An Ode to Microsoft Edge’s Immersive Reader

I am not sure how many people actually know of this sleek user-friendly tool on Microsoft Edge. It is called the Immersive Reader. Staying true to its name, it is a great tool for readers to indulge in.

Take a look at this article with distracting elements (navbar, widgets, ads).

Article without immersive reader enabled

Now, click on the Immersive Reader option next to your URL bar.

Click to enable

And, voila! You can now read the article peacefully.

Immersive Reader Enabled

I feel this is great for reading long articles. It has a very Kindle-like experience to it. You can increase the font size using the “Text Preferences” tool. You can change the theme as well. There are many options which I have not yet explored. As a reader, I want to focus just on the article, with the freedom to increase its font size if need be. This tool offers all that and more.

You can also use the “Read Aloud” feature if you want the article to be read out to you. The voice is as natural as it can get, not sounding robotic.

The Immersive Reader is still in its early stages. It does not always render the correct page, and you have to wait till the page loads completely to see the icon. But so far, I am extremely pleased.

If you do not see the Immersive Reader icon on Microsoft Edge:

  • Make sure you are viewing an article and not the home page
  • Wait till the page loads completely
  • If you still do not see the icon, use read:// before the URL. For example if the URL is 𝚑𝚝𝚝𝚙𝚜://𝚠𝚠𝚠.𝚖𝚜𝚗.𝚌𝚘𝚖/𝚎𝚗-𝚒𝚗/𝚗𝚎𝚠𝚜/𝚘𝚝𝚑𝚎𝚛/𝚌𝚎𝚗𝚝𝚛𝚊𝚕-𝚝𝚎𝚊𝚖-𝚝𝚘-𝚊𝚜𝚜𝚎𝚜𝚜-𝚏𝚕𝚘𝚘𝚍-𝚍𝚊𝚖𝚊𝚐𝚎𝚜-𝚒𝚗-𝚋𝚒𝚑𝚊𝚛-𝚜𝚝𝚊𝚝𝚎-𝚜𝚎𝚎𝚔𝚜-𝚊𝚍𝚎𝚚𝚞𝚊𝚝𝚎-𝚊𝚜𝚜𝚒𝚜𝚝𝚊𝚗𝚌𝚎/ then use 𝚛𝚎𝚊𝚍://𝚑𝚝𝚝𝚙𝚜://𝚠𝚠𝚠.𝚖𝚜𝚗.𝚌𝚘𝚖/𝚎𝚗-𝚒𝚗/𝚗𝚎𝚠𝚜/𝚘𝚝𝚑𝚎𝚛/𝚌𝚎𝚗𝚝𝚛𝚊𝚕-𝚝𝚎𝚊𝚖-𝚝𝚘-𝚊𝚜𝚜𝚎𝚜𝚜-𝚏𝚕𝚘𝚘𝚍-𝚍𝚊𝚖𝚊𝚐𝚎𝚜-𝚒𝚗-𝚋𝚒𝚑𝚊𝚛-𝚜𝚝𝚊𝚝𝚎-𝚜𝚎𝚎𝚔𝚜-𝚊𝚍𝚎𝚚𝚞𝚊𝚝𝚎-𝚊𝚜𝚜𝚒𝚜𝚝𝚊𝚗𝚌𝚎/ to launch the article in the Immersive Reader.

An Ode to Reading Without Eye Strain

Kindle and Hot Chocolate
Kindle Love. Photo by Adrienne Andersen on Pexels

It goes without saying that our screen time has doubled (maybe even tripled) after COVID-19 induced lockdowns and quarantines. All that time indoors has made us reach for our devices. So it is not surprising when studies indicate our eye problems have worsened in the last one year or so.

For someone who is working in the field of Information Technology, spending a lot of time staring at the screen is nothing new.

But there is another problem – I love reading.

Physical copies are expensive, and there was a storage problem at home, so I had resorted to using the Kindle app. It was highly convenient. I loved it. But then the eye strain began. Dryness and a heavy feeling above my eyelid. I knew this was happening because of all the phone reading, because when I stopped, the discomfort would subside.

I realized it was time to finally invest in a Kindle.

For someone who loved reading so much, why didn’t I pick up a popular e-reader like the Kindle sooner?

  • I am frugal. I don’t buy something unless I am absolutely convinced that it would add some kind of value to my life. The reason why I wasn’t convinced is the next point.
  • I never knew Kindle was anti-glare & easy-on-the-eyes. All I heard from fellow readers was about its space-efficiency. Yes, storage was a problem at home, but that was not a serious concern for me, which leads us to the third point.
  • I was ignorant. I did not know the benefits of using a Kindle. I did not bother looking too much into it, because a) it wasn’t cheap b) mentioned in the next point.
  • I was truly happy with my Kindle app. Everything a Kindle could do, my Kindle app was able to do perfectly. The app could even highlight in colors, something the Kindle device could not do. So why even bother?

I am sure there are more, but these are the reasons at the top of my head.

A couple of days back, I finally succumbed and got this Kindle.

In just a day, my eye strain considerably reduced. I do not feel any heaviness or pain. I think I even shed a few happy tears over how relaxed my eyes feel now.

A few reasons why I got the Kindle Oasis.

  • I initially thought of getting the basic model. But through some research, I realized it is best to invest in an e-reader that offers at least 300 ppi resolution (for sharp text). The basic Kindle model has 167 ppi.
  • I thought of going for the Paperwhite next. This model generally has the best reviews. It was a close call, but what made me finally get the Oasis was the a) warm, adjustable light b) the page buttons c) a fantastic Amazon Prime Day sale!

I find the warm light really helpful & relaxing for night time reading. The page buttons are okay, but I would have been fine even without them. That said, if there wasn’t a sale going on, I would have gone for the Paperwhite.

An investment for the eyes. That’s how I would prefer to look at it.

An Ode to the Products That Cured 90% of My Dandruff

Photo by Maail on Pexels.com

I used to suffer from flaky, dandruff-prone scalp for the longest time.

It started from my teenage years. I had no idea what the contributing factor was. I was blessed with luscious hair when I was a kid but then my scalp condition deteriorated as I hit 16-17. Now I think it could have been because I had stopped oiling my hair. At least once a week, my hair was massaged thoroughly and drenched with warmed-up coconut oil – the typical South Indian routine. I used to let it sit for a minimum of one hour before washing it off with shampoo. My hair then was thick, luscious and full of life.

Owing to the fast-paced teenage life where everything needed to be finished in a jiffy and any remnant of coconut oil in your hair was considered unstylish, I had to forego my very-Indian routine to make way for more important things in life like tantrum throwing, overthinking, procrastinating, hanging out with friends – anything a normal teenager loved to indulge in. Sitting at home with oil for an hour just wasn’t feasible anymore.

I was fine with the few flakes of dandruff, to be honest. It never really bothered me, and maybe this resulted in aggravating the condition a bit. I would use anti-dandruff shampoo every time. This made my hair dull, dry and lifeless. My scalp felt drier than a desert. All those famous anti-dandruff shampoos out there? I have used them. They would work for a day or two, but they weren’t exactly a cure. As the oil production increased on my scalp due to dryness, I started getting more dandruff. Vicious cycle.

It is maybe in the last 3 or 4 years that I discovered some products that greatly helped in eliminating my dandruff by nearly 90%. I have stuck to them ever since. No experimenting with other products based on influencer reviews or recommendations. Let your body be the judge of what works best for you. If it works, stick to it.

Apple Cider Vinegar

I started off by using apple cider vinegar – a natural product. If you are facing any sort of itchiness on scalp, this product can be your inexpensive friend. You need to dilute the ACV to prevent any irritation. It is said apple cider vinegar with the mother is the best, but I found good success with the American Garden one that is a diluted version.

How to use:

  1. Mix water and apple cider vinegar (2:1).
  2. Take a cotton ball and drench it with the solution.
  3. Massage it onto your scalp. Repeat till your whole scalp is covered.
  4. Wait for 5-10 minutes.
  5. Wash off as usual. You need not use shampoo or conditioner.

Extra benefits:

  • Apple cider vinegar makes your hair softer.
  • If you use a lot of styling products, this helps to cleanse your scalp. Sometimes products dry off and end up looking like dandruff.

Use this treatment once a week.

You will immediately start noticing that your scalp is less itchy than before.

Clarifying Shampoo

Though ACV helps to cleanse your scalp quite well, it is always best to use a shampoo that is specially formulated for cleansing. A clarifying shampoo is best for the purpose. My personal favorite is Pantene’s Lively Clean. It is sensitive on my scalp and at the same time does its job of cleaning away the build up left behind by styling products.

Use this shampoo whenever your hair feels dull and weighed down.

Bringadi Oil

This ayurvedic oil was a game changer. It did not show any quick results, but with consistent use, my dandruff decreased drastically. The one I am using is the Kama Ayurveda Bringadi Oil.

How to use:

  1. Massage the oil into your scalp. Do not mix it with any other oil. You can use this on your scalp and try any other oil on the length of your hair.
  2. Warming an intensive treatment ayurvedic oil like this can alter its formula and make it less effective, so I use it without warming it up.
  3. Keep it on for an hour or more. The longer the better.
  4. Wash off with shampoo and conditioner

Pros:

It is a lightweight oil. Easy to wash off. It doesn’t leave behind a greasy look. You can even use it after styling to tame frizz.

Use this treatment once a week.

Selsun Blue Shampoo

A shampoo that helped a great deal. If you find that most anti-dandruff shampoos don’t work for you, try the Selsun Blue Shampoo. I have used all the popular ones, but this one actually works in stopping scalp itching and dandruff reoccurrence for a longer duration. I started with once a week, and now I use it once a month.

How to use:

  1. Massage it onto your scalp.
  2. Let it settle for a few minutes before washing it off.

Pros:

Effective and over time you will need to use it only once a month.

Cons:

Makes your hair dry. You will need to deep condition your hair more often. The scent is strong and not pleasing. It lingers on to the next day or even days. Took me some time to get used to it.

Start by using it once a week. Once your scalp gets better, move to using it once a month.