From Humble Beginnings

Every recent report on the economy tells the same story with regard to the employment outlook.  For many industries, the outlook remains bleak.  Yet, throughout the devastating recession we still endure, the Medical industry continues to show solid, unwavering growth.  The imminent retirement of the Baby Boomer generation pretty much guarantees that those in the medical field will continue to be in high demand.This is a likely reason why you’ve decided to pursue a career in medical billing and coding at the Allen School Online.  But do you ever allow yourself to dream a little bigger?  The basis of understanding you’ll gain through your training here and subsequent immersion into the offices of doctors, surgeons and hospitals could act as a springboard for an even more intensive career in medicine.  Now, it’s not for everyone to aspire to rise up through the ranks from billing specialist to nurse, to nurse practitioner to eventually a medical doctor.  Nonetheless, it is not outside the realm of possibility.  It is likely that some of our Allen School Online grads will feel compelled to use their training as a springboard into full on medical careers.  I know many of you are probably thinking, “well, that couldn’t be me” and “my grades were never strong enough to get into med school”.  To you I say, consider Naomi’s story.Naomi (that’s her in the pic above) is currently enrolled in med school and studying to become a doctor.  But, she didn’t start out with that as her career plan in high school or even in college.  Yet, at her blog, www.get-into-medicalschool.com she shares her story and tips on how through hard work, perseverance and unshakable belief in yourself, you too could achieve what may seem like an impossible dream.  Even as most of you may not be driven to become doctors, I still recommend checking out her blog and gaining some inspiration from her story and her drive to succeed.  It almost certainly mirrors your own!  And for those of you who may be interested to learn what’s involved in taking this bold step in the future, Naomi’s “how to take the MCAT” page is chock full of great info.

Online Study Habits

Taking an online course doesn’t mean one must study any more or any less.  It just means one must study differently.Note taking is still very much a critical success factor.  The beauty of the online system is that a student can listen to/watch the course material the first time without taking notes; allowing more attention to be paid.  Then, the student can replay the class a second time for purposes of taking notes. Click here to read on how learning works and how to optimize the online learning experience for maximum effect.

RIP Steve Jobs

More than perhaps any other person in the pantheon of technology leaders, Steve Jobs impact on our lives has been immeasurable.  Along with a handful of other luminaries – Bill Gates, Steve Wozniak, Larry Ellison – Jobs’ singular vision of technology accessible to the masses of non-geeks has truly transformed the ways we live, communicate, express ourselves, work and especially study.  How many of you are reading this on an iPad? An iPhone? An Airbook?  Today we remember one of the founding fathers of the modern era of computing.  He will be truly missed.

Interesting Info on Boosting Your Memory

The AOL/Huffington Post has been branching out into lots of interesting editorial directions since their recent merger.  One that hold particular interest for students is the Memory and Cognition section of the popular web news outlet.  I visited there for the first time today and read a half dozen excellent articles on memory boosting techniques.  One revealed some memory tools and practices that have been handed down since antiquity.  There were ones here and here that revealed the memory eroding effects of cigarette smoking and alcohol intake respectively.  Even one that extolls the memory enhancing benefits of Mexican food (yay tacos!).  And there were plenty more articles dealing with the impact of sleep deprivation on memory and lots of other useful memory and cognition related subjects.  Good reads all if your goal is to improve your aptitude and success in online studies at Allen School Online.

Browser Speed Test Results In

As online students, your web browser is your portal to studies.  It is also your means of communicating between your teachers and fellow students.  So if your browser is slow, your productivity suffers.  Now, we all know that over time, your browser will pick up add ons and other things that slow it down to speeds far below what it was capable of when first installed.  That is an issue of maintenance.  But the underlying speed of the browser, in its optimum maintained condition, is another story.  Assuming you take steps to regularly clear your browser cache and disable unused add ons, your browser should operate at or close to its originally configured speed.   Some browsers are just naturally faster than others.Well, LifeHacker recently tested the most popular browsers’ latest versions including Firefox 7, Chrome 14 and Internet Explorer 9 (among others).  The results are pretty interesting.  And since they’re all free to download, perhaps you might be interested in installing a faster browser if your’s is on the bottom of the list.  Read the entire test results here.

Forbes: “Telehealth Among Top Paying Work-from-Home Jobs”

Love studying medical billing and coding from home?  Then you’d probably love earning a high salary WORKING in medical billing and coding from home.  “Is that really an option” you may ask?  Well, Forbes magazine seems certain that it is.  In a recent article on the best paying work at home jobs, Forbes characterizes the field known as “telehealth” as among the highest paying, work from home career options.  Take it from this blogger who works from home in several of the other fields listed in the Forbes article (PR specialists and writers), earning a good wage while working from the comfort of home is where it’s at!  All the more reason to study hard online to earn your medical billing and coding certificate.

BillGuard Protects From Unwanted Credit Card Charges

If you’re like me (and since you’re an online student, chances are that you are), online the better part of the day every day, you probably use the internet to manage your credit card accounts.   Ever come across a charge that you’re sure you didn’t incur?  Maybe it is some annoying fee charged by the bank.  Maybe it is something more sinister, like a fraudulent charge made to your account.  In either case, it can be difficult to determine.  You could spend hours navigating automated call centers or clicking around confusing websites.  Or, if you’d like to avoid the $300 the average American pays every year in bogus or otherwise unwanted credit charges, you could join BillGuard.  BillGuard monitors all your credit accounts for erroneous charges and cross checks suspect items against known scams and chatter from the Better Business Bureau and other online sites dedicated to tracking fraud.  If you’re online as much as I am, this service is great because it alerts you to suspicious transactions very early, before real damage can be done to your accounts.  Read more about how it works at Credit.com.

No Nigerian Prince – New Phishing Scam!

OK, so as heavy users of online resources (being online students and overall Internet junkies), we’ve grown pretty savvy regarding the scams used by scammers to scam us out of our hard earned money.  For a while, we were susceptible to these “too good to be true” appeals to our greed.  “Nigerian banker fleeing oppressive regime needs compassionate foreigners to help him move his family business and significant cash holdings out of the country.  Let me deposit $4,000,000 into your account and when I transfer out the balance upon arriving in the US, I will leave $50,000 in your account as payment.”  I’m sure you’ve seen that one.  What about, “You’ve been selected to receive a $500 gift card from Walmart”?OK, so we have grown to recognize these as scams.  But scammers in Nigeria and elsewhere never sleep it would seem.  Latching on to the fact that we’ve grown hip to their schemes, they have gone the other way in an attempt to confuse us.  The new scams prey on the “too BAD to be true” response.For example, you receive a very official looking email from your bank.  It has all the colors and logos from your bank.  It may even come from an email address with your bank’s name somehow included.  It says something like, “Your account has been overdrawn by a debit in the amount of $7500.00.  The large dollar amount has alerted our fraud detection department.  Please log in immediately to verify the debit or to log a fraud claim.”  Provided is a link to a mocked up website that again “borrows” your bank’s website appearance.  In a panic, and wishing to quickly straighten out your account, you enter in your username and password and voila!  The scammer has access to your accounts.  Pizza and beer for all the scammer’s friends is on him tonight.There are lots of new Phishing scams popping up every day.  Click here for more information on the latest scams and how to detect them before you get taken for a ride.  Share any scams you have uncovered in the comments below.

Sluggish Browser Slowing You Down?

Browser Slower Than a Traffic Jam?

When you get a new computer the best part of the experience is that everything moves and responds so quickly.  Same goes for installing a new browser.  In the beginning, the web surfing experience is easy, breezy and satisfying.  However, after a while, it seems inevitably that the browser slows down.  Pages take longer to load.  Crashes seem to happen with greater regularity along with “Program Not Responding” messages that make you want to pull your hair out.  Yet, none of this needs to happen.  There are pretty simple reasons why this browser slowdown happens.  Whether you use Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari or something else, there are some steps you can take as part of regular system maintenance to keep you browser running swiftly.You can uninstall unnecessary extensions, change DNS servers, clear your browser cache and reinstall Java/Flash.  Any or all of these things will help to speed you back up.  But if this sounds like Greek to you and you’re not sure what this means or how to do it, visit this article from LifeHacker.com which explains what each of these things is, what each does and how to make each happen.

Buying a New Laptop? Good Housekeeping’s Top Picks

Buying a New LaptopSo Online students, anyone in the market for a new laptop?  I know I am.  My 7 year old Dell Inspiron finally bit the dust.  So I am on the hunt for the best unit at the most attractive price.  It can be awfully confusing with so many makes, models and configurations to choose from.  Luckily, Good Housekeeping magazine published their pick for best laptops on the market today.  I would recommend reading other reviews too from trusted reviewing outlets like Consumer Reports and www.cnet.com.  But here’s a link to the Good Housekeeping list.