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.

Don’t Stress!!!

A new report circulating on the internet lists the top 10 most stressful jobs.  You’ll be glad to learn that only one of them is in the medical field, and that is “emergency medical technician”.  Reattaching someone’s severed arm on the side of the road after a motorcycle accident?  Stressful.  Also stressful?  Advertising Account Executive, Architect, Stockbroker, Emergency Medical, and Real Estate Agent.On the other hand, more than half of the top 10 LEAST stressful jobs in the report were in the medical field.  These included audiologist, dietician, dental hygienist, chiropractor, speech pathologist and occupational therapist.  Flossing someone’s teeth while listening to soft rock in a clean white environment?  Not so stressful.  Medical billing and coding did not make the list of either most or least stressful jobs.  But its good to know many of you will end up working in the offices of low-stress industries.

A Better Web Browsing Experience

I am not in the practice of making product endorsements, but this information is just too useful to those of us who spend a lot of time on the web.  For online students, it is of particular importance.  I would like to share with the readers of this blog, my experience with a web browser other than Microsoft Internet Explorer.  Most people buy computers that come with Microsoft Windows operating systems already installed.  Part of the package included in the Windows OS is the latest version of Internet Explorer or “IE”.  Let me tell you, if that is the only program you’ve ever used to surf the ‘net, you have been missing out on a more satisfying experience.  I recently downloaded (for FREE) and installed a different browser called Firefox which is produced by a development company called Mozilla.  It took very little time and effort to install.  I can say with confidence that the Firefox browser is superior in every way to the IE.  It crashes/freezes way less, it is faster to load pages and is overall a better product.  In fact, Firefox has been downloaded more than a BILLION times so you can rest assured it isn’t a bad item.  If you are interested, click here to visit the trusted CNET site where you can safely download the Firefox browser.  It’s definitely worth the time.  And if you’re not happy with it, you’ll still have IE to fall back on.

Online Students, Take Care of Your Computer

Online students reap enormous benefits from studying in a virtual environment.  Better time management, schedule flexibility, improved mobility and avoiding a commute to campus are among some of the greatest perqs of online education.  All that convenience is unlocked through technology.  Specifically, through your personal computer.  Whether it is a desktop in your home, the laptop you use while stationed in your favorite coffee shop or the tablet you use while sitting in the park, these machines are essentially your golden tether.  Without them, you’d either have to take classes on campus or spend a big chunk of dough to replace them.  So it makes sense to take good care of your machine.  But many don’t really know what is required to properly maintain their computer and keep it running as well as it did when they first bought it.  Many even spend good money to pay for “nerd squads” or other tech support outfits whose business model relies on peoples’ aversion to doing their own system maintenance.  But why pay for this preventative maintenance when you can do it for yourself for free?  Read this article from Wired magazine’s how-to wiki on easy computer maintenance practices that can keep your machine humming along nicely and save you a bundle.

Spam King Released From Prison

Robert Soloway, King of Spam

Just when you thought it was safe to open your email box again…  You probably don’t know Robert Soloway, but it is a certainty that your email box has been the victim of his decade-long, spam spree.  This fellow made a fortune using techniques of questionable legality to flood your inbox with offers for Viagra, porn, Christian singles and counterfeit Prada bags.  In 2007, the law finally caught up to him and he served nearly 4 years for his transgressions.  As online students, you’re probably grateful that he’s been punished for wasting so much of your time cleaning out the spam.  He’s paid his debt to society now though and has sworn off his old, evil ways.  But just in case, a condition of his release from prison requires his emails to be monitored by law enforcement.  Gone are his Mercedes Benzes, Gucci shoes and all his ill-gotten gains.  He now works in a copy shop for $10/ hr.  Maybe Mr. Soloway, you’re interested in a more lucrative new career in Medical Billing and Coding?  You can study it online!

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.

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?