and recommend alternative responsive risk response strategies . The division will also enable finance to be proactive in the provision of effective service and outline properly cascaded cash management policy and working manual with proper internal control in relation to AUC objectives.

Treasury management

Treasury is responsible for financial well-being the Africa Union Commission’s. It controls the production and distribution of the financial matters.

treasury management typically has three main areas for which it is responsible. It tracks and manages the available cash flow of the commission to make sure the bills are paid and commitments honored. It also keeps track of debt and investments of the commission.

Treasury management incorporate two concepts

1) Basic Cash collection and payment management which focus short term cash flows, forecast, bank balances and bank related relations with financial institutions and other organization, custodian of legal obligations and letter of guaranties

2) The other is Advanced cash payment that includes assets management and their risk assessment , exchange and interest rate risks

However at initial stage, it would be advisable for ACU ( PBFA) to focus on the basic treasury management level and move forward to the advanced level using some frame works, modules and support systems when capacity is built:

risk management

Risk can be initiated at any stage and for any project or activity. Every organizational activity has related risks. In an Organization risk management is not only specific unit activity but a general approach to be handle by each sector and department. Hence, Finance also think it is high time to consider an organizational structure that will implement risk management frameworks to identify risks and assess their root causes and recommend alternative risk response mechanisms for those have financial implications and loss on the organization.

Identified risks and their categories

Different organizations have issued various classifications of risks. Among them Committee of Sponsoring Organization of the tread-way commissions COSO has classified risks in to four strategic, operational, financial and hazard. Based on these categories here are listed some of the risk AUC might need to focus:

No. Identified Risks Risk category Risk rating
1 Loss of trust of partners and donors Strategic High
2 Loss of regulatory and political trends Strategic High
3 Loss of directions Strategic High
4 Failure to have good HRM structure Operational High
5 Failure to deliver product/service Operational High
6 Ineffective operational business cycle Operational High
7 Poor leadership style Operational High
8 Luck of willingness to change Operational High
9 Loss of documents Oper./ Finan High
10 Poor archive system Oper./ Finan High
11 Inefficient and utilization of skilled labor Operational High
12 Poor IT system utilization Operational High
13 Corruption Hazard High
14 Incompetence decision Hazard High
15 Theft Hazard High
16 Liquidity Financial High
17 High bank transaction cost Financial Moderate
18 Foreign exchange loss Financial Moderate
19 Wrong/incomplete performance reporting Financial High
20 Incomplete business reporting (Planning, budgeting and cost allocation etc.) Financial High

How can organization handle these risk

An organization can be guided by it corporate culture how to handle the risk as it mold managers how to behave toward risks. whether managers are risk takers or risk averters, there is a commonly applied framework which involves risk Identification, Assessment, management and monitoring. After a risk is identified the likelihood the magnitude of loss has to be measured. Considering the frequency and value of loss risk might be treated in either of risk response mechanisms to be accepted, rejected , mitigated or transferred. As an ongoing concern of business, risk management is not on time activity but need periodical monitoring. Hence treasury should be able to monitor risk fall outside acceptable risk and apply proper resolution strategy in order to use them as an opportunity again.

Liquidity management
Due to the dynamism of the operating environment of business organization, management would like to project and approach the future through forecast in order to minimize the threat (risks) and use the opportunities. Due to role of treasury becomes more forecast-based in its action.

Though AUC has never faced significant cash shortage, it is real that there was no proper cash management mechanism that enables AUC to get the benefit out of it. Hence, the Division should ensure existence of adequate optimum balance of cash to all currency types based on the cash forecast.

Currency management,
Due to large number of accounts and its operation in various countries, AUC is exposed to currency rate risk during transaction and presentation of financial reports.

Currently it is four type of currencies AUC is using (USD, EUR, ETB and GBP). All of them are designed specific activity with requirement of specific donor and partner. As a result AUC cannot use these currency when needed . Rather it has to buy from its USD USD account according to existing account set-up. This will lead AUC to currency rate loss. Hence, The Division is expected to set a pool mechanism and use these currencies to the maximum possible time or till they are needed for intended activity.

It is also equally important to establish petty cash with currency types of at cashier level. Proper controlling mechanism and Periodical replenishment order level should be maintained for each currencies.

Required foreign currency level will be maintained as per the forecast of cash flow while the rest can be hedged or sold to the currency required. Currency can be sold and/or purchased to establish the required level of amount

The required currency can be decided by director finance and can be amended through time based on the demand.

Investment management,
Idle cash can be generated at AUC level as a residual amounts from its operation budgets contribution, earlier payment of contribution of assessments and voluntary contribution of partners or donors . It is also current practice that, such idle cash is kept in MMDA account which is risk free but very low and almost nil return due to unplanned withdrawals.

Hence the decision is expected to take control of such idle cash and manage them in different investment portfolio through centralization and pooling system. It also expected to facilitate earlier collection mechanism of assessed contribution and funds of collaboration programs and manage them till duet date of the desired activities .

The types of investments and their maturity will be decided by Director finance based on the rate or return (interest rate), cash flow requirement and the liability profile of AUC.

Investment will be also linked to the credibility of the financial institutions where investment is made. Consistent credit rating measurement should be used to evaluate the Investment institutions.

Bank relation management
According to the current policy though it is DCP and/or BCP that able to open and close accounts, it should be upon the recommendation of Director PBFA and initiation of the division. it will also negotiate their term and condition and notify the Bank of any restrictions on the operation of any such accounts

Currently AUC has 91 bank account which makes it difficult for managing these accounts . finance does not have clue why and how some of them are opened. Cash is left disbursed all over the accounts makes it difficult to manage cash and AUC could get proper investment return. It also worth mention finance has assign number of staffs to manage the reconciliation.

Accounts should be opened when it is convinced after assessment.

I addition to managing the existing accounts, the division also need to correspond with banks in relation to facilitation of overdraft on some of the accounts, investments interest rate, duration of maturity and volume of investment. It also require to facilitate utilization and installation of proper settlement systems and the interface of data.

Limit of authority on payments of accounts or cards will be set in related to the rules and regulation of AUC and communicated to banks and concerned departments. Banks also should be informed about undelivered disbarments/payments which are deducted at the AUC’s bank account

Imp-rest risk
Treasury unit is expected to minimize cash carrying risks related to AUC, and finance officers through utilization of various instruments such as: Credit agreements, Corporate credit cards, universally accepted credit cards, traveler cheques,

Interactions

Interact with finical division about payments on the pipe line as inputs of the forecast

Interact with procurement and travel unit about obligation of AUC of suppliers, credit agreements, form of payments of such arrangements. letter of guarantees issued on behalf of supplier for the advance payments made should be inclusive under this interaction

Interact with regional and or liaison offices about their subventions, bank accounting openings and service types provided by correspondent banks, their petty cash.

Interact with banks or other financial institutions or agencies in relation to investment portfolios type, their maturity, rate of return, etc

Interact with insurance staffs to identify periodical life insurance premium payments and reimbursements, life insurance payments
Interact with pension unit bout periodical contributions and its reimbursement.

Interact with strategic department about resources to be mobilized and the memorandum of understanding arises to understand the partnership agreement and donor’s requirement.

Interact with budget division in relation to program and regular budgets, supplement budgets members contribution, time framed schedule of the programs, projects and activities

Interact with program managers to get list of well-organized and time framed activities with corresponding financial commitment toward each programs and project.
Interact with payroll staffs to project the expected staff benefits and payroll

The role of Treasury and risk management division

Monitor daily cash flow and ensure that adequate liquidity is provided and issue three months cash forecast report bimonthly

Recommend investment portfolios based on the forecasted cash requirements and issue monthly investment portfolio report.

Ensure funds are invested in the correct portfolio after proper assessment of the portfolios and investment agencies

Manage foreign currency requirements and establish petty cash and their replenishment order level.

Produce letter of report to the bank with updated panel of signatories and the term of operation the designated accounts together with specimen signatures in respect of such account(s)

Facilitate utilization of online banking payment system at headquarter level.

Facilitate utilization of over draft to some of the accounts

Manage cash at bank and on hand at cashier level, regional and liaison office level

Evaluate bank transaction costs (interest and exchange rate)

Facilitate electronic payment system and recommend and mange utilization of credit cards and corporate travel cards.

Ensure proper settlement electronic payments and data interface

Ensure proper custodianship of bank guarantees, cheques, traveller cheques, corporate credit/debit cards

Facilitate automatic data interface of bank statements for reconciliation

Involve and display treasury management expertise on the process of establishing of partnership agreements

Ensure cash is transferred to the proper account of the beneficiaries

Facilitate earlier collection of member states and voluntary contribution

Compile receivable reports by age and recommend provision for collectability to Dir. PBFA

Etc

Recommended structure

The structural arrangement of the division considered at Head of Division level as its activity require the direct involvement of Director PBFA. Moreover, being under the director PBFA will strengthen the accomplishment of it objectives’. Hence the structured is designed as follows.

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