Ancestors to Online Learning

Courtesy of Wired’s “This Day in Tech” feature, this piece on the anniversary of the world’s first Computer Bulletin Board System or BBS.  If you’re as old as I am, you may remember the awe you experienced in the early 1980s when you learned you could purchase something called a “modem” that would conect your Apple II or Commodore 64 computer terminal to your telephone (shown in illustration).  This connectivity was the early precursor of the modern Internet.  Early users created Bulletin Board Systems where other users could dial in and share textual messages.  I remember reading a version of the Anarchist’s Cookbook on one such BBS.  We were absolutely smitten as kids, with the idea of being able to communicate computer to computer.  Today, this telecommunication framework has grown into full maturity and the modern website is the great,great,great grandchild of the humble BBS.  Without which, you wouldn’t be reading this post or studying medical billing and coding from the comfort of your own living room or favorite coffee shop.

All Nighters Make Your Pants Tighter

As an online student, chances are you have lots going on besides studying.  This is why you likely chose online education in the first place.  But between work, family, friends and studies, it can be hard to get everything done.  As a result, we often find ourselves having to pull an all-nighter to get caught up.  Now, this is ok once in a great while, but if it becomes your regular habit, you may be in for a rude awakening (well, if you’re up all night, you’re already awake, but I digress).  University of Colorado researchers have completed a study that shows burning the midnight oil actually prompts your body to STOP burning calories.   Chronic all-nighters can have an explosive effect on your waist size.  Click here to read the details on why it probably makes more sense to go to sleep tonight and pick up the work where you left off the next morning.

Predicted Winners & Losers in 2011

Along with just about every other outlet, US News & World Report recently published some end of the year prognostications about the rapidly approaching New Year.   In a set of twin pieces, US News made some pretty salient predictions on where things are headed for different groups of readers.  I have included a link to each article here and here.  True to conventional wisdom, those in healthcare and related fields made the list of those who would do well in 2011.  The articles are an interesting read, but if you’re strapped for time, the relevant quote is below.
“Workers in growing industries. Healthy companies in stable industries are starting to get back to normal, with profits up and hiring beginning to resume. Healthcare is probably the most well-known recession-resistant industry, with hiring up in virtually every field even during the recession. But other industries like energy, mining, Web publishing, high-end IT work, public transportation, and even waste management have been growing as well. And other industries that cut back during the recession–such as retail, hospitality, and warehousing–are starting to replace some of the jobs lost.”
  

An Innovative Use for Medical Records

Science News reports of an innovative new way that researchers are using medical records for genetics research.  Obviously, patients’ medical records, in aggregate, contain a treasure trove of useful data to researchers seeking patterns that can be used in the study of genetics and disease.  However as you’re fully aware, privacy is of eminent concern when it comes to patient records.According to the Science News article, “Databases that link thousands of people’s DNA profiles to their medical histories are a powerful tool for researchers who want to use genetics to individualize the diagnosis and treatment of disease. But this promise of personalized medicine comes with concerns about patient privacy. Now scientists have come up with a way to alter personal medical information so it’s still meaningful for research, but meaningless to someone trying to ID an individual in a database.”To learn how they rendered anonymous the information contained in medical records read the entire article here courtesy of Wired Magazine.

You Can’t Make it Up on the Weekend

Like many people busy with life, work, studies, family and what have you, I frequently burn the midnight oil, staying up past my preferred bedtime to complete some obligation or another.  Yet, I still must awaken the same time the next day to go to work.  As a result, I am frequently getting less than 8 hours a night on weeknights.  Sometimes, I make up for the deficit by sleeping a few extra hours on the weekend.  But recent studies indicate that it doesn’t work that way.  Click here to read why it is important to make time for sufficient sleep on a regular basis and how “playing catch up” on the weekends is not the solution.

Five Online Job Hunting Mistakes

Most of our reporting on how to succeed in the job hunt has focused on resume writing and interview skills/practices.  However, as many of you online students are all too aware, there is a lot of job hunting that goes on over the Internet.  Wouldn’t ya know it, there are etiquette mistakes to be made in the online job hunt just as sure as there are in the real world.  Here’s a link to a great article about how to avoid common online job hunting gaffes, SNAFUs and faux pas.

But Can It Print Your EOB Statement?

Scientists are closing in on perfecting a technology that will allow doctors to “print” new organs for ailing patients – organs made using their very own genetic material.  Unlike organ transplants where there is a very real probability that – in spite of steps taken to find a well-matched donor – the recipient’s body may reject the donated organ, this new process actually fabricates a replacement organ using genetic material from the recipient.  Using an organic “printer” and some concoction of stem cells and other amazing stuff, the new technology known as “bioprinting” promises to enable the production of organs other body parts veritably on demand.  Right now, the technology is still in its infancy.  But they have been successful in printing veins and other circulatory tissues.  Read the full photo essay at Wired magazine online.  What I want to know is will the ink cartidges be as expensive as the ones I use in my printer?

How To Explain “Holes” in Your Work History

Beach ComberWe’ve all had periods of unemployment.  We’ve all had to take time away from career pursuits, whether it was to tend an ailing loved one, return to school/training, deal with personal problems, support a family member’s struggling business or become a quasi-homeless beachcomber in an exotic tropical locale.  Whatever the reasons, inevitably, we end up with a gap in our history which can be a glaring weakness on your resume.  In interviews, it can be awkward trying to call attention away from the gaps.  How should you explain where you were when you weren’t working for 11 months?Take a look at this excellent article from The Savvy Networker wherein it is explained exactly how to address these holes in the resume.

Horrifying Ingredient List Artfully Presented

You know I have an affinity for whole foods.  Not Whole Foods the grocery store (which we refer to in my house as Whole Paycheck), but rather simple, healthy ingredients.  So much of what our diet consists of is adulterated, processed and downright chemical.  Case in point: the ham & cheese Hotpocket.  Don’t get me wrong, I will mac one of these at 2AM after a night of dancing and a few too many cocktails.  But I may think twice about even eating it on those rare occasions.  Have a look at this artwork, made of the ingredients in a single Hotpocket.

Its Never Too Late to Learn

The Great Recession of 2008-2010 has destroyed alot of formerly good-paying jobs.  Many reports indicate that even once employment begins to pick up again, many of the lost jobs are not likely to return.  Either rendered obsolete by automation technology or outsourced to lower cost labor markets overseas, some gigs are gone the way of the Dodo.This may be for some of our readers, the very reason they took the prescient step of seeking retraining in a new field; one that will not meet with the same fate.  For those who may be considering striking out in this bold direction, the task may seem frightening.  “Am I too old to learn a new career skill?”  “How can I choose a new career when my whole adult life I have always been a <insert your lost job title here>?”Well, buck up.  Consider the story of Hazel Soares of San Leandro, CA who just graduated from Mills College at the ripe old age of 93!  Read her story here and then gather up the courage that surely resides in every member of the human race and get going on your new career in medical billing and coding!