Friday, December 10, 2010

How To Keep Your Computer Skills Sharp

Saqbee C.

In this era, a personal computer is a very common household tool like your kitchen stove, or your bed. There is no household that do not have access to a computer and of course the internet. And this phenomena is not just nationwide but worldwide especially in well developed countries. In the job market, software developers or those who have computer expertise are those that usually go home with the job and why not almost anything in the business world involves computer.

To become a computer Genius there are some things that you might want to consider, and you should start by having a computer. Now you should consider the computer parts and it's basic function, and then understand how each part affects the computer in whole.

Now if you want to learn by heart then here is a step by step Guide on how to keep your computer skill sharp:

Become a Bookworm

Book reading is conventional, you might not consider it at all but if you think about it, books teaches you, once you open a book and read you will always close it with more information than you have before. And books are very informative, although you will need hands on activity to master computer skill, a book will serve as guidance for you to discover new things.

Get yourself Proper Computer Training

Computer training is consists of exams and course by course study. Each course differs from another, you may want to learn how to hack a system, or build anti-virus software or build a security system that no one can penetrate. No matter a proper learning institution is your key to success.

Did you know that there are Virginia computer training that offers hacking classes? It is illegal but not ethical hacking training, this type of training are for people who have undeniably great skill in computer. Big companies hire CEH of Certified ethical hacker, whenever they want to test their system's security. The job of CEH is to hack a company's system using their expertise and they get paid by doing so.

In this process a company learns how to even build a security features to ensure that no other hacker will be able to go through their system at all times. And so whenever they upgrade their system they use CEH to hack their system and stricken their security features.

Get a Certification

A certification is one good way of proving your ability or your expertise in computer. There are different types of certification that one may use in their career path.

Once is the security+ certification which is applicable to people who passes an exam made for computer security experts. If you get a security+ training Virginia is what you need if you wish to have this certification because without proper training there is very little chance that you will get certified.

Security plus classes is a broad array of skills meaning that high end skills in system security, cryptography, and network infrastructure will be covered.

If you want to get a legitimate and accredited website where you can get computer training classes Virginia certified in order to get proof of professionalism then visit for more information about Security plus classes advance computer courses.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Go From a Struggling To a Striving Reader

Melissa Roy

For those of you out there whose children are having some trouble with their readings, here are some reading strategies which you can implement into your reading time with your infant.

First off, make sure that your kid is properly fed and rested before reading, since he will need to give his brains an intense workout... doing otherwise will ensure that your child will get frustrated and ultimately fail. The thing is about children, some won't tell you when they're tired or hungry, and so as a parent you shouldn't misinterpret that as a lack of interest for reading and tend to the infant's primary needs.

Second, make sure to be well-fed and well-rested yourself. If you're not, you won't be enjoying the reading, and the child will right away imitate his parent's attitude, and become frustrated with the readings. So every time now before teaching, I recommend you have a snack and a short nap, that will accelerate your kid's learning process as well as well as make both of you happier.

Third of all, get rid of any distractions, as they will not let your infant concentrate. Children are very easily distracted by anything around them, so make sure to create an environment where the only things going on are you teaching your child how to read... this might mean making the most boring room of the house into a study.

Fourthly, choose a comfortable space to study. Don't use chairs or desks... most kids are energetic and all wiggly, and thus will learn better if they read while lying on the sofa or the floor.

Last tip, don't overload the child. If he's showing signs of not being able to take anymore, don't force it, take a break, regain some energy, and come back later to finish the lesson. There is absolutely no point into forcing knowledge into a head functioning at zero capacity.

If you follow through with these steps, you will have the foundation to turn any struggling readers into striving ones.

Melissa Roy blogs on home hardware and decor product, read reviews at Antique Architectural Hardware and Decorative Cabinet Hardware.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Exploring the Life of Qin Shi Huang

Garik Tate

Qin Shi Huang was the first and probably one of the greatest of all the emperors of china. His personal name was Ying Zheng. He was also sometimes called Qin Shi Huangdi. Though both are correct the more proper name was Huangdi over Huang. Now that we have filled your mind with useless info about his hard to pronounce name lets talk about the guy himself.

There is a lot of controversy over how Qin Shi Huang was born. However the story goes as follows. One of the sons of the king of Qin. Yiren was put on the throne by his friend Lu Buwei. Lu Buwei was a powerful and rich merchant who believed Yiren had the potential to become the next ruler of Qin and with his help he did. But before Yiren was king he was introduced to Lu Buwei's concubine and she bore him a son who grew up to be Qin Shi Huang. However the controversy is that Qin Shi Huang might actually be Lue Buwei's son as it is believed that she was already pregnant.

Whatever the story is Yiren (known as Zhaoxiang of Qin at the time) died and left Qin to his son Qin Shi Huang (known as Ying Zheng at the time). However has Qin Shi Huang was only 13 at the time Lu Buewei held actual power until Qin Shi Huang was old enough to rule. Lu Buewei had certain secrets that he wanted to keep from Qin Shi Huang and looked for a replacement king. However this replacement king couldn't keep quiet before their plan was put into action and was drunk bragging.

Shortly afterward a small civil war began in which case the replacement king (Lao Ai) was torn apart. His entire family was put to death. Lu Buwei took poison and died. While Qin Shi Huang's mother who was also in the plot was placed under house arrest until she died.

With incredible military genius Qin Shi Huang conquered all of china. The last country to fall was Qi which sent all of its military might to the west (an army of over 300,000). But Qin Shi Huang merely attacked from the north and seized it. With all of china under a single king Qin Shi Huang declared himself emperor as he was greater than any king.

Once he had conquered he began several construction projects including the great wall of china and the terracotta army. He also standardized the weighting system and the measuring system as well as currency.

The barbarians to the north were very resolute and the armies sent to battle them were unable to break their spirit. To stop the northern tribes slow encroachment the great wall of china was constructed. Most of the construction was simply to connect the already existing walls on the northern border.

The lesser known of the two great building projects that Qin Shi Huang did (if you don't count the roads he made) is known as the Lingqu Canal. Designed to make it easier to transport resources to the army. Connected to large rivers and there for two large supply lines.

However despite the great things he did Qin Shi Huang also started the great book burning. Any book that was not written by his scholars other than prophecy agriculture and medicine were burned. Also hundreds of scholars were put to death.

While ruling he became obsessed with immortality. He also greatly feared evil spirits. He even had a massive system of tunnels built between all 200 of his palaces so that he could go through them without being plagued by spirits. A year before he died a meteor fell with the words carved in it saying that he would day and china would crumble shortly afterward all the neighboring villages were put to death and the meteor was destroyed.

Hey died eating mercury pills which were supposed to give him immortality. The fact that he had died was hidden quite a while. His clothes were changed regularly dead fish were put next to his carriage to hide the stench and his face was always put in the shade.

His tomb is protected by an army of terracotta soldiers nearly 10'000 strong. The tomb itself was said to have rivers of mercury and there have been found mercury in the area around 100 times stronger than it should be. The tomb supposedly has replicas of towers and palaces. The tomb has never been opened and there is great debate about what is inside it. There is supposed to be countless traps inside as well.

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Self Improvement - What Maximus Taught Me About Living

Jeff Faldalen

It all began in the middle of September of 2004 when this four-legged critter came into my life and forever changed it. From the moment I seen him I knew there was something special about to take place. Little did I know this 4 month old puppy was going to show me things in life I could have never seen before.

Now Picture this......

Waiting at the LA airport to pick up a new dobby puppy that was shipped from Penn. I was so excited to see him. It seemed like it took forever, when the elevator doors open and out comes an airport employee pushing a flat bed cart with a huge dog kennel on top of it. I remember looking into the kennel to find a scared little puppy. Now keep in mind, this is a dobby and he has his ears taped up, making it looked like he had two antennas on top of his head. He was sitting down with his front legs spread out, basically telling me "If you want me, you are going to have to come in here and get me." And the moment I pulled him out of that kennel, he took over.

What in the world were we going to name this puppy?

I wanted a name that represented power, integrity, character and a name that was not only unique, but meant something. It was finally decided he would be called Maximus, after the movie Gladiator. Little did I know, he was going to show me a thing or two about how he saw things.....

You have heard the saying a million times......

You know, the one that says never judge a book by its cover. If there was ever a dog to be intimidated by it was Maximus. I mean, he was a 115lbs Doberman Pincher. But once he let you know who he was, he had you hook line and sinker. The thing he taught me was how people deny themselves some of the most incredible experiences in life because of their perception and what they fear.

Have you ever ran the other direction because of fear?.....

I remember walking him down the street and having a woman put her boyfriend between her and Maximus because she was terrified of him. Maximus turned and looked at me as if to say, "why are they afraid of me? I just want to love them." It broke my heart, because I knew Maximus and how much he loved to love and the people who were afraid of him, denied themselves of an incredible experience. But we all do it in different ways.

Have you ever loved with out reservation?....

I have not always been the person I strive to be today. In fact, I was complete opposite. I was terrified of love, because I was afraid of rejection. And I am grateful that today I cherish most people. I would like to say all, but that is not entirely true. I don't cherish people who choose to blame others for their pain. There are a few other things I could mention, but you get the point.

Let's get back to the rejection issue....

You see Maximus was always curious, so he was always walking up to people. He didn't fear rejection because all he wanted to do was love people. He wanted to play with you and slap you in the face with his 80 grit sand paper tongue. See he taught me is when I am afraid of rejection, I am only thinking of myself and not what I can do for the other person.

And probably the most important thing Maximus taught me......

The quality of our lives is really all about how we see things. Let me give a snap shot of how Maximus viewed what most would consider disgusting. Almost, like clock work, he would go out in the back yard and leave us a treasure and then come bolting into the house to do his three or four victory laps around the center of our living room letting us know he left us a treasure. There is a great lesson in all we do, we just have to prepare ourselves to see it

You see, the fact is.....

Maximus and my grand mother had the same philosophy: To sing like no one is listening, to dance like no one is watching and love like you have never been hurt. Because the last thing Maximus taught me each and every day of his life, was to live and not dwell on yesterday or worry about tomorrow. Because when I had to make the decision to put him to sleep the only thought I had at that moment was I hope he knew, every moment of his life, how much I appreciated him and how blessed I felt to be the one that Maximus wanted to share his life with.

If Maximus would have been able to talk....

Which I would do for him quit often, I know he would have never complained about anything. The only thing he cared about was showing you know how much he enjoyed being with you. I remember the last run we had together, he held his head high, tongue flapping out the side and ran like a champion, just because that is what he did. He enjoyed everything in life, except being home alone.

If you ever have the chance or wondering...

What it would be like to have a Dobby as a pet, don't think twice. They are the greatest dogs on earth. And maybe you will experience the things Maximus spent his life showing me. As I complete this, I miss him big time and all I can think of is I hope he knows what he taught me and how much I loved him.

I could write a book, and maybe I will, about my life with Maximus. Everyone who met Maximus fell in love with him. Even though he wanted everyone to know he owned the block, by barking at anything that moved, he loved more then I ever thought was possible. Because of how much of a lose he was to me, it has only taken me over three weeks to be able to write this.

Be sure to look for up and coming posts of our new puppy we will be getting in a couple of months.
If you are a pet lover or just want to leave a comment, please feel free to do so. I would love to see your thoughts

Best wishes,
Jeff Faldalen

PS Having Maximus in my life taught me "To live like my life depends on it" because life is to short to worry about whatever one else thinks

Are you ready to have someone mentor you towards your dreams and find out how to improve your life and start living out your dreams. Be sure to watch this video of how a dog improved my life

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Why Do We Need to Read (Great) Books

Jerome Baladad

I've been a book reader as far as I can remember. Personally, I'd rather spend my time reading a book than watching TV (unless, when I got company, then I'd be watching TV, just to poke fun on what's ongoing on the tube). So what reasons may I share you why others would like to consider reading a book a priority activity in their personal lives?

1) Reading books can help you become more productive with your time. If you've nothing to do while waiting for something to happen as you follow your schedule, you better read a book. While waiting for time, you may just read something good from a book. While waiting for the traffic to move, or while going to and fro your destination, you may also read a few pages of a book (it's a different matter altogether if you're the one driving - you need to listen then to an audio book, or books in a different format). Or read a book to someone who's driving and those willing and ready to listen, if that works for you.

2) To read a book is just like undergoing training and learning rolled into one, no matter how some have questioned how people can actually learn from or train using a book. I remember a question fielded out by a teacher of mine in graduate school, who's an expert corporate trainer, who asked the class if books can actually train people. He was in a manner of speaking, sounding out his doubts on the use of books in training. I said otherwise, and explained myself. Well, he was not convinced by my ideas (basically, books give out ideas that you apply in your everyday life situations), and I thought he must have taken it against me. But still, I still stick to my position on books being both a great training and learning tool. You apply what you read from books in life, and you revise, if you made mistakes. You, thus, learn in the process - books then facilitate training and learning.

3) Books are great companions, especially when you're in situations in life that others describe as "going gets rough, the rough gets going" phase. When friends are unbearable to meet out, for some unclear and varied personal reasons, you may just consider reading books. Your seeking solace amidst the pages of a book, may help relieve whatever it is that ails you now. Read two pages or up to ten pages a day, and this will suffice your (reading) needs.

4) You'll read everything about the most important beings, both supernatural and natural, through books. Remember: even God wrote down a book, in the form of the Bible (which was done through people like us, of course). You'll come face to face, so to speak, with these beings (of great consequence) when you read about them from books.

5) You learn great stories that define and explain the mystery and profundity of the human experience. You may read literature, contemporary books, religious books, history books, even technical books ("they give instructions on what to do"), poetry, and you'll still "hear" about great stories that will always inspire you. You see some sort of illumination of what is the "truth" by reading the pages of these books that promise to tell you great stories.

6) The habit of reading books makes you dwell among the great, and highly respected people who have lived on earth. There are just so many of these people who have made reading books part of their habits. Just Google about famous people who read books, and you will be given a listing of pages where you'd see names of known people who have the book reading habit. You'll, then, be in good company if you've been reading books.

7) (Tongue-in-cheek!) People who read books look smart (though may not necessarily be smart) - this can be an interesting trait to show others to create a positive image, unless, if you don't value having a "smart look," which you may think to be "nerdy" more than anything else. And have you noticed that most people who have wealth have a stack of books shown or displayed, or kept somewhere in their houses? This just indicates that book reading can help you become smarter (or even wealthier, if we'll stretch it further!).

8) Books make great gifts! Either you give out a book that you think another person needs to read for some particular reason you have in mind, or you give out a book that that person wants (or has told you indirectly that he / she wants to have and read). Go, get a book from the bookstore, or just give out as gifts something that you have read for no particular event at all. People who received books as gifts would be gratified (or, perhaps question your motives), but the message will surely come through.

9) It's always cool to read books in emerging technology platforms, just like affiliating yourself with something innovative or even revolutionary. This has been the case ever since man invented printing. Even for the blind, new technologies and platform have to be developed, so that they themselves can access more from reading (as well as writing). For the rest of us, we can read books now directly from our cellphones (in text format mostly), from Amazon's Kindle, on your PC or laptop, or from an audio book (though this entails listening), as well as newer reading related technologies soon to be offered to the market.

10) Lastly, books are artworks themselves. Sample works of art, being able to help uplift our spirits and keep us on constant search for what is beautiful amidst life's hardships, can literally be found among the pages of books. Have you seen books published by Taschen? Or those by Phaidon Press? Their books may be considered impressive pieces of artworks. There's a lot of work that goes into the processing of a book, other than the act of writing done by an author. There are the editors, printers, publishers, agents, marketing people, critics, among others. Up until the advent of the Internet (where you can self-publish a book all by yourself), it's a labor intensive endeavor to come up with a book. It takes a lot of brain work just to get a book published and get into your hands, so for goodness sake, go read a book.

I write mostly about changes, and issues revolving around moving-on themes. You may read more about them, mostly written in a personal but daring viewpoint, in these links.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Money Problems

Allan Hinautan Amoguis

Millions of people the world over could not sleep because of money problems. Either angry people are hunting them for their debts or ruthless bankers are tracking them for non-payment. There seems to be no way out for most of them. In the end, depressed and pushed to the limits of their human reasoning, many just commit suicide to end it all.

Life is, indeed, full of human tragedies. Everywhere you go you just can't avoid meeting sad, pitiful, wrinkled, and lonely faces trying to figure out how in the world they gonna manage to get by. Electric bills, apartment rent, loans, water, name it and they have it - seem to be running after them month, after month, after month, laughing as hard as they could like a playful monster making fun of helpless, frustrated humans.


I bet you have not heard yet the story of this poor Japanese guy. As he loves borrowing money, every angle of his life is filled with debts. From the time he wakes up in the morning, till the time he retires in the evening, people just don't stop calling him for his enormous debts. "Where still can I borrow money," is his morning prayer.

Day in and day out, his sole concern is nothing but finding ways and means to solve his problems. Going from banks to banks, disturbing relatives for small loans, asking friends a little amount, always with this promise: "I swear I'll pay you the soonest possible time I can. Don't worry."

Then finally he accidentally met in the street his high school classmate he had not seen for decades now. "You look good, buddy. I'm very happy to see you again. What's keeping you busy now?"

"I'm now deeply involved in politics," the other replied.

"Wow! So you're a politician then? That's really what I thought you would become buddy. I'm very proud of you," he said.

""And you? What brought you here?" the friend inquired.

That's actually the part of a conversation he likes best, and is very prepared about.

After some nice flavourings and well-studied acting and dramatization, our Japanese friend succeeded in borrowing money again.

This time was bigger.

The politician lent him an amount equivalent to a million dollars.

So, it goes without saying, all his previously existing debts temporarily disappeared.

End of the story.

Therefore, don't commit suicide! Just borrow!

Allan H. Amoguis, teacher and author.



Wednesday, November 10, 2010

From Fiery Trials to Abundant Life

Rhonda Hamilton

I became a handicapped person several years ago on the 2nd day of March. It began as almost any other day of the week-busy and full of expectations. It was Thursday; oh good, we were getting close to the weekend. I sat at the breakfast table that morning with my son, Ryan, talking about school and his upcoming baseball game to be played that evening. My husband, younger son and I would be attending, of course-we never missed one-even though the game was going to be played a couple of hours away.

I distinctly remember most of the morning's conversation with my son. He was the starting catcher and nervously excited about the game. As he was leaving for school, I walked him to the door and with much love and pride in my heart, I told him, "This is going to be your year, Ryan. You're going to be just great. We will see you at the game."
With that he drove away....Just another school day, just one more time to watch that old truck driving out of the driveway, time to get going with the rest of the day.

Who could have known that this day wasn't just another day? Who could have known that this day would change my life forever? Who could have known that this day, I would lose part of myself-and that I would never be the same. Who could have known that I, Rhonda Hamilton, would become handicapped that day?

So, the day went on-drizzly and cold-and the baseball game was called off because of weather. Years later, I still cringe with horror when I remember the accident that destroyed my world. It blew a hole right through the middle of me, and I lost a large part of my heart, leaving me handicapped forever. This loss of heart happened the minute I got the call that my precious son Ryan had been involved in a terrible accident. As I drove to the hospital to meet the ambulance, I was praying and thinking about the words that I had just heard, "Rhonda, it doesn't look good." What could that mean?-"It doesn't look good?" It was unthinkable, unimaginable, and unforgivable.

Some may wonder how this devastation can happen to a person who wasn't even physically in the vehicle that was completely destroyed. But, those of us who have lost children, know that indescribable pain and loss. You see, on March the 2nd, I lost my life on this earth as I knew it. I lost my youth, I lost my joy, I lost the wonderful naivety of life. I lost my future, I lost my past, and I lost my present. I became handicapped. It is a condition that will never go away. And, though my handicap isn't recognizable physically to others, it is just as real and, perhaps more painful than losing an arm or a leg would be. There is no "closure". There is no "getting over it". There is life "before" Ryan died, and there is life "after" Ryan died.

So.... What does this mean? What gem can be harvested from this fiery trial of life? What is the direction to be taken from this crossroad in life? All is new in this uncharted territory. Finding the way is treacherous. I know I must make a choice. That's what those who have had a life-changing accident do-they choose. Some decide that life is over for them, and they become bitter, unhappy, and non-productive. Others determine to rehabilitate themselves-to find contentment, peace and productivity. No, they are never the same-the part of them that is crushed or gone, will never be as it was again. But, they choose to heal all that they can, and then to go on and do remarkable things in this life.

And so I choose. Because God is so good and He has blessed me so, the world must see my trust in Him. Because my son's life must be remembered-not his death, his goodness and love must continue through me. The world must see that he did not "ruin" my life by his death, but that my life is better because he lived. Yes, I am a rehabilitated person-not the exact person that I was before the accident. That person is gone forever. But, as one who has been rehabilitated, I am a new person. Do I still struggle? Certainly! Is it still hard? Of course-ask any handicapped person and they will tell you that they face challenges more times than not. But, there are new strengths; there are new depths to understanding; there's a deeper appreciation for that tremendous sacrifice on the cross; there are new opportunities; there are new tomorrows. And so I choose.

I choose to find the peace that comes only from God, to find joy in my blessings, to find contentment in my promise of eternal life. I choose to be productive and hopefully, to make a difference, however small, in someone's world.

I am filled overflowing with such thankfulness and truly rejoice for the great gifts that I have received through this terrible loss. Though I would never, ever want this that has happened, I have to say that my life is bigger because of my increased perspective on life, because of my tremendous gratitude and appreciation for the everyday miracles that are all around us.

What greater testimony can I give, than to demonstrate my faith and trust in my glorious Heavenly Father who blesses my life so abundantly? What greater tribute can I give to my son, than to be a joyful, productive, triumphant, rehabilitated handicapped person?

Rhonda Hamilton is a professional life success speaker and communications skills expert who champions others to live a bigger and better life. She specializes in bigger life principles, business building skills and interpersonal communication skills. She offers motivational keynotes and training for business professionals, associations and organizations, who want to leverage their strengths, improve morale, build relationships, improve communication skills, excel in customer service, and ultimately, raise their level of profitability. Rhonda is committed to helping others build a better self and thereby, build a bigger life and a better world. Rhonda is a published author and a member of the National Speakers Association. She can be reached through her website,

Monday, November 8, 2010

Poverty to Profit: Islamic Microfinance - Part 1

Adam Garrick

Using Islamic microfinance to alleviate poverty

Poverty alleviation has traditionally been the domain of the interest-based development agency and profit generation has always been the mainstay of the corporation. Rarely have the two overlapped: corporate shareholders have no interest in giving money away and development banks have little to offer profit-oriented investors. Until microfinance. For perhaps the first time in economic development history the poor are seen as potentially profitable.

Microfinance is a financing tool that sustainably provides very small loans to the working poor. A handful of borrowers, usually 5 to 20 individuals, assemble themselves into groups. The first set of loans are extended to an initial subset of individuals within the group, for instance 2 out of the group's 5 individuals, and once these loans are repaid, a second subset of individuals receive their loans. This continues through the entire group, circulating until a final loan is extended to a designated group leader.

Variations of this general theme abound but the basic underlying principle remains the same: a borrower is much more likely to repay on time if not doing so affects one's selected group partner, usually an acquaintance. The fear of a faceless bank is replaced with the mercy for one's own neighbor. This non-traditional concept of "social collateral" banking allows the poor to break out of the poverty cycle: the provision of capital allows for greater business investment, which leads to increased income,resulting in higher household savings and eventual financial independence.


Microfinance grew out of the failure of cooperative movements and government-sponsored initiatives for concessional individual lending. With some of these heavily subsidized programs yielding repayment rates as low as 40%, there is little wonder they were short-lived.

In the1970s, Bangladesh's Grameen Bank revolutionized the development world by extending small, interest-based loans to the extreme poor, an economic group commercial banks refused to lend to and development banks found difficult to sustain acceptable repayment rates with. But by assembling individuals into self-selected borrowing groups, particularly in homogeneous settings, peer pressure and peer assistance lead to a form of informal monitoring that paved the way for continued success.

What began as a $26 loan to 42 village women is now a major industry in Bangladesh, with 4 million Grameen borrowers and over $4 billion in disbursed loans, of which over $300 million is currently outstanding. All collateral-free.


But critics of Grameen and other conventional micro financiers cite Draconian interest rate levels as a major impediment to many borrowers becoming truly self-sufficient; an astronomical 22% interest rate charge at Grameen (measured on a declining basis), and as high as 50% elsewhere. Anathema to Muslims, for whom taking even the smallest amount of interest is forbidden, evidenced by a number of Qur'anic verses (2:275-279, 3:130, 4:160-161, 30:39), numerous rigorously authentic traditions of the Prophet, may God bless him and give him peace, the consensus of the four schools of jurisprudence, and the ravaging effects of decades of low-interest development loans to poor countries.

The single biggest problem with conventional microfinance, and for that matter all interest-based finance, is that the borrower has to make his interest payments even if he is unable to meet them. If his business succeeds, he pays; if his business fails, he still pays.

At a time when a young business should be concerned with innovation and expansion, an interest payment looms unavoidably large at the end of the month. Putting it off only exacerbates the problem, as interest payments often become larger than the original loan principal with the passage of time. It makes little sense for small, under-capitalized micro-entrepreneurs with nothing to fall back on to assume debt instead of equity. In a protracted market downturn, when large groups of borrowers are unable to meet their repayment requirements, this precipitates heightened levels of market volatility. End game: debt forgiveness on the lender's part or increased impoverishment on the borrower's, means bonded labor in some countries.

Further, interest-based transactions tend to focus attentions on the process-oriented task of repayment rather than on the result-oriented task of increasing profit. And because no direct causality exists in an interest-based transaction between the size of the payout and the profitability of the business (since interest payments are already fixed), conventional microfinance requires additional technical intervention on the part of the lender in order to promote business efficiency. Equity-based investments, on the other hand, already assume an effort toward business efficiency because both the investor and the worker share the same goal: increasing profit.


Islamic microfinance provides an innovative interest-free alternative to conventional micro- finance. Perhaps not so innovative since interest-free, equity-based investing has already proven itself as the predominant corporate financing tool for decades, from Wall Street investment banks to Silicon Valley venture capitalists. And while the players may change, the transaction dynamics remain largely the same, whether the transaction is worth billions of euros or hundreds of rupees: an investor takes a stake in a business for a share of the business's profits, undertaking commensurate levels of risks.

Based primarily on the profit-sharing principles of equity-based finance, Islamic micro- finance offers greater resilience than conventional microfinance. If a business fails, nothing is paid; if a business succeeds, profits are shared. Risks and rewards are always pro- proportionate to equity shares. So while any return on capital in the form of interest is completely prohibited in Islam, there is no objection to getting a return on capital if the provider of capital enters into a partnership with a worker or entrepreneur and is prepared to share in the risks of the business.

The key dynamics of conventional microfinance arrangements are, however, still retained in Islamic microfinance, with small groups of self-selected individuals providing each other with emotional, technical, and financial support. By assembling themselves into their own groups, clients choose as partners only those individuals they trust most, filtering out to large extent poorer credits.

Become a Certified Islamic Finance Executive. The CIFE is the only accredited Islamic finance training certificate available 100% online. For more details on islamic finance training and islamic banking courses please visit our website

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Self Improvement Tips You Can Share To Lazy Individuals

Joseph Pressley

Being overly dependent makes an individual become lazy. Life is messy when people become too lazy to care for their own self. Almost half of the people in this world are working for a living while the other half are just selfishly lying in bed, waiting for food on the table and do nothing. It is irritating to the nerves if you know of someone who is behaving like this. You have been working so hard but then your parasite friend just takes what you have worked hard for. They are so lazy that it looks like they have been stunned with a streetwise stun gun because they are motionless and just stare blankly at the ceiling while waiting for good news.

You can do something to help the person whom you know has this kind of trait. It is no longer right for your friend, a family member or your relative to be acting this way. He needs to work hard, use or apply what he has learned in school and prove to the world that he is useful. Encourage him so he will be guided. It only takes a slap in the face so he can wake up and realize that he has been too lazy for quite some time.

A helpful advice that you can share to a lazy person is to let him make plans and objectives with his life. Make sure that the plans are attainable, measurable, time bounded, realistic and are specific. Basically, lazy individuals do not have plans with their future that is why they just rather prefer to curl in bed and wait for something good that will happen to their life. Opportunities do not come if you will not work hard in finding for one.

Instruct hi to avoid spending too much time watching television or just lying in bed. Nothing will happen if he will constantly do this routine. Yes, he is updated with the latest news but his life is definitely way too boring. Instead of just watching television, encourage him to have physical exercise that way he can make his body physically fit and healthy. An early morning jog around the park would not be a total harm provided that he will carry the best stun gun there is in the market for his own protection. If he feels like jogging daily, then he is beginning to start a new life all over again.

Socializing is another way for a lazy person to start a new leaf. Some lazy individuals have difficulty with socializing or meeting new friends that is why they just prefer to stay at home and do nothing. Take him out on a party or on social gatherings. Who knows, someone might help him to finally get a good job while he is out on a social gathering.

Let him organize things. When you visit a lazy individual's home or room for instance, you will notice how things are scattered everywhere, plates left unwashed in the kitchen and empty bottles on the living room table. They will never have their crib cleaned up not unless there is someone who will help them. The best thing to do is to tell him that no one will help him clean up his mess. He will soon realize that he needs to straighten things up and finally organize things. They will feel less frustrated once they see their home spic and span. Talk to him and tell him the importance of organizing.

Living a healthy lifestyle will also help a lazy person to improve himself. These are all necessary in making him realize that there are pretty good things in store for his life if he will learn to stand and walk on his own feet.

Joseph Pressley is a certified TASER instructor and the co-founder of which provides non-lethal self defense products such as stun guns, TASERs and pepper sprays. Discover how stun guns and TASERs can save your life. Receive a free report on "Top 10 Self Defense Secrets Everyone Needs To Know". Limited amount available. Visit us and get your own copy now

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Cloud Computing and Virtualization in IT

Francis BLonde

The description of cloud computing can be seen as servers and applications that are done through the internet. The term cloud comes from the way data centers use the Internet all over the world, this can be known as the universal of the internet.

The idea cloud, provides a lot of computer network services and type of connections that is used in the online world service, this is done through networking sites and those like Amazon. Diagrams of the network are used in the how the image of the cloud is seen in the form of the Internet. Internet's broad reach, is known as a symbolization, that tries to make it simple from the complex nature of it. The services are usually connected, and anyone is able to share the information they chose, between different systems and through many other users.

The way cloud computing uses the online backup system is through companies like Apple's MobileMe and other social networking sites. Online applications are involved with cloud computing, these can be given through Microsoft Online Services. Sites that are mirrored and Internet based clusters are hardware that is seen also as an example of cloud computing.

They have the power to hide the technicalities of how it works from the user at the other end, but at the same time it can provide everything it needs to the user. This hides the complex work with the important servers and the data behind the hot-links and search engines.

Virtualization in IT is one of the physical servers that is like an agent to other different virtual services. There is a layer of software, known as the hypervisor, this is where it can sort out storage, the memory and other computing resources that makes every independent virtual server act like its a computer that stands alone. Cloud computing can take what abstraction is one step more, as it takes the data-centers mount of servers, management system, the security and the storage and any type of infrastructure work as a single computer.

This allows the companies to get what they need in the terms of the amount of storage, computing power and security and what ever other type of IT functions is needed from the specialist at the data-center computing.

The term cloud computing is known as a type of computing model. This model is available to any Information Technology system and to the users at the other end by the Internet, so it only lets them have the type of computing service they only need. IT services don't necessarily have to give them their information and resources to be managed by this cloud computing system. What they need to do is plug in what infrastructure service they need, the type of platform they require or software and service they need. They only have to need the cloud as much or as little as they want as any other computer that gives the same as it does or any internal data center.

Francis has been writing articles and reviews on various products for some time. View more articles and reviews written by Francis at including then newest on Business Promotional Pens

Friday, November 5, 2010

Unveiling Secrets of the Millionaire Mind

Chris D Cruz

Everyone is thrilled by the thought of striking it rich; in fact any adult today spends more than three quarters of their lives in seeking ways on how they can be rich. There are quite a number of programs which promise people to help them become what they wish in their lives; riches being top on the list for most people who attend such programs. Every program based on the power of the mind to attain secrets of the millionaire mind is based upon positive thinking. Anyone attending these programs basically understands that the secret to what they've been seeking all this while has been locked in their minds. The mind is the central commanding post of each and every human activity, creating a mind which has positive sentiments towards desired results forms a bias and a lifestyle geared to affecting that result. Positive rich thoughts create visualization acts which are beneficial in helping an individual attain success.

For one to attain this there has to be familiarity setting within mental functions. These familiarity zones are laid when one creates positive affirmations towards what they wish to achieve. Visualization and memories around rich thoughts helps an individual create positive thoughts which are geared towards them achieving such success. There is not limit to what the mind can achieve; public interviews with most millionaires prove the power of vision and working around that vision. It is imperative to note that visualization acts are not enough and that one has to move a step further in creating the reality they so desire. Individual seeking riches will have to plan towards a goal and then foster those plans with actions which are relevant for achieving the set goal. The mind has the capability to do the unthinkable if only we engage it; anyone who is talented in anything will generally attest the fact that once they were starting out they encountered difficulties; however with training and positive thinking the difficulties have elapsed to form success in what the do.

The systems by which the mind initiates in affecting its function is very complicated; it is imperative for an individual to understand different states of the brain and the mind so as to have a glimpse on how the functions of the mind are affected. Understanding such concepts initiates familiarity ground in accepting or discarding information regarding to mind development acts. For instance; there are quite a number of success stories books written by individual who try to explain success through engaging mind capabilities. An individual reading such books normally affects familiarity zones which are essential in helping them initiate success thoughts. As research proves; the subconscious mind is more effective when an individual engages it using factual facts with emotional touch on them. Once an individual releases they can actually get secrets of the millionaire mind, then there is no limit to what that individual can achieve; some of the mind provoking quotes information are such as 'you don't need money to be rich or develop a big business empire; all you need is a word or an idea'.

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Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Awakening of Life

Joshua Clayton

For me, in my mind each life on this planet has a choice which is an individual proposition for all to win or lose. Read into this article what you will, but life as a whole needs to change on this Earth in order to be a winning proposition for all who want a winning proposition. So, before I really begin, I would just like to say, I am not advocating irrational greed or total altruism, no. I am advocating the perfect balance of living to be a genuine winner. Not "perfect" or totally wrong, but to strike the genuine ideal balance to be a genuine winner.

Sure, in this respect, I say this: All I ask for people to do is think for themselves and think for themselves rationally, not fit any mold or be any conception of what I want them to be at all. When you come up with your own balance in that respect, you have awakened.

When I think of genuine sleeping, I think of idiotic imbalance, not necessarily even accidental happenings. Sure, I can tell you, life works only when you are awake and focused, even quantum physics says this in a sense. Especially when you deeply study the theory of relativity or genetic physics. I am not going to go into those particulars here, except to say: Find out for yourself, "the proof is in the pudding" and that is a reality. I do not have the effrontery to say my view is "it" and all of that kind of thing, but I will say that I worked and reasoned out my view over years of understanding and study. The understanding came first, and then I verified it with the study. Studying without questioning and understanding will lead you nowhere. After all, what is rote memorization of facts without using them productively? I can answer that, it is a useless encyclopedia collecting dust. That is my point. Applied knowledge is power.

Now going on with this article and pulling no punches and not playing any games, I say this: Knowledge has to be drawn out and used to have any value. It cannot sit on the trophy case in a box and be useful. To live, we must start by first productively thinking and then creatively taking action to genuinely win. Now that sounds simple until integration comes into play. That is where the power is at within that process. That is where the awakening is at within that process. Sure, I can sit here and say something unpredictable. But, all things being all things, all things are predictable in the sense that natural law cannot be broken, like gravity always working when things fall where there is gravity. Like a body in motion, tends to stay in motion and a body at rest tends to stay at rest until put into motion again even where there is not gravity. So, I repeat, natural law cannot be broken, it can be temporarily disobeyed, but never broken. This is what makes the natural law of reason the ultimate weapon that can be temporarily disarmed by irrationality but never really taken off of the guard. Indeed, reason is not a phenomena, it is what life works by, it is the calling card of rational existence as a law. If we try to break it, it will break us in the long run. I mean this not as anything to put fear into anyone, but as a reality that works for everyone. When you live in reality, you are awake. When you do not live in reality, you are asleep.

As for goals and visualizing and working rationally toward what you want, that is the most powerful and awake thing that you or anyone can do in life and existence. Indeed, strength and efficacy is created, not given. This is what it is, this is what it comes down to. There may be many smaller laws that run existence, but when I mentioned that one in this paragraph, that is the big law behind all of the laws: Strength and efficacy is created, not given. That is the rational key to the awakening of life.

My name is Joshua Clayton, I am a freelance writer based in Inglewood, California. I also write under a few pen-names and aliases, but Joshua Clayton is my real name, and I write by that for the most part now. I am a philosophical writer and objective thinker and honest action taker.
I also work at a senior center in Gardena, California as my day job, among other things, but primarily I am a writer.

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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Mind Power Success - Is This Hype Or Is Mind Power Success Really True?

Johnnie S Walker

Mind power success in the past 10 years has really come to the forefront in the business world. With leaders now wanting to share their success stories from using mind power success techniques. When you embed an idea in your mind it can become one of two things, a success or a failure. Following through with an idea, can be difficult to do for some people as they clearly do not have the mindset to complete their initial idea.

Taking action is the first step. When you procrastinate in your mind you are unsure if you are wanting to proceed. Having the trait of mind power success you will not have this problem. You start to manifest positive thoughts which are the end results of your initial thoughts or ideas.

If you start off with a slightly negative attitude about not been able to do or a can't do attitude then this will be the way that you will continue. When you have mind power success nothing will phase you. You meet any problems head on and then think of a new strategy to overcome the challenge.

This is the stage where most people will give up. When you have the mind power to keep focused then nothing can stand in your way. Distractions can be a huge factor in discouraging you from reaching your goal. As I am an entrepreneur my example of distractions is the internet. The internet can be an unbelievable resource for your business or it can be devastating. If you are in the mindset of an opportunity seeker then most pages on the internet will distract you. If you are a business builder then your focus is a lot more targeted.

I use mind power success everyday by just focusing on one task one at a time. I manage my own offline company 3 days a week and every evening I focus on completing what I know is crucial. Throughout the day it is a good idea to take a break and evaluate what tasks need attention the most. Be honest with yourself and first of all complete any tasks which you have been avoiding. When you have tasks completed which you were avoiding your mind is clear again and you can focus on the present time.

Mind power success is not a myth and all the great leaders and inventors of our time have all used this technique.

Johnnie W is a well established online marketer who uses free traffic and sources to generate leads. You are invited to his free 7 day bootcamp "Facebook Lead Wizard Formula" Watch how he generates FREE leads by just using Facebook alone.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Technological Improvement

Hubert Silaa

"Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind." Albert Einstein.

"... Suffice to say that we've reached a point where science and technology have advanced at such an exponential rate for so long, it may be a way beyond our ability to regulate and control them"....Blair Brown.

Evolution as we perceive it is part of the greater truth only as a result of spiritual growth. Evolution is meaningfully as life itself, "The foundation of the Universe is material but the essence of life is spirit". Our bodies are products of million of incremental changes, from a single cell to a multi-cellular organisms, yet we are still on the journey of evolving. All living species struggle and long for perfection, but time can always be against us.

Many hands have interfered on our evolutionary path causing some errors and confusion on our spiritual growth. This entails why there are so many unanswered mysteries. One of the main purpose of evolution is to refine our mind circuitry and thoughts pattern, sometimes we find out mind being scattered all over and everywhere which leads us unsuccessfully with our plans. There are different technological inventions that helps us to better ourselves through meditations, and the way we perceive and recognize the reality. Nothing can resist the power of change we should become change itself and cultivate the potential of technological achievement.

The key to spiritual enlightenment is conscious living, when you live consciously you will see what each moment is as it pass by and be able to locate the error. Since our evolutionary path was altered, we must use technology as a tool to advance in our spiritual growth. Everything has a circle of life even human habits are seasonal. One must become aware of themselves. take note of your whole life "pattern", observe how you behave daily, weekly, monthly, seasonal and even yearly, you can start by looking at your bank statements and how you spend money, for example where do you spend money mostly, what kind of purchases you mostly make in summer, how much money do you spend on charity etc. see how much attention you have on your family (the more money on family activities more attention)

On daily basis: You can look on your phone, internet, television etc. try to see who you usually call or calls you the most on your call log, on the Internet history try to see what websites do you usually visit often and the same on TV Facebook and twitter is good to always go back and check on your status updates.

Conclusion: After doing self-analysis what do you really gain or get out of all these things that you do every day? Where do you think you might be in next five years doing the same thing over and over? Twitter and Facebook updates what do they represent about you.

Dealing with self development, mind, spirit and body, Once you learn to change what is inside then the physical body reflects. for more information you can visit my website

Monday, November 1, 2010

Why Self Improvement Does Not Work for Some People

Ralph Merritt Nedelkoff

Most people strive to improve themselves in some ways. You may notice that highly ambitious people are always striving to improve in many ways. Yet there are some people who seriously desire to improve themselves but cannot seem to do it. Why?

Ambition may have something to do with it, yet usually it is much more than that. Ambition is really a strong desire. Desire alone does not achieve the results we want. For example, having the strongest desire possible to win a big lottery does not guarantee that you will win it. Ambition to be a billionaire does not guarantee that you will become one.

2 Big Reasons Self Improvement Does Not Work and Exactly How to Change It

There are two big reasons why self improvement does not work for some people. These are the reasons and exactly how to overcome them:

1. Mindset - Some people do not improve their mindset and themselves because of their negative mindset. This needs to change first. The major reason most people do not succeed in something they desire is their mindset. Most experts agree that life is about 90% mindset. Success is 90% mindset. Success in a job or in a business is 90% mindset. Success in self improvement is also based on mindset. Your actions and the results of your actions are determined by your mindset. You must become more aware of your thoughts.

Some people are negative minded, closed minded, apathetic, and unwilling to listen, learn and change. Negativity powers self sabotage. Apathy kills dreams. Closed-mindedness and the unwillingness to listen and learn virtually guarantees that these people will not accept change, transformation and will not be able to succeed. Open your mindset to succeed in improving yourself. Keep it open and positive throughout the process. Do not allow negative self-talk to sabotage your dreams. The more positive you are, the more powerful you will become.

2. Daily Diligence - Some people attend a self improvement event, read a book or listen to some training and learn some techniques, and then they actually do it once or twice and expect dramatic results. Then they wonder why a dramatic change did not happen in them. The answer is that it must be done daily to be fully effective. The daily practice of personal development and self improvement techniques will empower you to find the quickest and easiest way to attract and create what you want in life. You must learn the proper techniques for your personal development and self improvement. You must take action to implement them daily. Remember, self growth is a process not a single event. It is just like exercise or being on a diet; you cannot just do it a couple of times and expect dramatic results. You must keep your goals in mind and stick to the process daily. Invest 30 to 60 minutes per day in yourself by implementing your personal development techniques and you will soon become a new, much more powerful and successful person.


If you truly desire to go to a higher level in your life-meaning in accomplishment, in income, in creating wealth, in lifestyle, in relationships, in health and happiness-you absolutely must expand into a higher level of being. You must work on your self growth, self improvement or personal development - what ever you want to call it. Keep your big goals in mind and enjoy the process!

Your income and your level of personal success will grow only to the extent that you grow and develop as a person. That is why your process of self growth is so important to you and your future. Believe it! Do it daily!

Ralph Merritt Nedelkoff is an MBA, a trainer, mentor and international home business entrepreneur with LifePath Unlimited in the field of personal development and achievement technology. You can learn about it at: - For some really cool free online personal development stuff featuring some global superstars, give him a call. He is also the author of 14 books, several of them on self-growth, achievement technology and personal development, including The Secret Entrepreneur, The Money Solution, Go Wild Today! Passions into Actions! and The Millionaire's Magical Prayer. All are available on Amazon. For the complete list see both pages on:

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Why Should I Spend Money on Educational Products?

Mark T. Joseph

Some of the most successful people in the world invest a small truckload of money on their education. Why? In this article we will explore these reasons. I find that when people reach a level of success, they spend money on their education. Successful people spend more money on education and products that help them see other view points because they understand their true value.

I have found this to be true in all fields. Some of my most successful coaching clients and marketing clients invest in everything that they can get their hands on. These people are successful and may already know ninety eight percent of what I teach but they still invest in the products and services.

Why would the continue to spend money when the already know 98% of what is being taught? Simple, they want to know the other two percent of what they don't know and they know the stuff works and makes them more money and solves their problems. These same successful people understand that just one or two more ideas will increase their business. Sometimes just one idea can make a few thousand dollars more for the company and it's owner.

I don't want you to feel like I am giving you a sales pitch, I am not. That was not my reason for telling you this. The reason I offer it here is simple, when you invest in your business from a financial standpoint or a marketing standpoint or a self-help standpoint - you will get better results.

There is an old saying and it belonged to the late Jim Rohn: "Work harder on yourself than you do on your job." I feel his reason for this is simple, you can go from job to job and that might change but knowledge can never be taken away from you. Someone can fire you tomorrow or you could get out of your business or whatever...but with your education and knowledge, that can never be taken away from you.

I have to be honest and this is from a personal standpoint, since I have started to invest more and more into my education - both time to study and books, ebooks, courses, websites and the likes...learning about my profession and business - my business and income has grown more than I thought it ever would. So I do not care if it is time or money you invest - or both...but invest somehow in yourself and you will be amazed with the results.

Mark T. Joseph is a Professional Magician and World Record Holder whom you may know by his stage name 'Mark Mysterrio.' Mark was on a bed of nails for 283 hours and 5 minutes to get into the record books. Mark does over 300 plus shows per year, has authored books, DVD and TV series for children and has three dogs Mojo & Sasha -his two chinese shar-peis and a small dog named tripper.Mark has started a global mission in which 10% of his income will go to UNICEF. We call it: Mark Mysterrio's Mission Aardvark., you can read more here:

Saturday, October 30, 2010

5 Magical Words to Say to Your Unemployed Friends

Marge K. Mercurio

We are living in a time when people are struggling in a quiet desperation. Whether they've lost their job, vehicle, health, home, marriage or something else they value - they are dealing with their troubles in silence.

It's embarrassing to lose your job and yet, there is the hope that another one is available. When resources, job possibilities and hope evaporates... people turn inward. Their dreams and plans for themselves, their family and the future disappear and fear sets in.

5 Magical Words:

When you encounter friends, colleagues or family members who are dealing with hard times, use these magic words to break down barriers and get the other person talking... "I've been thinking about you." Then become quiet.

These words could open the door to a conversation. They may have to be said a few more times over weeks or even months. But they will open doors because they are genuine and non-threatening. Unlike the question, "How are you doing?" which often leads to the quick reply - "Fine" when in reality nothing can be further from the truth.

When you let the other person know you've been thinking about them, you're not expecting a reply, report or update, instead you're stating a fact. People in distress try to stay under the radar so a simple acknowledgment from you can offer a glimmer of hope that they matter.

Talk Therapy:

Should the person decide to talk about their life, issues or struggles, do NOT try to fix the situation or assist them in anyway. Sometimes, it's good to just unload and share your problems without worrying that you're putting someone on the spot to help you find a job, mend a friendship, meet people, pay your rent... That can come later. For now, let the person talk.

Heartfelt Listening:

Make contact with that person and be a good listener. People in distress are good at concealing their situation. They stop attending events that cost money; they avoid any sort of entertainment such as dinners, going to the movies, attending plays or theater, sporting events, visiting museums, accepting party invitations or places where money is required.

The majority of unemployed people have never been in this situation before. They're used to earning a paycheck, paying their bills, making their rent or mortgage, buying their groceries with money (not food stamps) and having a future.

What they need is a job. Until that comes along, be a good friend and just listen.

Marge K. Mercurio, demonstrates the power of blogging with an engaging personal style.

Her blog at Marge Mercurio is about simple connections, everyday activities & personal interactions that make OUR world go round...

Friday, October 29, 2010

ducation For the 21st Century AKA The Hub Proposal

Phil Wagner and Patrick Yurick

Creating a Hybrid Learning Community

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.

What might a 21st-century community look in which students direct their own education? In this world, the following scenario could take place: a student, engrossed in his favorite video game, puts down his gaming console and decides that he has an innovative idea for a new game of his own. From the convenience of his home computer he signs on to his profile at his school website and posts a bulletin within the "projects" section of the school's online network. His bulletin states the reasons why his video game idea is innovative and what kind of people he needs to help him bring his idea to fruition. After a few hours, seven other students have shown an interest in his idea and want to join him in the endeavor. The intended critical mass of interested parties having been reached, they must now seek out the relevant information and processes to make the project happen.

The group is assigned a teacher/mentor that will aid them in facilitating the achievement of their goal. A meeting time is set and the interested parties meet up in a conference room located at the online school's Hub complex. The Hub Complex is a state of the art building that acts as a meeting ground for the physical aspects of project based learning. In some rooms there are students working on massive science projects while in other rooms students are studying the fine arts related to current cultural topics. The video game designing student has contacted fellow classmates in the carpool list, but due to no one traveling to the Hub at the time he had to travel via public transit.

With notes scribbled on whiteboards and paper, the student's initial idea is fleshed out. It is determined that computer programming, graphic design, and physics are crucial aspects of the forthcoming project and, while the students have some experience in graphic design, their first challenge is that they lack the requisite programming skills. The group decides to sign up for a programming session where other groups are learning the tools necessary to write video game code. A student with a strong interest in the visual aspect of the project works with a student from another group to walk through an online tutorial in game graphic design. The project continues with the mentor acting as consultant, ensuring that the students are not getting overwhelmed and are finding the resources they need. When the video game is completed, the students reflect with the mentor on what was the most difficult part of the project. It may be determined that the project would have gone much more smoothly if a tutorial on some particular facet of the process had been made available to them. This would have saved some time on trial and error and unnecessary difficulties. The group works to publish documentation wherein their reflections won't just benefit their own future project endeavors, but will also serve as an available resource to future student projects and other users around the world.

How do we achieve this vision while working to simultaneously ensure that our students are well educated and allowed to pursue their passions? Perhaps the Internet is the answer public education has been looking for. Over the past decade, online schools and universities have opened at radically increasing rates while many colleges are adopting some form of hybrid online/traditional classrooms to facilitate learning. In the traditional classroom, students interact with other students and teachers, an interaction which creates a relationship that can be treasured for a lifetime. Online lectures and textbooks are still lectures and textbooks, which can be very difficult and confusing. Without another person to help us and without challenging projects that require human interaction the online classroom will be devoid of the life naturally attained within the traditional classroom. Lectures and textbook based learning is why the current form of "online schooling" will never be completely successful. Project based learning with a human face to face component must be included in this new online paradigm in order to facilitate personal and meaningful engagement of students.

One of the principles that our public education system is founded on is the idea that a well-informed citizenry remain strong, free, constantly interactive and capable of diverse thinking. Educating to diverse communication standards (both new and old) is vital to strengthening the community of a multi-cultural society. It is becoming increasingly apparent as we move further into the twenty-first century that education should dovetail with rapidly evolving practices in contemporary communications. In fact, institutional policies are reacting to this demand across the United States. (1) Public education must be flexible enough to follow communities within its structure no matter where they exist. Online education becomes inevitable in this scenario because, as it has become the popular means of mass communication, it has also begun to supplant and augment the traditional loci of communities world-wide. The modern classroom has become the Internet, and vice-versa. Because of the limitless potential of human interaction made possible by the numerous technologies we find at our disposal in the twenty-first century, communities based on instantaneous communication have formed within a new frontier that exists worldwide. Public education, if it is to stay relevant to the needs of the modern community, needs to find its place at the forefront of this frontier.

Online communities have replaced geographical ones. While many are unable to name one of their neighbors, they connect daily with hundreds or thousands of like-minded people for various reasons. These communities are in place, yet education has not effectively found a way to harness these connections for meaningful learning-even while meaningful learning is taking place within them all along! As public educators work to discern and define the function of the K-12 classroom in this new era of communication, they must strive to meet the demands brought forth by new and ever-emerging technologies while still working to create a school that will-above and beyond all things-facilitate learning for the K-12 student. But moving towards a methodology which no longer focuses strictly on the "traditional" means of communication does not mean that teachers need to abandon their basic instinct, viz. to learn we need to interact physically with one another. The traditional concept of a school as being a place where students come together to learn in the same physical environment is not a concept that should be abandoned. Rather, public educators need to change their preconceptions of how and when students come together to learn so that their education can support this new type of technology driven classroom.

Since very early in American history, educators have worked to ensure that all students are prepared and well rounded. Every year more and more people are choosing to enter a college or university; choosing to go beyond their required education in order to receive training in areas about which they are passionate. Yet, in the last couple of decades we have seen technology explode onto the scene, permanently changing the way we live, interact, and learn. While schools have worked hard to ensure that students are equipped with the tools needed in today's society, we can always ask: is technology being used its fullest extent? The above scenario, in which students utilize available technologies to the fullest extent in order to complete a complex project, outlines a possible situation in which students, rather than simply making use of technology to absorb disjointed and only marginally useful facts, employ such technology to learn and develop within a tightly-knit community.

Is it possible to envision a world where an online student body is able to complete a project that they are interested in while still obtaining the skills and facts necessary to fall in line with the National Standards of Education? How can schools stay in touch with the world if they are not part of the mainstream student communities of the 21st century? All humans have a natural inclination towards learning; whether learning to walk, read a book, or to take a car apart and put it back together again. It is the responsibility of public educational institutions to mentor these natural motivations and to encourage a productive and collaborative society. Can this be successfully achieved and supported within the confines of a hybrid school? If public educators are to rise to the challenges of our times, the answer must invariably be, "yes."

The Internet has become the unofficial 21st century method for learning. Almost anything can be learned by simply watching a YouTube video or following along on someone else's blog. News is transmitted instantaneously throughout the world creating an almost unlimited supply of information for almost any need. However, when we look in the classroom, we find information continuing to be disseminated in the same way it has been for centuries. Where information comes out of the Internet like a waterfall, students are asked to sit for eight hours a day and move through information at a trickle. This is why public education needs to follow the community, especially when the community is obviously shouting that it knows where it wants to be.

So how do we tap into those communities? If there is one thing that has truly kept the fire of learning alive, it has been the library. Imagine a super-library, a kind of K-12 learning center that has been built to be alive and able to act a resource for an online community. A place that would support a kind of project-based learning that could be facilitated anywhere there was an Internet connection. This online school Hub would be filled with teachers and experts who could be present both physically present and virtually for students to interact with no matter where they are. This place would also serve as an easy meeting place for the physically interactive parts of project-based learning that are required of its online student body.

We propose that this Hub be the school that actively engages with the 21st century community structures. This high tech Hub facility will be a place where teachers no longer become the gatekeepers of a rigid grading system, but rather start acting as mentors and facilitators within a complex hive of student activity. Why this hub would be successful as a base for an online/virtual school is because it would enable what public education has been seeking to accomplish all along - it would allow students to naturally gravitate to the school out of the want for learning. The basic idea is that human beings learn while uncomfortable, i.e. in new situations where they are forced to be alert. If students were able to first engage with a school from a comfortable place it is our theory that these students would in turn be not only motivated to come to school they will be drawn to it. A "Hey, what's going on here?" attitude will be fostered when a student is able to observe the classroom before entering it.

It is of our opinion that if a High School were to utilize new technologies to expand the classroom and support its communication between all parties involved the result would be a class that is no longer confined by the walls of one room. The classroom could then become earth and the world we live in would become the teacher. This "free from physical constraints" classroom would be populated with students who are able to communicate anywhere that they can receive Internet bandwidth. Projects could take place in the African bush or in a coffee shop in Bern, Switzerland.

As we move into the future of learning the question of how to combine truly personalized education and online learning becomes self-evident. There are many more conversations that must come up to answer this, but none can arise until we have a core understanding as a community of what we are trying to achieve and what we are trying to teach as educators.

1) For a detailed elaboration of this phenomenon, see John Watson, Butch Gemin, and Jennifer Ryan. "Keeping the Pace with K-12 Online learning: A Review of State-Level Policy and Practice." Rev. of K-12 Online Learning. Nov. 2008: 1-163.

Phil Wagner - Math/Physics/Robotics Teacher
Patrick Yurick - Graphic Design Teacher and Founder of the Graphic Novel Project.

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Life Coaching - How to Find a Life Coach

John J. Simmons

So, you have decided you need a life coach. Now all you have to do is find one... but which one?

As you have discovered if you do a search for "life coach" on the internet, you have plenty to choose from... and the choices get wider every day. So how do you choose the right one?

First of all, let me reassure you that this is not a life-or-death matter and that even if you go wrong, you won't go far wrong... and you can always switch to another coach. Additionally, the benefits of coaching are so strong, that unless the coach is a very poor one, indeed, you will still get gains from the coaching.

With that in mind, let me suggest a few pointers for finding a coach that will help you get the greatest gains from coaching.

Start with the right category

Life coaches come in many different flavors. Most of them can handle general-purpose coaching, but are at their best in one or two sub-groups (the ones that hold the most interest for them or they have the most experience in.) Examples of subgroups are: relationship coach, business coach, career coach, success coach, personal development coach, spiritual coach, recovery coach, parenting coach, dating coach... and the list goes on and on.

What is your style (and the coach's)?

What's your style? Do you prefer someone who is direct and forthright or someone who considers your feelings first? Do you need someone to hear you out or someone who can "intuit" what you are trying to convey and shortcut the process?

Once you know your preferred style, you can make sure the coach is going to honor that.

How important are in-person sessions to you?

Most coaching is done by phone. If it is important for your coaching to be in person, then you need to focus your search locally. You will need to ask the coach if he/she does in-person coaching (many will not). Also, be prepared to pay more as it is outside the norm for coaching.

If you are wondering how effective coaching over the phone can be, most people find it just as effective as in-person coaching.

Ask for recommendations

If you have friends, associates, or colleagues who have a coach, ask them about their experiences with the coach. Your goal is to find out if their coach would be a match for you in style, price, and effectiveness.

Sometimes friends or business acquaintances will have coached with someone in the past, even though they may not currently be doing it. It pays to let people know you are looking for a coach and ask if anyone knows someone they can refer to you.

Where to find coaches

After you have checked with friends and associates, the next place to look is the internet.

One good place to find coaches is in the directories of the coaching schools and certifying groups. Search for "coach training" to find these.

On Google (or Bing or Yahoo, etc.) search for "life coach" + the subgroup that you are looking for (relationship, or parenting, or business, or whatever). If you are looking for someone local, you can do the search for "life coach" + (subgroup) + the name of your town.

Should the life coach be certified?

Let me say that I am a certified life coach. From that vantage point, I will tell you that AT THIS TIME, certification is not very important. Certification is not the same as licensing and there are no universally accepted standards for certification.

Because certification will grow more standardized, it is still a good thing and indicates that the individual has passed a minimum level of assessment. On the other hand, there are really great life coaches who have many years of experience with successful clients who are not certified.

If you like, you can use certification as a "tie-breaker" between two coaches that are strong candidates for you.

Narrow the field

Having collected your information from friends, the internet, and any other sources you encountered, pick up to three coaches that seem to meet the criteria we discussed in Part 1.

Call your picks and ask questions. (Note: oftentimes these questions can be answered just by looking at the coach's website. Even if most of the questions are answered that way, you will still want to talk to them to get a sense of who they are as a person.) If you like the answers you get, set up a sample appointment. This should be free. If it's not, then simply move on to the next coach on your list.

Note: do not set up more than one sample appointment at a time. You are not doing comparison shopping, you are trying to find someone who will partner with you to help you make the changes you want.

What questions do you ask?

Here are suggested questions to help you find out more about the coach and his/her program.

  • Can you tell me a little bit about your coaching program and how you coach?
  • How often do we "meet"? Is it by phone? Do I call you or do you call me?
  • What kind of support would I get between sessions?
  • Can you give me an idea of what you charge?

Remember, the goal of your questioning is to determine whether this person might be a good fit for you and your coaching needs.

Attend your sample appointment

The sample appointment will most likely not be like the "real" sessions. However, that doesn't mean that you won't get value from it or learn from it.

The coach will ask you questions about why you want a coach, what your goals are, and other questions to determine how serious you are about moving forward. At the same time, you will be evaluating this person's style, insights, and ability to help you achieve your goals.

Make your decision

By the end of the sample session, if the coach thinks the two of you are compatible enough, he/she will have explained his/her programs and you may be invited to become a client of the coach. If you agree that the two of you are compatible enough and you think the coach can help you get where you want to go AND you can afford the coach's rates, then sign up.

Since you most likely picked what you thought was a best-fit from your search for coaches, don't decline to work with the coach simply on the hope that the next one might offer a bit more or be a bit better. Your chances go downhill from here. But if you don't feel comfortable working with the coach, by all means decline. Coaching will result in stretching you and you need to feel comfortable with your coach and be able to trust him or her.

If you decline to work with the coach, then call the next one on your list and set up a sample appointment.

Now get coached

Once you have agreed to work with a coach, commit yourself to it. Coaching takes several months to gain the full benefit. Additionally, because of the effort you put into finding a suitable coach, you are likely to have a better experience, receive even more benefit, and achieve your goals faster than others who simply work with the first coach they run across.

After you have begun to see results, be sure and tell your friends about your coach. Referrals are the best way to help your coach help even more people.

Happy coaching.

Copyright 2010 John J. Simmons - all rights reserved worldwide

For more information about coaching and more tips for success visit John J Simmons (a Certified Professional Coach) website at

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Learning Mandarin For A Career in China

Rui Ming

There are many places in the world well worth visiting and a great deal of languages well worth learning. Few languages, however, offer the same bright professional prospects as proficiency in the lingua franca of the Middle Kingdom. China is happening and with it, so are Mandarin language studies. Today almost everyone knows that China is different type of country now compared to what it was even 10 years ago. Most people are not too familiar with the details about how that rise came about, with the start of market reform, to the opening of the first stock exchange, the entry into the world trade organization and the reform regarding the flow of capital from and to China. What people do know is that China is a rising power. We speak about an awakened dragon. China is country that accounts for one sixth of the world's population. China is the world leader in not only exports, but today also in high tech exports. When the giant dragon sneezes, like giant Gulliver, the surrounding nations take notice.

Most westerners can tell you a few stories of how one large company after another moved production to The Middle Kingdom. Already today, but more so in the future, other similar trends will emerge. When western economies foundered in the wake of the global banking crisis China grew at an annualised rate of almost 10%. A growth prospect that no western nation has seen for centuries. In all these ways China is less a country and more a continent in its own right, and a hungry continent at that. With average wages a fraction of American salaries the dragon has an immense potential to still continue to grow far into the future.

The future will see a different world from the one we see today. But what does business say about China and Chinese language studies? This is an interview with a leading human resources consultant with 20 years experience within the Nordic investment banking industry in leading management positions in New York, London and the Nordic region. We asked Mats the question: why should people study mandarin? This is what he told us.

The first reason is naturally the growing importance of China as a super power and its emergence as a major player in world trade. To set this into a perspective the value of European trade with China has grown nearly 500% during the last 10 years and since 1996, when China surpassed the US, China has become EUs most important trading partner.

From the first point it follows that western societies will face growing interaction with Chinese people. In this respect it is important to bear in mind that although trade is international, business is local. Therefore the ability to communicate in the Chinese local language, understand the culture, know general etiquette and business conduct - in essence to understand the Chinese mind - will become paramount in the future. Today in Europe there are about 250 million people speaking English, 150 million speaking German and 125 million speaking French. At the same time only X people are fluent in Mandarin implying ample opportunity for those wanting to acquire this skill to position themselves in a unique place in the labour market.

The third reason comes from having worked nearly twenty years in recruiting and training graduates I often get the question what makes up a good CV. In my opinion the number one priority is of course good solid grades from University. Then one looks for features that: stand out, show some special added value, show initiative, show interest in meeting new people, and show eagerness to take on challenges. In this regard even if one were not to use the acquired language skills directly, the engagement in serious Mandarin studies for an extended period of time will certainly fall into this category and set a person apart from the crowd.

Rui Ming works for a Mandarin academy that is a great option for those that want to learn Mandarin. If you are interested in more information about learning Mandarin in China, please consult the website of Beijing Gateway Academy.