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.

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.

Breakthrough!

It’s always gratifying to blog about advances in the exciting medical field.  Unlike so many other fields you could have chosen to work in, medicine offers regular innovations that have dramatically positive consequences for humanity.  Take the case of the woman whose face was ripped off by an angry chimpanzee but this week unveiled the new face that doctors had successfully transplanted from a donor.  Breathtaking medical science at work no?Also of incredible value is a new treatment revealed in the AP story here and still very much in the experimental phase, which seems to be highly effective at killing leukemia.  The implications for all of humanity are significant if this cure is validated and distributed to cancer patients worldwide.  Sorry, but you’re just not going to be a part of any earth-shattering advances working at Speedy-Lube or McDougal’s Hamburger Hut.  (Both honorable jobs, just not fertile grounds for innovation.)

You’re In Demand!

It’s always nice to hear information that validates your efforts.  This is one of those bits of data that you’re sure to find heartening.  In an article for Yahoo! Education, Chris Kyle makes a list of career skills that are always in demand.  You can read his excellent article here, but the short version goes like this.  The Top 3 most in demand skills in all of business are:
  1. Organizational Skills
  2. People Skills
  3. Creative Skills
Then he lists two career choices perfectly suited for people with each of these in-demand skills.  For those with strong organizational ability, Kyle offers medical assistant as a perfect field where you’ll always be welcome.  So its good to know that the traits which may have driven you to online study in the field of medical billing and coding are the very same ones which will make you attractive to employers.  Well done!

Great Site for Resourceful People

You’re an Allen School Online student (or maybe you’re considering becoming one).  The idea of online study appeals to you in some measure because it is in your nature to be a problem solver; someone who is good at finding creative solutions to life’s vexing problems.   Online study is but one example of finding a creative and successful way to overcome the challenges of balancing work and study and family.  Using technology and your innate willingness to be somewhat unconventional, you avoid having to sacrifice any of these important goals.This is why I am sure you will enjoy a visit to www.instructables.com.  Learn how to open that stubborn pistachio nut or how to make a solar charger for your laptop.  Want a recipe for gluten free breads or homemade Nutella?  Interested in how to use a camera charger to power your iPod?  How about how to fashion a rustic deer antler USB thumb drive or a survival barbecue out of an Altoids tin?  There are volumes of interesting instructions on ideas running the gamut from the ridiculously sublime to the eminently useful and everything in between.  Have a visit and you’re guaranteed to find a solution to a problem you’ve always wished you’d find.

Access Your Files From Anywhere

One of the best parts about online study is that you can study whenever you carve the time out to do so.  And, you’re not tethered to any one particular location.  For many of us that means we can study wherever we can bring our laptop.  Think, coffee shop, airport, friend’s houses, etc.  But, even that level of portability can become cumbersome.  Particularly if you’re not keen on moving around with a very expensive laptop or other device.  Yet, you can work wherever there is a machine available.  Think, library, hotel business center, Kinko’s or on friend’s machines at their homes.  To do this though, you need to be able to access your own files from a remote machine.  This has grown increasingly simple in recent years as “cloud computing” and other technological innovations have permitted such accessibility.  Here’s an excellent “how to” article on using these new “sharing” technologies from the Hot To Wiki at Wired.com.

June is Prevention and Wellness Month

OK, so the stereotype of the online denizen (this includes peeps like me who work in front of a computer all day, and peeps like you who study online in front of a computer) is a sedentary, Cheetos munching lot who cringes when the curtains are drawn open and light shines in.  All kidding aside though, in today’s modern life, it can be hard to carve out enough time to spend on health and wellness.  Kathleen Sebelius, the Obama administration’s Secretary of Health and Human Services, has declared June to be Prevention and Wellness month.In a recent article on the Huffington Post Sebelius said, ” We know there’s more to good health than going to the hospital when you get sick. Good health starts with steps we can all take to avoid getting sick in the first place, from getting regular check-ups, vaccinations, and recommended screenings, to eating a healthy diet and getting enough exercise.”  This blogger concurs with this line of thinking and has even taken the drastic step of adding a SECOND walk for his self and his dog Henry every day to try and keep physically fit.  So online students, save your work, take a pause and consider what you can do to boost your own health and wellness in June and for the future.

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.

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.