Have you seen the slow load icon on any of your favorite websites today? That is there to remind everyone what an internet without Net Neutrality would be like.
Net Neutrality is the principle that assumes all internet traffic and data are treated equally - that is, NOT charging differently by user, content, site, platform, or application. Information and knowledge are power - restricting access to that is destructive.
Here is how to take action, and contact your representatives to urge Net Neutrality.
Is your career stuck in a rut? Do you want to learn new skills, or perhaps pursue a different career path? Learn How To Become provides information on the steps to pursue a variety of careers. I wish something like this had been available when my only goal in High School was to earn good grades and participate in extracurricular activities that would look good on scholarship applications! My goal at the time was higher education....not so much the subject of that higher education. And, it's never too late to learn something new or of interest!
The website allows you to search through a variety of career paths to learn more about what those careers offer, and then provides a realistic learning plan to get you there.
Microsoft is releasing free training information via their Virtual Academy. The depth and variety of courses is impressive! They include Office End User, Office 365, App Development, Business Intelligence, Web Developer, and Cloud courses to name just a few.
Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA) offers online Microsoft training delivered by experts to help technologists continually learn, with hundreds of Microsoft training courses, in 14 different languages. They offer free Microsoft training, on-demand, that allow you to learn at your own pace. You do need to create a Microsoft account if you don't already have one - you can do that here: https://signup.live.com
Microsoft has released a whole slew of free e-book downloads, including Windows 8, Office 365, SharePoint, Lync, Azure, Powershell and more from Microsoft Developers Network. There is no need to be a developer - these resources include quick and easy user tips, too!
Here's the link to the blog site that provides a little more information on this annual giveaway. Take a look to see what e-books might be of interest or use to you!
Behavioral advertising. If you have visited a website in the last decade, or use any social media platforms, then you've been subjected to behavioral advertising. The old saying goes, if an online service is free, then that means *you* are the commodity.
We've all seen examples of this - visit Amazon, and see a list of recommended products based on your shopping or even browsing history. The same applies to Facebook (friend recommendations, games and apps, linked ads related to commentary you may be making on the site); LinkedIn (based on your social activity), Twitter (based on your connections, tweet activity, and topic searches).
All in all, this is not such a bad thing - some people may find it nice that the product they were thinking of just happened to be recommended to them on their next visit to that shopping website. But in some cases, this type of advertising can not only be annoying and spammy, but downright aggravating.
How to manage it, then? Here are my tips:
If you want to have some control over your Facebook feed, install Social Fixer
To eliminate pop-up ads, auto-play ads, sidebar ads, etc - install AdBlockPlus
Check and update your permissions on most of your platforms.
Do you have any additional tips to share?
Have you ever been guilty of this..."humble-bragging" about how busy you are, how little sleep you receive, how stressed your work makes you? I have. But really, it's not wise to advertise your lack of resources or inability to effectively delegate or manage time.
As an independent consultant, I have learned to appreciate the occasional quiet times between contracts. These allow me room to do the administrative things before and after jobs, learn something new, update my time allocation and bookkeeping, and it provides a little work/life balance....albeit in sometimes unexpected ways.
Living and working at the speed of business in the last 20 years has seen an ever-growing expectation to to more, faster, with less. This has become such a mantra that many employees and entrepreneurs alike have shouldered this to mean that if their day is not 100% absolutely filled and accounted for, they are somehow lacking. This is a result of what Jim Collins calls "the undisciplined pursuit of more". I refer to it as "much of a muchness" - busy-ness for the sake of appearing busy, regardless of whether the efforts you are busying yourself with have any real value.
The good news is that there is an antidote to this, and Greg McKeown of Harvard Business Review calls this the Essentialist Movement. This movement consists basically of evaluating all of that which keeps you "busy", and stripping away what is not essential. Key tips, which seem intuitive enough, include:
So how about you? Have you found insight into ways to stop doing meaningless busywork? Granted some of that is unavoidable...but the more attentive we are to what we are doing, the more effectively we can manage that work.
Have you ever thought to yourself, "Self, it sure would be nice if I could automate certain tasks without having to learn how to code or root my device."? Well, take a look at IFTTT (pronounced like Gift, without the "G").
IFTTT stands for If This, Then That. To use it, you create an account and then build recipes. This is just clever terminology for actions that you wish to automate. Let's say, for example. on the first day of the month, in the morning, you want to download all of the images from your phone's camera to a desired location (Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, etc).
9 times out of 10 there is a "recipe" or command that has already been developed to do just that. This is a great way to automate routine tasks that you may do either by phone, tablet, or PC. But when you start thinking across devices and platforms, then you enter the arena known as The Internet of Things. This is a clear and simple way to dive into the Internet of Things, or, the interconnectedness of devices, as opposed to multiple stand-alone devices.
For example, some of the "recipes" that already exist for IFTTT users include:
Now, many of these require another connected smart device: Nest thermostat or fire alarm for home; Fitbit, Phillips Hue Smart Bulbs, Wemo/Belkin devices, and the list goes on. But that should not discourage you from giving IFTTT a try. I'm sure there are some things in your electronic life that you would like to automate. Give IFTTT a try on those items, and see how you like it.
IFTTT is available on iTunes and Google Play for both iOS and Android devices, and can be run from your computer(s) as well.