by Alan Townend

Dear [FRIEND], I don’t know about you but I just can’t handle flying. And I’m talking about travelling in aeroplanes, of course. There’s something about being inside a long tube, thousands of feet above the ground, not being able to see anything except a lot of clouds that terrifies me. Then there’s that awful moving around on the ground before you take off, the ear piercing noise as the engine revs up until you eventually rise upwards at a most peculiar angle. Throughout the journey you hear the occasional bang and there’s that part of your brain that reassures you that it’s simply a bump in the road until you realise that you’re in the air and you’re not touching anything. And then there’s the landing, which also has its attendant problems.

Funny really that we use the verb ‘fly’ to talk about a creature which has wings and when we use the verb with people, we assume we’re talking about going somewhere in an aeroplane, unless of course you’re being specially classical and describing what Icarus tried to do. He, poor chap, went too near the sun, the wax on his wings melted and he ended up dead on the ground. The strange thing is that we read in the newspaper: The Prime Minister is flying to Holland tonight. Now, no one imagines that he’s wearing special wings, do they? But enough of my flying phobia.

Dear [FRIEND],

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I hope you liked this amazing essay by Alan and if you like, you can purchase one of this books in our shop here: Shop

Let’s have a look at the verb ‘fly’ itself.The past tense is ‘flew’ and the past participle is ‘flown’ and remember that ‘flies’ is the correct spelling for the third person singular for the present tense. While we’re looking at this verb, it’s worth noting similar sounding verbs that are quite different in meaning. ‘Flee’ means to run away from, very often in a state of fear.The past simple and the past participle are ‘fled’. Again the verb ‘flow’ describes the gradual movement of a liquid such as water and rivers, has a past tense and a past participle of ‘flowed’.Remember that you would flee from danger if the water in the river was flowing too high over the bank and what you would like to do is fly like a bird to escape.

Of course apart from its meaning of using wings for movement, ‘fly’ in its adjectival form ‘flying’, has the idea of speed. We say that Aunt Agatha paid us a ‘flying visit’ yesterday. This means we didn’t expect her to come and visit us and she didn’t stay long with us, You can also ‘get off to a flying start’ suggesting that you begin a business or a project which is immediately successful and profitable. You can do very well in an examination and get the highest marks possible. In that way you pass your examination ‘with flying colours’. If the business is good and the examination results are excellent, you could be said to be ‘flying high’ – you are being very successful. Again speed reappears when you need an expression that’s very useful when you want to leave someone’s company. And it’s not impolite but very effective. You say something like this: Well, I must fly because I have an awful lot to do today. You can also lose your temper with this clever verb. If you suddenly start shouting and expressing your anger, you are said to: Fly off the handle. Possibly someone gives you a piece of information about a new law that’s just come into force. Well, you can fly off the handle if you want or you can be more measured and maintain that the law just doesn’t make sense and really is quite stupid. You say: That law just doesn’t add up and has no practical use. In fact it flies in the face of common sense. Again someone tells you something that you really can’t believe because you know it must be untrue. This is how the conversation goes:

A Have you heard that George is going to marry the girl who has just won the title of Miss World?

B I don’t believe it – pigs might fly.

While we’re on this little three letter word, let’s not forget that little insect that comes and sits on your sandwich when you’re having a picnic in the open air or comes buzzing into your bedroom when you’re just about to fall asleep – the fly. That too appears in common expressions. ‘The fly in the ointment’ describes the one problem you experience when everything else is fine. You’re on holiday, the sun is shining and the food is excellent at the hotel where you are staying. The only ‘fly in the ointment’ is that your room is right near a busy main road and the noise of the traffic keeps you awake at night. Sometimes you hear people say of someone; There are no flies on him. That means he is not an easy person to trick or deceive. Now, the fly is very small and it’s possible that when it doesn’t go around buzzing, you don’t even know it’s actually in the room. When you wish you could hear someone’s private conversation with another person and the topic is very interesting you sometimes wish you could listen in without being seen or noticed. It’s on occasions like these, you say: Oh, I wish I could hear what they’re saying I really would like to be a fly on the wall.

Now I must go back to the phobia i started talking about in the beginning. I began to think about this subject after I’d heard an item on the radio. A very distinguished professor of astronomy was saying that it would indeed be possible for people to travel to the planets on a regular basis later in the century. He was asked whether he thought it would be feasible to travel to Mars some time in the future. He assured the interviewer that it would indeed be possible but it would be expensive to send someone there. He said he didn’t think at his age he was ready to go. When asked what age had to do with it, he explained that it was indeed very expensive to get there and it would be far too expensive to bring someone back and so you would have to stay there. Personally, with my feelings on flying, I don’t think I’ll be putting my name down for the next flight!

Alan Townend
Dear [FRIEND], I hope you liked this amazing essay by Alan and if you like, you can purchase one of this books in our shop here: Shop

If you have any comments on this essay, please post them on the forum here: Flying?


How to Integrate WebRTC Into a Website

How to Integrate WebRTC Into a Website

Although such VoIP services as Skype have long been available, users on both ends who wished to engage in such conversations have had to download software and register for
Web Real-Time Communication does away with these constraints by resolving audio/video incompatibilities between disparate browsers on a variety of electronic devices. First offered as open-source in 2011, it gives Web developers a means of creating substantial real-time multimedia applications with no need for special installations, plug-ins or downloads. Why WebRTC Communication Matters The break-through technology of real-time Web-based audio/video capability and WebRTC mobile brings peer to peer voice and video communication to the next level, permitting data exchanges between such diverse electronic devices as PCs, laptops, desktops, mobile phones and television sets. The ability to initiate live video conferences directly from a browser could soon contribute to the obsolescence of such ubiquitous third-party solutions as Skype, ooVoo, WebEX and GoToMeeting. The Major Components of Web Real-Time Communication In a familiar base of JavaScript and HTML5, this technology is compatible with Google Chrome, Opera, Firefox and Internet Explorer through Chrome Frame. Its major components include: – getUserMedia: As the name implies, the get user media

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method allows the Web browser to gain access to both camera and microphone. The ability to get user media efficiently streamlines WebRTC’s Skype-like capabilities. – Peer Connection: The peer connection is the means by which the Web browser sets up audio/video calls for peer to peer voice and video chats and data transfer through a variety of peer to peer apps. – Peer-to-Peer Data Exchange: A low latency and high rate of message transfer enables such real-world uses as gaming, vidoeo streaming, real-time text and file transfers. It also facilitates various remote desktop and peer to peer apps. – Data Channels: WebRTC’s data channels permit the transmission of text or binary data over active connections. – Chrome Flags: The Google Chrome flags provide developers with an arena in which to enable or disable various functions and test the workings of newly coded features in Chrome. – Media Streams: As a means of access to the user’s camera and microphone, media streams can easily convert to object URLs for passage to video elements. Support The availability of WebRTC continues to spread. The browsers that currently support it include:

  • Google Chrome 21.
  • Opera 12.
  • Firefox 17.
  • Internet Explorer via Chrome Frame.

The Vision of Web Real-Time Communication The ability of this technology to provide real-time audio/video capabilities to a variety of Web applications should eventually allow PCs, mobile phones and television sets to speak to each other with ease. The hope of its developers is that Web Real-Time Communication and WebRTC mobile will allow the combination of JavaScript and HTML5 to bring the communications industry up to Web speed. Web Real-Time Communication and English-Team In the interest of enabling the real-time delivery of video-based language coaching sessions, English-Team plans to incorporate WebRTC technology into the upcoming relaunch of its website. This new capability will allow any user to initiate live meetings and vidoeo streaming directly from the browser. English-Team looks forward to benefiting from the increased efficiency that this new facility will provide.642-447


Going Scilly

Going Scilly (By Alan Townend)

A word of warning – the second word in this title isn’t a typo or a spelling mistake. In fact it’s perfectly all right. I’ll explain later.

Now to my main point, which is about what different countries call themselves. Generally, with a few very honourable exceptions, countries choose one word to describe themselves. Let me list a few examples – Spain, Australia, India, Italy, Namibia and so on. After all that’s the easiest way to do it, isn’t it? But of course things are a bit different where I live. We just don’t seem to be able to settle on one name. In the 19th century when we were rushing around the world colonising different parts of it and telling the local people how they should organise themselves, people simply said that England is doing this and England has done that because the word ‘England’ was used to stand for the whole country. Of course not everyone was happy about that. People in Scotland weren’t too bothered about it as they’ve always considered themselves superior to the English and anyhow most Scots in those days were also dashing around showing off their skills as administrators, inventors and engineers throughout the world. The Welsh on the other hand didn’t take too kindly to being lumped in with the English because they have always been very sensitive souls and after all said and done, they do have their own language. ‘Britain’ is another way of describing the country, which is i think a bit colourless but it will do. You can of course make this somewhat grander and talk of Great Britain but then the trouble is that sounds a tad pompous. If you like abbreviations, you can simply say ‘UK’, which obviously stands for United Kingdom. Then you can go the whole hog, describe it in exact detail and read out what it says on my passport – The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. There is a huge chunk (mass) of history behind all that but I won’t bore you with it now. For me the best description is ‘the British Isles’ because let’s face it, that is what it is – a collection of islands. There are some relatively large islands, one off the south coast of England, the Isle of Wight, one off the north west coast of England called the Isle of Man, where for some reason cats don’t have any tails and one off the coast of north Wales, called the Isle of Anglesey. Now that last one is interesting. The Romans called it ‘Mona’. The story goes that Julius Caesar was at a loose end one day (had nothing particular to do) and decided to take a trip to our islands and he landed at what is now called Anglesey. True to form it was raining and on top of that there was a thick fog everywhere. He and his troops didn’t think much of that and hotfooted it back home. Of course some years later he had another go and the Romans stayed a long, long time and got us all very well organised. Then there are hundreds of islands off the coast of Scotland, some of which are so bleak and remote that no one lives there. But I must come to the point and talk of the islands that I have already mentioned at the very beginning – the Scilly Isles. These lie off the tip of the south western corner of England. The word ‘scilly’ is supposed to come from the old word ‘sully’ meaning ‘sunny’ because the weather is very mild here and then there are the romantics among us who like to think of them in the old sense of ‘silly’, which meant ‘happy’ or ‘blessed’. But whatever the word means, they are delightful places to take a holiday in and that’s the reason why I went to stay in one of these isles, St Mary’s, last summer.

To reach this destination, you first have to travel the long road down the county of Cornwall. The sea is never far away in the UK and in this thin strip of land you are very much aware of its presence. You enter the country by crossing a river that almost turns the whole area into yet another island as it crosses the greater part of it. In fact the locals (the Cornish) would rather like it to be one because they consider themselves quite different from the rest of the country. After all they too have their own language and a very distinctive history. Remember that this is the land of King Arthur, the legendary leader of the 5th and 6th centuries. You are getting nearer and nearer to Land’s End and from there it’s a straight line across the water to America. But back to the real world. You can get to the Scillies by boat, by plane or by helicopter. The

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main boat that crosses to the isles, the Scillonian, has a flat bottom and you need a steady stomach to endure the voyage of some three hours. The plane, the Skybus, is subject to weather conditions and the noisiest, the quickest and the most reliable is by helicopter. That’s what we chose and have later discovered that this service no longer operates. The airport or the ‘heliport’ as they like to call it, is a far cry from those airports throughout the world where you go through various security checks – are you by the way like me who whenever I go through one of those archways set all the bells ringing for no apparent reason? Embarrassing, isn’t it? Here in the heliport you hand over your luggage to a friendly baggage handler, walk a couple of paces and a smiling young person asks you whether you’d like a snack or a drink. And of course you accept. In what seems just like minutes because of course you don’t have to get there hours before a flight, you are ushered into a small room to watch a film on the procedures of flying in a helicopter. This is a very practical step because although your air hostess on the helicopter smiles a lot at you during the flight, you couldn’t possibly hear a single word if she wanted to talk to you because of the loud noise of the engine. From the helicopter you see the tail end of England, a little bit of sea and then an array of small islands down below. Within minutes of landing you hail a taxi that is waiting to take you to your destination.

We had chosen a self catering cottage for our week’s holiday. The landlady was of the strict variety. She had obviously had experiences of awkward tenants and was taking no chances with the four of us. After a brief introduction, she called out: ‘Shoes off before you go into the living area’. We all meekly obeyed and slippered we followed her as she gave us the tour. I think as we kept making appreciative noises on entering each room, her tone became a little softer. A smile appeared on her face at the end and she wished us a pleasant stay. I think we had passed the test. After tea we went on a brief walk near our cottage to see the sea and already the calm and peace of this island was flowing over us.

Of course however small the island is, you have to visit the main town. And, unless you are very energetic, you have to go by bus. As there is only one, we have to call it THE bus. It is this vehicle that goes round and round the island day after day. As I sit here reminiscing about that holiday, it occurs to me that this splendid bus is doing precisely that at this very moment. Naturally this isn’t any old bus. It is unique and so is the driver. He, I never actually caught his name, is definitely an eccentric. He is, as we say, a character, He has a very loud voice and enjoys making up names for the places he stops at. On several trips I heard him call out: ‘Garden centre’ and I made a mental note to look in there one afternoon. It wasn’t until midweek that I discovered that the ‘garden centre’ was in fact a small table with two pot plants on it outside someone’s house! He frequently appears on the local Scillonian radio and interviews local people. It goes without saying that he knows all the locals that get on and off his bus by name. This is all part of the friendly atmosphere on the island. People get on the bus and tell you for example that they are going to a wedding or that they have just had their hair done. Everyone joins in the conversation including the tourists who are expected to make appropriate remarks. This all has to be carried out at the top of your voice because the engine is so noisy as the bus is very old. It travels at great speed round corners and other motorists know to pull in when it approaches. When it was first built, no doubt it was the last word in public transport but now you are not advised to check the condition of the tyres. The entrance door was no doubt electronically operated at the beginning but the driver now uses a long piece of string to open and shut the door. Once you are in the town centre, the air of contentment continues to surround you. People are smiling a lot. They know they are living on one of the happy isles.

Having travelled to one island you have to see the other islands as well. This is called island hopping and provides a flourishing industry for the local boatmen. As you struggle to get on to a boat, well at least I did, there is always a hand to help you safely embark and disembark. It is a firm suntanned hand ready to guide the elderly and infirm and especially eager to offer aid to the young and beautiful. I suppose if you spend your life on the sea, you develop a certain sense of humour. At the end of each trip the skipper will say with a wink things like: Well, I reckon we’ve been lucky to get back in one piece! or Thank goodness we just about had enough fuel to return to land. You know they are joking but somehow it adds that little air of excitement.

One of the culinary delights to savour on any of the islands is indulging in a cream tea. You can of course get these anywhere but here the cream is that bit creamer, the jam is that bit more luscious and of course the scone is that bit larger. As you sit there foaming at the lips with cream and jam, with the sun shining and within view of the bright blue sea, who cares about the economic recession? And after that huge feast of cream, scone, jam and tea, it’s time to get back home on the bus. It’s then as you hurtle round corners that you think that maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to have asked for an additional scone. Apart from the food, the sea and the charm of the islands, they also offer, at least for British tourists, a wealth of plants that would not normally survive in the erratic climate of the mainland. One island in particular called Tresco, which has the famous Abbey Gardens is the one to visit for rich and exotic plants. Here you find that everything is a little bit more expensive than on the other islands and there is, to a certain degree, a sense that the island feels superior to the others. There is an air of correctness about the place and it’s somewhere that it seems most sensible to make use of the buggies, These are like the devices used by golfers to get people over distances that would take too long to go on foot across a golf course. They are powered by electricity and can carry four people. Two sit in the front (one of whom is the driver) and two are at the back facing in the opposite direction. When you sit on the back, you have no idea where you are going and you can’t help feeling a sense of superiority as you are facing walkers as they make their way along the road. Somehow that seems just right for Tresco.

Back on the main island where we started we decided we would do a sort of cultural tour. Once again we hired a buggy. There are many artists who live on the island and they are happy for tourists to come and see them in their studios. There is none of the quiet reserve that you find on the mainland. One local artist showed his own paintings and was also pleased to show those of his late aunt. As time passed we became familiar with all his relatives. When he had finished the story of his family, he invited us to look through all the prints and post cards that he had produced. Now this is the moment of truth. As you have almost become part of the family, you can’t really just politely make your exit without buying a thing. Anyhow the exit is strategically placed so that you can’t get out without bumping into him. You huddle together and discuss what would be a decent amount of money to spend. One year later I still have a wide range of postcards that I bought because after a while you can’t really keep on sending out views of the islands to people you know. On our second studio visit we made it clear to the artist that we were rather pushed for time as we had to return the buggy by the end of the afternoon. Further artists’ work was admired by us as briefly as possible. Then we came to a pottery studio and that was where I remember going slightly mad and buying too many vases and mugs, But this was no ordinary potter. He is internationally known and worked for over 30 years in different parts of the world before deciding to return to his roots and set up his studio in a country lane on the island where we were staying. He is regarded by some of his colleagues as a bit of an alchemist as he is able to mix various glazes together and produce lustre ware that is housed in many expensive collections throughout the world. But here on the Scilly Islands there is a sense of equality where everyone is taken at face value. To us visiting he was simply John, hands covered in clay willing to chat about his work and show us round his studio. These islands are a great leveller. You can’t assume airs and graces here, no matter who you are or what you have done. Interestingly a former Prime Minister of the UK decided to retire to St Mary’s over 50 years ago and was keen to join in the daily life of the island. No one is phased as they say by what happens here as perhaps they would in other parts of Britain. For example one afternoon we were climbing a hill to have a different view of the sea when we came across a woman walking alongside a reindeer on a lead. No one turned a hair. i asked a local standing nearby what it was all about. ‘Oh’, he said as casual as you like, ‘Mrs *** always takes her reindeer out for a walk round about tea time.’ Of course, I thought what could possibly be more natural?

That week went by very quickly and just as we were almost becoming Scillonians ourselves, it was time to pack our bags and make once more for the heliport. Our landlady came to bid us good bye but I knew she was anxious to check and see that we hadn’t wrecked the place. By the extent of her smile it was obvious that we hadn’t. Our holding deposit to cover any breakages was returned in full. As soon as we reached the heliport it started to rain. The weather had at least stayed fine for our week. As I looked back at the islands through the mist I naturally experienced a sense of sadness and regret that we were leaving. I knew just then that I would probably never come back again. This wasn’t because it hadn’t been an enjoyable break. It was a simple belief that once you have lived a magical dream surrounded by calm and beauty, it is not a good idea to try to recapture the experience again. If you do, you are sure to be disappointed.

Alan Townend

If you want to tell us what you think about this newsletter issue, you can do so on the forum here: Going Scilly


A tour of a Police Department in Florida

Dear [FRIEND], in this video Captain Lewis shows you what his police department in Florida looks like. Maybe Michelle walked a bit fast but she wanted to seize this rare opportunity of a police captain allowing English-Team to film a police department and ask questions. Michelle also recorded an interview with Captain Lewis which you will see in a couple of days:

I’m sure you find Captain Lewis as cool as we do? Can you imagine that a police captain in your country would be as open as Captain Lewis and just show you around his police department? Do you think the police captains in your country are ready to give an interview on camera and then allow you to share it on Youtube? As for me, I’m from Germany and unfortunately I don’t know any German police captain who would be willing to have him filmed and put on Youtube, so thumbs up, Captain Lewis and thank you very much for sharing this with us.


The Rise of the Coworking Industry

As more people abandon corporate culture in favor of working from home, they”re beginning to work together.gogoexam
Many times, proponents of working from a home office cite office politics, inflexible schedules, excessive supervision and long
commutes as reasons for making the switch. However, they also must give up some of the advantages the corporate office provided. For example:

  • Collaboration with a Team
  • Sharing of Ideas
  • An Environment without Domestic Distractions
  • The Atmosphere of Focused Work
  • And More

The Rise of Coworking

With more numbers, those who work from home started banding together as coworkers. The name of this new trend is coworking. The aim of coworking is to provide a working environment that restores the benefits of a group without re-introducing the drawbacks. Office politics is eliminated because rarely do coworkers share the same company or profession. There”s no jockeying for position or rank. Likewise, you”re free to come and go as you please, so the schedule places your life first.

At the same time, coworking encourages the benefits. Those who share working space adopt a culture of collaborating with each other. A focused atmosphere built around work eliminates distractions and allows you to work better.

Coworking vs. Executive Suites

Some people, when first introduced to the idea of coworking, say, “isn”t this the same as executive offices or suites?” In some instances, the appearance of a working environment triggers this response. However, it”s the culture of coworking that differs.

Executive offices often encourage solitude in an effort to prioritize professional image. Coworking, on the other hand, emphasizes people first. In most instances, the group organizes before the working space, and the synergy of the people becomes the backbone of the environment. Many coworking groups have started out of small apartments with like-minded entrepreneurs feeding on the energy of innovation.

Benefits of Coworking

In his study of wealth, Napoleon Hill identified the “master mind group” as a common trait among successful business people. Birds of a feather flock together, and your direct peer group has an enormous amount of influence on you. The single most important benefit is the association with other people striving to perform at their absolute best. By doing so, your work output and performance improve naturally.

The second greatest benefit of coworking is the availability of new ideas. Not just the encouragement from others who believe there”s always a way to do it, you also get the advantage of minds who may perceive solutions you never knew existed. In turn, your creativity improves. More benefits include:

  • Increased Sense of Belonging
  • Growing Your Business Networks
  • Shared Office Expenses
  • Mobility without Long-Term Contracts
  • Enhanced Personal Confidence
  • And So Much More

Coworking is on the rise, and it only shows signs of growing larger. With coworking centers available in most major cities in western countries, you may want to explore what coworking can do for you.

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iOS TOEIC Simulator — New Version

The first iOS based TOEIC Simulator has been used by more than 6000 TOEIC test candidates and English learners from around the world, especially from the USA, Germany, Thailand, Brazil, Japan and India. We are currently working on a new version which will be available through the Apple app store and iTunes by mid-April.

The new version will have improved functionality. For example, you will be able to see what your actual TOEIC score in both sections — listening comprehension as well as reading comprehension will be. In addition, you can compare your level of English with other learners from around the world. There will be a host of exciting features so watch this space: iOS TOEIC Test Simulator by English-Team.

Actually, our new logo needs to have the ‘TM’ sign because TOEIC is a registered trademark by ETS: TOEIC-Icon-512-v6a

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Speaking English for 20 seconds a day

Dear [FRIEND], every day I receive a dozen or so emails from people asking me just this one question: ‘How can I improve my speaking skills?’ Apparently, millions of people all over the world are unhappy with the level of their English skills and that’s why they are looking for a solution to this problem. Many people say their listening and reading comprehension skills are Long evening dresses quite good but they have difficulty speaking English. Now, there are a number of things you need to do to improve your speaking skills and one of them is this: Short cocktail dresses Start speaking English for at least 20 seconds a day. Record a voice message on our forum and share it with native speakers of English and other learners. Our forum is the only forum worldwide where you actually have the opportunity to record your own voice and listen to the voice messages from other other people.

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Are you a winner?

Dear [FRIEND],

Are you a winner? In other words, are you happy with your English? Yes, the quality of your life depends directly on your level of English: the better your English, the more job opportunities you get, the more money you can earn and the more freedom you have. Since you live your life only once, your level of freedom is the most important thing. Freedom means a lot of different things: for example, it means that you can choose whom you want to work with. Imagine, you can select the people you deal with on a daily basis. Do you like your boss and all of your co-workers? Are you getting along well with all of your customers? If not, you should change something immediately. Don’t wait until your life is over. Don’t hope for things to change themselves. Take some action today. You can take full control over your life by starting to change your habits.

A couple of years ago I was facing the same situation as you. I wanted to learn how to speak English like a native speaker but didn’t know how. Through trial and error I finally figured out what it takes to learn English like a winner and I want to share my experiences with you, [FRIEND]. That’s why I created English For Winners for you. As of now, the information is available in English and English For Winners in Russian.