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Back to business. To quote Steve Martin: "Some people have a way with words, and other people, oh... not have way."
As a full-time writer (and former editor), I can tell you firsthand that a lot of folks fall into the latter category. It's no crime; I'm terrible at math.
The thing is, I can use a calculator when I need to. But there's no "calculator for words," no simple way to fix your written communication. And that communication can be important, whether you're writing a school paper, creating a proposal, applying for a job or what have you.
Actually, there is a tool specifically designed for that purpose: Grammarly. (Ironically, not even a real word, but okay.) It's not cheap -- but today, at least, it's cheaper.
For a limited time, StackSocial is offering a one-year Grammarly Premium subscription for $69.98 -- a full 50 percent off the regular price, and a rare discount.
Grammarly offers spelling, grammar, punctuation and style changes in real-time. It's basically an editor that looks over your shoulder and tailors its suggestions based on the kind of writing you're doing (academic, business, etc.).
It does all this via a desktop client and browser extension. The former is basically a text editor; the latter tackles your writing in places like Gmail, Facebook and Twitter. There's also an Office add-on, though it's only for Windows (sorry, Mac users).
I've used Grammarly only a little bit, and while I've found it to be mostly excellent (I don't always agree with its suggestions), let me refer you to this review. I'd say it correctly dings the product for not supporting Google Docs and not functioning when you're offline. Likewise, it cites the high price as a negative -- and I agree $140 per year is borderline outrageous (though not if it's a business expense).
At $70, though? Now it's definitely worth considering. You can, and should, try out the free version first, keeping in mind it offers only basic spelling/grammar correction.
But let me be blunt: The mistakes you make in your written communication make you look bad. They can mean the difference between getting a job and not, winning the grant and not, getting a good grade and not and so on. Grammarly puts a full-time editor inside your PC to help make your prose shine. That's worth the investment, if you ask me.
Bonus deal: Game time! GOG.com should start calling itself GFG.com, as in Good Free Games. For a limited time, you can snag indie adventure game Oxenfree (Win/Mac/Linux) for, well, free! Reg. price: $20.
Provided DRM-free, the game has a 4-star rating from GOG customers and a "very/overwhelmingly-positive" average over at Steam. Grab it while you can! The giveaway ends tomorrow.
Bonus deal No. 2: If you happened to catch my holiday-gift-guide video last week, you heard me talk briefly about 1More's Triple Driver in-ear earphones, which I thought were a solid deal at $75.
Today only, and while supplies last, Amazon has the 1More Triple Driver for $59.99 shipped -- the lowest price they've ever been.
You know me: I'm a $20-earbud guy, because I'm fine with sound that's "good enough." But the Triple Drivers have changed my thinking a bit, because they sound amazing. Even my fidelity-proof ears can tell the difference.
Other things I love about these: They come with nine different sets of earbud tips, including some foam ones; the nylon cord is tangle-resistant, and there's a clip so you get less "brush noise" from it rubbing on your front; you get a hard-sided carrying case; the packaging is really impressive.
Want to learn more? Read David Carnoy's. His take: "The best $100 headphone you've never heard of."
At $100, I'd still probably pass. At $60... very tempting. Definitely a killer gift for anyone who still has a headphone jack.