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Touchscreens can be quick and convenient, but frustrating if you're entering large amounts of text.
If you're one of the 22 million lucky people who got a new iPad for the holidays — or one of the 200 million people who already own an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad — here are my top tips for how to get the most out of your Apple touchscreen device in the least amount of time.

Baby Powder
If it's particularly humid, or you suffer from clammy hands, that moisture on your fingers makes for jumpy touch control. Sprinkle a little baby powder on your fingers, and you will suddenly have pinpoint accuracy and command of the cursor. Corn starch will also do the trick.
Video Scroll Control
Video Scroll Control
You've got this perfect video moment stored on your phone — just 10 seconds within a five-minute video — that you want to share with a friend. You scroll too far forward, then too far back. What you need is finer control. Try this: touch the timeline at the top of the video screen, then slide your finger below the timeline. You should see the timeline expand.
Without lifting your finger, slide it to the right or left to scroll forward or back through the video at half speed. This also works with audio files in iTunes. (Note: this feature may not work if you are running an older version of IOS - Apple's mobile operating system).
Web and Contacts Scroll Control
Want to scroll up on a website? Just tap the top bar. Rather than swiping back through a bunch of images you've already seen, this move will jump you right back to the top. This trick works the same with your contacts: tap the top bar, and boom, from the z's to the a's in one motion.
Tap the Top Bar
Keyboard Shortcuts
Suppose you want to add a period to a sentence — a pretty common occurrence. You could do it the slow way: hit the number button, tap the period, and then tap the "abc" button to get back to typing. Or you could try the fast way: hit the space bar twice. This automatically adds a period and a space — and even capitalizes the next letter as you start a new sentence.
Another trick: don't worry about adding apostrophes. Type doesnt, Ill, Im and youre all without the punctuation, and your iPad or iPhone will automatically correct these words to read doesn't, I'll, I'm, and you're.
Press and Hold
Pressing and holding certain keys reveals all the options associated with that key. Touch the dollar sign ($) and hold; the keyboard will reveal other money symbols, like the yen (¥), the pound (£), and the euro (€).  Then just slide your finger to the option you want to select. Release your finger there to get your chosen character to appear on the screen.
Reveal Hidden Keys
Want an accent aigu (é)? Press and hold A, then slide to the exact character you want. Need a cedilla (ç)? Press and hold C. For an umlaut (ü), press and hold U… you get the idea. Pressing and holding also works with certain punctuation marks. To get that upside down question mark at the beginning of a Spanish question, for example, press and hold the regular question mark.
Pressing and holding even works for Internet addresses. When you're typing a web address in Safari, there's a special .com button. Hold it, and the keyboard will reveal other web address options: .net, .edu, .org, etc. And if your keyboard is set to a different country, options will appear for those domains as well, like .co, .uk, or .eu. This function works in email, too: hold down the dot  (period button) when typing an email address to reveal .com and a similar batch of alternate domain options.
The Slide
All of the tricks in this article are aimed at saving you time and motion. The goal: as few clicks and taps as possible. By sliding your finger instead of multiple taps, your motion can become more fluid. The most common usage is when you're typing on the regular letter keyboard, and you suddenly need a number or a symbol. The slow way takes 3 taps: number layout, the number, and then one more tapto take you back to letters. Now try The Slide instead; it's a bit like Press and Hold: tap the numbers button (123), but then — without lifting up your finger — slide it to the number or symbol you want, and release. This will give you the character you want, and return you to the letters keyboard automatically — officially, only one tap instead of three.


Students of the Inter University Students’ Federation (IUSF) today staged a protest in front of the Colombo Fort Railway Station urging the government to re-assess the Z-score and the Island and District Rankings of the GCE Advanced Level results. Pix by Kushan Pathiraja

Kathryn Jeffs, Doug Anderson and Hugh Miller show how difficult filming the brinicle was
BBC Natural History Unit producer Kathryn Jeffs reveals the extreme conditions her film-making crew had to endure to capture the bizarre "ice finger of death" - known as a brinicle - under the ice in Antarctica.
All shoots begin with research, and inspiration comes from many places… scientific papers, discussions with scientists, images from books or the internet.

Find out more

Kathryn Jeffs
Kathryn Jeffs was one of a team of people who worked on Frozen Planet. Watch the Frozen Planet Christmas Special: The Epic Journey on 28 December at 1900 GMT on BBC One.
Often it is difficult to pin down the details you need to set up a shoot, especially when locations are remote, and you do not get more remote than below the ice of McMurdo Sound, Antarctica.
We were lucky to be able to draw on the phenomenal experience of the Antarctic dive legends Rob Robbins and Steve Rupp, who helped pin down a focused "wish-list" of stories I hoped to film.
On that list, but with very little expectation of filming them, were some bizarre, beautiful ice formations they called "brinicles".
I had never heard of them and could find no reference to them at all on the internet.
Eventually, I found one scientific paper which described the speedy growth of these strange ice stalactites. Back then I think only a handful of people in the world had even heard of them.
Planning the shoot
I needed to turn the ideas into a shot list, so I got together with the underwater filming team, Doug Anderson and Hugh Miller.
The team preparing for a diveThe camera crew had to use specialist equipment to keep as warm as possible while under the ice
Knowing the quality of the filming which we would be expected to deliver on Frozen Planet, the super-steady shots and intimate close-ups, there was a need for real innovation.
We talked about using ratchets and bolts in the ice, and extendable legs to fix the camera and tripod upside-down to the underside of the ice.
It would mean Doug would have to film upside down, but at least he would be able get shots steady enough and close enough to show the tiny, shy ice-fish which cloud around the ice chandeliers.
Knowing the water was perhaps the clearest in the world, we were very excited about being able to film wide vistas below the ice.
In McMurdo Sound, during the end of winter, the water is so clear that it seems the sea floor stretches on forever, dotted with giant sponges, teeming with red starfish and glistening with crystals of ice.
We really wanted to capture that scene. And we also wanted to get intimate portraits of the tiny invertebrates there.
To do this we needed to use a special "probe" lens which allows for close-up shots of tiny animals, but is also wide enough to show where they are. It had, however, never been used with an underwater camera before; we would need to build a special housing for it.
Filming the brinicleThe crew had to develop and build their own time-lapse kit and get it under the ice
We also knew that life in McMurdo Sound moves very slowly.
The cold temperatures mean that animals have very slow metabolisms and move at a rate that normal cameras would not really show. We would need to take time-lapse cameras under the ice.
Hugh Miller had worked on an underwater time-lapse system in Antarctica before but it had been heavy and the lighting system had not worked as well as it could have.
But he had ideas for a whole new system and had diagrams and designs.
On location
After four days of travelling and a final eight-hour journey in a C-17 plane, we finally stepped on to Antarctic ice. With us were 65 bags of kit, amongst which were our newly-built probe lens housing, specially-adapted tripods and various other gadgets and gizmos for filming.
There were also a few crates containing collections of wires, circuit boards, pencil-drawn diagrams and metal cases, as Hugh had not quite completed the build of the time-lapse kit.
The team's dive hut in AntarcticaThe heated dive huts gave vital protection, enabling the team to dive through the day, in all weather
Every morning, our day began with loading the gear into a piston bully, essentially a survival pod on tracks, which Doug would drive to the filming location.
As he left, myself and Hugh would dig out our skidoos from under the snow and race over to the site - an hour-long journey.
Out on the ice, dive huts had been placed for us over holes drilled into the ice below, and these tiny boxes became our home for seven weeks.
They protected us from the intense cold and changing conditions, enabling us to spend the entire day out on the ice with the guys able to perform multiple dives.
I had worked up a detailed script and shot-list which I adapted daily, responding to our growing knowledge of the site and allowing us to target particular shots for the sequences I wanted for the film.
This was crucial for making the most of the short amount of time the guys had for each dive, as there was little time for second chances.
Kathryn Jeffs on a skidooKathryn and Hugh had to ride to the dive site for an hour on a skidoo each day
We had some big ambitions - especially with regards to the wide shots we wanted to film.
The ice cover meant that natural light was not always strong enough for us to film. We used special underwater lights which Hugh would carry down and hold in place, hovering still in the water, while Doug filmed.
I sometimes think this must have been the one of the most difficult jobs on Frozen Planet.
Hugh had to remain completely still, floating in awkward positions, in the coldest water in the world, holding heavy, metal, underwater lights in place.
Below him, Doug, using the new probe lens, would focus on capturing shots of giant sea spiders and isopods. When they emerged after an hour, they would often be in visible pain from the cold.
Under the ice
We were getting some amazing shots of bizarre polar creatures but we were also starting to see how destructive the ice could be. One of the most poignant moments in the film, I think, is the sea urchin getting caught by ice and floating away to frozen oblivion.
Attaching a camera to the underside of the iceCameras had to be attached to the ice upside down
Then, after one particular dive, the guys emerged extremely excited. They had filmed some flowing brinicles. Their shots were beautiful but they had had to leave mid-flow as their dive time was up.
A few hours later, when it was safe for them to dive again, they discovered a river of ice had formed on the bottom of the sea floor. Starfish, urchins and sea snails were caught in the ice - and were all dead.
The race was now on for Hugh to get the time-lapse kit finished. There was no spare time, so each night, after filming all day, he would retreat to our laboratory to turn his pencil diagrams into working kit.
Hugh completed the build, but we were nervous.
Would it work in the cold? Would the housings leak? Would the delicate links that Hugh had soldered together survive the brutal journey - dragged in a sledge behind our snowmobiles?
We needed to try it out and had the perfect place. The guys had seen the beginnings of a brinicle plume in a very beautiful spot under the ice. It meant diving through a narrow tunnel of ice which opened out into a wider, natural galley. This was the territory of a large male weddell seal.
Hugh and cameras capture the brinicle (c) D AndersonHugh had little room to position himself and the cameras under the ice
It took an entire dive for Doug and Hugh to shuttle all of the kit back into the ice galley.
Three underwater tripods, three underwater lighting stands, three cameras, three lights, two control boxes, and countless cables were placed and held down with lead weights, the entire operation watched closely by the seal.
The next dive allowed Hugh to test the kit and finally start the time-lapse running. We would need to leave it overnight. Meanwhile the brinicle started to grow.
The next day the guys went down to see whether it had worked. They came up despondent. On arriving at the site they had found the camera face down. Our inquisitive seal had knocked it over. But we had a superb time-lapse of tiny sea floor critters scuttling below. The kit was working.
Another brinicle was beginning. With all the kit in place, the crew could set up quickly. Keeping our fingers crossed that the seal would be less interested this time, we left the kit ticking away, hoping for better results.
As brine from the sea ice sinks, a "brinicle" forms, freezing the sea floor life
That evening we returned and the guys dived again. A stunning brinicle, with its river of ice had formed right in front of the cameras, which stood perfectly poised.
But had we got the shot? The drive back that night was excruciating.
Back at base Hugh finally downloaded the material.
At 0100, exhausted from the day, we watched it for the first time, and it was a pretty emotional moment.
We were now seeing the months of planning, design and many long hours of intricate assembly pay off. The brinicle formation was stunning.
We knew we had captured, for the first time ever, the creation of a rather sinister wonder of nature.
Staying alive
We took the safety of this shoot very seriously. We were going to be working under metres of thick ice, in the coldest water in the world - we had to get our plans and the kit exactly right.
We thoroughly researched every part of the kit we used - right down to different glove options. I even organised test dives prior to the shoot to ensure everything was familiar to us.
Hugh Miller and Doug Anderson sleeping between divesHugh Miller and Doug Anderson would catch up on sleep wherever they could in between dives
The kit we used was not only picked for safety considerations but was also key for extending the dive times.
Doug and Hugh had many factors working to restrict their time - not least the limited air in their tanks but also, of course, the extremely low temperatures.
Diving at -2C sucks heat away from the body fast, but by using heated vests, chemical heating pads and wrist cuffs, the crew were able to keep warmer for longer.
Part of our dive routine was to pour near-boiling water into Doug and Hugh's gloves minutes before the dive. These vital tricks of the trade meant warmth, and that meant better concentration, a longer time for filming and happier cameramen.
The sound of ice
One of the most striking things, when you dive under the ice is just how noisy it is down there. Sounds travels very quickly and over great distances under water, and ice is a fantastic instrument.
Chris Watson recording Weddell seal soundsChris Watson recorded the sounds of a weddell seal through the ice hole
As its grows, moves, melts and breaks, it creates an almost impossible repertoire of sounds.
A deeply resonating hum will form a tonal base, while creaks and groans, strange fizzing sounds, crackles and pops seem to give broken rhythm.
Then the siren-song of a weddell seal begins. Eerie and alien-sounding, it is stranger and more beautiful than any effect created for a science fiction film.
The problem though, is that you cannot record sound on time-lapse cameras.
Also, while diving to film underwater, the bubbles from your own kit are very noisy so, unless there is a diver in the picture, we do not record the sounds during filming.
Instead we make our sound recordings after or before the dives by dropping hydrophones down the dive holes into the water.
Tim Owens, sound editor for Frozen Planet, was able to draw on some beautiful recordings that we and renowned sound recordist, Chris Watson made during our time at McMurdo.

LONDON (AP) — The loose-knit hacking movement "Anonymous" claimed Sunday to have stolen thousands of credit card numbers and other personal information belonging to clients of U.S.-based security think tank Stratfor. One hacker said the goal was to pilfer funds from individuals' accounts to give away as Christmas donations, and some victims confirmed unauthorized transactions linked to their credit cards.
Anonymous boasted of stealing Stratfor's confidential client list, which includes entities ranging fromApple Inc. to the U.S. Air Force to the Miami Police Department, and mining it for more than 4,000 credit card numbers, passwords and home addresses.
Austin, Texas-based Stratfor provides political, economic and military analysis to help clients reduce risk, according to a description on its YouTube page. It charges subscribers for its reports and analysis, delivered through the web, emails and videos. The company's main website was down, with a banner saying the "site is currently undergoing maintenance."
Proprietary information about the companies and government agencies that subscribe to Stratfor's newsletters did not appear to be at any significant risk, however, with the main threat posed to individual employees who had subscribed.
"Not so private and secret anymore?" Anonymous taunted in a message on Twitter, promising that the attack on Stratfor was just the beginning of a Christmas-inspired assault on a long list of targets.
Anonymous said the client list it had already posted was a small slice of the 200 gigabytes worth of plunder it stole from Stratfor and promised more leaks. It said it was able to get the credit card details in part because Stratfor didn't bother encrypting them — an easy-to-avoid blunder which, if true, would be a major embarrassment for any security-related company.
Fred Burton, Stratfor's vice president of intelligence, said the company had reported the intrusion to law enforcement and was working with them on the investigation.
Stratfor has protections in place meant to prevent such attacks, he said.
"But I think the hackers live in this kind of world where once they fixate on you or try to attack you it's extraordinarily difficult to defend against," Burton said.
Hours after publishing what it claimed was Stratfor's client list, Anonymous tweeted a link to encrypted files online with names, phone numbers, emails, addresses and credit card account details.
"Not as many as you expected? Worry not, fellow pirates and robin hoods. These are just the 'A's," read a message posted online that encouraged readers to download a file of the hacked information.
The attack is "just another in a massive string of breaches we've seen this year and in years past," said Josh Shaul, chief technology officer of Application Security Inc., a New York-based provider of database security software.
Still, companies that shared secret information with Stratfor in order to obtain threat assessments might worry that the information is among the 200 gigabytes of data that Anonymous claims to have stolen, he said.
"If an attacker is walking away with that much email, there might be some very juicy bits of information that they have," Shaul said.
Lt. Col. John Dorrian, public affairs officer for the Air Force, said that "for obvious reasons" the Air Force doesn't discuss specific vulnerabilities, threats or responses to them.
"The Air Force will continue to monitor the situation and, as always, take appropriate action as necessary to protect Air Force networks and information," he said in an email.
Miami Police Department spokesman Sgt. Freddie Cruz Jr. said that he could not confirm that the agency was a client of Stratfor, and he said he had not received any information about a security breach involving the police department.
Anonymous also linked to images online that it suggested were receipts for charitable donations made by the group manipulating the credit card data it stole.
"Thank you! Defense Intelligence Agency," read the text above one image that appeared to show a transaction summary indicating that an agency employee's information was used to donate $250 to a non-profit.
One receipt — to the American Red Cross — had Allen Barr's name on it.
Barr, of Austin, Texas, recently retired from the Texas Department of Banking and said he discovered last Friday that a total of $700 had been spent from his account. Barr, who has spent more than a decade dealing with cybercrime at banks, said five transactions were made in total.
"It was all charities, the Red Cross, CARE, Save the Children. So when the credit card company called my wife she wasn't sure whether I was just donating," said Barr, who wasn't aware until a reporter with the AP called that his information had been compromised when Stratfor's computers were hacked.
"It made me feel terrible. It made my wife feel terrible. We had to close the account."
Wishing everyone a "Merry LulzXMas" — a nod to its spinoff hacking group Lulz Security — Anonymous also posted a link on Twitter to a site containing the email, phone number and credit number of a U.S. Homeland Security employee.
The employee, Cody Sultenfuss, said he had no warning before his details were posted.
"They took money I did not have," he told The Associated Press in a series of emails, which did not specify the amount taken. "I think 'Why me?' I am not rich."
But the breach doesn't necessarily pose a risk to owners of the credit cards. A card user who suspects fraudulent activity on his or her card can contact the credit card company to dispute the charge.
Stratfor said in an email to members, signed by Stratfor Chief Executive George Friedman and passed on to AP by subscribers, that it had hired a "leading identity theft protection and monitoring service" on behalf of the Stratfor members affected by the attack. The company said it will send another email on services for affected members by Wednesday.
Stratfor acknowledged that an "unauthorized party" had revealed personal information and credit card data of some of its members.
The company had sent another email to subscribers earlier in the day saying it had suspended its servers and email after learning that its website had been hacked.
One member of the hacking group, who uses the handle AnonymousAbu on Twitter, claimed that more than 90,000 credit cards from law enforcement, the intelligence community and journalists — "corporate/exec accounts of people like Fox" News — had been hacked and used to "steal a million dollars" and make donations.
It was impossible to verify where credit card details were used. Fox News was not on the excerpted list of Stratfor members posted online, but other media organizations including MSNBC and Al-Jazeera English appeared in the file.
Anonymous warned it has "enough targets lined up to extend the fun fun fun of LulzXmas through the entire next week."
The group has previously claimed responsibility for attacks on credit card companies Visa Inc. and MasterCard Inc., eBay Inc.'s PayPal, as well as other groups in the music industry and the Church of Scientology.
Plushnick-Masti reported from Houston. Associated Press writers Jennifer Kay in Miami and Daniel Wagner in Washington, D.C. also contributed to this report.
Cassandra Vinograd can be reached at

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