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.

Free Speech Protected, but Discretion on Facebook Still Wise

The National Labor Review Board won its court case on behalf of an Emergency Medical Technician who was fired from her job for disparaging comments she made about her boss on Facebook.  The NLRB proved that the speech in question was protected under labor laws allowing employees to openly discuss their compensation, work conditions and hours.While the case was won, it still bears noting that what you post on Facebook and other social media sites is available for the world to see pretty much forever.  This case was won but it took a long and expensive legal challenge to prevail.  This is not something that every worker is in a position to accomplish.  More often than not, workers are fired without recourse for what their employers see on their social media pages.  So even though the law is on your side, you may still want to weigh the wisdom of posting anything your boss would be upset to read online (unless you’re prepared to defend it in court).  I generally limit my expressions of job disatisfaction on social media sites to statements I would be comfortable communicating to my superiors in person.  If I wouldn’t say it to their face, I won’t post it on my wall.

Rising Food Costs Will Affect Public Health

Up for the seventh month in a row, the closely watched Food and Agriculture Oganisation Food Price Index on Thursday touched its highest since records began in 1990, and topped the peak of 224.1 in June 2008, during the food crisis of 2007/08.  Several factors contribute to this rise in costs.  We now use food stocks such as corn to make ethanol to burn in our cars.  The logic of using food to make fuel is dubious at best.  The other major factor has been a year fraught with severe weather phenomena from floods, to droughts to frosts which have all decimated crops in many parts of the agricultural producing world.With the price of food skyrocketing, people all over the world will struggle with less food in terms of both quantity and quality.  The effects of a global population eating less (and less nutritious) food and more of their diets being comprised of filler and processed ingredients will have a definite impact on health.

Medical Billing/Coding – Cutting Edge Job

Need more convincing that a career in medical billing and coding is a wise pursuit?  Kiplinger’s released a list of 10 jobs that didn’t exist ten years ago.  These are jobs that have been enabled to a large degree by information technologies and the Internet.  These are positions that are just now coming to the forefront of the career world and are not in any danger of being outsourced or downsized out of existence.   Sure enough, medical billing and coding jobs made Kiplinger’s top 10 list.  Click here to see the full list and marvel at the other careers on the list alongside yours.  Give yourself a pat on the back for being such a trendsetter.

How to Promote Yourself

With so much competition for jobs these days, a good resume and cover letter alone aren’t enough to seal the deal with a hiring authority.  You may have studied to become a medical billing and coding professional, but what you really need to be a salesperson.  Your product?  Yourself!   Here’s a link to some excellent advice on how to sell yourself to employers.

Motivation and Success

Tal Golesworthy's Invention - A New Artificial Heart Valve

A favorite song of mine has a lyric that says, “You ain’t gonna learn what you don’t wanna know”.  Isn’t that the truth?  Nothing is as essential to success as motivation.  Case in point, check out this engineer who suffered from a congenital heart defect.  He knew his heart would one day fail.  So he struck out to find a better alternative to the existing, mechanical heart implants on the market.  With his very life as the motivating factor, he engineered a solution that saved his own life and the lives of others who suffer from the same defect.  What do you think you could achieve if failure was not an option?

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.

Wired’s How-to Wiki – An Excellent Resource

Need to know how to supercharge your resume?  Use Skype?  Learn how to speed read?  Get paid more for your work?  Open a bottle with a cigarette lighter?  You should know about an excellent resource I recently found.  Propellor-head that I am, I love reading Wired Magazine every day online.   It always has lots of interesting information about science, technology and tech culture that appeals to my inner nerd.  Well, imagine my delight when I found the Wired How-to Wiki pages.  A wiki is a site where the users generate and moderate the content.  Famous wikis include Wikipedia, the user-maintained, online encyclopedia and the infamous Wikileaks in the news these days.  The Wired How-to Wiki is home to numerous articles on how to do many useful and interesting things.  Have a look and learn how to do things you’ve always wondered how to do (and even some things you’ve never even thought about doing).   Lots of great information for students to be found there in the “work” category especially.   Enjoy!

Tips For Making a Good Impression at Your New Job

Staffing company, Robert Half International published this excellent article on how to start a new job off on the right foot.   The five suggestions are:
  • Get a read on the company.
  • Pay attention to the unwritten rules, too.
  • Practice proper diplomacy.
  • Pace yourself.
  • Finally, cut yourself some slack.
Click the link above to read the detailed recommendations for each of these tips and be prepared for your first day on the job as a medical billing and coding worker.