And Press ‘3’ to Shoot Yourself in the Face

New laptop malfunctioning?  Cell phone service wrongly interrupted?  Utility company make a mistake on your monthly bill?  You’ll have to dial a toll-free customer service number and then navigate through level after level of recorded messages trying to find the answer to your problem.  And after an hour on the phone, you’ll be no closer to a solution and about ready to kill someone.  Sound familiar?  We all have had to deal with customer service issues like this.  Well, awesome site, Lifehacker.com recently published this great piece on how to get better customer service when you should need to.   Included in the article is a link to an application called “Lucy” that does the “holding” for you so you don’t have to glue the phone to your ear while the company you’re calling is “experiencing unusually high call volumes resulting in long hold times”.  That’s a godsend to be sure.  And if that’s not enough, and the tips in this article still don’t get you satisfaction, the article provides a link to the Consumerist.com’s list of customer service executives from the world’s top companies so you can call a supervisor direct to lodge your complaint about the sorry state of their customer service department.

Interviewer: “Any Questions?” You: “Uhhh…”

Acing the interview is pretty much the key to landing a job.  The rock-solid resume gets you in to the interview.  But the interview itself is the “make-or-break” step in the job hunting process.  If you’ve done enough of these, you know that they typically ask you alot of questions about your background, experience, skills etc.  Then at the end, they always ask, “Do you have any questions for us?”  Most people don’t know how to answer this and either say, “No” which indicates unpreparedness or worse, being intellectually incurious.  Or many respond, “When do I get vacation” or “how much does the job pay?”  Both these questions do more damage than good.  There are questions you may ask of an interviewer which demonstrate that you are interested in the job and have a good head on your shoulders.  Click here to read “The Six Must Ask Interview Questions” as listed by Monster.com’s Joe Turner.  He explains why these are the most important questions to ask and what they say about the person who asks them.

The Intersection of Web and Medicine

AS regular readers of this blog know, we have been covering stories about MRSA, the antibiotic resistant staph infection.  Just recently, we published a post about the finding of MRSA carried in bedbugs (yechhh!).  In all the stories we’ve produced about MRSA, the news is always pretty grim so that’s why I was pleased to find the story linked here.  Evidently, it seems that occurrences of MRSA are able to be accurately tracked using none other than Google!  Yes, researchers have studied and found that spikes in Google searched for MRSA are directly correlated to actual outbreaks.  This innovative usage of Google clearly illustrates the nexus between the web and epidemiological research.  The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) will surely make good use of this new tool in their arsenal.  Allen School Online students already understand the synergies between internet technology and the study of medically related fields.

Top 8 Most Plagiarized Sites

Plagiarization is CheatingEven the most honorable student has contemplated taking a shortcut when stressing over term papers and overall work loads.  While most do not opt for this easy (if immoral) option, there are those that succumb to the pressure.  Well beware!  Educators are getting wise to the online sites used by cheaters to plagiarize content included in their school assignments.  Using new online technologies like the plagiarism detector software from www.turnitin.com, instructors are able to scan students’ term papers and learn if any or all of it has been “lifted” from other websites.  The top 8 most frequently revealed sites for cheaters to “borrow” from are:1) Wikipedia.com2) Yahoo! Answers3) Answers.com4) Slideshare.com5) OPPapers.com (Other People’s Papers)6) Scribd.com7) Coursehero.com8)  Medilibrary.comOf course, some of these, like Wikipedia are simply reference sites.  While others like OPPapers.com are designed specifically to sell content to cheaters.  Whether you clip a sentence, a paragraph or an entire term paper, it is still plagiarism and it is still wrong.  Think twice before stealing copy.  After all, you’re only cheating yourself out of learning what you have invested time and money into studying.

Scary Medical Story of the Day

Researchers in British Columbia, Canada, have found MRSA infected bedbugs.  MRSA is an anti-biotic resistant staff infection which this blog has covered before here and here.  The researchers found that in impoverished communities (like homeless populations living in close quarters in shelters and residential hotels for) harbor conditions for bedbugs to carry MRSA.  They found several dangerous strains of the infection in bedbug samples they collected.There is, according to the scientists in this article on the story, no imminent danger of this development being a vector for widespread transmission of MRSA.  However, it is always important to keep an eye on diseases with such potential to spread, unchecked through the global population.

Radishes, Rhubarb and Ramps, OH MY!

Spring has finally popped here in the Northeast and even if I couldn’t see the greenery outside my window, I would know it was time because I am down to the last few jars of tomatoes and peppers I jarred at the end of Summer 2010.  Any day now, the earliest of crops will be ready for consumption heralding a return to the healthy, fresh eating of the warmer months.  Strawberries, asparagus, ramps, radishes, and an array of baby greens are all just a few weeks away.  In fact, we’re already starting to see them showing up in groceries and farmer’s markets.As busy students, workers and parents, it can be hard to remember to eat well when we have so little time.  Grabbing grub on the go often leads to poor dietary habits.  This is especially true in Winter months when it is even more difficult and costly to find fresh, healthy snacks.  So rejoice!  Spring has sprung and the goodies will soon start to arrive.  Click here for more about the bounty of Spring produce.

New Jobs Numbers – Mixed (But Good For Medical Field)

In April, the U.S. economy added 244,000 jobs — the third straight month to see an average of over 200,000 new positions created, according to new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  However, despite the growth in employment, there is real concern that the jobs being added to the economy are not the high-wage, “quality” jobs lost over the course of the brutal recession.That’s bad news if you’re a manufacturing factory worker or a homebuilder as those fields don’t show the resiliency reflected in the latest employment figures.  If you’re in the following career fields, professional and business services, health care and leisure and hospitality, the news is good.  Those fields were called out specifically by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as areas where job and wage growth shows continued strength.  Now’s a good time to be studying for a career in medical billing and coding.  Don’t you feel smart?

Multitasking Gone Too Far

Okay gang.  As online students, you understand perhaps better than most, the value in being able to juggle more than one activity at a time.  After all, you couldn’t effectively watch your young children if you had to go to some campus to study.  Multitasking and online study definitely go hand in hand.  But as with everything in life, there needs to be limits.  There needs to be moderation.  This is why I think this new device – a nose stylus for operating touch screen phones/tablets while in the tub – is a bridge too far.  I mean really, if you cannot take 15 minutes out of your busy day to take a bath without electronic distraction, you really need to step back.  A break may be in order.  But, if you’re intrigued by the possibilities this new nosey device unlocks, here’s a link to more information on the new product.

Happy Birthday Day World Wide Web…

You don’t think about it any more than you think about the numbers you dial into a telephone to make a call.  But the World Wide Web is the important protocol that enables the use of web browsers to navigate the internet.  Without the ubiquitous, “WWW” your web browser (Microsoft Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, etc.) would be about as useless as a telephone without a phone number.It was exactly 15 years ago today that the Center for European Nuclear Research or CERN and granddad of the Internet, Tim Berners Lee, released the source code for the world wide web.  The rest, as they say, is history.  So happy birthday dear World Wide Web.  Just don’t try to stuff a piece of cake into your laptop while studying on line.

Ten Cover Letter Don’ts

How to keep your resume and cover letter out of the wastebasket

Online job aggregator Monster.com’s Kim Isaacs developed this list of 10 common cover letter mistakes:Mistake No. 1: Overusing ‘I’ Mistake No. 2: Using a Weak OpeningMistake No. 3: Omitting Your Top Selling PointsMistake No. 4: Making It Too LongMistake No. 5: Repeating Your Resume Word for WordMistake No. 6: Being VagueMistake No. 7: Forgetting to CustomizeMistake No. 8: Ending on a Passive NoteMistake No. 9: Being RudeMistake No. 10: Forgetting to Sign the LetterClick here to read the details behind each of these common errors and make your cover letters rock solid!